One of the things deemed very important by carp anglers is what bait to use. I am going to run through the various options of boilies and why people choose them in a hope to break down some of the myths and complexities that surround this subject.
Carp bait is generally now termed as boilies and although there are still many baits out there that can be used as carp baits it is very rare to find a carp angler without a bag of boilies stashed in their bags. The main reason for this choice of bait is that it holds the 3 most important things in a carp’s diet, fat, carbohydrate and protein. The last of which is one of the most key ingredients. Although there are plenty of things that consist of a high protein it is what has the most usable proteins for the fish. Bait manufacturers now use high quality ingredients to ensure that the baits produced have these usable proteins that enable the fish to digest the bait effectively whilst enabling them to retain what they need to grow big quickly!
There are many many different bait companies on the market and to be honest it is very difficult to buy a badly made carp bait in the shops. Another important thing in the market as deemed by anglers is the flavour of the bait. In my opinion although this is pleasing to the anglers it may not make much of a difference to carp. It is my belief that the carp do not detect the actual smell of a bait but the pH level changes that the flavours make when placed in water. I think this is one of the reasons that some baits work really well in one water but why it doesn’t seem as effective on others. Although not scientifically proven in my chats with bait manufacturers it seems that I may have a point.
Whilst buying baits from manufacturers through shops is a very popular and easy option some people opt for the approach of homemade baits. The art of rolling you own carp bait is one that takes a little while to perfect but can give you the edge as it is you who decides what goes in it. I recently fished a lake that I took a cold water mix carp bait to which was very high in citric flavouring. If I had done my homework properly I would have found out prior to my trip that citric flavours had never been well received.
What I did find out in my session is that there was a large quantity of fishmeal boilies that did work really well at this lake. When I researched them I found that all of them included Green Lipped Mussel extract. I took this information and using the DT Pukka Fish Mix mix which already has this ingredient proceeded to make my own baits that used the Pukka Fish Base, Oily Chicken flavouring with added GLM powder and salmon oil. The next session was explosive and after a 5 day blank on my first session the next produced 3 fish overnight.
Without the option of homemade bait making I could have used other off the shelf baits but felt I had a better edge using my own ingredients specific to the lake I was fishing.
There are also different options that are available when you buy carp bait at a shop, for example, shelf life or freezer bait. Freezer bait is the main option for most carp anglers as it is the most pure form of bait, I say this as to make a shelf life boilie you have to add a preservative which taints the flavour and makes the bait harder. Despite this it is a good option for people who fish rarely or are going on longer sessions where freezer bait will turn and go mouldy.
There are good shelf life alternatives out on the market now that hold the flavour and remain soft even over time being left to the elements. The new range of DT baits to work alongside the freezer range being one of the best on the markets with years of research going into finding the key ingredients to make this possible. Infact I know several die hard freezer bait fans that have started to keep this in there bag as a good alternative incase they fish a lake that like a certain bait.
To sum up then, when it comes to carp baits it is clear that boilies are the way to a carp’s stomach, and with a little bit of homework and some creativity you can maximise bait potential with some creative homemade bait. But do not ignore the power of a manufacturer bait. These guys are paid to do this and they do it well! Yes they may cost a bit more than making your own in the long run but it works!! And most companies have the field testing results to prove it!
Interestingly I wrote this article quite some time back and looking back my views have not really changed. I have still had some successes on homemade baits where I have struggled on the standard shop brought baits, but during the course of this time I have also moved onto DT NBlend as my preferred bait. Now the uniqueness of this bait is that it is primarily made from a mixed nut base with certain oils that compliment the bait. This bait along with the cold water mix that I have previously mentioned is exceptional because of the milk proteins used.
Now I guess the easiest comparison that I can make on this is that a milk protein is used to help bulk up, in the same way that body builders use protein to bulk up, now imagine its christmas (a sorry for anyone that causes a nightmare for). What happens as almost an inevitability over the christmas period? We put on weight, why? well for most of us being surrounded by chocolate is a good cause, chocolate is primarily milk based and therefor causes us to bulk up, mix that in with a lack of movement and energy and hey presto. Now take that scenario and apply it to fishing. So see how using a bait in milk protein becomes essential to help fish maintain weight through the winter. Now put winter aside and just consider the bulking up effect of the body builder again and see how with exercise this can increase our sustain for exercise and you have the essence of why fish like milk proteins all year. It gives them energy, fats, amino’s and acids that compliment there digestive system. Where as I still don’t think it is right all year round it is certainly a bait that will work all year!