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Tuesday, 04 August 2009 20:47

Homemade High Nutritional Value And Attractor Carp Baits

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Big carp baits have constantly evolved over the decades and generations, always seeking new ways to get around carps natural defences. Attractor baits or high nutritional value style baits both catch but why do nutritional baits consistently catch so many big fish?

Homemade High Nutritional Value And Attractor Carp BaitsA world famous carp angler, Rod Hutchinson certainly made his name designing and using ‘attractor and ‘HNV’ baits like this to exceptional effect. He even combined the two styles particularly effectively. Thinking back to 25 years ago, I fishing one particular carp syndicate water for 10 years. This experience especially, taught me much about the value of bait, its ingredients, ‘attractors’ stimulators, enhancers and so on and their impact on my big fish results.

I had ‘emerged’ from a background of fishing for years for smaller carp and other species on club waters and day ticket waters. Other forms of angling including sea fishing, game fishing and predator fishing were tackled too. I had a good experience of catching carp into ‘double figures’ but the waters I had fished up to the start of the 1980’s only contained smaller specimens.

But even if I did catch the biggest of these in various waters at the time it really had not opened up to me the value of particularly effective feeding triggers, but mainly attractor substances. As I was mainly fishing  day-time trips ‘instant baits’ appeared a good option and worked to a degree all year round, but the fish caught were not huge!

I still remember a personal best of 7 and a quarter pounds being an outstanding fish in one water and of achieving a lake record with a fish of over 12 pounds! Such ‘giants’ pale into insignificance today and it seems incredible to me that total beginners expect 30 and 40 pound carp instantly! However fish weights are all ‘relative’ and you could catch over 100 ‘doubles’ and ‘singles’ fish in a 12 hour session today, on suitable waters.

But carp fishing is far more than about fish weights which in fact can become ‘arbitrary’ and meaningless. Those more experienced anglers who’ve achieved their dream catches and been ‘there’ will know what I’m referring to. It is the context, water, setting, fish available to catch, personal resources and personal satisfaction that enables memories from over 30 years ago to remain very clear and valued.

The quality of angling I did back in the 1980’s was one edge I had against far more experienced carp anglers with greater bait knowledge and sophistication. I was very sharply focused on developing any advantage I could get against other anglers. It became clear I was actually fishing against the detrimental impact of other anglers’ activities upon my catch results. When their baiting of a lake in order to dominate it resulted in less aware anglers not catching fish many week-ends in a row, my own counter measures were essential.

This was not because I was a very competitive angler, but because my fellow anglers then (and still do) had an annoying tendency to ‘stitch-up’ the lake, by regularly pre-baiting at 3 in the morning, extremely heavily! However, these tactics followed a cycle of  ‘boom and bust.’ The fish may have fed on such beds of  bait for a while, but it became obvious that the fish soon ‘wised-up’ to any particular bait or baiting pattern. New bait versions and baiting styles, rigs, set-ups and so-on kept having to be devised. This kept everyone evolving as the impact of one person’s bait or tactics could easily adversely affect everyone’s results on the water.

At that time uniform round baits were mostly used and I found using small square baits, fat cylinders, odd cut triangles and even pear shaped baits to all be very successful. Sometimes such baits caught fish rarely seen, including some particularly small mouthed common carp. In fact, as long as the fish had not experienced a bait before, they were often easier to catch initially, and I achieved numbers of multiple fish catches regularly. (This was at a time I used ‘attractor baits with flavours’ quite a bit.)

The downside was the large number of smaller fish in the double figure and low twenty pound bracket, instead of the big twenty and thirty pound fish I was aiming for. But you learn far more while catching than not catching and this feedback all paid-off. My bigger fish were caught more on baits that had a degree of nutritional value, as opposed to the simple semolina and soya flour and similar base mixes with a flavour or other so-called ‘attractors.’ I used most of the commercially made mixes and ready rolled baits at that time and the nutritionally stimulating baits did have more longevity than the attractor baits of the ‘Tutti Fruitti’ style.

That said, my repeated captures of  3 of the lakes’ biggest inhabitants came on the first introduction of a new bait each time. They were caught often within hours, days or a few weeks of a new bait being introduced. This probably says very much about ‘danger reference points and their associations’ in carp in regards to bait!

I found that constantly trying new baits kept fish coming and this included trying new flavours, ingredients, additives and so on. Of course, I used high protein ingredients in very many of my baits due to what I’d commonly heard on the bank about them. However, cost kept their practical inclusion often to lower levels than ‘recommended’ at the time and use of bird food, yeast, ground pellets and other cheaper bulking ingredients were often employed in my baits.

It seemed to me an advantage that I spread the nutritional profile of significant ingredients to such a degree. My bait reference points were always changing. I used various base mixes for sustained periods of a season or two or more, but the attractors would be constantly changed to create a ‘new bait’ and this consistently fooled the fish, which really recognised and wanted the nutritional base mixes used.

Various approaches were used regarding nutrition and sometimes it was more about delivering good taste and stimulation from sweeteners, oils, essential oils, minerals and vitamins, taste enhancers, and mainly natural flavours and products. Combined with this were associated strategic ‘side benefit’ ingredients; like crushed oyster and egg shells, various insect foods, pet foods and even particular nutritional taste enhancing ingredients which also stimulated natural aquatic organisms to the bait. (Some goldfish foods do this for example.)

The focus was certainly not just bird food, fish meal, milk protein, liver, yeast, squid or whatever the bait ‘category’ the lines blurred between them so much. The main focus was on attraction and acceptable taste and many mistakes were made, but then all feedback tends leads towards final success.

Constant evolution was the ‘name of the game’ and things kept changing. One very useful lesson was in using crumbed bait in beds and strategic spots in swims and this led to further developments in regards to fishing over baits that quickly melted forming a ‘sediment’ of attraction, but providing little bait to eat.

You can pre-bait with bread paste and worms and expect to reap the rewards
With many well designed balanced nutritional baits well there is little need for ‘flavours’ or other additives at all. (Taste enhancing and ‘palatability’ altering aspects aside.) Milk protein baits do in fact work with no other additives or flavours, but upon first introduction, they can be out-fished by a similar milk protein bait with a very proven flavour like ‘Scopex.’ But this does not mean that use of flavours is a good thing as such, especially for the longevity of the baits success.

There are many so-called flavours that do not attract fish at all, but might instead stimulate attention or curiosity by the slight difference in the water around the baits compared to other water in a swim. Carp are sensitive to carbon dioxide and pH changes. However, to what degree a bait flavour can affect these differences in real life fishing situations is a point for discussion by scientists. That said, flavours effect fish, some can become a deterrent if used in high levels or concentrations.

Even the same labelled flavour such as ‘pineapple’ can be at a different concentration and have different recommended inclusion rate per pound or kilogram of bait. Flavours can have very many components and the ratios and levels of these in combination with a ‘base’ and its inclusion rate and types can really affect flavours repeated success.

It can be very difficult for a ‘purist’ to spot a genuine ‘natural flavour, because some of the major constituents can be synthetically produced and mixed with real fruit juice for example, to give a genuine richness that the genuine original strawberry would have. The big thing with high protein baits like the milk proteins is that much of the expensive protein content is wasted because much of the nutrition is affected by limiting factors in digestion and assimilation. This situation occurs with humans too.

In fact it is beneficial for a quantity of carbohydrate ingredients to be in the bait as this will have the effect of ‘protein-sparing’ so enabling more protein content to be utilised for tissue building and repair and not energy. Many ‘establishment’ bait buffs who currently run bait companies, can appear to have ‘tunnel vision’ regarding amino acids and polypeptides. These are often treated as the ‘Holy Grail’ of carp feeding triggers and long-term bait success. They have become obsessed with achieving a ‘balanced optimum amino acid profile’ in their baits.

It is strange how they seem to turn a blind eye to many other attraction substances and completely different proven feeding triggers. For example, substances in tiger nuts, peanuts and hemp exert hugely consistent feeding triggering effects and performance both in the long and short-term even to the detriment of the general balanced health of the fish as seen in the case of tiger nuts or chufas where introduced in large amounts by many anglers regularly...

Most fishermen do not see that it is the soluble amino acids and peptides from the proteins in a bait (apart from anything else involved) that result in fish captures. Particular individual and combinations of amino acids and peptides, can elicit fish ‘exploration’ actual prolonged repeated feeding and ingestion of bait, so allowing fish to be regularly hooked on these baits. But how much difference does it make, for a bait to have a high or balanced nutritional profile when applied to pressured fisheries where every anglers is using them?

The fact is that on many waters, a multitude of different ‘high or balanced nutritional value baits’ can be in use at any one time. In this situation, to say carp ‘prefer’ one bait over the others is a very interesting comment. Some baits can be more successful than others, but much depends upon the amount of bait introduced, the nature and context of the baits it is fished against, how regularly and for how long it is introduced and how many fish are hooked on it and effect fish response as a result.

Many other factors are involved and one that sticks out is that often new baits are used for the first time by better than average ability anglers who know how to leverage nutritional baits to maximum effect and catches. Once these boys have been at work on a water, the anglers that follow them the bait may well find it has already passed its productive peak. Usually simply the use of a new bait is one of the greatest edges.

Homemade High Nutritional Value And Attractor Carp BaitsThings have to be seen to be believed and it seems to me that not all nutritional baits catch fish equally well all the time. Of course, there are many variable factors involved. Often it is the newer baits that have the edge over the old. Often it is the freshness and actual nutritional potency of ingredients and stimulants, attractants and ‘food’ type additives that makes a big difference. Amino acids come into the equation in style here as they are an integral part of so many bait ingredients and many individually and collectively stimulate search and feeding behaviour.

The ratios of various amino acids is all important in a balanced nutrition bait, but in many ways, the solubility and digestibility of amino acid providing ingredients and additives is just as important. Liquid ‘free’ amino acids used in combination with soluble protein ingredients to boost concentrations released from the bait are well proven for big fish. There are many other bait additives and substances which act synergistically with and alongside amino acids which one reason why for me, amino acids in getting fish hooked is definitely not all there is to it. (In fact, far from it!)

These things can all be separated into a class of separate behaviours working along both a practical and hypothetical checklist of fish receptors, chemoceptory and olfactory systems (and combinations of) and the synergistic working of the other fish sensory systems too. Balanced or high nutritional value baits are often introduced into the water regularly to ‘wean’ the fish onto eating them and into them becoming accustomed to this new ‘natural food’ source.

Often this is unnecessary as anglers using baits similar in design and fishing a swim prior to you have often done this for you. It seems a habit for anglers to bait up a swim without actually discovering how much of which particular bait may already have been introduced already. This can make a mighty difference to your results for good or bad. Fishing over rotten chufa or tiger nuts or other rotting particles, boilies or pellets type baits can guarantee you zero fish; carp like other fish are highly sensitive to sources of ammonia and certain amines like putresine.

If baiting up of any bait is carried out at regular times and places, the fish can literally be ‘waiting ‘ for your bait as it goes in. You can often exploit the free baits of anglers in the swim before you. On many waters, anglers arrive, bait up heavily, and after a couple of days, top up free baits, still with no fish caught. Then often within an hour or 2 of them reeling in their lines and vacating, the fish might have a swift ‘binge’ on the washed out baits. Fishing single baits is obviously effective here.

Often a water is ‘dominated’ by one manufacturer’s range of baits. Perhaps where a syndicates members have personal links with a bait company, or a bait can be purchased cheaper by a group of anglers on a water all contributing money in order to get a better price for their bait. If anyone else happens to stumble upon the same ready made bait, they can catch a disproportionate amount of fish as a result of other angler’s money and hard work establishing a bait.

It is worth remembering, that many anglers have regularly used so-called ‘attractor baits’ to catch big fish and it can even be said that some take less nutritional baits because they may associate a particular flavour ‘label’ or additive with a similar but nutritional one. When all is said and done, fish have no hands and if the mood takes them virtually anything will be sampled, if only once. There are many ‘attractor’ baits that catch fish, but can actually ‘burn’ the fish’s sensory mechanisms temporarily, in the process of the sampling. (As in use of high levels of certain flavouring substances for example.)

There are many other substances that trigger true feeding and ingestion or swallowing of food and consumption of  bait and this needs to be more considered by some. It is logical that the more true feeding receptors are triggered leading to a positive response upon a bait being repeatedly experienced the more likely a fish will feed confidently depending upon impact of anglers etc. (If your bait is being consumed you obviously stand a high chance of hooking a fish!) You do not necessarily require high levels of particular ingredients etc to get sufficient response to your bait.

In fact, to prolong the successful duration of your bait, it is better to keep levels of more recognisable substances and ingredients to a minimum. (Many are very possibly over-used by fellow anglers anyway leading to losing their effective ‘edge’ despite their stimulatory action.)

Certain combinations of amino acids in the correct temperatures and concentrations and pH might affect carp in a fishery for a certain period of time, but no bait will maintain its edge over the fish forever. If fish are constantly being hooked and where other food sources are available to sustain them, previously successful baits can fail whether balanced nutrition ones or not.

Even fish fed quality boilies in a stock pond can stop eating these in response to fishing pressure and only within a couple of weeks too in one instance. That said, one particular large Kent pit had a tonne of a flavoured carbohydrate bait introduced and this dominated the water for over a full season, catching many of the biggest fish.

But this was a water where many of the leading milk and fish based nutritional baits had dominated previously. However, high fish stocks and comparatively low natural food stocks can be attributed to much of this success, besides the over-riding abundance of this energy providing food and the number of anglers introducing and fishing this bait. Its success as the dominant bait did not last however…

But it is the successful duration of nutritional baits that often lasts over the ‘attractor’ ones single attractors being often included in very recognisable levels which fish can easily associate with a threat. Fish dependence on your baits can be affected by cycles of natural food explosions. Other factors include other food sources availability and impact, like the nutritional value and consistent abundance of other anglers’ baits, fish stocks and other factors like effects of constant intense fishing pressure etc.)

There are waters where carp simply stop eating certain types of  baits, despite them having worked exceptionally well for some time; even a couple of seasons. This bait, which has previously satisfied many essential nutritional requirements of fish in a water has no more essentials to offer, where the nutritional profile of the bait is limited in various key aspects. A well designed balanced nutritional bait will keep working on and on for just the opposite reason...

‘Staying ahead of the game’ is certainly a fascinating and exceptionally productive part of  carp fishing! The author has many other ‘edges’ to reveal...

By Tim Richardson.

For the unique and acclaimed new massive expert bait making ‘bibles’ ebooks / books: “BIG CATFISH AND CARP BAIT SECRETS!” And: “BIG CARP BAIT SECRETS!” (AND FLAVOR SECRETS ETC) SEE:


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