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Making Fishing Baits Unique For Catfish and Carp and Big Results!

Tim F. Richardson

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‘Secret fishing baits’ abound and some are fantastically successful catching many more than their fair share of big fish for those fishermen who realise just how powerful and potent using a very unique bait can be. Simple or complicated baits all work. You just need a little ‘working knowledge. ’ It can be so exciting making your own baits and ground baits when you just know your next session is going to be fantastic as a result!

Just knowing one little edge can transform your catches overnight. Although most baits end up getting ‘sussed’ by the fish and they can often respond to being caught and returned by becoming far more reluctant to pick up your baits without caution, they will very often still be eaten despite this. Every weekend, the majority of carp and catfish being heavily fished for get away with a big free meal feeding on ground bait and free baits without feeling the pressure form a bend fishing rod!

Even in situations where catfish and carp are caught for the table, it is often the bigger fish which are more rarely landed which have perhaps evaded capture for years having been hooked and lost on the regular baits and fishing methods most commonly used over the years. . .

Even on heavily fished lakes there is usually a head of big fish that usually evade capture on regular baits and methods often for years. Sometimes a can of corn or piece of luncheon meat, liver or fish produce the goods but this is not always the best answer as most of us have realised. Sometimes it really pays you to know just a bit more about how to design a bait not even especially to catch that lake record, but merely to get a ‘take’ in the first place!

You might want to know about using of simple super store propylene glycol flavours with corn syrup and corn flour. Or feel the need to explore isoenzymes, peptones, oleoresins, special fruit acids or fermentation bye-products for answers and ingredients, that’s the level to go.

Not everyone needs to know that hygroscopic substances like peptones, or lecithins, honey or malt extract or even mineral salts are outstanding bait ingredients for catching fish of many species. But then again, it can be a great benefit to be much more aware of more bait knowledge like knowing the ‘significant ingredient’ in lobster powder, or green lip mussel extract, or squid liver extract. This knowledge and its practical use can transform your bait from a good trusted bait into one that means ‘fill your boots time!’

The level of bait know-how you need really depends on what you want to know! Because bait making is more of an art despite all the application of scientific knowledge used in the bait making industry, there is so much that we do not know and which has not been verified or measured as conclusive in a dynamic fishing environment with so many constantly changing variables.

I could stay on the narrow road of flavours and aromas, or venture into stimulator's, enhancers, sweeteners, essential oils, ‘food oils’ and a vast array of specialist additives each with their particular benefits to the fish in regards to stimulation, nutrition, their method and pathway of detection and their uses and effects in the fish. However, even a scrap of rubber, plastic or wood can all catch extremely big carp so things need to be taken a step at a time.

But if you’re more into catfish, the dietary requirements and some methods of stimulation by your bait are so similar to that of carp that the two areas of bait design almost merge into one. Fermented shrimp might be an ‘off the wall’ ingredient but it has been a significant secret ingredient for those fishermen aware of the potency of trying ‘different’ ingredients to improve their catches. If you go so far as to realise some of the reasons why this ingredient, like ‘Belechan’ (which is popularly used in the UK) works so great for catfish and carp, then will be ahead even more.

In the case of this ingredient, there is an impressive amino acid profile with significant levels of essential ones for these fish, and taste enhancing ones too, teamed with energy supplying palm oil, loads of highly stimulatory salts and even attractive bacterial enzymes too. Its high in protein which has been part broken down in the production, drying and its natural fermentation process which provides exceptional soluble nutritional stimulation ‘food messages’ to the fish. But thing do not need to be so involved at all for you yourself to make very successful baits.

In the UK boilies and fishmeal based pellets are very successful mainstays. In the States the trend towards the use of boiled dough paste baits is growing as they prove themselves for big fish more and more. It can be a real saving in time and money to learn how to make your own baits which work consistently. Even when competing against other anglers on well-proven shop-bought readymade baits your own home-made baits can be a fantastic edge and really produce the goods! The same goes for making very powerfully attractive ‘ground baits too.

It is a proven fact that catfish and carp can come on almost any bait by design or accident. But for a very long time now, literally thousands of fishermen have proven that baits that supply nitrogen and amino acids are very highly attractive and extremely consistent in the long term in tempting those bigger fish, many repeatedly.

Baits based on the characteristic ingredients that are commonly used in carp and catfish farming do demonstrate good catches, but good a sound theoretical nutritional basis to making a bait is not that necessary all the time. In fact very simple baits can catch numerous bigger fish sometimes even perhaps due to their very lack of attractive ‘food signals’ in situations where fish get heavily fished for.

Baits that contain even one ingredient that initiates a feeding response or just simple curiosity can really produce. Almost everyone knows that simple corn, hemp, luncheon meat or cheese catch fish, as do live baits like bloodworm, worms, maggots, and a myriad of other protein rich natural organisms. The list of ingredients you can use in making a secret bait of your own is endless. Each one and its level of inclusion in your bait can influence your bait’s diversity from those that other fishermen usually use and that difference may be all you need for greater success.

Of course whatever you can make up for yourself, can be adapted in some kind of liquid form to ‘adapt’ those baits you have bought as ready made baits. To make your ready made boilies and pellet baits different and stand out more, or to reduce likelihood of fish being wary of them and so easier to tempt ‘doctoring’ your baits is an extremely good edge. Again there are thousands of ingredients and combinations and ingredients effects to exploit.

There are thousands of variations on basic baits for catching catfish and carp which go beyond simply opening a can or meat or corn or opening a bag of pellets or boilies etc. Although so many ingredients will catch these fish, if you simply follow the knowledge that these fish need a percentage of nitrogen containing food, protein and amino acids to survive, you will do well for the bigger fish. The smaller fish can always be caught using baits based on carbohydrate ingredients like corn meal, soya flour, semolina and so on in combination with any of thousands of added attractors and flavours to further stimulate the feeding responses.

When it comes down to making your own secret homemade baits you need a simple starting point and everyone dreams of catching the bigger fish so why not aim high and make a bait intended for the giant catfish and carp by supplying for their basic needs? The main most important ‘bulk’ ingredient to supply the protein and attractive amino acid content is massive. Some are better proven and easier to use than others.

For many fisherman it makes good time and monetary economic sense to make a visit to the Wal-Mart or Tescos store for bait supplies. Proprietary fishing bait and ingredients are often much more expensive and can be inhibitive to your needs. Why buy a bag of boilies for £10 per kilogram when a homemade bait can easily be produced for £1.50 which catches your fair share of big fish and more?

A couple of decades ago making your own bait was pretty much your only option, and fishermen of this up to this era thought nothing of making up homemade baits as part of the challenge and satisfaction of their sport. Catching big fish on your own bait is much more satisfying anyway!

Bait ingredients do not have to be expensive. You can easily start with cheap cat food, dog food, ground trout pellets or cheap sausage meat and add binding ingredients like flour and eggs. Experimentation using small quantities is the key to growing your confidence! You may simply want to liquidize some lamb or pork liver and bind it up with enough corn flour to bind it into a dough and use it straight on the hook and as free baits. Such a bait is great for catfish or carp.

Using eggs will improve its resilience in water and boiling rolled balls for use on the hook or on a ‘hair rig’ will much improve duration of practical use. However so many anglers go straight to the bait shop and grab the first bag of baits that seems the most attractive to their mind at that moment. In doing this behaviour your are in fact just copying what thousands and thousands of your competing fishermen are doing, and mostly your catch results will end up being the same too.

To put the odds in your favour if your are not at the level of a ‘professional’ or ‘name’ angler there is more than enough you can do with baits to level things up. Provided you can bait up regularly and are prepared to make the quantities of bait that will influence the behaviour of a good number of fish in the water you are fishing you will triumph in the long run with consistent big fish catches. It’s not all about angling ability.

You do need to find your fish and ideally, identify those natural areas where your fish feed naturally. The routes to and from these areas are also of interest to you. By introducing bait of any kind into these areas repeatedly over a period of a number of alternate days and after a few weeks, you may begin to observe a difference in the feeding behaviour of certain fish as they almost start to ‘anticipate’ your baits arrival. Catfish feed far less often than carp and tend to ‘binge feed’.

Carp feed very regularly and can feeding cycles can be like ‘clockwork’ and be on a morning and evening basis for example demonstrating the natural bio-rhythms in fish concerning their feeding habits and patterns and usual digestive cycles all of which can be manipulated by your bait to different degrees and effects!

The smaller fish of both catfish and carp species may tend to feed much more regularly and are often much easier to catch because of this increased feeding frequency for one thing! It is interesting that often baits with higher flavor levels in your bait catches you more small fish, by far.

Flavors are a very interesting subject on their own. What we may think of as a simple acid or alcohol or glycerol or glycerine type combination or pure flavor, may be far more ‘volatile’ and complicated a mixture of unrelated but extremely powerful substances, especially with the very best modern commercial fishing bait flavours. These can involve substances that can ‘excite’ the nervous system of the fish in different ways and even increase the metabolic rate and give it an ‘instant energy rush’ as in the familiar ‘hit’ from drinking a coffee, “Coca Cola” or “ Red Bull” drink.

Your bait can be used to initiate an immediate feeding response the moment a fish recognises it as a food item, even from great distance away. This can lead to many favourable chain reaction in the fish involving their nervous systems, and production and release of stimulatory hormones in the brain and release of amino acids and neurotransmitters among many other things which can result quickly being in an ‘excited’ feeding state well before it even finds your hook bait.

So the more you know, the more you can manipulate the fish more significantly more of the time and keep ahead of the fish and other fishermen too. Knowing more about how a shop ‘flavour’ combination really works is advantageous, but if you can make your own dips and ‘flavour combinations’ things can really get interesting because these liquids can instantly change a ‘normal standard readymade bait’ into something totally unique and different and potent enough to keep the big fish coming back again and again. . .

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.

For the unique and acclaimed new massive expert bait making ‘bibles’ ebooks / books:


Tim Richardson is a carp and catfish bait-making expert, and a highly successful big fish angler. His bait making and bait enhancing books / ebooks are even used by members of the “British Carp Study Group” for expert reference. For cutting-edge information view this dedicated bait secrets website.


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