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Homemade Carp Bait Design – Formulating Your Own Recipes for Big Fish!

Homemade Carp Bait Design – Formulating Your Own Recipes for Big Fish!

Being able to formulate your own homemade carp bait recipes is such a powerful edge! Even if you happen to be a commercial bait maker, the same skills and knowledge and creativity apply. So how can you do it as a beginner or reasonably skilled bait-making angler? Read on for some great expert tips you probably will never read anywhere else!

I speak to a number of commercial bait makers on a regular basis as friends, and I am intrigued at how there really is little difference between the process of formulating homemade baits compared to commercial ones. They both have to work on a variety of waters all year round and work instantly, and have the capability to out-fish competing baits due to special features, components or other actions or characteristics etc that they may offer.

But do not be confused about the word instant. In fact highly nutritionally-stimulating baits can very easily have great edges over over-flavoured baits. Also, highly stimulating nutritional baits can be over-flavoured; many lines of concepts and approaches to bait design can cross-over, blend and enhance each other. This really struck me when I did some bait testing of various substances for Rod Hutchinson among others around the late eighties when I knew the boilie base mixes had been optimised for nutritional attraction, but were also used with sometimes very significant levels of flavours, and these worked extremely successfully for me as I experimented with different flavour levels!

A good homemade bait maker will maximise his baits for maximum effect, whether he is fishing waters dominated by brands of popular readymade baits or not. One flaw of many anglers fixation with recipes is that you do not necessarily need highly complex recipes to catch loads of fish. For instance there have been countless occasions when a great flavour used in a very low nutritional value bait has caught the biggest fish in a lake long with very significant numbers of other fish. The butyrate in pineapple flavour for instance can be enhanced in various ways so that when it is used even very simple carbohydrate-based baits (which are really basically flavour carriers,) results are pretty good.

Unfortunately there appears to be a mindset among far too anglers these days that for instance a yellow bait should mean it has a pineapple flavour. This kind of thinking really is hilarious and shows just how illogical thinking about baits by many carp anglers has become. For a start, why should you use a yellow bait, why should you use a bait with any significant flavour anyway, and even why should you even use a standard boilie bait at all? How many anglers even know which components within most pineapple flavours actually initiate any response by carp at all?

How many anglers have figured out what tones carp most easily detect in what light and water conditions anyway? It takes work and often long experience to figure out such things in real fishing terms and not merely in theoretical terms. But so many anglers just want it all on a plate, given to them instantly, with a minimum of thought involved. Obviously this mindset leads to stagnation of thinking processes and development of development of the angler in many ways that ruins otherwise great chances and potential opportunities for catches that anglers are simply not aware of! And of course then the bait or rig or conditions or whatever else gets the blame for poor results!

So for you thinking anglers reading this, (and I know you are many otherwise why would you be this article,) an enquiring mind is never satiated, just like a carp should never be satisfied after eating your baits; he should always want more and more!

So now, how about me giving you a few suggestions for formulating your own homemade baits! What kinds of ideas might help you that might well make a difference? Well firstly, do not begin with recipes and do not begin with ingredients. Consider where carp live, how they evolved their bodies in response to the available nutrition they have had in their environment for millennia.

Could it be that the availability of protein-rich mussel, snails and bloodworm for instance influence how external and internal senses and have become extremely sensitive to minute levels of excretions such organisms expel into the water column; thus making them detectable to hungry fish needing the nutrition within those organisms in order to survive. What about digestive juice excretions along the length of the digestive tract of carp and the efficiency of the wall of the tract to absorb digested nutrition; what natural substances and materials have influenced the optimum performance of this structure and the processes that are performed by the body chemistry, and physically too?


When you begin your design with the fish and realise that everything in your bait must be detected by fish within a water environment not an air environment, that too really has a great bearing on your choices and decisions about how important different aspects of your bait will be and how to optimise your baits and their performance most appropriately. For instance it is far better not to boil you baits in water. Apart from damage to nutritional factors that stimulate fish feeding and habitual aspects about baits in regards to repetitive fish feeding, boiling in just water simply leaches out an enormous volume of materials that really should only be leached out when you fish with those baits.

The skins of baits boiled in water are very much leached of attraction to the degree that the smell of the coagulated eggs in baits boiled like this are very obviously apparent; this is definitely not a good thing in the competitive world of carp fishing today, but much worse, you have lost performance!

If you are boiling your baits and the water you boil you baits in is obviously pretty attractive after your boiling of baits that is an obvious sign that you have just lost loads of potential bait performance by losing substances you just leached out of your baits into the boiled water. If nothing else if you must boil baits, add things like molasses, or a sweetener, or enhancer or a syrup, or a soluble extract, or fruit juice or a puree or soluble fish meal, Oxo or Marmite or pure vanilla extract or maple syrup or whatever in order to replace something of what is lost!

Ideally you will fast steam baits if you do heat you baits, but remember that heating baits to make hard baits is certainly far from absolutely necessary. It used to be the case that most leading carp anglers did their fishing using soft soluble paste baits; and these baits caught loads of record carp you know!

So I guess you still want a recipe or some choices for recipes of your own to adapt. OK so you know that starting out your design from the fish perspective is the way to approach things. This means that literally everything you put into your bait has a very significant reason for being there! For instance, the core of a bait might be low temperature fish meal which is an exceptional digestible nutritional food source. You might decide to bind this with perhaps whey protein concentrate.

This exceptional soluble milk provides extremely high quality protein among other factors. You do not need to get into first limiting amino acids etc unless you really do have all the technical data on every single ingredient in your bait; The vast majority of carp baits work in spite of not being optimised for digestion efficiency and much of the protein in high nutritional value baits is not digested nor assimilated for a variety of reasons anyway!

Caseins have been a part of carp bait making for so many years. These have fantastic track record, and various forms can be combined to take best advantage of their impressive essential amino acid profiles which they supply to carp. 90 mesh acid casein for example provides soft centred baits for less dense, softer moister more soluble base mixes when made and can be utilised in an extremely wide range of bait applications. 30 mesh acid casein is a prime ingredient for many applications not just boilies, and pop-up or paste baits. It is ideal for harder more resilient baits against nuisance fish for example and helps binding. Casein has unique properties and a protein content in excess of 90 percent.

Calcium caseinate has been traditionally used in boilies pastes and pop-up mixes in varying levels depending on the buoyancy and density and solubility required as it can be utilised to for all these purposes. It may be used at 4 or 5 ounces per pound in base mixes and even 6 or 7 ounces in buoyant baits. Soluble milk ingredients are a very significant part of carp bait history through the decades so you can imagine how important they are.

I will diverge a bit here and just say you can make a very effective bait just using ordinary wheat flour, betaine, a liquid amino acid, vitamin, mineral and trace element complex along with a subtle flavour, plus maybe additional enhancers, bioactive and metabolic factors, maybe enzyme active substances, and a mixture of protein-based and carbohydrate-based sweeteners. In other words you can easily make fish respond to baits even if they are not high in protein. You base mix does not have to be high in protein at all. In fact it is pretty obvious that much of the proteins available in the very high protein baits of the seventies era for example could not be utilised by carp due to limiting factors for one thing!

Protein ingredients are certainly stimulatory to carp; in fact carp are exceptionally sensitive to the key amines they require for basic survival as the providers of the building blocks of life. They contribute to the make-up of essential substances in carp and humans too, for things such as transporting oxygen to where it is required in chemical processes, and in the production of digestive juices for example. Yes proteins are very vital for life, but certainly not the only answer when formulating successful fishing baits for carp, or catfish, or barbel, or tench or whatever.

I say this because for example, these fish and individuals within each fish species and strain are taste specific, meaning they are more sensitive to various taste substances, and different smell-related components. For example you can do very well on a bait with a particular flavour, but then if you add a particular edible dye in order to produce a highly visual bait you can easily transform that bait into a different maybe less successful bait due to the E numbers in the dye masking significant triggers and attractors within the bait, and such E numbers may even prove to be repellent even though they are classed as edible!

Remember that carp are more than doubly as sensitive as dogs OK! So here is some more food for thought, and I hope this has got your little grey cells buzzing! 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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