Making your baits different is a massive edge in carp fishing in winter or any other time! Achieving as many bites as possible means exploiting any bait design approach that will beat fish caution so inducing far more confident feeding! There are new and alternative ways to do this that can be incorporated into completely new and unique homemade bait designs. Yet many of these are not complex, and simply require a deeper understanding of the appliance of secondary school level science and knowledge of fish feeding triggers and are easy for anyone to apply in their homemade bait making!
I have used many approaches to creating various boilies, pastes, ground baits, particle mixes, and spod and stick mixes which exploit fish sensory systems and internal processes and also water reactions to many varied bait substances. I used to have a conventional train of thought about boilies thinking that there were really two main approaches.
These were over-flavoured instant attractor boilies, and balanced nutritional value boilies. I also started out thinking conventionally about boilies being in distinct groups based on their ingredients, for example milk protein baits, fish meal baits, yeast based baits, bird food baits, meat baits, marine derived baits, enzyme-active highly nutritional baits and low nutritional carbohydrate type baits, and so on.
But now I have a completely different view of baits and any distinct groups have disappeared into a blending of potentially any and all possible into very unique combinations, including many homemade baits I cannot even classify into any single or conventionally-related group.
I have designed and made some really successful boilies (unheated or just scalded not boiled or steamed at all,) using products rich in very uniquely selected hormone combinations which are highly stimulatory to carp and I have had some interesting exchanges on this topic with friends including Frank Warwick.
The exploitation of the chemoreception and olfaction of carp by natural and synthetic and other groups of chemicals is extremely effective and my choices of bait substances is not at all solely about digestibility or nutritional value of ingredients etc. Such factors can be utilised yet you can design baits purely on chemical attraction of synthetic and partially natural and analogue types of flavours and other easily dissolved and easily dispersed substances.
I am far more interested in the potency of individual substances particularly when in solution actively breaking down into the water. This is where boilies work at their peak and not as un-hydrated hard whole or trimmed down intact bait.
In my research for my carp ebooks I asked most of the bosses of the biggest bait companies in the UK how they thought bait flavours actually work to induce a response, either in terms of single bait curiosity feeding or repetitive feeding. I knew this kind of area was vitally significant to success, as the actual processes by which a soluble bait substance interacts with sensory proteins at receptor sites is a cornerstone of how baits actually work!
Only a couple of these people could offer any sound scientific help.
Rod Hutchinson simply asked me do you have all afternoon, whilst Ian Russell did not offer any insisting he just keeps things simple and offered no help which most probably meant he only knew certain flavour substances worked in certain concentrations and levels but not why and I was not impressed by him! Anyway many anglers including myself were using over-flavoured pop-up baits at range off the bottom and in the upper layers in the nineteen-eighties and before so that angle is nothing new or unique to him!
Ian Moore impressed me very much by his knowledge, yet the majority of commercial bait company bosses appear to be operating without a detailed scientific knowledge of how and why flavour substances work which is crazy and just goes to show that putting all your faith and confidence in readymade baits is not at all the best thing to do and that you can do just a well making your own truly optimised homemade baits!
In one article Mark McKenna stated that flavours do not work, and when I told rod Hutchinson and Martin Locke this they just laughed. Any experienced big carp angler worth his salt has exploited Scopex or Squid and octopus koi rearer flavours. I might add that Rod told me he does not call Scopex a flavour but something else which was an indication of the fact that many flavours are not exactly a simple collection of synthetic and natural flavour components and are far more bioactive than just that, and I can definitely include Richworth Tutti Fruitti in this class knowing what I do about elements of its formula (which will never be passed on!)
How strongly substances in solution either individually or in combinations result in the most potent nerve responses, brain responses and proceeding amino acid and hormone releases that directly promoting feeding behaviours is vitally important to optimise for maximum success. All these things can be simplified so that the starting points for designing baits come from sensory information first and not arbitrary or random personal preferences!
Boilies work at their absolute worst as whole hard baits. This is where the word boilie is history for me. No angler would actually boil their baits today. There is far more nutritional potency in consuming raw foods. So paste is very much a part of my approach and I even avoid fast-steaming or even scalding baits as much as possible. I have made homemade paste baits that remain hard yet water soluble for over 20 hours immersion in water without using any heating whatsoever.
That is the future. I have given a few examples of insights experiences and thoughts here and I am sure many of them go against popular conditioned thinking.
It has taken me over 30 years of making homemade baits and another 5 years of full-time researching into nutrition and many aspects of internal carp workings and substances interactions and reactions with water and much more to have the bigger picture I am now seeing. Even so despite all this effort I realise that the fact is the more I know the more I see there is yet to know but I do know for a fact that truly optimised homemade baits do not have to be extremely complex in terms of profiles and modes of actions to beat even the latest most popular readymade baits!
So many anglers today think it is right that they chop down their boilies, or use chopped boilies, or even coat boilies in paste. The fact is that boilies are not the optimum bait format because by definition their ability to become solution is limited by coagulated proteins formed during boiling, or steaming or other cooking. This means all these baits are not in truth actually optimised for nutritional stimulation and are certainly not maximised for peak potential performance.
This is why I love making my own optimised for performance boilies and knowing there is no-one else on the lakes I fish with baits anything like mine homemade baits. That is such a competitive edge that I laugh if someone on the bank inevitably asks me what brand of boilies I am using. Sure I am a consultant for CC Moore and their readymade baits are used by top anglers, but I choose make my own boilies because in tests I can match any readymade bait (including their baits,) that I have ever tested against my own homemade ones, and beat them.
Sometimes I have had to change the mode of action or levels of substances for example but I say this to show that the entire point of bait is to present as confident as possible a feeding situation. Nothing does this more effectively than baits with an overriding majority of characteristics that fish have no reason to fear due to any negative prior experiences of them!
Remember that fish survive by constantly evolving and adapting to any threat dynamically by adjusting their behaviours extremely quickly! That means feeding as carefully as possible on familiar but dangerous baits their brethren have been hooked on. It is my opinion based on experience that with unique truly optimised and truly maximised extraordinarily potent baits you can catch 4 or 6 times or more carp than those on popular readymade baits the herd are already on.
So when I get anglers asking me for help on their bait choices and they say in fearful words that Mainline Cell or whatever is dominating catches on their water I simply tell them straight to forget that because it is not relevant at all and bears no relationship to what they can do and achieve by not using the same bait as the herd!
Whether your water is low stocked and very naturally rich with a high pH or highly stocked and low pH with little abundance of natural food resources it matters little! You can create baits truly optimised for every individual water and unique fishing situation to maximise your fishing success!
Readymade baits have to be a compromise of customer expectations, profitable contents, effective contents and design, and duration of practical intactness in water again based on customer expectations.
They are designed to work to at least some degree on as many waters as possible yet are not optimised for performance on any water except maybe those of the actual field testers. This takes into account also the fact commercial boilies are heated so automatically not qualifying them as truly optimised for nutritional impacts and actual functional performance! This also applies to very many pellets which are heat extruded and so on.
If your idea of making boilies is to put a collection of random popular ingredients and additives together with maybe some liquid foods, sweeteners and enhancers and you expect miracles on a hard water by doing this by mixing all this into one big new batch of bait then forget it! This is a big mistake so many anglers I know make all the time!
Modern carp fishing is built on methodical scientific measurable results testing, and catches feedback and carefully considered refinements in measured increments. Therefore the most sensible approach is to make small test batches of baits and test these on easy waters and this way you very quickly discover which baits top the list of new baits.
In my experience to be in control of testing new homemade bait formulas and variations of these using what is termed a control bait is absolutely essential!
You must test any new bait versions against a control bait that produces fish very well indeed and obviously to find a reliable control bait is very easy to test for when you are using 3 or 4 rods! Top anglers will know that fish can be very taste specific and using different versions of baits on different rods really does produce fish that other versions using different levels of flavours and extracts do not produce!
When Kevin Nash caught his Essex record he had to test a number of new bait recipes before he discovered a formula that fish would actually eat and this says a lot about bait design and the limits of readymade baits on different levels!
One method I have utilised very much in bait testing is simply testing 3 test baits each with a different level of flavour or a particular extract within a very simple bait recipe of maybe 1 to 3 ingredients including liquid. I avoid using any egg for binding as this is the most common danger signal carp experience in readymade baits! I hope all this makes you think! Revealed in my unique readymade bait and homemade bait carp and catfish bait secrets ebooks is far more powerful information look up my unique website (Baitbigfish) and see my biography below for details of my ebooks deals right now!
By Tim Richardson.
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(The innovative bait and fishing author and bait consultant Tim Richardson is a big carp and catfish angler of over 35 years experience and has been writing, researching and testing material for articles and fishing secrets ebooks for 6 years full-time and helped anglers in 70 plus countries catch new personal best fish.)
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