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Home > The Big Red Carp Fishing Blog > Things you must know about groundbaiting

Things you must know about groundbaiting

Monday, 2nd August 2010

The use of a carpet of ‘soft’ groundbait has become increasingly popular of late. However, it is not something new in the carp world. I first wrote about the technique of groundbaiting for carp way back in 1985. At the time my article fell on deaf ears but that’s all changed now; these days the bait firms have caught on, and so has the carp angling fraternity. In this article I want to show you a few ideas that may help you this summer.
The most basic, yet surprisingly still one of the most effective groundbaits is ordinary mashed breadcrumb. For so many years this simple bait has been the staple of so many angler’s groundbait. It is very cheap, highly visual and can be introduced in quantity without appearing to over-feed the carp. Indeed, it is as good a starting point as any when it comes to groundbaits for carp fishing. Breadcrumb really soaks up flavours like a sponge and liquid foods or natural extracts such as Corn Steep Liquor are ideally suited to it. You can also add flavours to enhance it still further.

To make a simple breadcrumb groundbait all you have to do is add water to the dry crumb (never the other way round) a little at a time until the crumb is slightly wetter than you want. Now add neat flavours and liquid food and stir the liquid attractors into the wet crumb. As a general rule I add 5ml of flavour for every kilo (dry weight) groundbait and 30ml/kg of Multimino-PPC or similar. You can also add a sweetener if you like or pep the groundbait up still further with ordinary syrup or liquid molasses. Leave the wet crumb to stand for an hour or so then add dry breadcrumb until the groundbait thickens to the consistency you desire.

Here is a super groundbait that has been doing the business for many of use across the Channel over the years. The mixture consists of one part groats, one part Haith’s® Carpticle™ , and one part flaked maize. The three ingredients are perfectly suited, the groats and flaked maize comprising the ‘soft’ part of the mix with the Carpticle™ adding a bit of crunch. The mix is very versatile as it can be fished in so many different ways. It also has the added advantage of being very inexpensive.

The simplest way to prepare this mix is simply to mix, say, two kilos of each dry ingredient together in a large bucket. Next add water so that the groundbait is covered to a depth of an inch or so. Add flavours or attractors of any kind, stir well and allow the mix to stand for at least 8 hours. After this time you will note that the mix has absorbed quite a lot of the water so top it up so that it is covered again. Stir again then leave for a further hour or two. The mix is then ready for use. In the bucket it doesn’t look anything special, but in the water it’s dynamite!

Prepared as described above this groundbait’s consistency is very sloppy and wet and is best introduced by boat. However, you can stiffen the wet mix with a bulk ingredient such as breadcrumb, maize meal or semolina. Alternatively try mixing in some Nectarblend™ or Red Factor™ . These will stiffen the mixture considerably to such an extent that if you put enough in you will be able to form very tight balls of groundbait.

Groats are one of the best micro particles going, the equal of hempseed any day, in my book. These tiny grains actively promote aggressive and competitive feeding and are ideal for drawing large number of fish - not just carp - into the baited area. Here is a good way of preparing a groats-based groundbait. First some dry groundbait (here it is Haith’s® SuperRed™) is placed in a bucket along with an equal quantity of groats. Flavours and attractors can be added at this point as can a good dollop of any of the liquid food additives or alternatively molasses or Corn Steep Liquor. Of the many liquid amino acid-based liquid foods currently available I can suggest Multimino-PPC, as it is one of the best attractors you can add to groats. Water is now added so that the whole mixture is covered to a depth of two inches, and then the whole sloppy mess is stirred to blend everything together properly. The groundbait is then allowed to stand overnight.

Next morning you will note that the groats have absorbed the water and the larger mini seeds in the SuperRed™ have also swollen up. While fishing I never throw away old baits and the boilies you see here have been removed from the hair and added to the overall groundbait. I also add CSL Pellets in the mix as they break down rapidly once in contact with water and add considerably to the overall package as well as helping to bind the groundbait together.

As a step on from the groats/Carpticle™/flaked maize recipe, you can add other ingredients such as crushed hempseed, pellets, peanut granules, crushed tiger nuts, boilie crumb, cooked particles or nuts, or just about anything that takes your fancy!

Though many groundbaits can be used straight from the off as it were, some blends may benefit from being prepared the night before a session. This allows the various ingredients to absorb water and flavours. Some seeds such as hemp and dari definitely benefit from being steeped for a period of 8-12 hours. Crushed seeds are not as positively affected, but even these can draw in added attractors if allowed a brief soak.

One groundbait that benefits from an overnight soak is SuperRed™ from Haith’s® . I have found that this Robin Red® -based groundbait takes up a lot of water in a very short time and by allowing it to soak in flavoured water you actually release more of the groundbait’s in-built attraction. I make up half the required amount of groundbait the night before fishing using plenty of water. This produces a wet mix, which softens some of the harder seeds and releases oils and natural attraction as the ingredients soften. Before starting to fish I stiffen the mix to the desired consistency with dry SuperRed™ or some other dry ingredient as previously described.

The question of how much feed to put in is obviously based on the amount of fish you think may be in the lake. On a lake where you are likely to encounter large shoals of primarily nomadic carp you may need to introduce a great deal of bait in order to hold the fish and keep their attention. I can recall a memorable session on a certain French lake when I caught 67 fish in a five-day session! It required over 25kg of SuperRed™, 25kg groats and 15kg of Trigga boilies to keep the fish in the swim.

On that occasion I set out my stall to attract as many carp as I could in as short a time as possible so a massive initial introduction of bait was made. However, there are plenty of waters where filling it in like that simply won’t work and may even put the fish off. In situations like this it is best to fish for one fish at a time, introducing only enough bait to catch one fish. You can then reassess your baiting strategy after each take, perhaps increasing the amount, perhaps decreasing it. That concept of fishing for one fish at a time is stunning in its simplicity as well as in its effectiveness.

So you see, you have to assess each lake and each swim on its merits when deciding how much groundbait to put in. How many fish are in the lake? How many fish are you hoping to catch? Is it the kind of lake where you are happy with just one fish or are you after a big hit? All these factors govern the amount of bait you decide to introduce.

These days the bait firms are fully aware of the huge potential there is in using a yet that old standby breadcrumb, though an oldie is still goodie to this day.
 
Liquid Foods

Liquid foods can be used to boost the pulling power of any groundbait.
 

This is a blend of equal amount of groats, Haith’s® Carpticle™ and flaked maize. Simply add water and flavours etc and allow it to stand for 24 hours…It’s then ready!
 

You can take the standard mix on a step or two further by adding whatever takes your fancy. Here I have added a few old hookbaits and some CSL pellets.
 
Dry SuperRed

This is dry SuperRed™. This is one groundbait that really does benefit from an overnight soak.
 
SuperRed Mixed with Liquid Food

I mix it up with a lot of water, flavours and liquid foods.
 

Then I stiffen it to my required consistency using dry SuperRed™ or quick-breakdown pellets such as CSL pellets, as is the case in this photo.
 

Assess each swim on its merits and don’t be too keen to fill your swim in with groundbait until you know what to expect.
 

A brace of twenty-fives caught from the Chateau Lake during the magical session outlined above.

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