Well I Never!

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Ever wonder why groundbait feels so warm? It's the chemical reaction of enzymes and peptides starting to ferment.

There is a fine line between listing the components of the latest Carp fishing super boilie and helping anglers to catch more. Far too often these days when quizzed about the make up of his baits a Carp angler will say, “Err 20mms, fishmeal and cranberry flavour.” That’s it! If the guy is using ready-mades he will probably tell you the colour too! Those of us old enough to remember the bait explosion that the humble boilie and Fred Wilton’s (The Godfather of the boilie) theories brought in the 1970’s and 1980’s find the whole situation unacceptable. I would even go so far as to say would you eat something when you don’t know what it is or what’s in it? Well… yes you would and probably do all day long.

Food companies now have to put all the ingredients used in creating Coco Pops, Fish Fingers, Pot Noodles and every other foodstuff. However, like thousands when you start to read the ingredients it’s like a chemistry lesson isn’t it? With the cry of outrage for more organic foods then surely this will change? No it won’t. As the economic dip bites, people are more concerned for their jobs and mortgages rather than their lunchtime tit bit!

What bait are you using Hmm orange... 16mms!

So if I started to write a bait piece and begin talking about amino acids, enzymes, proteins etc, sprinkled it with a few buzzwords like Tripsin, Bromelain and Amylase you will probably fall asleep too. If I spark your interest with a few ingredients like Corn Steep Liquor (CSL) and Betaine a few out there will probably want to read it but the majority are happy to leave that to those that know best… their bait company. I am not trying to be too controversial here but very much like shopping at Aldi and Harrods – both can claim they sell food however, which one tastes the best and makes you want to consistently go back for more? I would guess Harrods. However, due to the cost difference it will be Aldi who get more business. Carp baits are the same; some things may look the same but are certainly not the same.

A good friend of mine who runs a bait rolling company told me long ago that his findings on what some bait companies are using in their boilies astounded him. He said some are actually not fish friendly. I will not name names as that is not my intent but I would suggest to all Carp anglers to ask questions of your bait and the company you get it from. At the very least, if something is too good to be true it usually is.

The current trend to supply baits at the cheapest possible price is unfortunately in keeping with the times we live in. However, I am going to try and give you just a few of my bait edges here. I have to keep some back as I’d never catch anything!

A paste wrap can give off attractors far quicker than a boilied bait so give it a go in the colder months.

Understanding enzymes and the effect they have on baits is very important in my fishing. The problem for the Carp angler is some are active and start to work immediately giving a chain reaction that actually attracts Carp. However, and there as to be one, they start to breakdown quickly. This is one of the reasons fresh bait is frozen so quickly. To reduce this process. However in the colder months the chain reaction of enzymes slows down whilst fishing due to the reduction in water temperature. In simple terms the attractiveness of the bait is reducing. Smear a glug of fish oil around it and what is sold as a great fish attractor is well let’s just say, if you fished a glass marble you’d get as many pick up! Seriously, I’m not joking!

Those of you who read my ramblings will know I try very hard to be straight talking but always with the view of helping you to put more Carp on the bank. This is what I am doing here. The bait Company, DNA Baits who I am affiliated to sponsors this piece. However, I am only with these guys as they know only too well the mechanics of digestibility and attractiveness that is vital to all season Carp baits. That is my number one piece of advice to anglers. Be careful in choosing your bait and, if you do it correctly you should be able to use a bait that is effective all year.

Currently I am on a prototype bait that I am developing with DNA. It won’t be available on the market until we are ready to not only endorse but also have thoroughly tested throughout a full fishing year. Not tank test but actual real fishing tests. Come rain, snow, sun or sleet it is the bait I am currently using. I am very excited but those of you who have read my bait articles in the past will not be overly surprised at its content.

Not again! Yes the real way to cure boilies

I have advocated for far too long that you can increase the attractiveness of your boilie by simple preparation. It was I many years ago who first blow the lid on curing baits and the attractiveness of salt. Of course certain companies try to market this concept but technically they have not got it right. Let’s just leave it at that.

One vast area that anglers don’t consider is amino acid and peptides. The affect they can have on fishing baits are quite frankly, astonishing. I will not profess to be the bait guru of the millennium here but a name not spoken so much these days, Duncan Kay, told me one drunken night to dismiss the impact of these at my peril… I never did.

In layman’s terms the key element you are looking for is fermentation. This is not so simple to replicate, particularly in winter but one thing fermentation needs and generates is heat. That is why I always keep my hook baits warm. In the winter I even put them in a food flask to maintain the fermentation process. Bizarrely bites can occur immediately as the process is at it’s most effective when warm. The simple act of submerging bait halts this. However, get the location of the Carp correct and you can get bites quickly. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the flavour that they home in on… it isn’t.

A cotswold biggy of 38lb caught during a cold spell on a paste-wrapped boilie leaking attraction. The bait had been in the water for less than two minutes.

Always take some brewers yeast powder with you too. A sprinkling of that in baits dipped in golden syrup or any saccharin will cause a chemical reaction akin to fermentation. Why was the old advice not to throw away sweet corn juice but to use it in your ground bait? Why do some advocate using particles when they start to go all-gooey? It’s fermentation that creates the mush. The art for all us Carp anglers is to create that chain reaction of peptides and enzymes to trigger amino acid attraction! It is a battle as that mush does not cast well or sit on a hair rig too good. Or stop nuisance fish eating it too. Strike a chord? Maybe that is why paste wrapped around a boilie works so well! Brilliant you’re getting it!

I hope the slightly comic slant I have put on this leads to a few out there taking the time to learn the secrets of attractive bait. Whatever your findings take one tip from me this autumn / winter… keep your hook baits warm.

See you on the bank!

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One Response to Well I Never!

  1. danny crowther says:

    Hi Mark,

    I am a little confused on your advice to use saccharin to start the fermentation process with yeast products. Is saccharin not an artificial sweetener which does not react with yeast? Do you not mean that sugar would cause a reaction with yeast to start fermentation?

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