We'll kick off with the biggest secret of them all, Frolic dog biscuits. It will not have slipped your notice that I make frequent mention of this 'bait' but it seems many of you are having trouble finding it.
The great thing about Frolic is the fact that it breaks down quite quickly so when used in combination with boiled bait it adds an instant attraction over the bait carpet as it breaks down.
This is Frolic as it comes out of the bag…
…and this is a single biscuit after an hour soaking in a bowl of water.
This is the same biscuit after 4 hours. Carp grub of the finest kind!
You may on occasion wish to slow the speed at which Frolic breaks down. Simple! Just glug in a decent fish oil and leave overnight for the oil to soak in. This will double the breakdown time.
Another very effective oil is Good Hemp Oil which I bought from Tescos. This is will help carry tiny particles of the Frolic biscuits as they breakdown. The oil then forms a light coating on the surface while the tiny particles of dog biscuit attract carp into the area above the bait carpet.
You will have gathered by now that we are pretty chuffed with our SuperSoft Pellets. These are designed to have a fast breakdown so as to spread attraction quickly across the lakebed. They work very well on their own but for a varied speed of breakdown across the bait carpet try mixing them 50/50 with standard pellets. As these have a much longer breakdown time you get a progressive release of differing attraction spread over a drawn out time period.
Do you want jelly to form on your tiger nuts every time? Most carpers I know fail to achieve the jelly at least 50% of the time. Well here's how to ensure they go nice and jelly-like every time:
- Place one kilo of nuts in a sealable bucket and add 250g of ordinary sugar and 5ml of flavour. For some reason, spice flavours seem to work better that any other kind.
- Cover the nuts with boiling water then stir well, seal the bucket and allow the water to cool. Allow the nuts to soak for three to four days.
- Transfer the tigers together with the liquid in which they have been soaking, to a large saucepan.
- Bring to the boil and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes. Please note: the water needs to boil fairly vigorously rather than just simmer.
- Check from time to time to make sure that the water still covers the nuts during the boil and then add more boiling water from a kettle if needed.
- Transfer the cooked tiger nuts to a clean sealable bucket along with the water in which they have been boiled.
- Finally place the bucket in a warm place and leave in the airing cupboard for three or four days.
- While in the warmth of the airing cupboard the dissolved sugar, now absorbed into the nuts, really starts to work and the water thickens as it ferments. The result is that a thick jelly forms around the nuts.
When carp feed on tiger nuts they do so vigorously, throwing them to the back of their mouth where they are crushed by the throat teeth. It is therefore a mistake to use long hooklinks as there is a risk that you might get bitten off (the carp bites through your hooklink material using its throat teeth). I therefore suggest you use a very short hooklink, no more than 2-3 inches long. This will almost certainly achieve a hook hold in the front of the mouth, with no risk of a bite off.
Boosting hookbaits can work well on some waters and the easiest way to o this is to add a few mils of neat flavour to a pot of pop-ups. Different flavours have different effects but one with a low pH value will be best. Caproic acid forms part of Nutrabaits Plum and Caproic flavour and you can really boost a pot of pop-ups by pouring a couple of mils onto the dry baits. Put on the lid and give the pot a good shake to distribute the flavour evenly, and then leave for 24 hours so that it soaks in fully.
Similarly you can use neat Tutti Fruiti flavour to boost a pot of UB Baits superb pop-ups. Matt's baits are without doubt the best pop-ups I have ever used but even he admits that from time to time the pot will benefit from a little bit of a tweak with neat flavour.
In much the same vein you can boost pop-ups or bottom baits by using LorAnne Cinnamon Oil. This is one of the smoothest essential oils I have ever tasted with none of the sharp burn one can get with less pure EOs. In fact, some of them are so sharp I feel certain they act as a repellent rather than as an attractor. Just try a drop of the LorAnne oil on the tip of your tongue. Smooth as silk and nice breath for the rest of the day!
The traditional way of soaking nut baits prior to the boil is to use water, but try one of the energy drinks instead. Red Bull, Coca Cola (non diet version) and KX Energy drink all work very well and add a great sparkle to the nuts. They contain caffeine, taurine, guarana and b vitamins all of which carp seem to find very tasty. Boil as usual after the soak but don't throw away the liquor. Keep it to store the prepared nuts in.
This one will probably be a bit 'off the wall' for some of you, but did you know you can use malt vinegar to boost all types of baits, boilies, bottom baits and pop-ups. Vinegar is a carboxylic acid just like Caproic and Butyric and it acts as a taste stimulant in carp.
We all know how chilli sauces and flakes can boost your baits. Well try blending hot chilli sauce and molasses. Stir well to ensure the two are well mixed and then use as a glug, dip or, as shown here, as an exterior dressing for a PVA mesh parcel of pellets, seeds or crumb.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Looks so good I could eat them myself!
Have you tried Nut Crumble yet? With the current fad for nut baits now in vogue this is a bait that can really boost your chances. Haith's Baits has years of expertise in softfoods technology and the base of this very tasty mix is crushed maize, pine nuts and crushed peanuts. The nuts are condensed into tiny pieces and blended into a crumble to form a very tasty birdfood that follows the high-fat/high-energy principle common of most birdfoods. You will find that the Crumble soaks up liquid foods well if they are given time to soak in, and the resulting amino acid-laden crumble can then be packed into any type of feeder such as a Method Feeder or a standard open ended match feeder.
Finally don't forget the highly attractive properties of Glycerin. A 200ml bottle is cheap as chips and can be obtained from most chemists. It adds smoothness to the taste of your boiled baits at the same time lending them a subtle warm sweetness that really enhances the flavour you have used. And don't forget it acts as a very effective, totally natural preservative that can add a year or more to the shelf life of a batch of baits. It also acts as a hardener so all in all for less than a couple of quid you can sweeten, preserve and harden your baits all from one small bottle.
These little beauties were made way back in November 2015 and have been treated top a light coating of Glycerin every 6 months. They are as good today as they were when they were made and because I have also added a smidge of Richworth Tutti Fruiti they are now bangin' hookbaits.
So there's a mish-mash of little bait tips and tweaks you may find useful.