Countless anglers want to catch new personal best carp, catfish and barbel using homemade baits. Looking at recent carp magazines and papers you might get the impression that a revolutionary wave of new baits has arrived – but homemade bait makers have been making these forms of baits for decades! So read on, develop your own homemade edges and catch loads more big fish now!
Bait companies market baits very cleverly and often make them appear to be the very latest new thing without this being the case at all! For example, recently a Japanese-designed form of readymade boilie made without additional concentrated flavours so common in such baits has been claimed to be unique. But numerous anglers have been making homemade baits for decades using zero added flavours while exploiting and natural extracts such as marine ones to enhance the impacts of baits both nutritionally and in terms of bait attraction and performance over all. This has included different forms of seaweed products and protein-rich marine products such abalone powder for instance.
Another so-called new innovation is readymade baits that dissolve quickly in your swim so attracting carp without filling them up; but such baits have by definition been the most frequently made homemade baits for a massive range of fish species for centuries – if not millennia! Fibrous pastes that hold together so you can put them on your hook or rig and know they will be resilient are nothing new either. Just one Western prime example is the old medieval Isaac Walton recipe that includes using cotton wool incorporated into sweetened, preserved high protein homemade paste!
So pellet and bait syrups are new things right? Even before the seventies anglers with an ounce of curiosity about experimenting with bait substances have soaked or dipped baits in a massive range of attractive and stimulating materials and liquids. Refiners syrup (Tate and Lyles Golden Syrup) and their liquorice-tasting black syrup have been used in homemade baits in many ways for decades. Even in the late seventies when everyone made their own baits because they had no other option many baits were dipped, glugged, soaked or boosted in some way to improve results.
A very simple example was the instant method of producing extra-stimulating trout pellets. These were coated in flavours, marine extracts, liquid yeast, syrups or liquid sugars and intense sweeteners, essential oils, marine and nut and seed oils, molasses, liquid proteins foods such as Minamino etc decades before such baits became popular as readymade baits in the angling press.
Easily digestible pre-digested boilies suitable for all year round use (even in the lowest temperatures) have been used for decades – well before readymade baits of this type appeared on bait shop shelves or in glossy magazine adverts. In fact when you think about it, the massive majority of commercial bait company bosses of today started out making homemade baits in their kitchens or in their garden sheds and of course many still do although their shed may be much bigger!
Chilli baits and other forms of spicy baits are really old; these go way back in time beyond the days of soaking luncheon meat in curry powder or incorporating spices in special baits in the seventies for instance.
Flavouring fake baits such as foam has been going on since decades ago – I was doing this at the start of the eighties for surface fishing. It also improved results using dog biscuits off the bottom. Spraying maggots with flavours, enhancers, liquid foods etc is old as the hills only liquid foods is a trendy term today – I bet Isaac Walton did not call his high protein rabbit meat baits food baits but they were of course! For me personally, when fake corn appeared flavouring these and other fake baits was second-nature because I had been flavouring foam with all kinds of things since the seventies when it was very useful in stopping soft meat baits from falling off my rig.
In the days before carp fishing became so commercialised you often had to source and design much of your equipment including adapting or making rods, landing nets, bank sticks, indicators, bivvies, homemade foam-padded sun lounger bed chairs and so on. For my early carp fishing rigs before pop-up boilies were used by the masses, I used homemade floater cake propped up for the long term by highly buoyant rubber foam from my dads printing plates – often coated in attractive solvents from the printing trade I might add!
Incidentally I am one of those anglers who cares not for fashions – instead of wafters and expensive tiny pots of pop-up baits a very effective answer to create balanced or trendy in – word wafting presentations is the use of a cut-down piece of liquid food and flavour-soaked rig foam. Rig foam works when flavoured or not but I find it far more effective when it has some residual food or attractor whether this is natural esters or liquid marine extracts etc. Pre-soaked foam used on your hair or hook itself is ideal to for getting loads more bites when using pre-soaked pellets and luncheon meat and prevents soft baits getting pulled off too!
You might think that the concept of using prepared particles that contain a combination of 2 or more types of particle baits such as hemp and sweetcorn is a new thing. But going back decades ago, any general coarse angler who aimed for carp by the evening of a days fishing built up his swim using a combination of all kinds of particle type baits. This would often include any of the following and more: maggots, breadcrumbs, sweetcorn, stewed wheat, stewed pearl barley, fresh homemade pellet-based pastes, chopped worms, soil, soaked crushed egg food, desiccated coconut, peanuts, cracked corn, corn flakes, essential oil soaked luncheon meat, bird foods such as those containing molasses and insects, etc.
Also in the list was the additive Robin Red (which seemed relatively far cheaper in the old days than it is today!) In the eighties using crushed tiger nuts and various pellets soaked in tiger nut extract, powdered palatants and enhancers for example was a great edge for me.
At that time I experimented at home with a mind-blowing array of additives, liquids and associated materials. Fishing over a bed of extremely open- textured unique homemade crushed boilies at a time when most anglers slavishly stuck to a bed of round whole boilies or particles of a single type was just one edge that produced many big fish for me.
Using maggots is far from a new thing for carp. In the early eighties it was common to get great catches by fishing any kind of semi-buoyant low density bait over a bed of maggots. I remember flavouring my maggots with Scopex and Chocolate Malt and dying my maggots and sweetcorn black in the eighties – to great effect!
Liquid Robin Red is far from a new thing either. I loved using this stuff as part of my own unique homemade flavouring and liquid food combinations since the seventies. Originally I was soaking Robin Red with Minamino to try and make the Minamino flavour different when I used it in my homemade boilies, baits soaks, ground bait liquids and so on. It was a small step to heat this liquid to make it far more concentrated. I then got onto the liquid Robin Red that Rod Hutchinson supplied for a period of time – I have no idea why this product was discontinued because it was really was great stuff!
I can tell you that on many waters where the Robin Red liquid of today will be used you will soon do better by adapting it to make it unique after it has hooked enough fish and when they have inevitably become much warier of it! A simple addition of an essential oil, a new seed, an oleoresin or terpenoid type product or an extra spice and unusual sweetener for example will give it new life again – I love all this creative stuff and my bait secrets ebooks are stuffed with such detailed edges!
If you think that pineapple baits with butyric acid are new – think again; this trick was going on long before I started carp fishing in the mid-seventies and then it was used all year not just as a special winter trick. If you want some tips on making better ground baits and more effective stick mixes for instance, get to know a few guys from the States who competitively fish pay-lakes where no ground-baiting or chumming is permitted – many of these guys are real experts and some have literally multiple generations of experience in making these baits!
If you must use fresh boilies try cutting them down for hook baits so all the outer skin is taken off and so you have square baits of about 8 or 10 millimetres in diameter, then soak them in your special dip for a few hours – 3 hours to 5 hours is fine. Use a number of these on a hair with dip-soaked foam on the end of them at the bait stop to pop-up the end of the string of baits.
A tip to finish up this piece – if you want a different bait dip to almost anyone else – for your fake baits, pellets or boilies, either use the juice from ready-prepared hemp or from hemp that you have prepared for yourself. Add about 10 percent liquid inclusion of high PC liquid lecithin (which is an energy-rich feeding trigger proven by one of the more famous fish scientists by the name of Harada!) I might also suggest adding a 10 percent addition of pure triple-filtered salmon oil in your baits too – especially for warmer water baits and through into the autumn time. I get these liquid additives from Phil at Carpfishingpellets online.
Why not try soaking your boilies in this alternative combination so that your baits are fully hydrated in advance of fishing. Why not try fishing them on your rig using a trimmed disc of rig foam to stop them coming off. Put a baiting needle through your baits a few times and fish not whole baits but jagged thirds or halves cut very roughly so it seems that they have already been attacked by smaller fish – and see how the bigger wary carp respond! (For further information on making, adapting, designing and boosting your baits see my bait secrets ebooks website in my biography right now!)
By Tim Richardson.