There’s a wealth of applications to which you can put gelatine or gelatin as it is sometimes spelt. My favourite is to use it to make jelly baits, an old school bait much loved by old timers like me! The idea dates back to the late 70s and early 80s when they came to prominence in the bible of all carp fishing books, Carp Fever by Kevin Maddocks, which was published in 1981.
Jelly baits are one of the best ways I know of fooling suspicious fish. When you think how effective luncheon meat is then it should come as no surprise that jelly baits are just as good or even better than the meat. So without more ado, lets do a step-by-step "how to" photo series on jelly baits.
In this article I will be using the following recipe, which I sieve before using to reduce the particle size. The base mix here is
225g Blue Oyster
50g Robin Red (HB)
You will need 500g (or a tad more... Sorry hand slipped!) of the sieved base mix.
You will also need some gelatine. Leaf gelatine is good but in my opinion you cannot beat normal gelatine crystals.
Carefully weight out 100g of the normal gelatine.
And 100g of sugar.
Choice of attractors is up to you but there is no much point in using a lot of soluble ones as gelatine is relatively insoluble in cold water. However, when added to cold water gelatine granules swell by absorbing 5-10 times their weight in water. Today I am using Blue Oyster Flavour from Nutrabaits, in my opinion the best flavour the company has ever released. 10ml is about right for this type of bait.
I am also using a couple of attractors from Feed Stimulants, their version of the old favourite Milk B+ (5g) and the Oleoresin of Fenugreek, a fantastic attractor (1ml)
While it is not very soluble in cold water, by heating gently to 40 degrees it dissolves the swollen particles forming a solution, which gels upon cooling to the setting point. For this recipe you will need 500ml of cold water.
Add the gelatine to the water in a saucepan and heat gently stirring as you go. Soon you will notice the solution will turn clear so add the sugar at this point. When that too has dissolved add the base mix and stir with a whisk.
Now oil a baking tray lightly with sunflower oil, using a piece of kitchen tissue.
Turn the gooey mixture into the lightly oiled shallow baking tray.
Use a wooden spatula to empty the pan as the mixture will start to gel as soon as it is off the heat. Drop the tray onto a hard surface from a height of 12-18 inches to settle the mixture into the corners and remove any air bubbles.
Put the baking tray and its contents into the refrigerator and leave to stand for an hour so that the bait is completely cold.
Next turn out the now set slab of bait onto a cutting surface such as a glass chopping board (ask the missus first!).
Now start cutting the slab into thin strips. The thickness will determine how big the final cubes of jelly bait will be.
Once you have cut the strips the slab of bait will look something like this.
All that is left to do it to cut the strips lengthways to form cubes of bait.
Now obviously the cubes of bait are not going to be as robust as a boiled bait so I suggest you use the Enterprise mat Mate system.
Thread the hookbait onto a baiting needle and then cut a section of the plastic tubing supplied with the kit to the required size and then push in into the hookbait. This will prevent the hair from cutting through the soft hookbait while fishing.
Catch the crook of the baiting needle in the loop on the hair.
Pull the bait onto the hair...
...and secure it with the little gizmo supplied.
The finished product with baited hair ready for action.
The cubes can be frozen if required but bear in mind that they will soften after defrosting. I try to use my jelly bait as soon as possible, but they will last at least a week if kept cool and dry.
I remember when I very first used jelly baits in about 1979 at Wheal Rashleigh. I was the very first anglers ever to fish this lake using modern methods such as particles, jelly baits, boiled baits and the hair (lucky me!) so I am 100% certain nobody was copying me at the time of this tale.
I was using a Haith’s Nectarblend and Robin Red combo as my base mix and the jelly bait had been made up the previous evening, cubed then taken to the lake for the session. I set up in the Bar, my favourite swim where a prominent bar rose to within a couple of feet of the surface out of twenty feet of water. A bait cast across the bar, halfway down the far slope invariably resulted in a take so I catapulted about 150 cubes of jelly out to the hot spot, then took about thirty minutes to sort my gear out before casting two rods to the back of the bar. I had no sooner sat down that one rod was away and I landed a nice Rashleigh mirror.
Often it as the biggest fish in the lake that were the first to respond to the jellies. This brace is off the biggest mirror and the biggest common at the time taken within half an hour of each other.
Long live the jellies, I say!