In a nutshell, any recreational fishing baits with animal products require an Export Health Certificate (EHC), which is, apparently, disproportionate in terms of the cost of the certificate (microbiological tests) versus the actual risk of the bait given that these products are not intended for use for fish entering the human food chain and are for use in 'catch and release' angling scenarios.
Word has it the major players in the market have written to their local MPs and hope – with the Angling Trade Association's support – to have a meeting with Defra and/or a Minister. Watch this space!
We knew things would change post-Brexit. That's one of the reasons we started developing a new breed of Robins featuring natural colour foods.
As long ago as 2017 I started testing new versions of Haith’s Baits and reached a point two years later where final versions of the new Robins could be released to the market. The new Robin Red® complies fully with EU rules and regulations for animal feed. Robin Red® contains a natural colouring food rather than a synthetic dye (which still features in the hook bait version). It creates a less vivid but more natural red colour in finished baits. We wanted to create versions of the Robins that a) comply with UK/EU animal feed regulations, b) create higher levels of natural sensory attraction and c) promote higher levels of fish welfare.
CC Moore took up the new version of this world-famous carp bait additive with great enthusiasm and Pacific Tuna, their flagship mix, contains the Robin Red. Dynamite Baits also use the natural colouring food version of Robin Red in their baits. As you know, I've been championing more natural baits for a long time so you won't be surprised to read that I was looking forward to testing a few of these market-leading baits for myself.
Talking of CC Moore, I was tempted by one of their base mixes after seeing and reading some very positive comments and praise aplenty from independent (non-aligned) carpers both in the UK and abroad. The product is called Pacific Tuna and it is a fishmeal-based mix fairly similar in nature to a homemade base mix I have been using for some time now. The bait is nutritionally well balanced and includes all that you would expect from a decent recipe from such a well-respected company as CC Moore.
The range includes base mix, shelf life baits, pellets, a bag mix, pop-ups, wafters and a couple of dedicated booster liquids to compliment the other products in the range. Before Covid, I was able to put the Pacific Tuna range through its paces and I have to say I was (and continue to be) well impressed.
Readers might be interested in a few little wheezes I used to good effect. First I want to look at the pellets and I have to say, these are terrific. The tiny 2mm version is superb if you want to create a widespread carpet of attraction. The best way to apply them is loose from a caty or a ground bait spoon. True, being so small they won't go far but if you can introduce bait by hand to a margin spot then they are ideal. A little goes a long way and just a few loose-fed handfuls will have the carp grubbing about on the lakebed looking for every last little pellet.
Though the pellets are good in their own right you can increase initial attraction by using the liquid food additive of your choice. These two are as good as it gets, the Ultimate E Liquid being hugely effective, as I outlined in the Blogs about my trip to the Secret Garden in September 2019 (God, that seems like a lifetime ago!).
Simply add the Liquid Additive of your choice to the pellets and allow it to sink in. This is best done 12-24 hours prior to use.
You can also create small PVA stocking mesh parcels which in turn can be glugged to add still further to the overall attraction.
Here's a great tip for getting the best out of your bait carpet. Mix together some 2mm & 6mm Pacific Tuna pellets and a bag of Bag Mix. By mixing the two sizes of pellets you can achieve different levels of breakdown, the smaller pellets breaking down faster than the 6mm ones. Add a few crushed or crumbed shelf life baits and then create some mesh parcels of whole boilies or pellets. Add one of these to the hook prior to casting out.
To add extra attraction try adding some ground hempseed to the blend of Pacific Tuna goodies.
I use a coffee grinder to process the seeds.
Using a trick that is as old as the hills you can create nice little packages of bait that will fly well from a caty. The old fashioned scalded pellet trick still works a treat on all waters and by creating little balls of scalded pellets you can create small, individual spots of bait scattered at random about your swim. This will get the carp moving about across the baited area gobbling up your small packages with gusto.
Allow the pellets to soften in the boiling water, then the binding quality of the Bag Mix will help create the individual balls of bait. To aid binding further, I like to add a scattering of one of the egg biscuit meals from Haith's Baits such as Red Factor, shown here, or Nectarblend.
Now you can form the little individual balls of groundbait. These can be air-dried for days, weeks, even months without spoiling but no matter how long you air dry them they will always start to break down the minute they hit the lakebed. As this sequence of photos shows.
Here's one of the little groundbait balls immediately after it has been added to a small bowl of water.
This is after a couple of hours.
And this is after five hours. Mind you, so powerful is the attraction given off by the slowly breaking down ball that in all probability full breakdown won't occur before the carp come a-calling and eat it anyway!
Finally a word about the shelf life baits. These are available in a wide range of sizes and there is also the option of choosing dumbbell-shaped baits. They are made with exactly the same ingredients as the base mix.
You can add attraction to both shelf life and homemade freezer baits by adding a glug of the Bait Booster.
And don't forget the alternative hookbaits, Pacific Tuna pop-ups and Pacific Tuna wafters.
No need for fancy rigs, a simple knotless knot and an ultra-sharp hook usually does the business.
Finally, can I say a massive Thank-You to all who have sent their best wishes following my cancer diagnosis in December. They mean a lot to me, more than I can express here.