Easy Homemade Fishing Baits - Reasons Why Baits Really Work

Tim F. Richardson

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* It is extremely valuable to discover as many true reasons why baits and all their ingredients work; and how to maximize their effects for the most unbelievable catches. *

I think it's sad that most anglers do not give bait the thought it really deserves and most often the ‘average angler’ just copies what his friend or the most successful angler along the bank is using, or using whatever ‘favourite’ fashionable shop-bought bait happens to be ‘en vogue’ at the time.

To me this is completely missing the point about ‘effective bait;’

Its role has changed since fishing became so commercially and the thinking of anglers became conditioned and ‘warped’ by the power of powerful advertising - telling us “Our new pellet or boilie bait, or this new ‘packbait’ is the best - it has caught 50 lake records!” Then the following month a completely different bait, a new addition to their products range is introduced, and forcefully marketed!

It is no surprise that many anglers feel confused, and spend their hard earned money on ‘the next best thing’ whatever it is; the amount of ‘manipulation’ is staggering!

Obviously there are multitudes of reasons why baits work - one of the strongest is the availability of ‘easy energy’. In this case bait merely supplements the carp's natural diet; it's for this reason that any ‘non–nutritional’ bait will dominate a water if it is fed in masses of kilograms, perhaps by the majority of anglers that fish the water.

Even the notoriously angling pressured ‘bait oriented’ big carp and catfish fish water “Darenth" in the UK, was ‘absolutely torn apart’ by a simple semolina and soya flour bait. This bait was made by a commercial bait manufacturer and purchased at the lake by very many of the anglers fishing the lake.

This bait's easy availability and continual abundance in this lake, made it work so very well on this water especially. Within one season at least a tonne of this carbohydrate ‘flavour attractor’ type bait was bought and fed in the lake! The manufacturer told me this himself.

However, as fish wised up to this bait, catches dropped, and then there were anglers who simply followed this current bait ‘fashion’ and had no-where to go, and starting ‘blanking’ in style! Some have never caught like it since then, and blame every reason except their bait.

With genuine knowledge of how and why baits really do their work, this situation can never happen.

There are waters that have seen practically every productive commercial boilie and pellet style bait ever made. Mostly catches on these baits seem especially cyclical depending on numbers of anglers using these. At any one moment in time, most fish caught, will appear to result from the use of one particular bait – or method and very frequently, this is purely due to the fact that most anglers are using that bait / method!

Surely the whole point of ‘bait’ as a concept is to create a ‘safe hook delivery mechanism. ’ So many people forget the difference in quantities of baits fed by anglers, especially in the UK and European waters, now far exceed that in waters in the past. The great increase in anglers and the practice of actively ‘baiting-up’ their swims as part of the ‘modern’ carp fishing method. (Mass baiting a swim with far more than just half a pint of boilies, or pellets as ‘free offerings’ is simply another ‘method’ is it not?)

In the case of overstocked waters, hopefully baits with no harmful side effects, (and preferably health promoting effects, ) are eaten with confidence. But are they?

Even with the balanced food baits or old concept of high nutritional baits ('HNV') style baits; it's the same mission; to deliver a hook into a fish’s mouth. (And not to give the fish various expensive baits with ‘optimum nutrition values’ for the sake of their ‘health. ') Are not anglers’ baits specifically meant to hook fish, and only incidentally supplement the carps’ natural diet so promoting fish growth gains?

Only on ‘unbalanced waters’ like those that are well overstocked for the volume of water available, that perhaps some ‘bait dependence’ sets in and natural growth and weight gains are exaggerated. (Obviously, anglers’ like this ‘artificial produced’ situation on heavily fished waters, because the fish they catch just keep getting bigger, artificially faster, which is certainly a continuing egos boost for the captors!

I have tested baits on pressured ‘bait oriented waters’ and hooked big fish immediately on new baits. Carp instinctively are drawn towards baits that exploit their own ‘food’ detecting receptors - especially those ‘positive’ for proteins, being especially sensitive to ‘receiving’ amino acids signals via receptor sites all around and in the carps sensory sensory networks. )

These ‘instant’ baits I used incorporated just ‘protein’ providing ingredients and a fat source, (no flavours or ‘artificial attractors, ) but just naturally derived plant and animal extracts. But any bait will catch immediately if it stimulates a feeding response – and there are thousands of permutations in baits all round the world for doing this!

Anglers don’t need to be too scientifically technical to make great productive baits. But it is a massive advantage to really understand how your baits affect carp or catfish in specific ways, to stimulate the most dramatic immediate feeding response. This is knowledge is ‘true’ fishing enlightenment.

Most anglers do not know or care how their baits catch fish, and this creates a real opportunity for those curious enough to find out and exploit these ‘secrets’ for maximum effect!

Great power comes with developing an awareness of the broad ‘alternative opportunities’ for making ‘different’ baits that really catch fish; because they are different to ‘the norm’, and also perhaps stimulate a fish in slightly unusual way. Either instantly while actually fishing, or after a period of ‘pre-baiting’ with free baits in advance.

Baits can be so vastly different in the way they are recognised as food and in how they produce fish; whether carp or catfish, trout or bass etc. . .

I persisted in fishing using one homemade bait version which I believed would work extremely well on a particularly hard fished pressured water. This bait did not even produce a bite for 7 separate individual nights spread over a period of 7 weeks!

Just as I had nearly ‘given-up’ faith, I ‘free fed’ 7 kilograms of this boilie bait, at the start of the last night to see if much more bait was really required for an instant response in this lake. It was the last of this homemade batch, and I had only been ‘free feeding’ while fishing with 2 kilograms of bait at the start of a night’s fishing session. Then the fish got the ‘message’ with some of the biggest fish in the lake being landed in just the one night!

Tactics for very big waters and smaller waters need to differ - because often your baits absolutely need to pull fish from extreme distances. I have found that some ingredients do this far more powerfully than others - but it's the mechanism of how this works that is important.

Otherwise it’s the old routine of finding actual or likely feeding spots and regularly baiting those areas, until the fish get in the habit of visiting with the purpose of eating your bait – if they ever do! This can take more time and fishing testing than you may have available.

It really helps to understand far more about ‘why’ their baits really make fish behave the way they do. Like most anglers, I have used ‘shop-bought baits of many kinds and there are many benefits of this habit. But there are disadvantages too.

One of the major ones is the fact we lose some aspect of the joy of fishing that comes from catching your personal best fish time and time again on baits you designed and made yourself – and knowing why they work successfully! Sure in today’s busy world more time and effort is expended, but fishing is an art form and a passion and not just a ‘results orientated sport. ’

Most bait making anglers are more successful than ‘average anglers, ’ and pay very close attention to every detail that could give them an ‘edge. ’ This is not so much about achieving results, but how they are achieved; these lucky anglers reaps rewards in terms of satisfaction that cannot be measured!

We all go fishing to enjoy it, so why not enjoy it even more; and actually gain far more control over your catches and increase your personal satisfaction.

Because only you know how your personal bait works, and what ingredients you are using; your bait won't ‘blow’ because everyone else is using it! I find catching on a ‘shop bait’ to be far less exciting, and OK they may catch you fish, but what have you learnt? As Kevin Maddocks once said in so many words: “It is just as important to understand the reasons why you don’t catch as why you do!”

I know that just one scientific insight or scientific new nutritional revelation can improve an individual angler's catches and often, the size of fish caught too! Don’t we owe it to ourselves to find out more to understand more? We get what we give!

Of coarse, on the great rivers and lakes perhaps in the States, Canada, or Europe, there are many waters that are so vastly stocked and so little fished, (especially for carp) that any bait will catch fish! The key to very big catches of numbers of fish, (and therefore, greater numbers of bigger fish, ) is then solely determined by the length of time those fish remain feeding in your swim, before moving on. It would take too much money to do this with ‘dough’ baits, boilies or even pellets, except for the most wealthy fishermen.

Even when using maize as chum ‘free bait, ’ there is a physical limit to the amount of kilograms of maize you can physically feed a swim with, in order to hold a large number of carp in your swim, while fishing for them. With such intense activity, ‘angler exhaustion is inevitable!’

It is in waters of the opposite extreme, where ‘education’ education by being caught by anglers is a great pressure on the fish. As in pay lakes, syndicate lakes, and other commercial waters run for a profit. This is truly where bait knowledge and the ability to make homemade baits is a huge advantage.

I am not against shop-baits in any way, but it is sad how the easy availability of products can induce a conditioned expectation of great results for very little effort, where everything can be ‘bought off the shelf. ’ True appreciation and satisfaction are earnt.

Average angling ability and knowledge and the tackle and methods used to catch fish, can be very similar, when compared among the fishermen fishing any single water. Bait knowledge can be a huge ‘edge’, producing consistently above average catches of fish for the ‘minority angler’ who is better educated and really knows how to exploit it and apply it creatively.

The author has many more fishing and bait ‘edges’ up his sleeve. Every single one can have a huge impact on catches. (Warning: This article is protected by copyright. )

By Tim Richardson. ‘The thinking fisherman’s expert bait making guru. ’


Tim Richardson is a leading big fish angler with many incredible catches to his name. He is also a nationally recognised carp and catfish bait guru in the UK. His best selling bait making and bait enhancing books / ebooks help beginners and experienced anglers alike to improve and enhance their baits achieving far greater catches of big fish. *His books are even used by members of the elite “British Carp Study Group” for expert reference. * If you feel your catches could gain from more expert bait experience, insights and fishing information and techniques, take a look at Tim’s dedicated website.


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