The Food Standards Agency (FSA) now insists that recreational fishing bait/groundbait be classified as ‘Animal Feed’ within the UK/EU which means the Industry must source only natural foods to produce colour. In other words, all ingredients must feature on the UK/EU Register of Feed Additives. Thankfully, Haith’s has been working for over two years on a research and development project to source suitable non-synthetic colouring agents to protect and even to enhance the performance of our famous carp bait ingredients such as Robin Red, Red Factor, SuperRed and the other Green, Gold and Orange Robins. Over the trial period, the results on these totally natural colour food products have been excellent and we now believe that it’s possible to move across to our more natural formulae for those products that previously contained synthetic dyes.
As an Industry, Haith's Baits has typically included ingredients ‘because they work’. However, to comply fully with UK/EU regulations we will have to get used to including ingredients not solely because they work, but mainly because they’re on the FSA's list of permitted Animal Feed ingredients/additives. Compliance is the only option as eventually; we’ll all be forced to comply with the regulations and we here at Haith’s would rather jump than be pushed. Besides, these are not just EU rules, they are UK's FSA's rules and the industry will eventually be forced to comply. Failure to do so would have negative implications for the carp trade.(It remains to be seen if Brexit affects the FSA's rules; however, as Haith's is an exporter it will still have to comply with EU regulations when exporting to the EU).
Now as far as I am concerned the change to more natural alternative food dyes is 100% positive. After all, why feed synthetics when you can feed naturals? It makes a huge amount of sense in my opinion.
I was particularly excited to start working with the new version of Robin Green, as I knew that it contained Spirulina, something I have used on an off since the late 90s and I am a huge fan!
Spirulina is a form of bacteria found in algae that has positive nutritional benefits, as it is a rich source of numerous vitamins and minerals. It also has all the essential amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins (its protein content is at least 60%) and I am sure you know the importance of the role played by the essential amino acids in our baits. Spirulina is extremely rich in the antioxidant Beta Carotene which enables carp and fish, in general, to effectively fight diseases and biological challenges, allowing weight gains to be maximised. All in all, you won't be surprised to hear that all these properties make it a superb nutritional ingredient for inclusion in carp baits. It also happens to be a great natural colour food!
How can we use Robin Green? You know me - I like to experiment and I wanted to see how the new Robin Green UK/EU would perform if it was used instead of the Red version. Why? For the simple reason that the new Robin Green contains one of my all-time favourite bait additives, Spirulina so naturally, I asked the factory to mix 'Green' versions of our two top-selling blends, SuperRed & SuperNut for a bit of creative bait-making.
Let's call this mix SNG for short. As you can see, the only change in the recipe is to put Robin Green in where once Robin Red dwelt! The rest of the recipe remains unchanged with crushed hempseed, crushed peanuts, crushed tiger nuts and Red Factor included along with 5% Robin Green with Spirulina. (You can freely experiment for yourselfusing other Haith's ingredients, but I hope this bit whets your appetitie.)
As ever the blend can be used as a groundbait or a Method Mix. Alternatively, you could create water - or egg-based paste to mould around your lead or hookbait or both, or to form into balls of groundbait as seen in this photo.
When I created the original recipes, I stressed the importance of being able to create different baits using water instead of eggs. While eggs form an important part of bait making overall, especially when creating boilies, eggs do have certain less positive characteristics. For instance, they contain a substance that inhibits the uptake or utilisation of the enzyme Trypsin, which is present in the carp's gut and is used to break down protein to make it more digestible.
Eggs will also inhibit any Trypsin that you introduce when creating an attractor package to add to your boiled bait mix. In addition, eggs have a buffering effect on pH, thus tending to nullify any local pH change. All that said, don't run away with the idea that eggs are bad per se. That is far from the case but when you are putting together a paste bait you need the attraction to flow from the paste as it breaks down, and as eggs slow down and inhibit amino acid take up I much prefer a water-based paste.
I am sure the creative minds among you will soon grasp the almost endless potential for differing levels of attraction that you can create on water-based paste mixes. This is just one. Put 100ml of Fermented Soy Sauce such as Sanchi Tamari to your mixing bowl and then add an equal amount of water. Now add 1g of Citric Acid and then blend the liquids and the powder with a whisk. You need nothing further as the amino acids in the sauce are highly stimulatory while the citric acid acts as a powerful investigation trigger.
Now add SNG a bit at a time, blending the dry and wet ingredients together slowly. You will note that the paste will stiffen if it is allowed to rest.
You will notice a distinct colour change in the paste from green to almost black.
Allow the paste to 'rest' for 20-30 minutes. It will stiffen significantly while resting to the extent that it can be formed into catapult-sized balls of groundbait.
While allowing the paste to rest for 20-30 minutes before use is good extending it to 24 hours is better. You will find the paste a lot easier to work with, especially if you intend using it as a groundbait. Here I have rolled the paste into balls of groundbait ready to be introduced to the swim.
These balls of groundbait will start to break down immediately. You can see bits starting to break off within a few minutes of the ball being immersed in water...
… and after about an hour they will have broken down completely leaving behind the solid components of the blend.
I know that our best-selling MarineRed is very popular with many of you and with good reason: It is a darn good bait! This because it contains full-fat fishmeal, Red Factor and of course Robin Red. Having sung its praises why would I change one of the most important aspects of the bait, namely the Robin Red? Well, it's all down to the Spirulina component of Robin Green. This photo shows the new MarineGreen, the Robin Red component having been replaced with Robin Green with Spirulina UK/EU. Marine Green with Spirulina is a fishmeal-based blend that can also be used as a base mix or as a loose groundbait.
MarineGreen with Spirulina UK/EU It too can be formed into paste both egg- and water-based. The additives I will use here are Citric Acid (1g), Squid Hydro (25ml) and Ultimate E-Liquid (25ml).
As is the case with all our best-selling blends they can be formed using either eggs or water (see above). With just water and liquid additives, I can form a MarineGreen paste.
You can roll the paste into balls and then air dry them. They will go hard as a rock in a few days and will last indefinitely. However, as soon as they are introduced to the lake the will start to break down and release the powerful attraction into the water nearby. This can be detected by carp, which will soon home in of the food source.
This photo shows my tubs of SNG (top of picture) and Marine Green. You can see at a glance the difference between the two. SNG is more coarse in nature and due to the other components of the recipe it darker in colour. MarineGreen, on the other hand, is finer in texture and a lighter shade of green. The additives on the left of the photo are some of my favourites.
As stressed previously all our blends can be used to create boilies and other types of boiled baits. Last time I demonstrated how to make individual boilie pancakes. Today I want to go large, and make a boilie pizza using MarineGreen
These are three of the attractors I'll be using, a sweetener, a flavour and a hydro liquid. The Liquid Plankton Hydro is a new one for me but trials have shown it to be highly effective and many users rate this product higher than the well known Krill hydro or even the now unavailable L-zero-30, due to its solubility and digestibility. (This liquid will also cloud the water surrounding your bait when used as a soak or glug, and I'll be looking at it in more detail in a future blog.)
I am also going to use two powdered attractors in this bait, Green Lipped Mussel Concentrate (full fat), and Salminol Extract Powder, a pure completely soluble additive with a unique amino acid profile, loaded with peptides and minerals that create a strong feeding reaction in carp, even in low water temperatures. Great to use in the wintertime. There is literally no limit to the inclusion rate of these two superb attractors so today I will use 25g of Salminol…
…and 10g of the GLM Concentrate.
As always, I like to work initially with smaller amounts of base mix of 500g. Only when I am sure that the recipe is OK will I make up larger batches.
This photo is of the sweetener and the flavour that I am going to use in this mix. The Stevia is a sugar substitute that is extracted from plant materials. It is up to 150 times sweeter than sugar and has been used all around the world as a safe sugar alternative. This particular sweetener also includes powdered Butterscotch flavour which adds still further to the overall attraction.
The Almond flavour is a liquid that smells just like Amaretto. It is water-soluble and will disperse freely around your bait and is highly attractive to all coarse fish. It is great to use in any sweet mix all year round and is one of my favourite fruit flavours. flavours.
First, break five eggs into a bowl and then add 25ml Plankton Hydro, 3g of sweetener and 3ml of Amaretto flavour. Beat with an egg whisk and then start to add the base mix.
Bring the base mix and the eggs together to form a paste and then allow it to rest of twenty minutes.
The paste will stiffen while it rests so to make it a bit easier to handle add a bit of Pure Scottish Salmon Oil, in my opinion, the best food oil going.
Add 20-30 ml to the paste after it has rested. The oil's properties will help the bait to attract carp and the digestible fat has a sparing effect on the protein content of a bait. This oil will not thicken in cold water so is ideal to use in the winter. I really rate the addition of this super-rich salmon oil as it has many beneficial nutritional properties. It is rich in the Omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids and is a prime source of easily digestible energy, and antioxidants.
Once all the attractors have been added and the bait allowed to rest form it into one large ball of paste.
Now using a rolling pin or, if you want to keep on the right side of your partner, a bottle of water (or any other bottle empty or full - as long as it is not a 1981 Chateau Petrus!), roll the ball out into a rough shape.
Fill a shallow round cook's pan with boiling water and then add the boilie whole. You will find this easier to accomplish if you use an extra-wide baker's spatula or maybe a pizza paddle. Make sure the water returns to the boil as quickly as possible.
Boil hard for four minutes then reduce the heat and lift out the pizza using your paddle(s) or spatula.
Place the pizza on a clean dry towel to cool.
After 48 hours the slab of bait is ready to be diced into your preferred size and shape. In keeping with the Pizza theme, I use a pizza cutter.
The cutter allows you to make long, accurate cuts through the bait…
…and once you have cut the strips you can then dice them into 'chunks'.
I used the prototype SNG with additional Liver Extract on my recent trip to The Secret Garden as detailed here:
I guess you can tell from the photos that it played a significant part in my overall baiting strategy. This is a forty-pound common, one of three big commons that we caught on the trip.
May Tat and I wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Please note that the products Marine Green and Super Nut Green are test products and are not available for sale