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Home > The Big Red Carp Fishing Blog > Oils and their uses in carp bait

Oils and their uses in carp bait

Wednesday, 18th May 2016

Oils for use in fishing baits have been around since the late 80s when Premier Baits first popularised them.
oils for us in fishing baits

Since then their use has become widespread with anglers suggesting anything up to 10ml per egg! You cannot read an article, a blog or see a DVD without somebody spouting off about their new wonder bait incorporation such and such oil.

This is strange, as anyone with a basic knowledge of chemistry will tell you that oils are insoluble and in their pure state they cannot be detected by carp, yet this fact is blissfully ignored by the majority of carp anglers.

Of course, there are several reasons why oils can be beneficial to carp and at the same time improve the bait, but using them as pure attractors is just plain daft, as carp do not possess a receptor that can detect oil. That said, carp can detect solids suspended in oil and carried into the water table by upward dispersion.

The best oils are an important aspect of carp nutrition

The best oils are also an important aspect of carp nutrition as they contain all the beneficial Omega fatty acids that carp use to maintain a healthy body weight and shape. It is now well accepted than you need to include a satisfactory amount of protein in a bait, and the same goes for fat. Fatty acids are as essential in their own way as amino acids. Both are a prime requirement in a balanced food bait and there is no better way of providing these vital fatty acids than in a bulk food oil.
Image 3 why food oil?

Why food oil? Well, that is exactly what they are, food. Their make up has been structured to add balance to any well formulated base mix by increasing the amount of necessary dietary fat in the bait. Fat has a sparing action on protein thus allowing bait protein to be more widely assimilated into boosting healthy growth. Squid Liver Oil is rightly regarded as one of the richest sources of Omega-3 -6 & -9 EFAs along with amino acids and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which is also a rich source of Vitamin E.
Nutrabaits pure salmon oil

At the same time oils provide the quickest and most easily converted source of energy and as nothing can survive without energy it figures that fats (oils) are as essential as any other factor in nutrition.

So which oils are the best for use in carp baits? Well it goes without saying that they should come from the group of oils know as polyunsaturated oils. These contain the important Omega -3 and -6 essential fatty acids which play an important part in the carp well-being. The prime examples are the fish oils, notably salmon oil, pilchard oil, squid liver oil, seed oils such as sesame seed and hemp seed oils, and blends of primarily fish oils.


I read a lot of twaddle about the need to generate a widespread oil slick on the surface over your bait, oil that has leached out of your bait carpet or PVA bag or mesh. Quite frankly this is a waste of time and if anything it could confuse and disrupt the process of chemoreception by which carp find their food. Carp do not recognise oil on the surface for what it is. They are not attracted to it per se as they do not possess a receptor capable of detecting it's presence. Hence the oil slick is virtually useless and by interfering with the olfactory process can actually do more harm than good!

oils provide the quickest and most easily

Now we come to the interesting bit. While carp cannot detect oils in isolation, they can detect food particles carried in suspension in oil.
Now we come to the interesting bit.
Thus tiny food particles within you bait are released as it breaks down and they escaping oil then carries these food particle into the water column. These can be detected, though the oil cannot, so it follows that the later helps carry the food message to the carp.
You can speed up this process by pre-mixing known attractors with the oil you wish to use in you bait

You can speed up this process by pre-mixing known attractors with the oil you wish to use in you bait. These could be say, Green Lipped Mussel Extract, chilli powder, turmeric, liver powder, or Betaine Hcl, any solid attractor in fact that is not soluble in oil and can be detected by carp once in the water column.
Krill Liquid, Oyster Extract
You can also combine element-rich liquids such as Liquid Goose Liver, Krill Liquid, Oyster Extract (NOT that poor relation found in delis, oyster sauce!), and Liquid Robin Red.
I advise putting 75% of the food-boosted oil into the bait

I advise putting 75% of the oil into the bait itself using the remainder as a glug for your main feed (boilies).
Oils can be mixed
Thus you will quick-start the leak of attraction as the particle-laden oil starts to disperse into the water column.

Oils can be mixed

Some emulsifiers work well with oils, others do not. Probably the most common (and the cheapest) is simple glycerine. Granular Lecithin is also very effective. I should also mention a surfactant (detergent) called Sodium Lauryl Sulphate. This certainly works in breaking down oil molecules but it has numerous health warnings against its use in products meant for human use and that alone is enough to rule it out for carp baits. In any case, while using an emulsifier will break down the structure of the oil, the end results is still insoluble, there are just more insoluble molecules than there were before, that's all! It does not make it any more attractive or detectable.
There is any number of combinations involving an oil
There is any number of combinations involving an oil of some kind and these are limited only by your imagination so have a play around. Always remember why you are adding oil and what its end purpose will be. If you simply want an oil slick, then don't waste your time. If you want to carry attraction into the water column or wish to supplement the food value of your bait, the food oils are most certainly worth while additions to any type of bait, and not just in boilies. I have used it on trout pellets, seeds and seed blends, in particles, in groundbaits, as soaks, and as general purpose glugs. And don't forget, you can slow down aerobic breakdown of your bait, a way of adding a limited shelf life to your boiled baits.
Want to beef up your PVA mesh

Want to beef up you PVA mesh parcels and at the same time slow down the rate at which the PVA melt? (Useful in hot water temperatures as this gives you time to adjust the position of the hookbait and its attached PVA mesh parcel if required.) Well simply dowse the pre-tied mesh parcels in a glug of an oil blended with a liquid food. Here the mesh parcels have been glugged in a blend of Nutrabaits Pure Salmon Oil and Trigga Liquid. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

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