Carp fishing legend, Tim Paisley explains how the legendary Robin Red entered into carp lore via Rod Hutchinson and why Red Band has recently been reinstated in his groundbait must-haves.

Having worked with Rod Hutchinson and his writings for as long as I can remember, I can’t even recall when the name of Haith’s became part of bait lore, but I know that via Hutchy I’ve associated the name of the Cleethorpes-based company with seeds, particles and bait ingredients for a long time. Rod is from Grimsby, and in his particle pioneering days in the ’70s Haith’s was one of his regular haunts. Make no mistake about it; Rod was a groundbreaking pioneer of both particles and birdfood baits. His revelations in the old Angling magazine in the mid-’70s caused a riot, and if you look at the selection he ran through in his attempt to find the best particle (pictured on page 85 of Carp Now and Then), you will be amazed at how many different ones there are! Rod’s Redmire mix of the ’70s, consisting of hemp, maples and tares, still stands him and Mally in good stead today, and I’m currently using the remains of a sack of maples I scrounged off them at Rainbow. Rod wasn’t just into particles per se; if he used one it had to be the right version of the right particle from the right country, and I always remember his emphasis on new crop maples. Looking back, I wish we had converted the Hutchinson tapes into a book because Rod’s knowledge and understanding of every type of bait is quite amazing.

“Rod knew a place that sold bird food ingredients and they had a red one!”

When Rod moved on from seeds and particles (sideways from them would probably be a better description!), he became a paste bait and boilie pioneer. The legendary Robin Red entered into carp lore via Rod, and almost accidentally. Rod always travelled for his carp fishing, and during his Kent days he became acquainted with Fred Wilton, and all too familiar with the successes ‘Fred’s boys’ were having on his baits. One of Fred’s baits was the Red Devil, and was rumoured to be based on a birdfood ingredient. Rod knew a place that sold birdfood ingredients and they had a red one! As it turned out, Fred’s birdfood ingredient was PYM, but Rod’s use of Robin Red and other birdfoods in his baits didn’t turn out at all badly, either. Looking back at Rod’s bait writings and interviews from afar, I’m fairly certain he was the first carp angler to mention and use Haiths’ Nectarblend, Prosecto, Robin Red, Red Factor and PTX in connection with carp baits. I can’t emphasise strongly enough how specific Rod was in his bait requirements, and Haith’s was his first choice for many of them.

When Bill Cottam and I launched Nutrabaits in the mid-’90s, a Robin Red-based bait was a must, and so Enervite (later followed by Enervite Gold) was successfully born, and both mixes are successful to this day. My own relationship with Robin Red is well documented, too. The Mangrove and Birch Grove have lots of commons in them, and did have back in the day when waters with commons were not as widespread as they are now. On both waters it was noticeable that baits containing Robin Red pulled more than their fair share of commons. (I’ve always felt that the same was true of molasses.) When I went to Raduta in 2001, Kev Knight of Mainline made me a version of the Grange with Robin Red in it, and I caught the Big Common on the bait at 73lb 13oz – still my personal best!

“When I went to Raduta in 2001, Kev Knight of Mainline made me a version of the Grange with Robin Red in it, and I caught the Big Common on the bait at 73lb 13oz – still my personal best!” – Tim Paisley

Fast forward a few years from Rod’s ’70s and ’80s bait revelations to the mid-’90s and the north bank at Fishabil. On one of our Carpworld trips I was fishing next to one-time British record holder Roddy Porter, and he’d taken a seed mix with him as a groundbait, which had a definite aniseed smell to it. I hadn’t seen Haith’s Red Band in action before, and once it went out the rest of us along the north bank might as well not have been there!

Roddy’s results on the seed mix were electrifying and all those of us who witnessed his session were instant converts, and I think it’s fair to say that in the intervening years the reputation of Red Band has grown to almost match that of Robin Red. I tend to move on from effective baits too quickly, fearing they’ll blow, and for a long time I felt that the aniseed scent was too strong an identifying signal which might, in time, turn the fish away from the mix. What do I know? On our recent trip to Iktus, Steve Briggs revealed that Red Band is still one of his favourite groundbaits which he uses wherever he goes – and they simply don’t come more successful than Steve.

“On our recent trip to Iktus, Steve Briggs revealed that Red Band is still one of his favourite groundbaits which he uses wherever he goes – and they simply don’t come more successful than Steve”

Haith’s are, quite rightly, protective of their reputation and issue a licence to those bait companies who purchase, and are licensed to use and sell, Robin Red. If you buy a product or bait claiming to be Robin Red-based and aren’t sure about it, you can apply to Haith’s to check that the company concerned is in fact licensed to use the product. I use any of their products with every confidence in its quality, and Red Band has recently been reinstated in my groundbait must-haves!

Tim Paisley, December 2013.

We’d like to thank Tim for taking the time to write this interesting piece. We really enjoyed reading it, did you? Let us know... If you’d like to read more from Tim, visit http://www.carpworldmagazine.com/tim-paisleys-carp-leader-cw266/