Fieldtester Tips... Bill Cottam
If I a using a bed of pellet I always ensure that I use two or three pellets in combination that have radically different characteristics. I like to combine pellets of different sizes and, even more importantly, pellets that have different breakdown times. My favourite combo is based around 50% rapid breakdown CSL Pellets and 25% each of mini and standard sized Trigga or Trigga Ice Pellets. To add still further to the pulling power wash over with a diluted 50/50 split of CSL and Trigga or Trigga Ice liquid an hour or so prior to use. Awesome!
Don’t ditch the shell
Next time you are rolling your own baits or employing a bait roller to do it for you, why not include the egg shells in the finished baits? Carp absolutely love to crunch their food and the inclusion of broken egg shell will certainly add to that sensation. It is a little known fact that egg shell also has genuine nutritional benefits when included in a carp’s diet. You can either smash the shells up and add them to the liquid/additive blend or if you are using an electric blender of some description, simply throw the whole, unshelled eggs in and let the blender smash them up.
The best of both worlds
One of the questions we get asked regularly is which are best, freezer baits or shelf-life baits? I am afraid there isn’t a simple answer because modern day ready-mades very often have higher levels of attraction, but freezer baits will usually boast a better nutritional content. One tactic I have used with considerable success in recent seasons is to use both types of bait in combination. My usual choice being an equal split of Trigga freezer baits and Trigga shelf-life’s. The thinking being that I get the short term attraction quality of the shelf-life’s coupled with the long term effectiveness of the freezers.
Oil and flavour combo’s
If you are looking to add a source of liquid attraction to you bait mix, I do not honestly believe you can do any better than to use an Essential Oil and a Nature Identical flavour in combination. There are no real rules as to what oils can be used with which flavours, but generally speaking you will not go far wrong by using 4 ml of flavour in 500g of base mix along with around half of the highest suggested inclusion rate for the Oil. If you asked me my all time favourite, I would have to go for either Madagascar Clove Oil with Guava Nutrafruit or Black Pepper Oil with Caramel Cream Elite.
I always carry a range of alternative hookbaits with me and on many occasions they have made the difference between an ordinary session and an exceptional one. Don’t get obsessed with Pop Ups though, alternative hookbait bottom baits can also be very effective. The vast majority of the hookbaits that I carry are permanently immersed in customised bait soak complexes and many have been soaking for several years. Their attraction qualities are unbelievable and they seem to get better the longer they are left in the soak.
Do you know what you are using?
I am a firm believer that all baits should have the ingredients they contain clearly listed on the product packaging….surely you have a right to know exactly what you are buying and putting your faith in! If you are in any doubt what your bait contains or how you should get the best from it, I suggest you contact your chosen bait company and ask the question…if the information you require is not forthcoming, I for one would look for an alternative supplier. The quality of what is out there varies more than you would ever believe… make sure you are using bait that is up to the job!
Bulk oil inclusion rates
Bulk food and Fish Oils are a vitally important part of bait’s make up as they provide both a fat food source and an additional source of inbuilt attraction. Although inclusion rates vary slightly from one oil to another, generally speaking 15ml to 30ml per 500g of base mix is about right. I would suggest however, that you half the inclusion rate from autumn onwards as a carp’s fat requirement tends to be lower in colder water temperatures.
Get on the weed
I am often asked about how best to give your recipe an edge over the bait that the guy in the next swim is using. A source of quality inbuilt attraction is my usual recommendation and Seaweed or Kelp in its various guises is right up there amongst the very best of them. Nutrabaits produce three such products for you to choose from…Powdered Kelp, Dried Seaweed and Liquid Kelp. All three are very effective, but if I had to pick one I would go for Dried Seaweed every time…Absolutely awesome stuff!
No more sticky fingers
We love our heavily glugged hookbaits, but we have never been overly keen on covering our fingers in messy bait soak every time we dive in for another pop up. Fortunately the forward thinking people at Gardner have made all our lives considerably better by launching very cleverly designed glug pots. They even come complete with a braided hair needle, in the lid, that allows you to leave baits on the needle to soak and then transfer direct to the hair as required. Absolutely superb!!