There are a variety and additives, ingredients and mixes available to make or enhance your bait.
Making boilies at home is similar to making a cake. The most effective dry ingredients contain materials that carp need to survive. Fishmeal, poultry meal and wheat germ supply essential amino acids needed for growth and weight maintenance. There are many other basic food ingredients for making boilies, these are; milk & egg powders, soya, fishmeal and meat make up the bulk of base mix powders available. Good powders for making boilies are dense with nutrients and are good for carp.
Carbohydrates are found in sugar and can be used by carp as a source of energy, albeit in small quantities. They also include cellulose (fibre) for roughage in assisting the movement of food through the carp’s gut. A carp’s main energy is provided through oils, thus the leakage of oil from bait can be very attractive to carp.
A typical two kilogram recipe for boilies includes:
- 6-10 eggs
- 500g maize flour
- 500g corn semolina (panzani)
- 500g pre-cooked Soya flour (bio flour)
- 400g powder milk 1/2 (Lovelait)
- 100g sugar (fine mixed)
As with many types of mix, you can make substitutions. You can add crushed bird seed to the base mix in a ratio of one part seed to 3 parts of mix. You can also substitute different types of flour, such as cabbage, rice, cinnamon and wheat. Other dry ingredients include kelp, belachan block, hot chilli powder, spices, and Tiger Nuts (must be soaked overnight and then boiled for 30 minutes). Dean Towey has developed his own recipe for attractive bait. It includes white fishmeal, full fat soya flour (the binder), lactalbumin, rennet casein, robin red and seaweed extract.
Once you have created your unique bait, try some tactics on how to introduce a new bait into a lake.
Liquid ingredients (Nutritional & Attraction properties)
To your dry mix, you will need to add liquid ingredients. Again, you will want to use ingredients which are attractive to carp. Lipids (fish or vegetable oils, especially red salmon oil) are a source of energy. They are also utilized in the formation of cell membranes and are carriers of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Other liquids include corn steep liquor, many different fish oils, liquid liver, minamino, multimino and molasses.
Powdered additives & stimulatory additives
Carp tend to go after bait which they recognize as a beneficial food source. Essential Baits makes Shellfish B5 base mix. It contains betaine, five different marine extracts, low temperature fishmeals, soluble fish enzymes, and milk proteins. Baits containing liver, lobster, robin red, seaweed, and brewers yeast are also very attractive to the fish. While peanuts contain lipids, sugars and amino acids, they are not as appealing as the actual elements carp prefer, such as green lipped mussels, crayfish and weed.
Another source of amino acids is worms. As this is a vital part of carp diets, worms are very effective as bait. There are two schools of thought as to why worms are so attractive to carp. Some anglers think that worms attract carp because of their squirming motion. Others believe that worms naturally give off a powerful amino acid scent that carp can easily detect in the water. In 2006, SBS developed Liquid Lobworm. You can add the liquid to pastes, groundbaits, and particles. It can be added to any base mix. Julian Grattidge has even added it to dog biscuits and landed a number of carp!
Powdered & liquid attractors
Some ingredients are added to bait as coloured attractors. Spirulina, krill and paprika are used to create orange-coloured bait. Saffron produces yellow. There is also Shellfish Plum liquid attractor, which produces pinkish-red boilies.
One very powerful liquid attractor is SBS Corn Steep Liquor (CSL). It has additional betaine, essential amino acids, and vitamins and minerals, making it a highly appealing food source for carp. SBS also makes CSL pellets, which dissolve in the water and rapidly release appealing food signals.
Carp will also eat flavoured imitation baits. When boilies fail to attract them, artificial corn will usually work. Zoom Carp Snacks have been used successfully by many anglers. The snacks come in honey, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate flavours. Zoom also makes a range of Jointed Snacks. These are made of multiple pieces of artificial corn joined together with a latex hair. Push your hook through a notch on the hair and pull the hair around the back of the shank. Julian Grattidge recommends using two pieces of fake corn on a hair fished over a little hemp, particle mix, or real corn/maize as feed bait. Enterprise Tackle makes an excellent range of imitation baits.
Glugs & Flavourings
These flavoured, water soluble solutions make everything more attractive to carp. Resistance Tackle makes glugs in a variety of flavours, including strawberry, anise, tigernut, pineapple, pineapple and banana, clam and blueberry, scopex and banana.
You can blend other flavours and additives to your mix, including almond essence, anchovy concentrate, squid, octopus, peach and pepper flavours, and fruit. These are particularly effective additives. Mike Willmott of Essential Baits recommends that “(not) adding more additional additives, flavours, extracts etc, than those recommended, simply because they could end up acting as a repellent as opposed to an attractant. Stick to the levels and guidelines suggested and you shouldn’t go far wrong – all you have to do now is put it in the right place!” Mike also favours using quality food as bait. Once the flavours and other additives dissolve away, there will be something there for the carp to eat. If you don’t use quality food, once the coatings and additives are gone there is nothing left to attract the carp.