Massively-optimised homemade cold water carp baits open the door to instant big fish success! (FACT!)
Uniquely powerful carp bait recipes for Winter maximisations and optimisations are absolutely crucial to guaranteeing success when the toughest of conditions require the very best boilies you can deliver! The best-proven instant solution to improving winter baits for maximum big fish catches (instantly and for life,) is self-education about fish themselves (they provide all the questions,) thus they provide all the most powerful breakthroughs and answers!
Many of you seek short, quick simple easy solutions for catching more big carp. It is simple; understanding how fish detect bait substances, how you can maximize this in your unique favour, understanding how to achieve situations where fish look for your bait as opposed to other baits, such advantages are absolute gold dust; yet relatively few anglers on the bank truely appreciate this knowledge and insight in action!
But get this big picture, of how fish water and your bait all intereact and you will always be able to stay ahead of your fish and of competing anglers and their baits no matter how good they are, as long as you tune in fully and use the advantages you have instead of simply follow old patterns, old methods, old paradigms about baits and how to use them and how they might work etc.
For example, you might think that one recipe for winter carp bait success is to soak pop up boilies or pellets in neat flavour, maybe pineapple, or in butyric acid for example or both and add some intense sweetener in liquid and powder form plus salts and betaines, (just for a start.) When you know how fish actually detect such substances, and you know how to enhance these substances and manipulate fish senses in certain ways and make such substances far more than just attractors then you really do have the advantage.
Many anglers seem to be addicted to using carp bait with highly recognizable fruity smell and tastes. But how many realize that a great part of the success of such flavours in baits is due to how water reacts with these substances and just how vitally significant this fact is? How many anglers even know the pH of the flavour or flavours combined with other liquids etc they are using in their baits? How many anglers even know the pH of their readymade or homemade baits mixed in lake water and know how this can be manipulated far more to achieve far greater success? Certain bait company bosses certainly realize this, but we can always do better right!
It is all about getting the bigger picture of how fish most easily detect a new opportunity as oppose to a threat, in the form of your carp bait, and how much your understanding and practical understanding of fish, the water, entire ecosystems and use of tackle and materials can achieve the result of bypassing fish caution and conditioned fears to enable fish to make mistakes with your hook baits as frequently as possible.
Pre-Soaking Carp Bait Ingredients To Maximise Your Baits Impacts On Fish And The Water Method; For example:
Examples of carp bait powders to soak and add liquids to: Hemp, crunchy kelp meal, Supergold 60 maize protein, cracked corn, crushed seeds, crushed nuts, roasted peanut meal, dried shrimp, krill, meal worms, insects type products etc.
Carp bait liquids to add include: liquid yeast, liquid liver, Minamino, syrups and liquid form sugars and sweeteners, liquid spice and herb extracts, fruit juices, natural puree, pates and pastes, crushed wheat, blood powder in solution, pre-digested and enzyme-treated, hydrolysed protein-rich ingredients in solution.
Liquid Robin Red, hemp oil, black strap molasses, CSL, shellfish concentrate, liquid Belachan, liquid L030, tiger nut extract, tiger nut oil, kelp complex liquid, trout and halibut liquid extract, soy source, Marmite, Bovril, soups and buillon and gravies and other enhancers and palatants etc, including MSG and additives containing it and yeast extract, whey, inosinate and other stimulants…
In winter and spring fishing, many carp anglers are unaware that you can fish with alternative soluble baits that remain intact for significant lengths of time, and can even be adapted to last longer with unique effects. It seems to me that the average guy on the bank expects his readymade bait to last intact on a rig at least 12 to 36 hours, or even longer. But to me, if a carp bait only lasts about 4 hours’ immersion in very cold water, then this is absolutely ideal, as it means the carp bait is actually effectively dispersing/pumping itself into the water – to maximum effect! You do not always want to ‘play it safe’ and wrap a readymade bait in paste, using one of a pretty limited number of very similar hair rigs, and pretty standard hook link lengths and materials – all of which are retrain carp to be cautious every time they are used.
But I have caught enough big, wary winter and spring fish using carp bait paste (directly on the hook without any hair rig) to know it can out-fish pellets and boilies and maggots on hair rigs – for one thing because fish are simply never expecting this approach! Of course, I do things with my hook link to make certain the hook point is long enough and thin enough and angled just right for maximum immediate penetration upon contact. I manually sharpen my hooks sharper than any chemically-sharpened hook on the market today; but then for me, it is those critical first 4 millimetres of hook point that matter most in fishing.
For 5 years, I had a significant amount of time away from carp fishing testing on catfish and river fish in moving water, while researching my ebooks and related ebooks, and been focusing on river fishing. I did this for various personal reasons, but it has given me a much a fresher perspective on carp bait and baiting applications, and also creativity in solving problems by doing this! The moving water in the river strips concentrations of leaching substances from baits very quickly, just as it does when using worms in beach fishing; the first 15 minutes are the peak time, when the highest concentration of naturally attractive substances and feeding triggers are dispersing into the water currents.
Due to changes in water densities and other factors in rivers, winter baits need special properties if they are to be far more productive than usual but this is not limited just to using extra-soluble substances but also relates to others aspects such as substances that carp most easily detect in very low concentrations, as well as things like special substances that will provide a sudden behavioural change or metabolic or energy-boost when detected – even in low doses. Certain flavour components and combinations will do this just on their own, while bait additives and ingredients add to this effect in many ways for longer durations, with better leaching and attraction and stimulation properties.
Extremely effective cold water baits are basically 2-way pumps that take in water that replaces bait substances within the bait, and in this exchange, pump out stimulation and attraction substances in concentrations that fish easily detect in the water solution contacting them (even at range). Ionic exchange is central to much of this, although certainly not limited to it, as this is only one way baits operate in water and on fish senses.
The way substances trigger carp receptors in different places on and in the body are also an important part of the success equation, but how a bait impacts all senses simultaneously or just one aspect can be a key to success also. Well over 90 percent of all readymade baits are not optimised and maximised to achieve these effects, so the ionic exchange and hence the impact of the bait components on the water is not great, due to design and profitability constraints, and also angler expectations of how the bait will behave in the water.
But of course the homemade bait maker, doing things on a smaller scale, has no such restrictions and can choose substances to significantly boost the bait’s properties, for maximum impact and effect!
For instance, when I am sensing and assessing a carp bait or new potential bait substance (or substances in combination – some substances get active or change their chemical structure and are much more noticeable when combined), for me it is not about a tongue taste or a combined nose or tongue impact that is important – but a deep gut reaction. Some substances are almost invisible to the senses when used on their own but in combinations with others can be made far more active or potent in impact and effect. For instance, certain flavours and sugars have little effect on carp responses but when used in synergistic ways they can make all the difference to your success!
There are in fact very many tricks, tactics, methods etc to achieve improved fish responses in colder water, and conversely in warmer water, in terms of bait designs and their modes of action, fishing styles, ground bait and other free bait characteristics, and how they are applied. Very many baits can actually be made on the bank – all you need are your ready-prepared base mixes and liquids – and such made-on-the-bank baits have actually caught me big carp, where the cold conditions have failed to produce fish on boilies and even on live baits such as maggots!
Very viscous and extremely soluble substances are very useful in cold conditions. Although it may sound strange but some substances that are 99 percent insoluble are also very useful in achieving bites, most especially if they are emulsified or partly emulsified using liquid lecithins. Glycerol or glycerine is a very useful substance because it mixes with water in effect 100 percent, and many successful flavours are based on it. Alcohol flavours too are highly water soluble so will travel easily from your bait, so forming a concentration gradient that carp can home in on. Personally, I find mixing glycerol and alcohol-based flavours with ones primarily natural ester-based or others, natural or nature-identical, or diacetin types, are very successful.
You can even boost a propylene glycol based flavour by cutting it with vodka and natural raspberry puree, and a probiotic agent such as marmite, very rich in taste-enhancing factors for instance, and adding Talin or Thaumatin as an electrostatic carrier, to produce a very unique homemade flavour! I have been doing this kind of experimentation for my baits, both homemade and readymade, since the 70s – because it works.
But of course concentrated flavours are not the only useful substances; and some substances can be too soluble and actually leach out of baits too fast as they have infinite solubility, as in the case of glycerol dominated flavours, for example. It is wise to try mixing flavours and other substances so your flavours all leach out at different rates, leaving some concentrated attraction in the proximity of the bait. Using pure glycerine, vodka, and a mixture of concentrated sweetener and molasses and marmite, soluble fish protein and lactose, for instance, is a little bit alternative and produces different effects and impacts at different ranges.
For an easy homemade method or stick-type mixes, just make a breadcrumb based fluffy mixture dampened with your unique liquids to produce a ground bait mixture that will disperse easily, releasing soluble attraction and food particles into the water column and attract carp like mad! Using anything, from hemp oil to olive oil, and fruit oils etc in your mix, will get particles to pull fish down from upper layers better as the oil will tend to rise in water. Maybe add crushed tiger nuts (chufas) too!
An easy way to make an alternative, highly over-flavoured area for winter fishing is to mix breadcrumbs with the old favourite Nesquick powdered milk shake. I really like using extra sweetened oils of many forms, provided they are mixed with liquid lecithins, but I advise you to avoid bulk fish and marine oils that simply solidify in low temperatures – test in the fridge or outside overnight using a thermometer if you are unsure. While actually fishing and testing oils, I have found a thermometer placed in oils in a pot in the water is quite enlightening!
Fruit oils are quite easily available online, and you do not always have to go to fishing bait companies for something slightly different or alternative – after all, that is one of the greatest proven edges in carp fishing! With your oils, I recommend using emulsifying type powders or liquids most especially for cold water conditions which help detection, dispersal and indeed, digestion and feed-stimulation of baits.
Test any oil you use in your winter baits to check that it does not solidify in the lake water temperatures you will be fishing in. this might sound very obvious after all just how much harder is it for a fish to detect a bait that is simply a ball of fat, compared to a finding a bait that is very actively releasing oils that can easily disperse in the water? For example, in cold water, avoid using salmon oil, and use very viscous hemp oil, maybe with added liquid lecithins and maybe essential oils based on clove, cinnamon or chilli for example.
In really low winter temperatures, solubility really is a great factor that can be leveraged, and in such conditions it is often pointless using a conventional boiled bait coated in paste, when you can use paste on the rig and know every part of your bait really is working for you (and is not rendered ineffective due to being sealed inside coagulated protein formed by heating of the bait!)
I will not go deeply into which bait products to use here because there are so many excellent ones for winter and spring fishing to choose from but one key aspect in choosing substance is how well they will disperse in water – and most especially in cold water! To find this out just get samples and mix them with cold water. In a way it is like testing salt against betaine crystals or whole milk powders against various caseins, semolina or maize flour – or against malt extract, for instance.
Just one example of a really good winter trick is to make a paste using CC Moore Feedstim XP Liquid, their Feedstim XP powder, their Belachan powder, pure betaine and liquid Red Venom, condensed milk, butyric acid, predigested fish protein, fortified yeast powder and blue cheese powder, whole milk powder, bound with good old wholemeal wheat flour.
Notice that no egg is used in this paste as you might in making boilies, as this bait can be as water-soluble as you like and will last longer in very low winter temperatures! Add milk powders in this bait for improved nutritional stimulation; also milky baits break down and cloud water thus stimulating fish sight feeding behaviours!
If you want a more resilient paste (or make different homemade boilies), just add a small proportion of whole egg powder in your powder mixture or even use whey gel, if you are into that kind of to the centre bait toughness notice the difference between baits using whey gel as opposed to whole egg, whole egg powder instead of liquid egg, egg albumin instead of whole egg powder. The bait breakdown, function and texture and feel and stimulatory effects etc will all differ dramatically.
Ultimately, you can make baits that do not need to be sealed by loads and loads of whole liquid egg, and if you use egg, one tip is to reduce its content in baits by adding water in the same volume as half the eggs you might normally use in a summer bait, for example.
It is a little known fact that winter carp baits do not require a protein content of even 30 percent to be very effective indeed. In fact, anyone who is a little snobbish about using a winter bait based on breadcrumbs needs to make some homemade baits with them, adding some liquid foods, perhaps some flavour components, and highly soluble protein extracts (in high levels) as you would for a more costlier boilie recipes, and use these baits as paste with total confidence!
However, by fishing minimal amounts of exceptionally bioactive active probiotic prebiotic baits made based on feeding triggers density instead of a merely digestible nutritional profile I find that more productive personally. This style of fishing means using baits maximised for free form amino acids, and with absolute minimal or zero carbohydrates save for soluble sugars such as fructose, lactose, palm sugar, glucose, malt extract, CSL maltose etc.
For more on protein baits for winter or summer see:
We adult humans code for 10,000 to 12,000 flavours but it is likely fish do not perceive a strawberry flavour like us, as their brains are wired in many different ways for a start. Think about it; fish receive information from specialised cells on their body surfaces such as their lateral lines, fins, lips, face and in the gills, as well as internally in the mouth and throat etc. All this information is fed to the brain and combined in the brain in various different ways to humans – so causing a biofeedback loop that initiates feeding or rejection responses and different levels of excitement and various modes of behaviours etc.
Even well-known anglers may say that carp enjoy the crunch factor of tiger nut meal in a bait, but not know it is not the texture alone that matters. Sure, the texture creates vibrations and sounds that are stimulating, and promote passage of food through the gut, but many other vital things matter even more. Just for example like the primary essential amino lysine present in tiger nuts that is detected, or the vital energy-boosting profile of the oils in digestible tiger nuts, and the metabolism-boosting and thermochemical heating factors present that boost rates of digestion. Plus the forms of natural sugars enhancing tastes and flavours etc and also providing an addictive instant energy-boost!
Look up tiger nuts or Chufas and you will see these are not nuts at all (why not see what these are related to for more clues as to why they are so effective. But this is an example of a carp bait with noticably instant internal impacts which works in winter, summer and all conditions; many lessons can be learnt from these baits! I seriously rate thermogenics on a cellular level; for instance just imagine the impact of chilli oleorsin, chilli oil, Robin Red chilli content etc on carp (it’s not merely the taste but thermogenics that make it so effective in cold water particularly!) For winter carp bait utilising crushed tiger nut plus other nutty extracts for instance peanut extract, plus metabolism-boosting chilli oil for instance make all the difference.
With regards to the perception of popular fruit flavours for instance, the last thing a carp will associate with strawberry or banana concentrated bait flavour (even if natural or nature-identical) is a ripe strawberry or a ripened banana, but elements of such flavours are in effect metabolism short-cuts which carp will exploit and be attracted or stimulated by in different ways.
Real extract flavours boosted with synthetic ones for instance to create carp bait liquid blends made to provide suitable levels of fermented sugars, organic acids and bioactive substances work, but the carp will not be thinking visually or logically like us; carp are neurologically wired so very differently to us humans! It might sound strange but using actual acai berries in cold water works, yet in the adverts that promote acai berry for slimming or getting a ‘ripped’ toned muscular body acai lowers appetite; something anglers may not think is a good thing in their carp bait of course! But acai has 10 times the levels of metabolism-boosting anthocyanins that blueberries contain and fish instinctively certainly know about these babies, as metabolism is exceptionally important to energy efficiency in carp where carbohydrate food is relatively low in abundance compared to natural protein sources in the natural aquatic environment!
Many carp bait flavours and extract blends you may think are weird work extremely well. For example a homemade mixture of Marmite, sesame seed oil, liquid lecithins and honey, or liquid yeast and cream flavours, and with squid flavours and extracts for instance. Crab and cream is an obvious alternative flavour, but spicy orange may not seem so obvious, just like cheese and garlic flavours with black pepper oil, for instance.
As carp detect certain substances down to as little as 6 parts in a billion in water, never overlook the fact that trace odours and taste factors of each and every dry powder or additive included in your carp bait can have a synergistic effect and really make a difference to your bait’s impact and performance when in active combination in solution (i.e. when water penetrates your bait).
Think laterally – why not make a homemade meat-bait soak mixture with fennel essential oil and mint essential oil, and attract carp to your hook using a bait that is completely new, and unique, and very effective! If you must use aniseed essential oil, why not cut it with fennel oil or even garlic oil, or many of hundreds of others that are available and not used by the masses of fashion-conscious anglers!
In my opinion a great winter bait range of endlessly adaptable recipes are ideal for summer and great summer carp bait is often ideal for winter provided bulk oils are removed and high levels are betaine and salts are exploited plus kelp complex for instance; mineralised salts really make all the difference in winter baits and spring baits. Certainly basic fish nutritional requirements, bioactive requirements change as seasonal flows of natural food abundance alter, as cycles start and end, overlap and so on according to triggers of diurnal cycles etc. Even as you read this be aware that your brain has all kinds of rhythms going on, and many resonate in tune with earth frequencies. This is not some abstract things but tools we have to enable us to survive more effectively.
These things are results of our environment in many ways. You might want to apply this kind of thinking to carp and ask yourself how their feeding cycles are related to how long it takes them to digest and assimilate their natural food items, as compared to high protein carp bait not optimized for easy digestion and fast as possible assimilation for example. If feeding patterns are in general ruled by such cycles in relation to electro gravitational effects of the moon and sun in combination, just how many feeding opportunities can you generate by you special bait substances and unique bait applications and methods in say for example a weekend?
You might wonder how the secrets of baits that are not heated such as pastes differ from those of heated boilies and pellets, because the differences in performance are huge! But even this is merely part of a far bigger picture.
The recipe for big fish success in carp fishing is extremely complex but not solved by omitting to understand you fish and the environment and limiting factors, threats and opportunities to which they are sensitive. Understanding how carp have evolved is a great starting point, knowing how they adjust their gill rakers and why in order to harvest most energy efficiently different sized food items in different situations in different concentrations for example, is seriously revealing in terms of realizing much more about how to leverage bait substances to maximum affect.
Winter carp bait recipes tend to often work best by working all the water column, because often fish are not where they are expected, and have less range of movement, so bait substances effective dispersal and movement is even more critical to success.
In fact the actual ingredients that you choose to use in your homemade carp bait and readymade baits of any format, whether ground baits, or spod, stick, slop or method mixes, or in particle mixes and so on all are extremely significant to your success. Even on an individual basis of certain ingredients and extracts, enhancers and so on, individual fish will respond differently; every single fish in a unique individual genetically and in terms of experiences and responses and sensitivities and wariness and ability to adapt responses, be a leader, or a follower, and so on. Seemingly relatively unimportant factors really matter in terms of how sensitive to certain baiting situations, certain substances, and levels of concentrations of substances dissolved in the water fish are, and so on. All these and much more really matter and do make all the difference between success, and failure!
Carp as I mentioned are benthic feeders obviously evolved for feeding on the bottom and in the case of carp and bream species, they are extremely well adapted to feed upon bloodworm (dipteran or mosquito or midge larvae) and tubifex (a different insect larvae group.) White bream, barb bronze bream and carp are probably the best adapted to specialise in the most efficient sieving type particulate feeding in sediments on dipteran larvae in particular. Carp can often spend significantly long periods with their heads totally buried in silt feeding on bloodworm and other larvae, etc which may be present. The diet may be supplemented by seeds, molluscs, algae of various types, water weeds and of course anglers baits more and more. Carp bait exploiting natural food extracts, but in extremely high concentrations can seriously work, in winter and at all other times.
Analysis of this larvae shows it contains high levels of many of the most essential amino acids absolutely crucial in a carp diet to maintain survival. But perhaps just a little more pertinent to us is the fact that this larvae most anglers refer to as bloodworm also contains among the most stimulatory palatable amino acids to carp feeding which impact most intensely upon carp chemoreception and olfactory systems. It is no surprise therefore that bloodworm and its extracts have been adopted for use in fishing baits effective for carp and many other species too. As part of a blend alongside tuna liquid LO30 for instance with CSL liquid you get a blend working all levels of the water column, with essential oils and hemp oil in your winter carp bait recipe blend.
Other smaller benthic feeding fish are familiar to anglers; barb and the humble gudgeon, although barbel are highly regarded; a hard-fighting double figure barbel is a very worthy goal. Crucian carp are noted bottom feeders and are often extremely gentle biting, giving little indication of a carp bait being nibbled or fully taken in the mouth. These fish can be very hard to hook especially considering I discovered very many hooks we use today just do not hook deeply enough quickly enough to be of any use whatsoever.
This knowledge has been applied to carp fishing very effectively and testing baits on crucian carp is also an extremely valuable way to find out how effective your baits for the far bigger cousin Cyprinus carpio really are. Crucian carp are easily caught on earthworms, bloodworm extracts, yeasts and more bacterially active cheeses for example. (These probably ring a few bells with you carp anglers…) In fact other benthic feeders are very keen on bloodworm extracts including tench. The impact of the introduction of large volumes of anglers baits upon a fishery including that of pellets, boilies, and ground baits of many forms including live maggots, jokers and bloodworms etc definitely change feeding behaviours.
In the case of very pressured carp it may well be this simply leaves more natural food much more easily and consistently available to eat safely and sustain the largest fish in a water. Hence one significant reason why certain very big fish are sometimes seen but only caught rarely (if at all!)
Some fish are so attuned to their natural environment of natural food items and their distinct combinations of chemical signal for example that it is very possible they may be totally blind to most anglers baits not triggering them to feed, especially at times when natural food is extremely abundant. It is no coincidence that December, January or February are times when rarely caught monsters are sometimes landed when their natural food may well be in insufficient densities to be consumed energy efficiently for example.
When it comes to carp, pump filter feeding with very slow swimming motion or a stationary holding position is often a common one. Watching very wary big fish feeding like this for instance on carp bait which has been crumbled into a fine carpet can be absolutely fascinating to the angler. This is even though such fish may be totally absorbed in consuming zooplankton bloodworm etc and initially not your baits. In this form of feeding they are utilising the many taste buds in the pharyngeal cavity which select the food items as the fish swallows water; through hence the pump effect.
Feeding behaviour of carp can differ at different stages in the life cycle yearly food cycles naturally available and carp can be observed picking up individual anglers baits in careful methodical fashion one minute, while having gorged on fry having darted after them and gulping them down into their stomachs live previously. I recall catching a big carp which disgorged its load of live roach fry which on the unhooking mat. (Who says carp do not turn carnivorous at time!)
Carp are the masters of particulate feeding, but often their methods of feeding cause more mobile food items to escape because of the water turbulence they can cause. But always being on the look-out for discoloured water or even the odd appearance of sticks and rotting leaving and of course unnatural bubbles especially at dawn or dusk, are very easy ways to identify carp feeding spots. The strength of suction of carp is powerful enough to have a bearing on exactly how to make some carp rigs perform better and in many cases I have found making a rig more weighted at the hook by the addition of tungsten shot or putty or very dense homemade hook baits to be extremely effective.
I seriously rate the ability of the homemade bait maker to change and manipulate carp bait sizes, shapes, textures, softness, solubilities, densities, weights and buoyancies etc, to be really massive edges over those anglers purely using standard machine-rolled or extruded boilies and pellets…
There is masses of detailed information on genuinely optimising your winter carp bait in the Ultimate bait making course, especially considering the vast majority of bait testing with the aquaculture and fisheries degree lecturer from Hadlow college was based on 2 seasons of winter bait testing in tanks, the college lake and various hard lakes where using minimal bait, it just took 3 nights (just fishing nights) using genuinely optimised homemade baits based on the course, to capture the largest forty in a hard syndicate lake. (See Jame’s pic in ‘Reviews’ on the front page.)
For massively more detailed information see: