Screamer baits, that’s what. Who are they, and where do they come from? That was what I wanted to find out when I was invited by Screamer baits Phill Broderick to spend a day with him and a couple of the team at Cleveley Bridge Fisheries near Preston.
I first found out about the company through my carp magazine North West round up reports which I compile weekly. Alex Uttley, based in Stockport, had been having some remarkable success using Screamer baits CBS fishmix boilies on Roman lakes near Marple. Consistently taking multiple big fish captures, Alex had become a regular feature in my column. Because of the fact that he was doing so well on the baits, I thought I’d do a bit of investigating and found www.screamerbaits.co.uk and www.fisheriesdirect.com . After a quick read through some of the information on the sites, it soon became apparent that Alex was not the only one doing well on the baits available. Various catch accounts from within the UK and from France showed that the baits were taking fish all over the place, and lots of them. Carp, cats, barbel, tench and chub were all falling to Screamer baits!
Arriving at Cleveley Bridge at 0530, we met shortly after when he came over to introduce himself. (the T-shirt with his name on gave him away if I’m honest...) Instantly likable Phill soon took me on a tour of the fishery and told me a little about himself. A former Operations Manager for Littlewoods, he described how he had got fed up with the rat race and resolved to set up a bait company along with bait guru John Beard and marketing expert Helen Oliver. Phill and John are both extremely competent all round anglers, they know what they want in a bait, and how to make them!
The first question I asked was what did he want to achieve? Was he up there to compete with the likes of Richworth and Nash, or did something else drive him? Considering the obvious quality of the baits that I saw, the results that have been accomplished, there is the potential for the company to make an awful lot of money out of this venture. Why then is the bait only available through a couple of websites, a limited number of shops and at a few fisheries in the North West and not on general sale throughout the country?? Discussing this, it makes perfect sense when you realise that the company only went ‘live’ in February 2009 having developed and tested the baits over a much longer period. Quality is paramount at Screamer baits, and to ensure some control, the Screamer team chose to manufacture and retail within a smaller area; this allows them to get significant feedback from local anglers and shops, which in turn means that if anything needs to change to improve the brand, it can be done in a short time frame. By choosing tackle stockists with a large catchment area, they can gauge angler reaction to a new bait fairly fast. Offering the bait to shops with a ‘sale or return’ policy ensures that if a product doesn’t work, then the only loser is Screamer baits. Working with tackle shops has allowed them to improve packaging to make the bait more accessible on the shelves, and, by listening to the input from the people who use the Screamer creations, Screamer Baits are able to ensure that the baits fulfil the needs of the angler by supplying a full range of dips, pop-ups, pellets and sundries to cover all aspects of fishing.
Phill forcing “CARP” field tester Matt to try some new soft hooker pellets before they go on sale, “Matt’s never pole fished before, if he can catch then anyone will be able to!”
Also important is ‘break down’. To have uneaten baits sitting on the lake bed for up six weeks before they degrade can only harm the fishery as they rot slowly. Screamer baits are designed to decompose much faster to reduce the amount of foodstuff left behind. By using only the highest grade fishmeals, the baits are also tremendously good for the fish which should be prominent on any fishery owners agenda.
Field tester Matt Griffin took time out from his carp fishing to tell me more about why he wanted to be part of the Screamer team. After becoming disillusioned with the baits he was previously using, Matt wanted to have some input into the development of new products. Using the ‘Carpnutz’ tiger nut flour based boilie, Matt has taken some difficult waters apart, consistently out fishing established anglers with plenty of time to spare. Breaking up some of his baits, Matt described why ‘Carpnutz’ is such a good bait; “...just the right levels of attraction, excellent ingredients and superb texture make these very effective. Even feeding only small amounts is usually enough to get the fish on the feed.” With a UK personal best of almost 35lb, Matt takes the time to target specific carp from the fisheries he visits and he usually gets them!
Cost of boiled baits at point of sale can be a decisive factor in anyone’s angling. By offering ‘pocket money packs’ weighing 500g, Screamer baits offer the chance to have more options on a tight budget which can be especially important for the younger fisherman. Phill also wanted to encourage anglers to develop their fishing using his baits by supplying ‘entry level’ brightly coloured high- attract boilies which are slightly cheaper than the high end fishmeal products. Being cynical, I asked if this was just a marketing ploy to shift more units onto younger users? Like sweets? The answer I got was that by encouraging people to think more about the baits they were using, to try different baits in different situations, then the consumer can find a level to suit them. It makes sense; if you have limited resources, then Screamer can supply a bait that will catch fish. If you have more time and take an active interest in what you are putting into the water, then more expensive baits using higher quality components are available. This means that as experience and knowledge of feeding patterns and habits improve, Screamer has something for you.
Overall, I gained the impression that the Screamer Baits team have a tremendous enthusiasm for what they do. They do it very well, producing top quality baits for all anglers whatever they fish for, and constantly seeking to improve the service that the customer expects. Phill was honest enough to admit to some mistakes in the progression of Screamer baits, but learning from them is what has made the company what it is today; professional, progressive and proactive. By delivering superior quality baits which tempt top draw fish, then Screamer will continue to make lots of noise in the future!!