Essential Baits – Shellfish B5

I’ll make no secret of the fact that I’ve been invited to join Mike Willmott’s Team Essential for 2003. However, before I talk about the products I’m using I’ll explain why I’ve made the decision to use bait from Essential.

Going back a few years, when I was putting together a ‘where to fish’ guide, I spent time on many different waters up and down the country. During these sessions I’d be using a multitude of different baits; either those which I knew were well liked on a particular venue, or more often, bait I’d been given to use and try out.

At the time this suited my approach, and some good fish were taken along the way. However, the last few years have seen me concentrating on a few selected regional waters, yet I’ve still been swapping and changing baits on a regular basis. In all honesty, the problem is that I’ve not found a bait I’m truly happy with - a bait that gives me total confidence.

Furthermore, I’m sure my results over the last few years have suffered as a result. I’m a big beliver in establishing a long term food source on hard waters as a way of targeting the bigger fish. Most of my time last year was spent on Capesthorne Hall Estate, and whilst I took many good fish to mid-twenties along the way, I was unable to get at the larger fish which I know to be in there.

Going back as far as last August, Martin (my long time angling companion) and I knew we had to tackle the problem head on, and so started looking at all the options open to us. The problem, I found, was that once you striped away all the ‘hype’ surrounding all the ‘big name’ baits, there wasn’t a great deal left to work with, and although we tried a few here and there, the results didn’t impress us enough to re-order.

Don’t get me wrong - I know there is no such thing as a ‘wonder-bait’. However, if you use quality bait with the right approach and in the right situation, then you should catch!

Mart with a nice double taken on the Shellfish B5

I began talking to Mike Willmott last year, as he busily added the final touches to Carp Life, and found his open approach to bait and tactics a breath of fresh air. I’d used some of Mike’s bait in the past, and even though it had been through half a dozen of my mates freezers before it got to me, I still managed to catch on it in the dead of winter!

Our conversations continued for a couple of months, and after doing a little homework on the results of anglers like; Jon McAllister, Jim Lightfoot, and Tim Childs, all using products from Mike’s stable, we were getting very interested. After reading Mike’s book • I was sold! On finishing the ‘Mike on bait’ chapter I rang Mart and told him we just had to get an order in!

Our plan is to establish the Shellfish B5 on Capesthorne throughout the year ahead; though as the water is closed until June, we made up a batch to test on our local club water as we were eager to get some on the hook.

The B5 base mix contains; betaine, five different marine extracts, low temperature fishmeals, soluble fish enzymes, and milk proteins. In terms of extras, we’ve chosen the Shellfish Plum liquid attractor; green lipped mussel & fruit factor 6 powdered additives, and red salmon oil.

The liquid attractors help give an edge to the bait, and the shellfish plum remains stable in high temperatures; helping to eliminate ‘boil-out’ during bait making. The powdered additives help establish the carps acceptance of the bait through stimulation of the receptors, and the oils increase the nutritional value of the bait providing a valuable source of lipids.

The bait rolls extremely easily and the final product looks and smells absolutely fantastic.

Our first batch - Air Dried Shellfish B5

Our first session out saw heavy frost overnight, with sunny spells during the day, getting temperatures up to around double figures. Mart and I had several fish first time out giving us a great early confidence boost, especially as there were anglers with 9 other rods out during the session • all blanked bar one!

Mart managed another overnighter the following weekend, and again took a few fish while all the others on the water blanked. After just a few sessions its not conclusive proof - but it’s a very welcome start!

Keep an eye on the articles section to see how we progress on the Shellfish B5 through the year ahead.

The Shellfish B5 base mix is available in 1, 5, and 10 kilo pack sizes. Priced at £8.45, £39.00, and £73.00 respectively. 100ml Shellfish Plum @ £9.95, 50g GLM Extract @ £7.75, 50g Fruit Factor 6 @ £7.75, and 250ml Red Salmon Oil @ £5.75.

All products available from selected stockists or by mail order from Essential.

Essential Products


Tel: 01278 427634


The B5 ‘nails’ another!