Some pointers for choosing the right carp bait…

Goodness, if ever there was a subject you could write a book about in carp fishing, finding the best boilie would probably be it! Yet, with that said, it still never fails to amaze me just how many anglers out there fail to use the bait on the end of their hook to the best of its ability!

Let’s be honest, it’s often not the bait that’s the real problem, it’s the way it’s being fished. You could have the best bait in the world on the end of your hook, but if you fail to use it properly, you may as well be at home watching TV. First things first, let’s forget the notion of a wonder boilie – it does not exist. No matter what the marketing hype of any bait firm might tell you, there’s no one boilie that will always outperform any other in any given situation.

However, there are definitely good baits and bad. As with any industry, some people are out to make money, whilst others genuinely want to put the best products they can out into the market place. The tricky bit for the angler is trying to sort one from another. Carp fishing is big business, and there are a great many manufacturers all trying their best to make sure your hard earned goes into their coffers and not the pockets of their competitors, so it’s little wonder they make their adverts and marketing material ever more shiny. It can be hard, but you have to try and look right through all that and get to the crux of the matter.

BoiliesFor me, selecting a good boilie comes down to three things; firstly I want to know that the bait has been formulated by somebody who really knows what quality bait is all about – and I mean really knows. There are soooooooo many anglers out there who think they know a lot about bait formulation, but there are precious few who totally understand the specific make up of ingredients and what their effect will be in a finished bait – and more importantly, what the effect will be on a feeding fish! Secondly I want to know that the exact batch I have in my hands has been made to the best standards possible, and that it will be made to that same exacting standard every time I have it. And, lastly, it has to be fresh. If I have all those three things, then I have confidence, and if I have confidence, I will catch.

So for me, with the above in mind, shelf-life boilies are out, as are those from any big company. No offence, but I want the person who is rolling my bait to have their livelihood and business depend on ensuring that each individual kilo they put in my hand is the best it could possibly be – rather than it be rolled by an agency worker on minimum wage who would be hard pushed to tell the difference between fishmeal and GLM extract!

How can I have confidence in a bait when I don’t know who rolled it, when it was rolled, and how much care was taken over that specific batch? I’ve been in the industry long enough to have heard stories that would make you cry, so I’m very particular about what I put on the end of my hook and I have to say, it amazes me just how easily some people will fork out top dollar for an average bait (at best!), based purely on a few glossy pictures and some ‘colourful’ wording – we anglers can be incredibly gullible at times.

Some people are happy to believe whatever an advert tells them. Me, I read between the lines and do my homework. If you have your own duty of care to every aspect of your tackle and bait, then you’ll catch a lot more fish, believe me. I’m not suggesting that you suddenly drop a bait you’ve been doing well on just because you can’t speak directly to the person who rolled it, but I’m making the point to those who can’t seem to find a decent bait that you should be using some of the above pointers to get yourself going in the right direction. Don’t be stingy either. Good bait costs money, and seven or eight pounds for a kilo for fresh bait is about the going rate, but obviously the more you buy the cheaper it can get. Cheap boilies are a false economy, in my opinion; if you can’t afford a decent boilie, use something else. I’d rather use quality particles and naturals than fish with a cheap boilie, but that’s another topic all together!

I’ve been offered various sponsorship deals and sweeteners to promote all kinds of boilies over the years, despite that fact that some of them were only fit for the bin! I’ve declined them all – at the end of the day I’d rather pay for a good bait than get a crap one for free!

I’ve had my bait off for many, many years. There’s plenty of others around which would tick all my boxes for sure, but as I say, it’s all about confidence, and if I’m confident on my bait, I can put all my efforts and energy into my watercraft, increasing the chances that I put it in the right place at the right time!

Julian Grattidge
September 2011

About the author


Pin It on Pinterest