Protein has always seemed to be part of the key in carp bait success, but there is much confusion about which ingredients to use! The how and why of using whole and treated proteins to create world-class pre-digested, probiotic and prebiotic active homemade baits is absolutely vital to understand as much as possible to truly maximise your results! Read on and transform your catches right now!
Anglers have used protein as the basis of their baits ever since Isaac Walton using rabbit meat. The high protein milk protein bait cult of the seventies and early eighties only led more and more people to seriously think that whole proteins such as caseins were vital to big carp success. But there is far more to protein baits than using whole proteins!
In the earlier years of carp fishing for instance in the seventies when I began carp fishing, we used very simple seeming yet complex baits for carp called ‘specials’ which were paste baits made predominantly and ironically enough, from many of the most often used bait ingredients today. The biggest difference in bait recipes back then was that most anglers used water in their baits. But then more and more people used eggs to bind their special pastes together as this relatively insoluble material made paste baits more durable and longer-lasting against pest fish.
Then the idea of heating paste baits really took off and instead of using paste baits which were normally anything from golf ball sized to even as big as an orange, the size of baits were dramatically reduced to usually under 25 millimeters in diameter. At the stage of using eggs and boiling baits, carp baits became known as ‘boilies’. At this stage and around this time many developments were manifesting which all led to huge breakthroughs in catching far more carp compared to simply doing things by more haphazard means. Carp fishing became far more methodical as more and more anglers did more and more methodical testing and research.
The milk protein approach of Fred Wilton spread far and wide and anglers found that using milk proteins such as soluble caseins to bind their baits meant that their baits were super-resilient against pest species and instead of using pastes and re-casting every 30 minutes, anglers were able to cast out and fish overnight knowing their baits would be usually intact if not taken by morning.
But the boiling of baits and the coagulating of globulin proteins in special pastes meant that the most vital parts of baits got locked up as they were made drastically less soluble, this defeating the primary action of baits I.e. to become solution and produce a very significant concentration gradient of feeding triggers, attractants etc in the water column!
The key to bait success is in the actual size of the molecules or bits of information that carp detect and respond to chemically and bio-chemically in different ways and in the ways that water reacts with such fine aspects of your bait in action. Baits work in solution. This is of paramount importance to understand. And this is the only way that carp can detect your baits other than at close proximity by vision or by audible means, or by subtle electrical means.
But chemically, carp detect the commonest substances found to be stimulatory to feeding responses by the interaction of the very fine parts of molecules interacting with proteins and ion channel surface ligands for instance in the olfactory system, where for instance a blend of amino acids in solution will activate the receptor in such a way to send signals to the brain of the carp in the appropriate area that triggers motion and feeding responses causing fish to seek the source of the dissolved substances they are experiencing.
They do this to determine if a stimulus is an opportunity or threat; carp baits can be both! Your purpose in creating baits is not to create a food source but to supply an incredibly potent true feeding stimulus which may indeed have beneficial factors for the fish, but primarily will ultimately get your hook into the mouths of fish (without satiating them!)
To supply a source of stimulation in enhanced ways truly maximised and optimised internally and externally is a fine art and takes testing and experience of levels combinations and so on, of ingredients, additives, enhancers, processes and so on. There are easy short-cuts however. Modern anglers seem to want ever faster short-cuts in the form of products off the shelf. But using these simply leaves the angler in the power of bait companies and their pricing policies and at the whim of ever changing fashions!
Originally high protein carp baits based around soluble milk proteins and hardened by soluble whey and caseins etc and bound with eggs were really thought of as the pinnacle of carp bait design. Anglers not using such high protein baits were actually not respected and regarded as ignorant! But it eventually transpired that the nutritional theories which led to the high protein bait revolution had many holes. For instance carp have only a limited capacity to digest and assimilate milk proteins beyond a certain point. Satiation is a major problem in using high protein boilies. How many eggs can you eat at any one time?
In fact in the early years of the original milk protein baits they were often simply pastes mixed with water which perhaps lasted half an hour on the hook. And in those days soft pastes where of course favourable because you could strike your hook point clear of a soft bait far more easily than if baits were hard! The use of all sorts of ingredients which bound baits up but made them hard really were in some ways more of an issue when boilies came along when the trend was to make very hard resilient baits.
One idea using baits high in caseins for instance was that carp would have to such much harder to take hook baits into the mouth and there would be a higher possibility of hooking fish this way using rock hard baits. This was of course in a context of the time, when far more baits were much softer and in paste form still.
These days the situation is reversed. The wary fish are far more easily caught on soft baits than smooth-surfaced machine-rolled hard boiled or steamed baits! Carp can easily sort the density and movement characteristics and other features and so on of hard baits even without touching them with their lips. They can waft then, fan them, even roll their flanks on them or lift them or fan them using fins. Carp can easily determine if a bait is suspiciously buoyant or too heavy due to weight of a hook, or if it is tethered in some way!
Most baits that get taken in the mouth which result in a hook up have been in and out of many mouths without those fish running, because so many fish simply spit hooks out without moving an inch from the position of sucking a bait in! Part of the way to defeat such fish is to leave boiled baits in lake water for 24 hours so that micro-organisms get to work breaking down the proteins in the bait, just as they would with free baits being put out and left for 24 hours on the lake bed.
Generally speaking most anglers are just too impatient to leave their hook baits out for 2 days. Therefore fish have been trained by anglers into the association that washed out baits are usually safe to consume!
But the interesting point here is that carp have also been conditioned to consume washed out baits because in fact these baits are more energy-efficient to consume compared to fresh baits! Baits are not strictly about food but are absolutely about stimulating true feeding responses!
You can have a really nutritionally-stimulating so-called food bait which carp are simply not willing to feed on because either they associate aspects of it with danger. Or carp may have simply been fed too much of it so they do not require the nutrition that standard methods of formulation and processing of readymade or homemade food baits supply!
There are very many situations on lakes where so many similar food baits have been used that the fish are predominantly too wary to feed on fresh food baits and really only feed on them with confidence once such baits have been on the lake bed for a considerable time. I mean enough time for microorganisms such as anaerobic bacteria to break down the more energy-draining aspects, the proteins down into free form amino acids, organic acids etc.
This energy short-cut of digestion is a crucial cornerstone of carp bait success. It is the difference between feeding fish and satiating them and creating a situation where your free baits are harnessed in real time induce the maximum number of takes possible. It is the difference between making very high protein milk protein boilies and fishing them fresh against such baits which have been partially pre-digested and cured. The difference in bait performance and catch results is enormous!
A number of anglers use monosodium glutamate as a taste enhancer in their baits. Basically this is an artificial salt form glutamate discovered by Karl Henrich Ritthausen by treating wheat gluten with sulphuric acid. Wheat gluten is a basic binder used in special paste baits before and around the time that eggs were first used by growing numbers of carp anglers to bind their baits.
Wheat gluten is an excellent binder but is not particularly digestible to carp and it locks up bait ingredients in a relatively insoluble matrix unfavourably (as do liquid and powdered egg also.) There are a number of superior materials to exploit instead of these!
Personally I avoid using eggs in any form as these lock up baits far too much. As wheat gluten is far less used these days it actually forms a valuable part of your bait making arsenal in binding baits without eggs. I personally prefer other materials but the reason I use wheat gluten here as an example is for the fact that the salt form of an amino acid, glutamic acid, has been acid-hydrolysed or split, from the whole protein, into the free form amino acid. This form of split protein, the amino acids and broken peptide linkages are the forms which carp readily detect even in relatively low concentrations! (Glutamic acid is a perfect example of a true feeding trigger!)
All proteins that you will use in your carp baits contain glutamic acid. And you can split or pre-digest or enzyme-treat or use hydrolysed forms of proteins to compose your baits and stimulate feeding by their high concentrations, and avoid the use of MSG which actually causes micro-bleeding at brain receptor sites (as does aspartame and aspartame-based artificial sweeteners such as Splenda!)
In order to make your food baits superior you need to split your protein ingredients as much as possible into their free form amino acids so you create a very significant excess of them in your baits. This aspect of your protein in your baits is what leaches out and stimulates true feeding!
Two of the most significant and superior carp bait ingredients are calcium caseinate (soluble casein) and enzyme-treated fish protein. There are many other hydrolysed, enzyme-treated materials that can be exploited, including keramine, hydrolysed keratine, enzyme-treated liver powder, and concentrated yeasts.
Some of the most used materials which are split using acids in the food industry to drastically improve flavour, taste, palatability and consumption are maize, rice, wheat, rapeseed, and various pulses (including soya.) Use this fact to stimulate your mind to consider possibilities of how to split aspects of your baits to seriously improve the feeding stimulation of your baits (beyond mere ‘food bait’ digestibility factors!)
Feeding stimulation always must come first! Your baits must generate as many bites as possible as fast as possible in real time; that is vitally important to understand and to optimise and maximise in as many unique ways as you can! Revealed in my unique readymade bait and homemade bait carp and catfish bait secrets ebooks is far more powerful information look up my unique website (Baitbigfish) and see my biography below for details of my ebooks deals right now!