At number one is SuperRed, my own baby of which I am very proud! I believe it is the most versatile, value-for-money blend ever put together, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?
When I first developed SuperRed it was my intention that it should be aimed at the carp match anglers for use as a loose feed or soft groundbait or perhaps blended with scalded pellets. However, as soon as I really started playing around with it, I realised there were so many more uses to which I could put this amazing Robin Red-based mix. It is a Method Mix, a Paste Mix, a boilie mix and an all embracing high attract groundbait, and there are so many uses to which SuperRed can be put it would be impossible to run through them all here. However, here are some ideas for you. Try using SuperRed to form balls of groundbait and small boilies. These can be catapulted out for miles!.
Why not use it as a Method Mix?
or mix it up nice and wet as a sloppy groundbait. You can create boiled baits from neat SuperRed simply by grinding it down in an coffee grinder and adding it to beaten eggs before forming into balls and boiling for 2 minute.
Look at that lovely interior. Finally the easiest way to use SuperRed requires the minimum of preparation.
Just add it straight from the bag to some PVA stocking mesh to for a dry stick mix.
2. RED BAND
At number two comes Red Band Pigeon Conditioner. There are other conditioners out there but they are vastly inferior to what I call, “the real McCoy”.
• Put 4-5 kilos of dry Red Band in a bucket or freezer box.
• Now cover the bait with boiling water. Check on a regular basis that the bait is not drying out, as Red Band soaks up water like a sponge.
• Leave overnight or for 8 hours minimum.
• Next transfer the soaked bait to a large saucepan or three.
• Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes.
• After cooking Red Band will exude a wonderful glutinous, semi-solid mix that is simply pouring out attraction.
One final point: There are other so-called pigeon conditioners out there but please don’t be fooled by these pale imitations. They may call themselves ‘pigeon conditioners’ but their quality cannot hold a candle to Red Band. After all, why do you think that Red Band is the market leader in its field? Three reasons: Quality, quality and quality!
3) HEMP SEED
At number 3 we have hemp seed, arguably the most well-known of the entire particle baits. When you introduce a big bed of hemp seed into small area it usually creates fierce and aggressive feeding on the part of the carp. Preoccupation is something we all strive for and hempseed is renowned in the angling world for its ability to preoccupy them to the max! Carp will often tear up the bottom to get at every single seed.
Hemp seed is very nutritious being high in natural oil but it is also very crunchy and some experts have claimed that carp are attracted to it in the first place due to its similarity in looks and texture to tiny water snails.
In the summer months when the water temperature is at its highest hempseed is one of the finest baits going as the warm water allows a much greater amount of the highly attractive oil to leak out from the bait. A carpet of hemp sends a stream of attraction to the surface and carp cruising at or just below the surface will home in on the bait carpet below thanks to the smell of the oil leaking from the seeds.
This is how I prefer to prepare hemp seed:
• Soak the hempseed for at least 24 hours in water.
• Transfer the seeds and the water in which it has been soaking to a large saucepan.
• Bring the water to the boil.
• As soon as the water has boiled turn down the heat and allow the seeds to simmer for no more than five minutes.
• Now transfer the boiling water and the seeds to a large freezer box.
• Place the lid on the bucket to create an airtight seal and allow the water to cool.
• As soon as the water has cooled completely the seed is ready for use. Use as fresh as possible. There is no need whatsoever to boil the living daylights out of hemp.
• While the bait is still hot, add a tablespoonful of sea salt and 25g/kg of Robin Red for still greater attraction.
Hemp seed can either be used straight from the freezer box or it can be strained, bagged up and frozen. Keep the liquid that you strain as it will contain plenty of highly attractive pure hemp oil that will have come out of the hempseed during preparation. Hemp Steep Liquor, if you like! Use the liquor to dampen groundbait or Method-style mixes. Alternatively you can use it to rehydrate rock hard air-dried boilies. The smell of the oil-rich hempseed steep liquor has to be experienced to be believed and the uptake of this powerful attractor into your boilies will boost them no end. Here are a few more hempseed ideas:
1. Hot Hemp: During the preparation stage, add dried crushed chillie flakes to the hempseed prior to adding the water. Add a heaped teaspoonful for every kilo – dry weight – of seed. Cover with water and soak for 12-24 hours, then bring the seed to the boil in the water in which it has been soaking. Simmer until the seed starts to split then drain off the water and use straight away. It can also be stored in the freezer if required.
2. Smelly Hemp: Prepare the hempseed as normal by simmering then drain off all the water and turn the still-hot seed into a large bucket. Quickly add 24 drops of Black Pepper Essential Oil and 12 drops of N-Butyric acid. Immediately seal the bucket and shake it well so that each seed receives a coating of the two attractors. NB. Hold the lid on tight while you do this! When the hemp has cooled it is ready to be used or stored. Be warned…it stinks summat awful!
3. Easy Hemp: ¾ fill a good quality freezer box with hempseed and add two tablespoons of salt. Add boiling water so that the seeds are just covered and replace the lid, ensuring that it is a good seal. Leave the hempseed to steep in the boiled water for 24 hours and it will be ready to use.
4. Hemp as a hookbait: Simply wrap a pinch of prepared seed in some stocking mesh and attach it to the hait on you rig. Secure the hair to the hook shank with PVA string to stop the mesh betting caught in the hook point on the cast.
Number 4 on my all-time list of great mass baits are groats. Like hempseed they can cause the carp to become totally preoccupied and they hoover up the little yellow grains like there’s no tomorrow. Groats are a cereal, produced when oats are de-husked and cleaned, and as such have no appreciable oil content, unlike hempseed, which is loaded with the stuff. However, you can easily counter this by adding flavours, oils and other attractors. Groats soak these up like a sponge.
They are also a doddle to prepare. Simply soak the groats in a bucket of sweetened, flavoured water for 24 hours and they’ll be ready to use. Try adding 25-50ml liquid food as well. You will notice that the tiny yellow grains give of sweet-smelling milky liquid, which disperses readily in water. Carp find this highly attractive and they will root around in the silt and gravel until the last grain has gone. I like to fish a 10-12mm fruit-flavoured boiled bait over the top of a carpet of groats and usually mix a scattering of small boilies in with the bait carpet.
At number five we have maize in all its forms; a superb bait that can draw carp in huge numbers. Don’t ask me why it works so well, as quite often you will see it being excreted whole and intact, just as it went in, so what benefit carp gain from it is beyond me. However, there is no escaping the fact that they eat it by the bucket load.
There are three types of maize, whole yellow maize, red maize and mini-maize (a.k.a. popcorn maize). I’ll start with whole maize. Many anglers suggest that maize works fine with just a simple soak. That’s nonsense! You must not only soak the grains of maize but also boil them so that their natural sugars are released.
This is how I like to prepare maize.
Like any other particle the grains need to be soaked. I suggest a minimum of 24 hours soaking but 36-48 hours is preferable. Maize doesn’t absorb a huge amount of water whilst it is soaking so you need only cover the grains with a couple of centimeters of water.
You can also add flavour at the beginning of the soaking process so that the flavour is absorbed right into the heart of the grains. My favorite flavours are Strawberry, Cranberry, Fruit Special and Maple. About 5ml of flavour to a kilo of maize is about right. Be aware that some of the flavour esters will evaporate when the grains are boiled in preparation for use.
After soaking is complete transfer the grains and the water in which they have been soaking to a suitably large pan and boil the grains for at least half an hour. You will notice that many of the grains start to split and show a light fluffy interior. This is the time to stop cooking them. After boiling, return the grains and the same water to a bucket with a tight fitting lid and for best results use them straight away – as fresh as possible.
You can also prepare some flavoured hookbaits by simply adding a few raw grains to a post of heavily flavoured water. There is no need to cook these, but the maize will swell and take on the taste and smell of the flavour. They will keep for ages if stored in this flavoured water.
I have gone on and on about mini-maize but it is so good I have to mention it once again. Please trust me on this: If you use no other particle, make sure it is mini-maize you are using. It is much smaller than ordinary maize and so it tends to create competitive, preoccupied and aggressive feeding. It is without doubt the number one bait down my neck of the woods with multiple catches being the rule rather than the exception. Prepare in the same was as you would prepare standard maize but leave out the flavour.
Red Maize is almost as good as mini maize but because it is slightly bigger the preoccupation factor isn’t as strong. However, red maize is a first class switch bait to pick when standard yellow maize starts loosing its effectiveness. I have found that it really comes into its own when it is used quite fresh. Like many other anglers I used to believe that fermentation was crucial for all particle baits; now I believe the complete opposite! Red maize, like its cousins min-maize and standard maize should be used as soon as possible after preparation is complete.
Finally maize could have been tailor-made to form part of a more complex blend of other particles. One of my own favourite blends (shown here in its dry form) is an equal amount of mini-maize, hempseed and Red Band. To prepare the blend, first soak it for 24-hours and then for about 30 mins, adding boiling water as required. This overcooks the Red Band and it goes very soft and almost paste-like as the gluten is released.
This is the finished product.