Cracking carp baits


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Boilies and beyond!

How about trying some new carp fishing tactics this spring? When we asked some of our favourite bloggers to share their best bait suggestions, they came up trumps.

From spicy Spanish sausages to protein packed pulses, read on to discover which fishy treats pack the biggest punch. Just remember – as with any bait – to make sure it’s allowed on your water.


Brilliant boilies

boilies carp bait

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Tried and tested treats for carp

Boilies are the obvious place to start a discussion about baits. They’re simple, cheap and effective. But how about creating your own unique version of this old favourite? Simply add your choice of flavourings to powdered meal and bind the ingredients together with egg. Roll the paste into balls and boil in water until firm.

On the bank’s Clive Bradley loves a good a boilie:

“They’re so versatile. I’ll stick with a flavour through the spring that I know I’m going to use that season, chucking in a handful on several likely spots after each session, and hopefully the fish will get on it. “

Clive’s early spring selection is a milky toffee flavoured pop-up. It’s highly visible and the fish love the taste! If you fancy having a go at creating your own boilies, check out keen angler Anthony Wood’s blog for a step-by-step guide.

Poloni pop ups

Poloni is a surefire all-weather bait says Richard Handel of UK Carp and Coarse Fishing. Dan Jones of Carp & Coarse Swansea claims that his local carp also enjoy chomping on chorizo. Smartcarping’s Ian Gemson agrees, though his taste for spicy sausage is brand-specific:

“A mesh bag of pellet and crushed Peperami, often tipped with a fake piece of corn, can often produce a take when the boilies aren’t being touched.”

The pulling power of Peperami makes it suitable to use as bait all year round, particularly if you keep baiting the same spots into the winter months.

If the carp in your area can’t take the heat, Dan also suggests prawns, while Clive Bradley recommends trying hot dog sausages or spam.

Tiger Nuts

They take a bit of prepping, but tiger nuts are a killer carp bait. As angling blogger Mark the carp says:

“I’d put tiger nuts up against any boilie you can think of, and they will perform very favorably.”

You need to soak your nuts for 24 to 36 hours, then boil for 30 minutes, but it’s worth the effort. Mark catches dozens of good sized carp using this simple bait, fishing his tigers under a small piece of cork with a knotless knot. Check out his excellent video to see how it’s done.

Super Sweetcorn

mirror carp

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Blogger Ade with a 22lb mirror (caught on corn?)

What’s cheap as chips but still one of the best carp baits ever? Sweet corn! A perennial favorite with carp fishermen everywhere, Angler Ade claims that carp can’t get enough of it. He says:

“It’s cheap to buy and its colour and taste make it highly visible and attractive to carp – they find the stuff irresistible.”

A word of caution – if you go for dried maize which has a lower sugar content than sweet corn – make sure you prep it properly or it can harm the fish. Corn is one of the original and best baits out there and the beauty is, you can use it for everything: hookbait, mixed in with groundbait or as part of a spod mix.

Spod baits

Fancy mixing your own particles? You’ll be needing a spod then! This floating bait missile is a lethal weapon in any angler’s armoury. As carper Paul Murphy says, a spod is:

“A very effective way of introducing a vast amount of feed into a distance swim in very little time.”

But what spod mix works best? The guys at Carp fishing tactics say creating a unique bait that’ll give you the edge on your local water is all about finding a mix that allows you to bait generously without bankrupting yourself.

Spod recipes

hemp seeds

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Heavenly Hemp

So what kind of particle bait works best? Here are a few of your top suggestions.

Crushed Vitalin dog food or blitzed chicken feed and hemp might not sound like the most appetising of combinations but Paul Murphy rates them among his favourites.

Another fan of hemp, Clive Bradley likes to mix it up with maize:

“Maize is obviously very visual, and doesn’t every fish love hemp? If I fancy adding to it I often put in some daphnia or bloodworm to really get the carp rooting around.”

Another hemp mix is the one favoured by blogger Ian Gemson. He mixes it with pigeon feed and dog food. Head over to Fishing Magic for Ian’s handy videos on how to spod.

Baits on a budget

Pigeon conditioner

On a tight budget? Modern Carper’s Ian Kemp recommends using pigeon conditioner as a spod mix that’s “…a phenomenally cheap bait and carp love the stuff.”

Ian Gemson, agrees but suggests adding Vitalin dog food, sweet corn and crushed hemp to the mix. Dan Jones prefers to let his pigeon conditioner start to ferment so that it’s smellier before using it as bait.

Whatever you mix it with, you must prepare pigeon conditioner properly before feeding it to fish. For a handy guide to the process, head over to Ian Kemp’s blog.

Worms and maggots

worm for bait

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Dig for your bait!

The best thing about using worms for bait is that they’re freely available. As blogger Paul Murphy says: “Get down the garden and get digging”

Can’t seem to find any? Check out this awesome video which shows just how easy it is to become a worm charmer extraordinaire!

For those of you whose worm requirements exceed the ability of your garden to produce, head over to the Angler’s Mail for tips on how to set up your own wormery.

And don’t forget good old maggots which, according to Clive Bradley are a sensational seasonal bait:

“A bunch of maggots on the hook will often trick a wary carp in spring, long before they get into proper feeding mode.”

Pet food

dog biscuits

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Biccies for bait?

Dog biscuit bait? Ian Gemson suggests investing in a bag of Vitalin, dog food made from maize meal, meat and bone meal. Mix it with hemp and other ingredients of your choosing, then mould to shape and make into boilies. Simple.

And while you’re at the pet shop, why not grab a bag of cat biscuits? They’re one of Paul Murphy’s favourites:

“Blitzed dried cat food biscuits mixed with brown crumb make an excellent alternative groundbait with great pulling power.”

Packed with protein

chickpeas for bait

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Carp adore chickpeas

Nutritious pulses and beans aren’t just for vegetarians. They also appeal to carp! Experiment with different types to see what your local carp go for. Dan Jones discovered his have a penchant for chickpeas and canned kidney beans.

Or why not go with nuts?

“Peanuts, cashews, or brazils make a fantastic hookbait,” angler Clive Bradley says. Or alternatively, try Paul Murphy’s recipe for protein packed cheese paste:

“This is a lethal bait in both warm and cold temperatures and for less than £5 you will have enough bait to see you through a huge number of fishing sessions to come.”

Oils and attractants

Liquid attractants

dips glugs oils

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Attract more carp with dips, glugs and oils

Give your bait a boost, by experimenting with dips, syrups or glugs. Clive Bradley often uses liquid attractants when carp fishing:

“Groundbait mix always gets a good squirt of a complimentary flavour, and I nearly always have a tub of a dozen or so boilies that I’m using soaked in a corresponding glug.”

Liquid attractants are a mix of oil and strong smells which leak from your bait and feed, tempting carp with their scent.

Choose anything from strawberry to marmite flavours! Or take a cue from Ian Gemson who adds a splash of Aldi’s Irish cream liqueur to his maggots! Lucky fish!


Betaine is a soluble crystal extracted from sugar beet molasses. Added to your bait it’s a powerful appetite stimulant which also aids the fishes’ digestion. The Carp fishing tactics guys explain why it’s such a good liquid attractant:

“It’s perfect for when you are regularly fishing a water as the fish will come to realize that your bait is good for them and will actively look for it.”

You can also buy betaine in liquid form, which you can use to soak your pellets or particles, but remember – it’s strong stuff – a little goes a long way.

What’s your favourite carp bait? Please do let us know via our Facebook page.