In preparation for a French trip most anglers will order their bait well in advance which will probably be a generous amount of their favourite boilie and some matching pellet. Boilies are so convenient to use but are they as effective as we think? You might think this is a strange question coming from somebody who supplies them but like you, I always want to catch more.
There are 2 reasons why boilies are made round, so they can be aerodynamic and thus fired out into the swim and secondly because commercial preparation makes them this way! At the point of boiling a number of things happen to your carp bait including some of the following: loss of soluble attractors, loss of food value, food that will be harder to break down and digest and a round ball that will be easier for the fish to associate with danger. All of which are fairly negative points and ones that are only partially negated by using pellet shapes and steaming.
A match fisherman has an allocated amount of time to catch his fish and the concept is a simple one, to catch the maximum amount in that time. Carp fishing is no different and whether you are fishing a day session or have a week in France at your disposal the principal is the same. Now, it is unlikely that the match fishermen will put in a large amount of bait from the off but will try and stimulate the swim with ground bait to attract the fish to his hookbait. Groundbait is simply a mix of colour and soluble attraction but has the ability to pull fish very quickly. The differences between carp fishing and match fishing are not so great with the exception being that we might have to wait longer for a bite and the feeding times might be different. Some lakes I have fished in Europe and in the UK for that matter tend to produce more at night but how often do we set the traps and retire to the sleeping bag? Ground baits and spod mixes can be very effective if baited through the hours of darkness but it does take some effort.
To work out what you are trying to achieve you first need to visualise the situation in your swim. Imagine a five kilo bed of boilies in the swim with some pellets and think of what it looks like. It is hardly inspiring is it? Most anglers like to believe their bait is a cut above the rest and will be the stuff that the carp crave the most but the reality in a lot of cases is that it is just a gathering of round balls lying on the bottom that the carp will see day in and day out. This is fine when conditions are good and the fish are feeding hard but at all other times we are offering a fairly unimaginative approach.
Imagine a baited area that is constantly coloured up and oozing soluble attraction all the time, fish will stay around this area all the time in most conditions. Remember you can only catch them one at a time and a large haul can soon be accumulated. I think it is wrong in most situations to bait up with a large haul in mind or by piling it in from the off.
From the title of this article you might conclude that I think the answer to the question is paste and this is partially true but you have to understand the mechanics of the paste. Firstly paste in my opinion is just groundbait held together with eggs rather than water and thus increasing the breakdown time. It can be made from your standard boilie mix but the options it gives you are endless in comparison to your finished round boilie that offers very few options. With every solution there are limitations and the limitations of paste include fishing at long range and nuisance species that will clear the baited area in short time. Let’s forget about the negatives for now and concentrate on the bonus’s that can fill your photograph album. My starting point for paste would be mu usual boilie recipe with half the egg content replaced by nutritional liquids such as LO30 and fosfor syrup which will result in a quicker breakdown time. I will add significantly more colour in both soluble and semi soluble forms to release colour into the water and plenty of soluble attractors that would have been lost by boiling. Some of my favourites are sodium saccharine and MSG and the dry powders that I put in all my baits that can cause a local change in the pH of the water. What you now have in your swim is slow dissolving attraction that will constantly attract carp and you can be fully in control of the speed of release by adjusting the ingredients. There are no limitations to how you apply the paste and I have done incredibly well by placing a boulder size lump in the swim. If you think about the way a carp sometimes attacks a method feeder you can easily imagine how it would respond to a football size lump of food, a very unorthodox method and one they do not see every day. I also add oil and floating spod mix to this huge ball that really stimulates the fish and gives a great indication of feeding in the swim from the bankside.
I have introduced paste in all sizes and forms and boilies can be prepared in the regular manner and then frozen on air-drying trays rather than boiling. A large bed can be sticked out at range, even in cold water they will thaw out very quickly and can be introduced during unlikely feeding times. Another method that is used a lot by the French is a tactic called glacons. These are usually a mix of particles and juices which are frozen in a film canister along with the hooklength and bait. They cast for miles and are very effective but even more so if you take it up a level. Whole pva bags can be frozen with liquid foods as long as you have some solid bait in order to sink the bag. Once again there is no limit to the size of the ice cube you can use if you have the use of a boat or if you are fishing in the margins. Imagine a bucket of particles, liquid food, colour, pellets etc all frozen in a giant ice cube that slowly melts in the swim. The fish will not be scared of it and the attraction it gives off will be incredible!
All of the methods I have explained will take a lot of thought and a considerable amount of effort but they will all catch you more fish. I am sure all of us have struggled at some point on the bank and watched somebody reeling in fish after fish. The old saying is that effort equals reward but the more effort you put in before you reach the bank the more the reward can be.
Jason Rider – www.booksoncarp.co.uk