Maize is a bizarre bait. At times carp seem to stuff themselves silly on the little yellow grains. The majority of carp anglers that I encounter who use maize seem to prefer to use it uncooked after a 24 hour soak in flavored water. In this form the grains are bullet-hard and pass straight through the carp more or less intact. I feel that maize is a hundred times more effective if it is not only soaked for at least 2-3 days, but is also then cooked for about thirty minutes. After this preparation most of the grains split and soften and they are far more palatable.
Maize takes on flavor very well and I have also found that it benefits from the addition of a sweetener of some kind. This does not necessarily have to be an artificial sweetener but could quite easily be ordinary white sugar, icing sugar or caster sugar. On the rare occasions that I use maize in France, I flavor a large bucket of 5 kilos of maize with 20ml Strawberry and 500g of ordinary
sugar. The flavor is added to the sugar which is then dissolved in boiling water which is in turn poured over the maize. I add sufficient boiling water to cover the maize by an inch or so, then leave the grains to soak up the sweetened, flavoured water for 24-72 hours, then I boil the grains for half an hour.
After boiling, return the cooked maize and the water in which they have been boiled to the bucket and allow them to cool. Do not drain off the water as continued soaking will encourage the cooked maize to ferment. The liquor will thicken and the maize will start to leak its attractive sugars. The maize is then at its most effective. I am encountering fewer and fewer waters where maize is still effective. For many years it was the bait of choice for most French carp anglers as well as with visiting carp men from all over Europe, but with the enormous growth in the popularity of carp angling in France, the widespread use of maize is proving less and less effective.
On the other hand, maize is not a popular particle bait in the UK and provided the bait is properly prepared and applied, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be successful on many British carp lakes.