What gets the fish biting at your local water? Chances are, you’ll have developed your own particular carp fishing tackle set-up – a unique combination that works for you.
But what about baits? From boilies to groundbaits, from floating, to sinking, there’s a plethora of commercial bait options out there. But nothing satisfies like making a great catch on a bait you’ve concocted yourself.
Something of a dark art, making your own baits is fun and can save you money, and most, if not all the ingredients are available at your local supermarket. All you need to do is experiment until you hit the jackpot!
What carp want
Think like a fish – appeal to its appetites and you’ll hook a beauty. The best baits attract because they’re tasty and nutritious; we’re talking bait ingredients that are energy rich and protein packed:
• Carbohydrates and starch
• Fats and oils
• Milk constituents
• White sugar
• Malt sugars and grains
Add colour and flavour and mix to a consistency that’ll either hold together well enough to hook, or that’ll disintegrate, providing a nutrient-rich soup to fish over.
For a floating feed that works wonders, use your catapult to ping dog biscuits into a small area of water; little and often is best as it provides a concentrated source of food the fish will congregate to compete over.
From the confectionary aisle, a marshmallow makes a great floating hook bait. Bobbing amongst the dog food, although a slightly different colour, the sweet, carb-loaded temptation is approximately the same shape and size, so it’s more likely to be wolfed down by an unsuspecting carp.
Alternatively, supermarket bread lasts well and it’s super cheap. Try a smear of marmite – just like humans, the fish will either love it or hate it!
A not so secret, secret weapon, cat food works a treat. Simply mash it up and pop it in the water before you drop in your meat bait. The soupy cloud of meaty mush is likely to prove irresistible to carp. Your hookbait could be a single hunk of cat food, a cube of luncheon meat or for added punch, why not try a piece of pepperoni?
Health food haven
Beans and pulses are the staple diet of students, hippies and new age travellers, but did you know carp love them too? For a homemade particle bait, soak chickpeas, kidney beans, maize, wheat, black eyed beans – whatever you like – in water for a day or two. Add a birdseed mix from your local pet shop and soak some more.
Cook for 30mins to make sure your mixture is nice and soft – and to ensure any kidney beans are safe for fish to eat – then blend half the mixture into a sticky paste. Mix it all together and you have a killer bait you can make in bulk and that won’t cost a fortune.
Flour, semolina and eggs are the bedrock from which to make your own unique boilies. Sports supplements like whey protein powder and casein will make your boilie mix super nutritious, help ingredients to bind, and add attractive smells to the water. When you’ve mixed all your ingredients into a stiff paste, simple roll into balls and boil!
To make your boilies a taste sensation irresistible to the biggest, wiliest carp in the lake, you need an attractant that’s different to the run of the mill flavours out there. How you decide on your final concoction is up to you, but while you’re stirring your carp equivalent of ‘love potion number nine’, consider adding any or all of the following ingredients:
• Liver powder, paste, or pate
• Beef or yeast extract
• Fruit juice
• Honey or sugar