Carp Fishing Bait & Additives
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Carp Fishing Bait & Additives
Where would an angler be without bait? You can have all the tackle in the world but if you’re not using quality bait you’re never going to have a carp take, no matter how long you spend sat by the water’s edge. Here at Angling Direct we only stock the best baits and additives in the business so, whether you’re looking for the perfect boilie to entice that monster carp you’ve been chasing or maybe you just want to stock up on the killer combination you’ve been using for years, we have the baits and additives for you. As avid carp anglers ourselves, we know how fickle carp can be about where, when, and what they eat, so a quality bait really does make all the difference between a successful trip and a disappointing one. All the brands we stock have centuries of combined experience, so you can put all your faith in them knowing they are going to deliver great results every time.
As you can see, there are loads of different baiting options for you to choose from and we stock a comprehensive range of baits and additives. This variety means you can mix and match as you please in order to create great unique combinations that will be irresistible to carp or you can use the tried and tested combinations that are guaranteed to give you results every time. To give you some idea of the range we have, as well as the best ways to use them, we’ve created this quick carp bait and additive guide.
When you’re looking at carp bait chances are the first thing you’re going to be looking at are boilies. Carp boilies are the most popular choice for carp anglers around their world and it’s no surprise why! Small and round, these boilies are packed with the nutrients and attractants that will draw a carp into your swim and keep them grubbing for your hook bait for hours. There are two main types of boilies out there: shelf-life boilies and freezer boilies.
Freezer boilies are traditionally the preferred boilie among serious carp anglers. This is because they contain lots of active fresh ingredients that make the boilie incredibly attractive in the water. However, the major downside of the freezer boilie is that they have to be frozen in order to maintain their freshness. Whilst it is easy enough to keep your boilies in the freezer at home, this becomes an awful lot trickier when you’re down at the bank and for a long session angler this can quickly become a nightmare. Not only this, but you also have to defrost the boilie at the optimum time in order to get the most out of it and, due to the condensation that builds up in the freezing and defrosting process, the boilies often have to be air-dried before use. Despite these drawbacks, the potency of the freezer boilie long made them the bait of choice among the carp fishing community.
However, in recent years the popularity of the shelf-life boilie has really taken off. Shelf-life boilies have similar properties to the freezer boilie, with the added benefit that they are self-preserving. This means that they contain preservatives and as such do not need to be stored in your freezer prior to use. Shelf-life boilies used to be frowned upon by hardcore carp anglers, as they were considered to be less effective than their frozen cousins. Advances in food technology has meant that shelf-life boilies are now able to offer the same potency as freezer boilies – without all the drawbacks that were traditionally associated with them. This has made the shelf-life boilie an incredibly popular choice for the novice and dedicated angler alike.
Boilies are primarily used in one of two ways, although by crushing and cutting them they can be included in groundbait mixes to further increase heir versatility – more on that later. The first way that you’ll see boilies being used on the bank are as freebie baits. These are loose baits that are not attached to your hook and they serve to draw the carp into your swim and get them grubbing (consuming food from the bed of your venue) for your bait. The second way you’ll see boilies used on the bank are as hook baits themselves. Hook baits are literally the bait that you attach to your rig and it is only by consuming one of these baits that your carp will (hopefully) be hooked. There are many ways to present your bait, depending on the rig you use and the method you use to attach it to your hook and boilies offer a huge versatility in this department thanks to their slow breakdown rate.
Both forms of boilie are available in a range of sizes, usually between 10mm and 20mm in diameter – although you might find some boilies that fall out of this range. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to tailor the size of boilie you use based upon the size of fish that you’re looking for. After all, it goes without saying that a large boilie will not fit in the mouth of a small fish, so if you’re after smaller species then it would pay to use a smaller boilie. However, if you’re targeting a bigger fish then it might be worth your while to use a larger boilie, as, though you will likely get fewer bites during the course of your session, you won’t have to worry about your hook bait being taken by smaller fish. You’ll also want to consider the size of your hook when you’re picking your boilie (and vice-versa) as you to need an optimal hook-to-boilie size ratio in order to be confident of the greatest number of takes.
Both forms of boilie also come in a myriad of different flavours. The flavour you choose will probably depend on a combination of things, including the venue you’re targeting and the season. In general, in the warmer months anglers will tend to use a more pungent, fishmeal based bait. These have a high oil content, which spreads through the water column to attract fish towards you. This also means that these baits are high in fats and nutrients and will feed up the fish in order to allow them to grow. In the colder months a sweeter, milk-protein based base is often the preferred choice. This is because the sweeter flavours dissipate better through colder waters, making them more successful attractants in these conditions. Sweeter boilies also tend to have a lower fat content, ensuring that you don’t over-feed fish in the winter. Fish diets are stunted in the colder months and highly oily baits will fill your fish quickly, causing them to leave your baited area sooner. Within these two categories, the specific flavours you’ll go for will depend on the venue your fishing. Some anglers will pre-bait their chosen swim with freebies, getting the carp accustomed to associated their particular smell and flavour with ‘safe bait’. This will often happen over a series of days prior to the angling session, so it requires you to be confident that you’ll be able to use the swim you’ve been lovingly preparing when push comes to shove.
Pop-ups are another form of bait which are included in the boilie category. These are baits which have been impregnated with a floatation material, usually cork, in order to make the hook bait float slightly proud of the venue bed. This can work to your advantage in a number of ways. Firstly, should you be fishing over a weedy area, it can keep your hook bait safely out of any serious snags. It can also highlight your hook bait and set it apart from other freebie boilies you’ve distributed, which is one of the reasons why pop-ups can come in vivid colours. Wafters are another form of pop-up that straddle the gap between a true pop-up bait and a boilie. Similarly, dumbbells are a type of boilie that comes in a barrel shape, potentially giving your hook bait the edge in amongst your freebies. No matter what boilie you use, you want to go for one that offers a good mix of attraction and nutrition, as this will feed the fish as well as draw them into your hook bait.
Boilies are often supplied in 1kg-10kg bags, whereas wafters, pop-ups, and dumbbells are in smaller pots. Mainline, Sticky Baits, Nash, and CC Moore are just four of the popular boilie brands we stock.
Groundbait and Particles
When you’re carp fishing with a pole, groundbait is one of the most popular baits out there. It is also an incredibly popular coarse fishing bait and you’ll often see it used to great effect in match fishing. Groundbait is basically what it says on the tin; it is bait that has been milled in order to create a fine, almost powdery, substance. To this, anglers add particles, additives, and other attractants, before mixing the whole lot together with water. The bait is then formed into tennis-ball sized spheres and either thrown or cupped into the water. It will float through the water column and breakdown upon impact with your venue bed, creating a mound of free bait on which you can present your hook bait. However, there are loads of other ways you can use groundbait to great success when you’re fishing. If you’re using a method feeder, you can compress groundbait with pellets in order to create a great feeder mix to entrance your fish. You can also squeeze a small ball of groundbait around your line by your hook, using it as a hook bait.
Groundbait is usually a mix of bait ingredients and can include fishmeals, breadcrumbs, hempseeds, and oils. The exact mix of these ingredients will change depending on the groundbait you use, altering the flavour of the bait. Similarly, some groundbaits will be coarser in construction and others will be finer, affecting the rate at which the bait disintegrates in the water and whether it forms a cloud in the water column or a mound on the venue bed. Another thing to think about when you’re looking for groundbait is the colour. You can buy dyes to tint neutral groundbaits or you can invest in a pre-dyed bait. As a general rule of thumb, darker baits (including reds and blacks) work better in clearer water. This is because the fish that you’re targeting will be prey fish and a darker groundbait helps camouflage them from predators, increasing the confidence of the fish to feed. Cloudy or otherwise churned water gives more natural coverage, so a neutral sand-toned groundbait will work effectively.
Particles are a key aspect of groundbait fishing. These are chunkier elements which are introduced into the groundbait mix in order to sustain the breakdown time or add additional action, ‘fizz’, or cloudiness. Hempseed is one of the most popular particles due to its active action and it is supplied both pre-cooked and raw for home preparation. Sweetcorn is a popular addition, too, especially when fishing with an artificial sweetcorn as a hook bait. Crushed snails and chunky tiger nuts are other particle options, both of which add crunchy textures into the bait. Similarly, you can also chunk up boilies using bait making equipment in order to add additional texture and breakdown rates to your groundbait mix. It is always worth investing a top quality bait bucket and riddle if you’re looking to fish with groundbait, as this is the way that you’re most guaranteed to get a well mixed bait.
Pellets are a popular alternative to boilies and there are several key differences between the two. Firstly, pellets tend to be available in a wider range of sizes than boilies, with anything from 3mm to 21mm pellets on the market and, similarly to boilies, the size of the pellet you choose will depend on your style of angling and the size of fish you’re targeting. The second big difference between boilies and pellets is their breakdown rate. Pellets are much softer than boilies in the water and will dissolve into a mush when soaked – in fact, they are effectively a compressed groundbait. This makes them ideal for use in feeder fishing scenarios.
Pellets have a high oil content and are seen as one of the most attractive forms of baiting in the summer months. They are high in protein, which will keep the carp feeding for hours once they’ve started, and are comparatively cheap when compared to other forms of bait – which is ideal for ‘little and often’ styles of freebie feeding. They are also one of the most versatile forms of baiting. You can mix pellets into a groundbait mix, use them compressed into a feeder, or rigged as part of your hook bait setup. As with all the baits we’ve discussed, pellets come in a huge range of flavours too, although most of the pellets tend to be on the ultra-meaty and fishy flavoured side of things, rather than sweeter.
However, as with all things in angling, there are cons to using pellets too. The biggest strength of pellets (their speedy breakdown) is also their biggest weakness, as you might find yourself having to change your hook bait regularly – potentially disturbing the water. They are also popular amongst a huge range of fish, including the likes of barbel and tench. If you’re targeting carp specifically, this could lead to lots of ‘nuisance’ bites from unwanted fish.
Once again, SonuBaits, Mainline, and Dynamite Baits are all names to look out for when you’re browsing for pellets,
Glugs, bait dips, and flavour sprays are all popular bait additions for the serious carp angler. These are all liquid attractants that can be used to increase the potency of baits, enhancing certain flavours. Liquid attractants and are most often used with your hook bait in order to make it stand out from all the other freebie baits. To use, you simply soak the hook bait with the attractant for a period of time before rigging up, ensuring that the bait is fully coated in your attractant. The key to this is ensuring that the baits are not over soaked, so they decompose quicker in the water, as well as ensuring that you bait has an even coating of the liquid. Remember, this liquid will start to dissipate as soon as your bait hits the water. Using a liquid attractor with an artificial bait is incredibly popular, as it gives your fake bait the smell of a real bait.
Korda and Nash are both big name tackle brands which have branched out into this area of the bait market with huge success.
Originally only associated with predator fishing, you can now buy a range of carp fishing artificial baits. These are most often in the form of fake sweetcorn or fake maggots, although you can also get imitation breads and meats too. The benefit of this is that you get your bait back after the fish has taken it, allowing you to re-use the same bait time and time again. Artificial baits can also be manipulated a lot easier than real bait. If you’re looking to fish with a popped-up setup, you can invest in an imitation bait that offers you this rather than having to rely on a pop-up boilie. Similarly, if you’re after a slow sinking setup, you can buy an imitation bait designed with this purpose in mind.
Enterprise is the big name in the imitation game and the brand is most famous for kick-starting the artificial sweetcorn movement that has since swept the carp fishing world.
As you can see, there is a huge range of baits available for you, each of which has been precision designed and all of which have fantastic applications when carp fishing. It is often said that a carp’s taste-buds are fickle, more so than other species, and we have a range of carp bait to suit all palettes. We constantly update our bait selection as new and exciting flavours are released, so by browsing regularly you can keep one step ahead of the game.