If you are looking for easy ways to improve your catches then flavours and their creative uses really need to be explored further – but flavours are far more than just smells, tastes or labels but a whole world of different irresistible factors when used in combination in readymade or homemade baits! To maximise flavours to catch many more fish read on now!
If you think that flavours are nothing more than a smell they have really come a very long way and are incredibly diverse in effect, quality and fish-catching properties. Many flavours contain bioactive compounds, essential oils and their components plus other factors including metabolic stimulants of various kinds, and many other things besides that turn fish on in multiple ways on different levels. Some flavours attract fish to the proximity of your bait and other substances in your baits should ideally trigger strong reliable instinctive feeding responses. (Natural feeding triggers are a huge part of CC Moore bait design for instance like so many bait companies large and small.)
Not at all things about flavours used in modern carp fishing are anything to do with what we in human terms call smell or taste! Specifically-designed and carefully scientifically chosen fishing bait flavours offer many varied effects and impacts on fish these days; far more than the old fashioned solvent-based cake flavours for instance!
Solvent based flavours improve bait solubility. For instance glycerol and alcohol based flavours are hygroscopic which means they attract water into your bait. This produces a diffusion effect so that flavour and dissolved bait substances pump out of your bait – so increasing the performance of your bait, and hydrating it more making it more digestible than drier un-hydrated baits yet to become water-packed.
Solvent based flavours also act to a great degree as solvents, although water is the greatest solvent of course, many flavours can to a degree help emulsify ingredients, additives, liquids and other elements of your baits so they pass out of your bait and into the water column more efficiently –and even help make your baits that bit more digestible.
In one carp magazine a couple of years ago someone used a headline stating to the effect that flavours do not work! Some people have even said that flavours sell more anglers than catch fish. Flavours do more than just attract, or incite or even repel in some cases! Flavours do so much more in a bait when used in combination with many bait ingredients, extracts, liquids and so forth. They are like amino acids and enhancers – they can add to, enhance and multiply the effects and impacts of all kinds of factors in baits as a whole!
To simply test a neat flavour in any concentration or pH of water in a tank of clean water using usually juvenile carp is extremely misleading – with endless variables not covered at all.
To state that in a range of tests that a certain flavour did nor stimulate feeding does not mean at all that that flavour cannot make a very big difference in a bait. Flavours are about so much more than triggering feeding. They can illicit a change in the behavioural modes of fish even if that happens to produce curiosity and stopping the fish from just carrying on doing whatever (as if your bait were not there at all!)
It’s just the same when testing amino acid combinations in different pH water, different temperatures and so on in a tank. Think about it; natural lake water is alive with all kinds of micro-organisms, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and suspended particles and minerals and so on.
When you realise how extremely powerful fish senses really are in comparison to humans you tend to consider that almost anything, even inert plastic and rubber baits carry some kind of signal no matter how insignificant. Each and every ingredient and liquid in a bait has flavours even on the extremely finite scale so think about it! Carp can detect certain molecules in water down to as little as one part in a billion. In that way they are like sharks that are well known to detect just one drop of blood a mile or more away down current!
I say down current because one of greatest effects of flavours is to not only disperse quickly themselves in the water column, but also crucially assist the dispersal of other bait materials in solution, in suspension and so on which make it far easier and quicker for fish to detect your baits and get hooked faster!
I’m not electrochemist or whatever but I do know that baits are very much about the passage of charged particles impacting upon variously evolved receptors, proteins, signalling pathways and brain receptors and so on. This leads to amino acid and hormone releases that directly cause changes in behaviour in us – and in fish. It’s like the old Bisto gravy advert where once you get a whiff of it carried in the air you instinctively want to follow the source – or in the case of fish, the concentration gradient of that signal in the water, issuing forth from your baits!
Many many tricks and tips and sound scientific facts can improve your catches when it comes to flavours. For instance cutting a successful flavour with maybe another, or a liquid food, or sweetener or enhancers etc to give a bait a new signal when fish maybe are wising up but still want the nutrition within your bait’s base mix. You can make your own flavour recipes very easily if you have the know-how. I find the ripening processes of fruit and flavour developments in meats, fermented fish, and cheeses and so on fascinating – and very useful and effective when applied to homemade bait making!
You might cut a concentrated flavour with a liquid food, or syrup or sweetener, enhancer, natural soluble extract, oils plus a high potency high PC liquid emulsifier, and so on to boost effects and impacts on fish to make them even easier to catch! You can also do the opposite; i.e. cut a flavour so it is less recognisable and produce something new to get around carp wary of familiar over-used flavours.
One trick anyone can do is cut one solvent based flavour with others so for example you might make your own pineapple flavour using 3 different brands of pineapple flavour or Scopex flavour or chocolate malt flavour for example.
You might source some of your own special flavours that are not on familiar solvent bases at all but are natural – and use these to mix with natural ester based flavours and perhaps an unusual solvent based flavour. Many flavours are natural extracts in an alcohol base, but you can easily make your own unique homemade versions with a little thought! My ebooks are filled with this stuff.
I’m not against soaking baits in neat flavours and other substances. You might think this will put fish off. But it’s all about context. Think about it. If you are fishing for many days, you can certainly put flavour-soaked free baits out to alert fish of their presence- very strongly! Then you can be crafty and not fish that area for a number of days, knowing that a good number of wary fish will creep back onto your baits when they have washed out and appear safe. This is the kind of thing I and countless others have been known to exploit.
You might consider that you can make extremely potent natural flavours with no solvent bases whatsoever. So many powdered ingredients and additives etc are soluble. But soluble does not just mean in water, but in a variety of other substances. For instance, you might make unusual flavours based on condensed milk totally packed full of added soluble milk fractions and extracts.
Another example could be hydrolysed casein liquid with liquid yeast concentrate with added enzyme-treated yeast and intense sweetener with liquid glucose and malt extract. You might want to use pre-digested fish, oleoresins, liquid lecithin, terpenes, Manuka honey and Talin.
You can even make baits that are flavoured with a weak flavour mixed with Molasses and Minamino for instance or anything – maybe fresh liquidised crab or crab paste plus a crab flavour for instance, or real liquidised pineapple plus a pineapple flavour and liquid betaine for instance. I class betaine as a flavour, just like glycerine and honey or Marmite or Belachan in warm water in solution for instance.
On easier waters using flavour-soaked hook baits and free baits can significantly improve your catch rate. Think about it. Why do hook baits over-dosed with concentrated flavours at 1000 to 1 concentration or whatever incite fish to snap at baits or suck in baits; even going beyond the point of having their receptors in their lips burnt and resulting in hooked fish?
Concentrated flavours solvent-based flavours are extremely complex in not just their components but the entire diversity of their designs, properties and impacts on tastes and perceptions. Even if you sampled 10 different brands of pineapple or Scopex or strawberry you would find at least one or 2 that stand out from the rest. Flavours really are a matter of experimentation.
If you doubt this and just want to stick to the big brand names and labels that you have heard of previously then consider this; the big companies are not the only ones who use the services of professional flavorists and scientists in various fields to produce fishing bait flavours and additives and so on that are extremely potent in their effects. Many of the products from really small companies can be very advanced indeed and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them for your own testing.
It is very easy to test flavours. Just one way which is not very scientific but will show you instantly what works on any individual water is to soak your hook baits in 3 different brands of a flavour with the same name, such as banana, blue cheese, condensed milk or whatever, and fish each brand on a different rod for a period long enough to see if one flavour really out-fishes the others, then test the best against more flavours of the same name from different companies until you find an even better flavour. It works because I have done this many times over the years! But the best bit is then you can play with the best flavours you can get even more creative and add effects to them that boost impacts on fish senses and physiology etc even more potently. It takes a bit of reading of my ebooks to put this into practice but literally anyone can do this!
You will really benefit from using such variations of many kinds in applications varying from homemade boilies, shelf life and frozen boilies and homemade and readymade pastes, to readymade and homemade particle mixes and preparations, ground bait preparation, spod mixes, pellets, stick mixes, fake baits and even natural baits like CC Moore frozen mussels and bloodworm etc! 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.