When I first started carp fishing it was during the era of the paste bait specials and anglers made mixtures of many strange powdered products that were available at the time, but most used flour/semolina and soya mixed with either cat food or dog food and various human food products. Those in the know began using products such as sodium casienate, lactien, lactose and wheat germ before adding the carbohydrate products (semo/ soya). This base mix of powders was mixed with liquid food colours, flavours and eggs and others used ground down meatballs and beef burgers etc which when pleaded with the powders was made into a dough or paste.
This all changed when the baits were eventually rolled into balls and then boiled (so the
name ‘boilie’ was born).
Things had moved on and people had the idea of creating HNV baits (high nutritional value). Fred Wilton came up with the idea of using milk proteins such as casein, the main protein precipitated from milk, alongside lactalbumin the secondary protein. Along with the use of other products such as calcium casienate etc, these fermentation nutrients produced a high protein bait with good amino profile, but they had to be cooked delicately and kept fresh to maximise the attraction. These baits worked well but were more effective when water temperatures dropped, which coincided with the micro pond life fading out towards winter. These organisms shield the amino signal of the attraction being produced by the breakdown of the protein HNV’S.
When I started using boilie’s I made a bait similar to the Wilton theory but also nicked some ideas from recipes in Kevin Maddocks book ‘Carp Fever’. These recipes used casein along with complan and cow and gate baby milk. After a season using this type of bait I realised I needed to improve the overall digestive makeup and at first mixed these ingredients with CLO bird food which helped. Eventually I experimented with with fishmeal’s which eventually became the key and the main protein source within the bait. Due to the high protein, digestibility and the resilience to being boiled, eventually I formulated a bait made of 50% fishmeal, 25% Bird-food and 25% milks which is still my template for fishmeal baits to this day. This mix was put together in 1985, around the same time I came across a fish-oil which I called ‘Fish-feed-Inducing oil’ as this was its main function within the fish farming industry. I now had a bait that rolled well and a liquid attractor that worked well especially in warm water temeperatures. In 1986 I started the company Premier Baits and this mix became the incredibly successful Fish-Base-Mix. Within 3 years this mix became the best selling mix of all time, but this was in the days when anglers made their own baits and just had to buy eggs and mix a flavour to give their bait its own individual signal. So we now had the scenario of 1000’s of anglers all using the same base mix and attractor but with different flavours all working together actually helping each other. Because of the digestibility of this bait, a true HNV for the masses, it just went from strength to strength.
After producing an effective bait template, I then made fishmeal baits with products that had not been used in this type of bait such as Haiths Robin-Red/Seaweed/Kelp meal as well as the old favourites such as Liver extract and Minamino which opened up a never-ending list of additives and attractors to try. This now opened up a whole new world of possibilities for bait production and was very exciting times.
The next big discovery was in 1990 when my friend, Les Bamford, sent me an article from a fish farming magazine highlighting the use of Pre-digested Fish Proteins. Over the next few weeks I spoke to the big companies such as ICI and BP Nutrition, to see if they had used this product. I soon procured two sacks and within weeks, I had produced a bait mix incorporating this exciting new product. It was the CPSP 90 which was made in France and also the CPSP 70, which had a higher fat content. For us the CPSP 90 was the one, because we wanted to add our own oils and various other liquids. So, now we had moved on into the next phase of bait development.
Since that time we have sourced many new products such as hydrolysed marine protein liquids, pre-digested liquid fish, pre-digested liver, liquid betaine complexes and over the years many, many more. To this day we are actively looking for and sourcing new products in an attempt to consistently improve and stay at the fore-front of bait development.
Another bait we developed over the past 12 years and one in which we are probably the innovators and market leaders are the Nut-baits. Back in the day, nut-baits were fairly ineffective, products such as peanut meal and brazil meal were used within the base-mixes and are not generally digestible enough for the carp’s specific requirements. Many companies still use these products in varying quantities within their baits, often rendering the baits less effective during certain phases of the year and according to the amounts being used.
Without giving away all our secrets, we like the milled tiger nut which is actually not a nut at all, but a tuber! This tuber contains roughly 6% protein and is made up of starch and carbs. When blended with the right ingredients to compliment it’s use, you only need a few special additives, such as Brocacel. This helps break down these products and you end up with a highly digestible and palatable bait.
But, we never rest on our laurels and are already taking the next steps in development with baits such as I-BAIT which pushes the boundaries for the future of bait advancement.