Tag Archives: Catfish Bait

Should You Use Stink Bait Or Live Bait For Catching Big Catfish?

A long-lived debate amongst catfish anglers concerns which bait is most effective for catching big catfish: stink bait or live bait.

The answer is both.

This is why: Catfish possess a sense of smell more powerful than a bloodhound’s and they target wounded prey with shark-like ferocity.

But this is the bottom line: Stink bait catches the most catfish, but live bait catches the biggest.

Favorite live baits include night crawlers, minnows, crawdads, shad, menhaden and freshwater clams. Bluegill can also be used as live bait where it’s legal to do so. Live baits also include chicken livers, shrimp and cut bait–such as shad, anchovies, carp, sardines or mackerel–even those these baits aren’t technically “live.”

The type of live bait used should be dictated by the type of catfish you’re fishing for. Flatheads are attracted to bluegill, whereas big blue or channel catfish prefer minnows, shad or menhaden. Catching big catfish can be as easy as using bait like crawdads and waterdogs.

If you’re using cut bait, it can be aged for a few days to until it becomes sour bait, which adds stink bait attraction. Just place a few chunks in a canning jar and leave an inch of air space below the lid. Add a few drops of water, close the lid fairly loosely, and bury it in the ground in a sunny location for a few days. It’s quite stinky, but it’s a delicacy for catfish. Sour bait is particularly effective in early spring, when catfish are naturally feeding on other fish that have died over the winter.

Anglers typically use single hooks for live bait. But treble hook rigging is also possible.

As for stink baits, they come in a variety of pastes, dips and nuggets. If you’re adventuresome, you can experiment with making your own, or they can be purchased.

Dip baits require a special lure, which is usually a treble hook equipped with a sponge to absorb the stinky bait. Paste baits are typically squeezed from a tube into a soft plastic lure that’s attached to double or treble hooks. And of course, nuggets are threaded directly onto single or treble hooks. Limburger cheese is considered a type of stink bait!

Stink baits can be placed on a leader behind a swivel and a sliding sinker. Alternatively, they can be placed off a three-way swivel or dropper loop above a weight, or simply on the main line with split shot. The variety of rigs, swivels and weights used is basically the same as those used with live bait.

Then, of course, you can enjoy the best of both worlds and double your chances of success by dipping live bait into stink bait! Then you’re likely to catch a load of fish and the big one. Many locales allow using multiple fishing rods or multiple-hook rigs, so you can even use stink bait on one rig and live bait on the other to experiment with which is working better at a particular location.

Beyond stink bait and cut bait, some anglers use dough bait. They may roll white bread into dough balls or include cereal flakes or flour in homemade stink bait recipes. Carp are attracted to dough baits, and catfish sometimes school with carp.

Some anglers have reported catching big catfish on nothing at all–just a shiny hook! Shiny lures and spinners work, too.

Catfish are also attracted by chumming, but this method is not legal everywhere. Chum can be purchased in cans, blocks or bags. Other effective chum includes cheap canned cat (as in feline) food, finely chopped bait, ground-up fish innards or even road kill in a weighted burlap sack.

So whether you use live bait or stink bait depends on whether you want to land that trophy fish or need to feed an army of people! For more great tips on catching big catfish, check out the blog below.

To read more great catfishing tips check out this site Catching Big Catfish


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Big Carp and Catfish Bait Secrets That the Famous Anglers Will Not Tell You!

If you use readymade baits, or if you make homemade baits then you seriously need to read this! Having just had a very lengthy conversation with the boss of one the UK bait companies we agreed it is so extremely clear that even really well-known anglers using readymade baits are not maximising the true effectiveness of their baits! So open your eyes and mind and read on now to improve your catches for life!

Apart from giving away trade secrets there are things I can tell you that will improve your catches. Many of these things cannot be simply expressed in a few lines because you need to know the why and how something works and how to combine it in ways to maximise impacts not only on fish senses but in terms of maximised interaction with water! Many anglers ask me for advice on pastes and making boilies.

But instead of giving them some recipes (which is what they most usually want,) I give them a far more powerful suggestion! Fish detect very many substances through actually having substances dissolved in the water actually contact their body, externally or internally. This fact is so central to how I see how we can maximise our fishing success when we truly appreciate and harness this!

When we design baits and adapt all baits so they cause maximum concentrations of attractive and feed-triggering substances to draw fish along their concentration gradients like the smell of a curry or bread luring punters inside a shop or restaurant, then we will catch far more fish! Far too many anglers think baits need to be bound up with a basis of cereal binders such as semolina, and then heated up to coagulate proteins, glutens, but I do not recommend this at all. Instead, I recommend you adapt your readymade baits or design your homemade baits based primarily on the feeding triggers your species of fish are most sensitive to; whether carp, catfish, barbel, tench etc!

Test any boiled or steamed or other heated cooked boilies in cold water against and un-heated paste (even of the same recipe,) and you will notice that the un-heated baits form a solution massively faster than the heated baits. This solution is the prime basis of your baits success, so why on earth reduce the functional capacity of your baits by heating them up and dramatically sealing them? Apparently boiling baits can reduce nutritional values by as much as 60 percent in some recipes and even though this cannot be proven in accurate terms in fishing reality the damaging and detrimental effects of heat upon vital nutritional elements and bioactive factors essential in the biological and health values of foods is very well established!

The next time you think about looking at comparing prices for readymade boilies think how much you want your bait in solution in the water because this capacity of your baits will be extremely essential and vital to your success! Quality of bait ingredients and the recipe etc is so secondary to this and price is of such low importance by comparison! I would rather use a handful of exceptionally potent homemade feeding trigger based highly soluble paste baits fished accurately, than use 10 kilograms of the most well nutritionally-balanced boilies; no matter which potent additives, ingredients, enzymes etc they contain, and no matter what a great priced deal they might appear to be!

By practicing seriously feeling and experiencing like a fish, and not just thinking like an instant angler, you will be amazed at your improvement in your catch results! But it takes the right knowledge and insights to be able to do this correctly and it can take decades to achieve this; but my ebooks are proven short-cuts that will skyrocket your catches by comparison to remaining in ignorance for decades to come! Revealed in my unique readymade bait and homemade bait carp and catfish bait secrets ebooks is far more powerful information so see my unique website (Baitbigfish) for these highly essential details right now!

By Tim Richardson.

Now why not seize this moment to improve your catches for life with these unique fishing bibles: “BIG CARP FLAVOURS FEEDING TRIGGERS AND CARP SENSES EXPLOITATION SECRETS!” “BIG CARP AND CATFISH BAIT SECRETS!” And “BIG CARP BAIT SECRETS!” For these and much more now visit:


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Big Catfish and Carp Baits – Cool Hook Bait Ingredients

Keeping ahead of fish by using new baits, or versions of baits to keep on catching consistently, is so often the key to success, after location! But some fishermen might wonder how and why constantly changing baits has major advantages; there’s more to this than you might expect…

With many big catfish when fished for constantly, over time, many traditional baits can fail as fish associate these baits with ‘danger.’ Often catfish baits will go in a cycle of success before seemingly failing completely at the point where the catfish diet may have changed to predominantly feeding on live fish instead of fishermens’ baits.

I’m not alone in experiencing having ‘hits’ often very good hauls of catfish over a relatively short space of time, on one particular bait. Then the catfish simply ‘switch off’ the successful bait, often for an extremely long of time indeed. You can end up constantly searching for a completely new bait altogether.

Making catfish dough baits is an easier option as the ingredients, attractors and stimulators, size, shape, colour, density, texture, buoyancy etc, can be skilfully manipulated to constantly keep ahead of the fish before it ‘blows’ and results significantly reduce.

This has been found with various boilies, squid, and liver, certain pork baits like luncheon meat and Pepperami, even with nightcrawlers, prawns, mussels and cockles and so on. It seems like each has its day, then they can be ignored completely for an amazingly long time. However, dead baits of whole or chopped fish, but more especially, live baits, can really exploit the catfishes’ change in feeding behaviour.

In certain situations with particular fish, the question is how to get around these ‘defence mechanisms.’ Use of natural baits style is one answer but these often just act like a needle in a haystack, like fishing a single bloodworm in a bed of millions of them. Sure, worms, night crawlers, maggots and the like do make catching ‘clued-up’ fish easier initially, especially where fish have been not been used to being hooked on these baits before.

The famous giant 50 pound common called “Herman” of “Warmwell” repute in the UK, was very wised-up about conventional boilies. But this fish was not immune to worm bait… The “Redmire” fish, which could be very difficult to catch, were very keen to feed on tiny baits like various particles such as hemp. Use of new particle baits to a carp water can be devastating and this has been proven again and again.

The “Redmire” carp including Chris Yates’s record fish that stood for years were often tempted by sweetcorn. Often a can of “Jolly Green Giant” can save the day. These days soaking sweetcorn in sweeteners lik talin and thaumatin, or in liquid liver, yeast or betaine might work better. I’ve had good hits of fish on ‘Scopex’ soaked sweetcorn for example. The possibilities just with bait are endles, but it could be tiger nuts, peanuts, or any other bait. But I wonder how many fisherman think how to give the fish what they want but are very difficult to tempt on an individual bait alone.

A hook with samples of various diverse unrelated baits can often produce fish for many reasons, not least because the fish have not previously been ‘conditioned’ to be able to deal easily with it. Various different types of boilies and or dough type baits with particle baits or maggots or worms on the hook can do well for example.

Combinations with seafoods like prawn or cockles, an old fish cube, with some chicken or pork meat, all coated in an enticing paste or dough mixture can really produce fish when an individual bait simply will not.

Even boilie and dough mixes that have done so well on waters previously, can need changing after a long period of success. The revitalised success of the boilie “Active 8,” when teamed with a new maple attractor brought a new generation of anglers their first big fish success, even when the original version of this bait was still available, but it’s effectiveness had tailed-off compared to its early success before fish wised-up to it.

Often bait is still effective in triggering a feeding response, but the carp feed in different more cautious ways on and around the bait. Often the phenomenon of baits being picked-up, off the edge of, or even some distance away from a bed of baits, has worked better than a hookbait fished in the middle of thousands of identical baits.

The amazing way carp can ‘clean-up’ a huge bed of baits just leaving your hookbaits remaining is quite staggering to those fishermen who just do not appreciate how sensitive to every aspect of their surroundings, fish can be. Often it is those last remaining baits, your hookbaits, which are the last to be picked up, if they are at all!

Big fish man Dave Lane has experienced this many times. The question is really, why do the fish still pick up these hook baits at all, when out of possibly hundreds or even thousands of baits, these have been identified by all the feeding fish to be the ‘dangerous’ ones?

Most fishermen might suggest it is the ‘just one more’ syndrome kicking-in, where the urge to feel the effect of one more morsel replaces the instinct to leave those last baits ‘well-alone.’

There are numerous ways to make a bait have this effect, often by exploiting essential nutritional food signals, or by using attractors, enhancers, stimulators etc with highly stimulatory effects, many of which bear little resemblance to any natural carp food at all nor providing any particular nutritional benefits, but work anyway.

There are many ways to add these effects using many ingredients and additives to boilies, meats, and particles like hemp, pellets, and ground baits etc which are highly effective at keeping those bites coming.

This fishing bait secrets books author has many more fishing and bait ‘edges.’ Just one could impact on your catches!

By Tim Richardson.

For the unique acclaimed expert bait making and secrets ‘bibles’ ebooks / books:



Tim is a highly experienced homemade bait maker big carp and catfish angler of 30 years. His bait enhancing books / ebooks now help anglers in 43 countries improve their results – see this bait and fishing secrets website now!

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HOW TO MAKE CARP AND CATFISH BAITS Using Bait Flavours That Catch More fish!

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.

Now why not seize this moment to improve your catches for life with these unique fishing bibles: “BIG CARP FLAVOURS FEEDING TRIGGERS AND CARP SENSES EXPLOITATION SECRETS!” “BIG CARP AND CATFISH BAIT SECRETS!” And “BIG CARP BAIT SECRETS!” For these and much more now visit


Proven homemade bait making readymade bait success secrets bibles, unique bait secrets articles by Tim Richardson! FOR FREE VIDEOS SEE:http://www.youtube.com/user/BAITBIGFISH7KAIZEN#p/u/1/eUbFBwq6l9w

Homemade Carp and Catfish Baits – How to Make Them Instantly Attractive!

* Many thoughts exist on making baits and so many ideas and opinions contradict each other. So how to find the truth about what really works?!

Well, for example, in creating recipes for an instantly attractive carp or catfish bait, (these very often work for both species) people argue over ingredients, and how baits actually trigger that crucial fish feeding response.

A good sign when designing your homemade bait is that it instantly attracts the attention of a wide range of species. This might be great if you want to target all these others, but your bait might be attracting ‘bait fish’ around your hook bait that will attract the much bigger predatory, or curious catfish, or carp.

Such baits vary from just 2 ingredients and a flavour, to the most advanced produced by fish nutritionists and biochemists. But for each extreme, there are ideas and principles common to each, so let’s start by looking at what makes a ‘simple bait’:

To begin with, the simplest baits often utilize cheaper bulk ingredients as basic as wheat or corn flour, with a ‘high energy value’ but a low protein content.

Such baits may seem easy to distinguish from the ‘balanced nutritional profile’ protein based baits, but things overlap: Each type works and seems to contradict each other’s theory of why they should work at all!

And perhaps the key is less to do with the effort and energy cost to the carp, of eating your bait, versus its bio – energy reward for doing so. But more to do with exploiting methods of initial feeding response stimulation and initial bait small, taste and palatability. For example, we all know that food that is very nutritious can be repellent because of its strong taste or smell; some people hate fish, or garlic, or certain vegetables…

So what are the theoretical origins of carp baits made from ‘humble’ low protein and economical ‘carbohydrate’ ingredients, after all, we all know sweet corn is one of the greatest carp baits of all time, even catching a British record or two, but is primarily a sweet low protein carbohydrate food?

Traditionally the best known low protein flavor attractor ‘commercial bait’ (used world wide) is probably is Rich worth’s or Rod Hutchinson’s ‘Tutti Fruiti’ flavor / boilie. Fish love certain alcohols / combinations far more than others and a cheap semolina / soya flour base mix were ideal to carry this attractor label, and work anywhere.

However, flavors were originally used in baits to change their TASTE, when catch results achieved on the low nutrition baits were slowing down, and NOT because flavors actually worked as attractors in their own right! (Although they have evolved to become so today.)

There are still many cheaper flavors, sold as ‘carp attractors’ that are really only ‘labels’ for your base mix, and do not have much in them that will trigger carp into feeding on your bait! Carp can be fooled for quite a while though; A very successful UK angler (Andy Little) who was the first to land thirty 30 pound carp in a season, did this: he began catching by feeding a high nutritional value bait into the lake (SAVAY), and as time and catches grew, his bait ran out.

So, he put the same flavor label (strawberry?) in a cheaper, low protein, high carbohydrate base mix, and he continued to catch successfully for some time. The carp had associated the flavor ‘label’ with nutritional benefit, and were fooled into carrying on eating the new bait – despite its lack of food nutrition benefits!

This category of basic dry mix consists mainly of high carbohydrate ingredients which also roll and bind together easily. A basic combination of 50 / 50 % semolina flour and soya flour is the most commonly used base, although this has often added nutritional factors added like vitamins and minerals, cheap fishmeal, an amino acid source like corn steep liquor for added attraction etc.

These baits are often highly coloured with ‘fluorescent’ edible dyes to get carp to see them more quickly and easily, black, pink and white and background contrasting colors are often ones I’ve done well on when I’ve made these baits.

You have to ask how carp see these colors in water at different light intensities, of day / night, water clarity etc, and to come to your own conclusions. White seems good as anything, and I’ve caught plenty of good carp on this.

Other ingredients are added to give a ‘variety’ or initial difference to the bait, as a carbohydrate bait can ‘blow’ very quickly compared to high nutrition baits on some water, for example a difficult, low stock density, high natural food / exceptionally high water quality lake. It can take much work in pre – baiting for example, to keep ahead of the carp’s natural wariness having been caught on these baits, and even to get them to eat such baits initially!..

You can change your bait characteristics; type of attractors, color, rate of attraction leak – off, ‘crunch factor’, etc. Instant attractor baits are often highly coloured and ‘over – flavored’ with sometimes with natural juice incorporated flavors; solvent based flavors (e.g., acetates and similar groups of chemicals), or alcohol and oil based flavors for example, and attractive extracts like that of fermented fish /shellfish.

Changing the flavors, especially of ‘non solvent’ based ones, can keep the bait working purely on the basis of flavor attraction. (Some say these baits work by ‘simulating’ the carp’s natural food signals, ionizing the area of water around the bait but there is far more to this and it is a very advanced area to really begin to understand.)

Cheaper ingredients, like ground cereals or bean derived flours and meals, make this style of bait cost effective, simple, and very quick to produce. Years ago I used to soak my baits in a mixture of pure ethyl alcohol flavors, oil based flavor extracts and liquid ‘Robin Red’ extract. The main cost was flavors and added attractors and they keep working when changed regularly although I always use a liquid protein source as a bait soak / and in the bait as I have found carp caught by doing this are often much bigger!!

I recall the first time I experimented with overloading baits with ‘raw’ undiluted flavors around 1980… I caught all night, trebling my catch rate at that time. But I used this bait only over 6 weeks, as 90 % of the carp were smaller ones 6 pounds to 16 pounds. Very nice catches despite this.

I tried this approach on a giant water in the south of France (Lac Du Salagou) about 15 years ago. I hooked a fish only 15 minutes after arriving. It was gigantic too, and emptied my reel, snapped the line, leaving my friends laughing, in a mixture of amazed shock and jealous relief that I did not land it!!! I’d gradually stripped off down to my underpants and waded out 30 yards to chest deep water too! (I wonder if the video they took of the action still exists – eh Mr Grimes!?) I still wonder about that fish….

Please be warned: Be aware that highly flavored instant attractor type baits can badly ‘backfire on you’ and actually be extremely repellant to many big carp on some waters, owing to high pH factors etc, and also where it has been used on a water, by many anglers, for quite some time.

The biggest, most wary of fish can be terrified of over flavoured baits and even the average artificially flavored bait simply because it recognizes that signal as related to danger! You may wonder why you almost never even hook a bigger fish on such a bait at certain waters. Remember, the aim of the bait is to get a carp to pick up the bait as confidently as possible, as this gives the greatest chance of obtain a solid hook hold!

I took a quality milk protein and wheat germ bait to the famous ‘Rainbow Lake’ in France, and made a terrible mistake by putting the recommended synthetic flavor in it, instead of leaving it out completely! This bait produced NO takes at all, and I ended up catching fish around 50 pounds on other bait with no flavor instead!…

The Japanese and American scientists have both proven that carp instinctively prefer a protein instead for a Carbohydrate based food.

In one of a series of similar tests producing similar results, a carp diet was supplemented with a carbohydrate food. The carp regularly ate this food for only one week before stopping. This particular food was ignored for a total of 26 weeks, but when a protein based food was then offered, it was eaten immediately!

The Japanese probably lead the world in knowledge of carp nutrition and carp attractors, with over a thousand years of history in carp breeding, testing and so on.

I’ve read that in many tests carp are induced into feeding less nutritional food, by adding PLANT EXTRACTS and NOT SYNTHETIC CHEMICAL FLAVORS. For example, I’ve seen fenugreek extract used, and this is a component of the extremely successful commercially produced ‘maple’ flavor. You must assume that these scientists are at the top of this whole game, so if they’re using it in tests as a carp feeding trigger it probably great to use in bait!

I also got the impression reading about the writings of the famous milk protein bait pioneer, Fred Wilton, that these baits were EQUALLY as effective or perhaps even MORE so, when synthetic flavours were NOT used in them! (So give it a go!)

Once, about 16 years ago, I was catching some good carp using very successful instant attractor baits, when the carp started head and shouldering, ‘en mass’, straight out of my swim, without returning; someone had just put out a large quantity of his own secret ‘High Nutritional Value’ bait (based on anchovy and sardine fishmeal), and the carp had shown their preference immediately! This taught me a BIG lesson about the advantages of really understanding essential carp nutrition in bait and how carp feeding behaviour can be manipulated by using the right bait at the right time on a particular water!!!

In some circumstances where there is sufficient baits of nutritional quality, fish mass population / density/ competition with other species / natural food supply etc, low protein carbohydrate baits can still continue to be effective, and consistently catch almost all the fish in a lake: The key seems to be in, if enough large quantities of a particular bait are introduced, and the attractors, e.g., chemical flavour labels are changed regularly enough, then they will continue to be successful.

One outstanding example of this happening on a water where quality protein and balanced nutritional profile baits had been used for many years there, was at the famous UK water; Darenth. In one season most of the waters biggest carp were landed on a carbohydrate bait based on full fat semolina and soya flour.

It may seem surprising, but then perhaps the fish treated it as a low energy cost food source as over 1 tonne was put in and it was used consistently by the majority of the anglers on fishing the at that time! Only when the anglers’ fashions changed and they tried other types of baits in large quantities did this trend in results on ‘instant baits’ reduce.

They do work well however and on a bait of a similar design, the old French “Rainbow Lake” record carp of 76 pounds was landed in 2006.

There are increasingly more countries and waters where ‘carp bait selectivity’ is now a common occurrence owing to intensive fishing pressure on carp; they can eat foods selectively while ignoring or preferring certain baits above others!

Worldwide carp do seem to literally eat almost anything used as bait. Overall, however, the majority of the heaviest carp caught in the UK seem to be caught on nutritionally based baits, but questions still arise concerning those captures by ‘instant attractor baits’ and why they can ‘trip – up’ many of the biggest carp at times… after all, carp are only conditioned by anglers and THEIR habits and preferences!

This fishing bait secrets books author has many more fishing and bait ‘edges’ up his sleeve. Every single one can have a huge impact on catches.

By Tim Richardson.

For the unique acclaimed expert bait making and secrets ‘bibles’ ebooks / books:



Tim is a highly experienced homemade bait maker big carp and catfish angler of 30 years. His bait enhancing books / ebooks now help anglers in 43 countries improve their results. See this bait and fishing secrets website now!