Nobody would argue that the top base mixes are highly sophisticated and refined but the level of research and development that goes into perfecting a high performance finished bait costs money and it’s not everyone who can afford it. However, if you accept that you are not going to be able to create as sophisticated a mix as the bait firms, you will certainly be able to make perfectly acceptable bait for a fraction of the cost of the proprietary mixes. I’m not suggesting you should abandon your favourite mixes altogether. However, you can make them go further by simply cutting the shop-bought mix with semolina or maize meal.
In fact, you can create a perfectly acceptable boiled bait by blending simple semolina with maize meal at a ration of 60/40. I use a product called Polenta. This is a popular maize meal that is highly nutritious and can be used to boost any recipe. It is cheap as chips and yet carp adore it. Here is a recipe that will definitely catch carp on any water:
600g Yellow semolina
400g Polenta (maize meal)
Roll into 20mm balls and boil for 4 minutes.
Air dry for 3-4 days.
One of the easiest ways to customise a base mix with is to add a strong attractor package to a comparatively low nutritional value bait mix. Though such a mix is unlikely to have an indefinite catching life, it should last a summer if you get the ingredients and attractors right.
A simple yet effective boiled bait can be made using fine-ground Haith’s Red Factor. The ground down Red Factor is on the right in this next photo with the standard Red Factor on the left. Just grind down 500g of Red Factor using a coffee grinder. Now break five medium eggs into a bowl and whisk them up with any flavours or attractors you might wish to add.
Tip: Try adding Liquid Robin Red...It's deadly. Finally mix in the ground Red Factor to form a paste. Roll out into boilie sized balls of paste then boil them for 2 minutes. The resulting boilies will have a potent attraction from the flavours and a level of reasonably good all-round nutrition.
And talking of Liquid Robin Red I am sure you don't need me to tell you that this also comes in powdered form. In fact, I doubt that there are many reading this who have not heard of this legendary powder, arguably the most awesome attractor of all time that has accounted for literally thousands of carp over the years. It is widely used in proprietary mixes but you can also use it to customise your own baits or those of the bait companies. It is generally used at around 10% of the total mix but you can safely use it at twice that level. For instance, try substituting 2 ounces of your favourite proprietary mix with Robin Red. You will notice a difference straight away as your catch rate rockets.
Similarly try adding 250g of fine ground Red Factor to 200g Yellow Semolina and 50gr Robin Red. Mix the powders together in a strong polythene bag, then add the mix to your flavoured eggs to form as paste. Again the boilies should be boiled for between 2-4 minutes depending on how hard you want the finished bait to be.
Haith's Baits also offer several other low cost ingredients that are ideal for carp anglers on a budget, Nectarblend, PTX, Softbill Food and Prosecto Insectiverous to name but a few. All are tried and tested boilie making ingredients from the Haith’s Baits stable and these specially formulated boilie ingredients can create a low cost, yet nutritious bait with a long catching life.
Just as with semolina and maize meal, you can also substitute say, 4-6oz of ground Nectarblend or for the same weight of a more expensive proprietary base mixes to make it go a bit further.
You can also make boilies from seed blends, believe it or not. One of the best kept secrets of the 70s and 80s was the Red Band boiled bait which was nothing more than ground 50% Red Band mixed with 25% soya and 25% semolina. Red Band is basically a well balanced, medium protein/high energy seed mix supplemented with high attract mini pellets and aniseed oil. Simply grind the Red Band to a very fine powder then add to the other dry ingredients, then add these to the eggs, roll out and boil.
Red Band is also highly effective when boiled and used as a groundbait. However, I have also used it boiled then processed in a food processor to reduce the particles to a mush. This is then stiffened with ground Nectarblend and eggs and boiled.
You can also use crushed or ground seeds as a part of your mix. For instance, two ounces of Crushed Hemp, ground Micro Complex, or Ground Peanuts (all available from Haith’s Baits) make superb additions to any boiled bait recipe, Method Mix or Groundbait.
There are countless bait making products like seeds, pulses and specially designed birdfoods, which are tailor-made for the carp angler on a budget. The product list of Haith’s Baits alone is enough to keep you going for half a lifetime. I started carping in 1965 and bought my first Haith's gear not long after! I have been using them ever since and I'd be lost without them! Here's yours truly with a nice leather from about 1978 caught on an early Robin Red bait.