Monday, April 16, 2012

The Best Specimen Carp Bait Options - Issue 2


In the previous issue we discussed how difficult it could be sometimes to choose the perfect bait option for a selected venue. We focused on the preparation/ application an presentation of tiger nuts. In this issue we look at boilies.


Both pre-made and homemade artificial baits have been used by many, for years instead of natural ones. Many of these baits were born long before I was and from old recipes involving dough. The approach of these baits are the same as for natural baits. Simply get the baited hook into the strike zone of the fish.

Boilies have been used by almost all anglers in South Africa with great success. There are however a fairly large range of options available.  How do you decide on the product and when to use boilies rather than something else? Remember that a bait option used at one location with success may prove totally wrong for another and might even prove inconsistent at the same location on a different day. Nutritional content, rather than just high levels of attraction is the secret weapon. This will allow you to use boilies with confidence at the most demanding venues. 

For a better understanding of the science behind nutritional value of bait and the impact on carp behavior, please see eBook "Big Carp Bait Secrets". For more information on this eBook please visit

Proteins, amino acids, milk proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals / trace elements, vitamins, enzymes, bacteria, fermentation of baits, flavors, sweeteners, oils, taste enhancers / appetite simulators and addictive substances are all to be considered when choosing a commercial bait or when making your own.

Making Your Own

Why make your own bait? It takes allot of time, effort and it is available commercially already. What is there to be gained? Well, homemade baits can be made to cater for specific strategies or circumstances. Making your own concoction could potentially give you the long awaited advantage over other anglers. Why not experiment?

Basic Boilie Making Guide  

  • Break the eggs into the mixing bowl (4 large eggs for every 500grams of base mix).
  • Add the flavors and additives.
  • Add the base mix (For base mix options see below).
  • If the paste seems slightly dry just add an extra egg.
  • If the paste seems too sticky add a small quantity of base mix.
  • Now, use a rolling table to create the boilies. Rolling tables are available from your local fishing tackle shop.
  • Boil the baits for +- 2 minutes. Do only a few at a time. Once done, place the baits on a towel for a couple of hours until dry.
 The prepared boilies may be stored in a freezer until ready for use.

Selecting The Base Mix

Selecting a particular type of base mix or recipe is done according to the venue, the situation and time of year. Choosing the right option can be the difference between a disappointing and rewarding weekend. 

For more information on bait mixes see below

Boilie Presentation

Pop-Ups have become an essential part of today’s specimen carp angling. Here is a typical snowman presentation, a very successful presentation method used around the world. 
The smaller Pop-Up lifts slightly, reducing the weight of the larger bottom boilie (just enough so the hook does not lift as well).

The Twister Pop-Up Rig. The idea behind this rig is for the bait and the hook to be buoyant. This option is mostly effective when not allot of free bait is present.

PVA bags and stringer presentations can also be used. The same procedure used for the tiger nut presentations would be used for boilies.

Remember the following classic quotes:

Give a man a fish and he has food for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend. 
Zenna Schaffer

The two best times to fish is when it’s rainin’ and when it ain’t.
Patrick F. McManus

Tight lines!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Best Specimen Carp Bait Options - Issue 1


Bait application can seem confusing.  How many times have you heard someone say they are unsure about what bait to use at a specific venue. Hell, how many times were you wondering about this yourself? Which color, what size, flavors, presentation etc? The many possibilities available to us these days, makes it almost impossible to decide. We really are spoilt for choice.
It is because of this, I decided to do some research on some of the carp bait options available in the market, practicalities of making your own, the application / presentation of bait and most importantly why carp is attracted to specific bait options. It was the latter (my need for knowledge on carp behavior and bait application) that lead me to an eBook called "Big Carp Bait Secrets". 

For more information on this eBook, please visit
I now provide you with the details of my findings.

Tiger nuts

Tiger nuts are undoubtedly one of my most favorite bait options. If not prepared correctly though, this bait could cause lots of harm. Chufa another name for tiger nuts, is a grass-like plant widely used in Spain and Africa for medicinal reasons.
For additional reading on the medical benefits of tiger nuts please visit
Due to the fact that naturally presented baits could be viewed by carp with less caution than for example boilies, tiger nuts on occasions could be more effective. It can be fished in exactly the same manner as boilies or could be used as freebies in a mixture with hemp seed and ground bait.
The baiting of fishing zones with tiger nuts should not be too aggressive.

Tiger Nut Preparation

  • Take the tiger nuts, put them in a bucket, and cover with water.
  • Add the required preservatives, salt and sweeteners to the mixture so it may be soaked up properly.
  • Leave to soak for 24 to 48 hours. You will notice it swelling slightly.
  • After at least 24 hours, put the nuts and soaking water into a pot and boil for at least 60 minutes. Add extra water if needed.  When boiling you may add some sugar if you wish.
  • Once cooled down you can use them straight away or you can ferment it until coated in its own juices (sticky syrup). You may also put them in a blender and grind them for a lose feed.
  • The final product could be stored in a freezer until needed. 

Free Bait Preparation


  • 2kg tiger nuts
  • 2kg maize (mielies)
  • 1kg hemp seed
  • 25ml sea salt
  • Flavor / attractors of choice


Prepare the tiger nuts as indicated above. 
Prepare all the other ingredients together with the preservatives, salt and sweeteners.
As soon as the particles come off the boil, mix with the tiger nuts, add the attractors of choice and allow for the particles to cool down.


Various methods are used by anglers around South Africa. Like with any business or sport, competitive advantage is what it is all about. Presenting your bait differently may give you an edge over other anglers. 
Carps learn and are influenced by previous experience and angling pressure. They may refuse presentations that had them caught in past. So, how do you then go about ensuring your bait is detected? Firstly, make your lines invisible to the fish. This could increase your chance of success dramatically. Secondly, exploit the carp’s sensory needs to the max. Use substances in your baits that is irresistible to the species. Use sweeteners, taste enhancers, and proteins that work for you. Experiment with different options. Ask other anglers familiar with the waters you visiting for advise on the venue and what bait not to use.

Making a feeding area for the fish is one presentation method that could be used with great result. Be sure to mark the area with a marker. Scouting with a fish finder will allow for optimal placement of hook baits. 

The mousetrap is another method. You simply place your hook bait in a chosen spot and throw a few handfuls of feed around it. The deeper the water the more bait will be needed. 

A combination of the two methods above is also an option. Simply create a feeding area between two markers, with the free bait spread far apart. Place your hook baits strategically in this area with more free bait placed around it. The fish will be drawn into the area and attracted towards your hook baits due to the higher concentration of free bait.

Lastly, the alternative to the above is PVA bags or stringers Since the introduction of PVA bagsPVA string presentations seem to have fallen out of fashion. The stringer presentation allow for subtle scattering of bait. The PVA bags on the other end are a fantastic way of introducing your hook-bait amongst a small pile of free offerings.

In the next issue we will look at other bait options. 

If you have learned something new and would like to share, please provide your comments.

Remember the following classic quotes:

If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
Benjamin Franklin

The gods do not deduct from man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
Babylonian Proverb

Tight lines!