Just as an example of how important the French feel the use of groundbait is when carp fishing, the giant French bait firm Sensas make several carp-dedicated groundbaits, which sell by the tonne. You don't need to buy match fishing-type groundbaits however, for it is quite simple to make your own. A straight forward mix of equal amounts of groats, flaked maize, crushed hemp and any canary seed mix will work well. Incidentally, you can buy this blend ready-mixed from Haith's Baits. We call it, not surprisingly, the Euro Mix!
The following instructions apply to an eight kilo blend of the four ingredients which will just about double in weight after it has been prepared. Mix the dry ingredients well then soak overnight in enough water to cover the top of the dry ingredients by two inches. Add 20ml of flavour and 50ml of Minamino, CSL, or similar and then stir well to blend in the added liquids. Allow the groundbait to stand for 24 hours (or longer, up to a maximum of three days, after which the mixture will start to ferment). You will note that the groundbait takes on the liquid and swells to almost twice its volume. The groats and flaked maize start to exude a milky liquid, which is highly stimulatory, while the crushed hemp gives off its oil which blends into the other ingredients and adds further attractive properties to the mixture.
Finally add a scattering of pellets and a few boiled baits of your choice. When the carp move in they will invariably eat the boilies along with the rest of the mush and a simple hair-rigged boiled bait of the same recipe will almost certainly lead to a take.
I've already mentioned Boilie Crumb, Boilie Soup and lumpfish eggs in this blog so I won't bother to go over old ground. Suffice it to say that a great many UK capers still overlook these tactics. This really surprises me as you only have to look at the success of some of the top carp fishers to see how blindingly effective crumb, soup and/or eggs can be. A jar of lumpfish eggs mixed in with a bucket of soaked groats is deadly.
We have done particularly well on French rivers using fish eggs and crumb mixed together. This mirror from a tributary of the R.Loire was caught by my missus a few years ago. No pre-baiting had been carried out and the bait had been in the water less than an hour when the fish took. Pretty instant, eh? In fact, the use of fish eggs is actually banned in France as they are so effective, but I think that only applies when you are fishing for the pot rather than on a catch and release (No Kill) basis.
There are a hundred and one ways in which to make your presentation `different`. Everybody uses stringers these days. I think that standard stringers now represent a danger signal to wary carp. You know, a line of three or four baits all lying neatly alongside each other, like an arrow pointing at the hook bait with a sign above saying `danger`. If you use stringers try something a bit different. A clumped stringer often scores when standard long stringers fail, as does the use of chops or half baits.
This set up is particularly effective when river fishing as they tend not to get caught in the current and washed downstream.
Or put some chops and your hookbait in a PVA bag and cast the whole lot out. When the PVA bag melts the hook bait is left surrounded by dozens of smaller bait particles.
What is the prime source of bacteria in a boilie? I'll tell you; it's water, good old H20. That is why it is very important to drive off residual moisture when you are making boiled baits. Always dry your baits when they've come out of the boiling water with a hair drier It helps dry the baits which can then either be packed in bags and frozen, or left to air-dry for several days or even weeks to allow the moisture content to evaporate. Unfortunately these baits will harden considerably as they dry but they can be revived using lake water, to which you can add flavours or other attractors, or you can use the water left over from cooking seeds or particles.
For instance, don't throw away the water in which you have cooked hempseed. It will be laden with attractive hemp oil and other particles and by adding it to rock hard air-dried boiled baits you not only revive the, you also drench them in hempy attraction.
And do ALL boilies have to be round? Of course they don't. If you are likely to be fishing the margins or at relatively short range, why not cook your paste in sausage shapes.
Boil for twice as long as you would boil the bait were they rolled into boilies than remove them with a perforated spoon.
These can then be cut to whatever size you require to allow for differing conditions, either on the bankside or at home before you leave.
The advantage of cooking in sausage form is that each individual cube of bait, when cut, has two relatively uncooked sides to it, so letting water in and flavour out much quicker than a standard round boilie which has had all its surface area cooked. You can make loads of bait very quickly too.
Everybody (and every carp) loves tiger nuts and most of you appear to prefer so that they become 'gloopy' after the preparation stages. I am sure you don't need me to tell you that this can be a bit of a hit or miss situation as not every batch of tigers nuts 'turns' as we would like. Here's a little trick for you. Ask for your tigers to be crushed before Haith's sends them to you. Crushed tigers ferment (go gloopy) in a quarter of the time it takes whole nuts to turn and the carp love them just as much!.