As with most things in life, its all very much a case of trial and error in order to get it right but hopefully with the helpful input of the steps shown below, it should give you some pointers on how to produce a bait and also possible idea’s, levels and combinations that work well in order to produce a bait that catches.
There can be nothing more gratifying than catching a fish on a bait that you have produced or lovingly rolled yourself. One of the main advantages through using your own bait is that it cannot be copied, which is particularly satisfying, especially if it is successful, knowing that it cannot be copied in this cut throat world of carping. It is soul destroying to see someone else take advantage of your hard work by short cuts finding it easier to fish off your own hard work, than make there own destiny.
So, what options have we available? Initially in the early days, bait was spread into 3 or 4 categories, namely, Budget semolina / Soya mix, Milk Proteins, Fishmeal’s and Birdfood mixes. In the 90’s, baits moved forward where instead of just one discipline of bait was produced; it was noticeable that a combination of different ingredients produced far better and more consistent results. Moving on 15 years, the current scene of bait production is very much at the forefront of design, with new and exciting products being un-earthed and being combined into the latest baits that are putting fish on the bank with constant regularity, such is the high standard that they have reached.
With most things, preparation is all important in being able to produce your own bait, along with having everything to hand and also being in an environment that is suitable to produce bait. I have suffered at the hands of having to produce bait on the bank, in a shed and also at home and also felt the consequences of the mess and smell that has been omitted following a bait making session which should also be taken into account.
So, with this in mind I shall list out a comprehensive list of bait ingredients and utensils required in order to complete a bait making session.
- Measuring Beaker / spoon / pipette
- Sauce pan
- Gardner rolling table
- Hard clean surface
- Tea Towel
Bait Ingredients Required
- Base Mix
- Liquid / Powdered Additives
Take a bowl and crack your eggs into a decent size bowl and whisk thoroughly. As an added edge, I like to add egg shell to my baits. I crush the shell and add the crushed up segments to the whisked egg at this point.
Add your chosen liquid additives, oils to the eggs and mix thoroughly.
Take your base mix and if you want to tweak the mix by adding additional powdered ingredients / colour, add this now to the bag and shake well to distribute within the bait. Once this is done, add slowly constantly stirring until a thick paste is achieved.
Keep adding the mix to the paste until you can no longer stir, then knead the mix (like making bread) until you have a stiff but moist ball of mix.
By adding the mix to a plastic bag and leaving in a fridge or somewhere cool for 20 minutes, the mix becomes more stable and easier to work with.
If you are using a bait gun take a lump of paste and slide into the tube section of the bait gun and pump the trigger, until the bait comes out laying the sausages across the Rolling table. If like me, you don’t have a bait-gun, I take a section of paste and roll then into sausages on a clean hard surface, repeating the process until all of the paste is in sausage form.
Lay the sausages across the rolling table, 2 at a time and slide the table backwards and forwards for roughly 5 seconds. This will compress the mix making into Boilies made of paste. If the paste crumbles it may be too dry or too wet. Unfortunately, only experience will teach you this. Fishmeal / Birdfood / Protein mixes also behave differently, which is worth bearing in mind when you are using a new bait. It may pay to experiment or make up a test batch in order not to not waste raw materials.
Add water to a pan, making sure it is sufficiently full to add a Sieve into whilst covering the boilies. If you don’t have a Sieve, you will need to remove the boilies using a spatula or spoon. Firstly though, bring the water to the boil, then turn down the heat slightly, so it is simmering, then add approximately 20 boilies or as many so the pan isn’t overfilled. Also, get ready to click your stop watch or if you have a clock handy, add the boilies when the seconds hand is at 60 so you can monitor the seconds. Stir or shake the sieve initially, in order to make sure the boilies haven’t stuck, and then occasionally stir the boilies in the water. The baits will normally rise in the water after 60-90 seconds depending on how high the heat is. I would normally give a 14mm bait 60-90 seconds, whereas I would normally boil a 18mm bait for 90-120 seconds.
Remember, I lightly boiled bait will omit its attractors and break down quicker making them more responsive to a quick bite. So if you can introduce your boilies by a spod or catapulting them in at relatively short range a softer bait may benefit your catch rate, but also if you have nuisance fish or crayfish apparent within your lake you may need to increase the boiling time or maybe add some Egg albumin or even air dry the baits to increase there overall hardness.
Remove the boiled baits from the hot water and spread evenly on a tea towel and leave in a cool dry place to dry off. Baits left overnight will produce a harder skin making them more acceptable to the use of a throwing stick but again this should be based upon trial and error.
Collect up the boilies and add to a plastic sandwich bag, normally marking the outside with a permanent marker to what bait it is and the date it was rolled. Alternatively, they can be added to an air-drying bag to make them even harder or if you haven’t got sufficient freezer space.
Add the sandwich bag containing the boilies to the freezer. They should be frozen overnight and will be ready to use whenever you need them, either by taking them out prior to leaving for the lake and keeping them in a cool bag or box or alternatively, taking them from the freezer and adding them to an air-drying bag to thaw naturally. (An edge to make boilies more acceptable and attractive prior to removing from the freezer is by adding a capful of Feedstim XP over the frozen baits and then shaking to evenly distribute the liquid. As the boilies defrost, they will suck in the liquid boosting the baits and improving there overall attractiveness and acceptability.)
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