When it comes to choosing a boilie we, as anglers are inundated with options. If you believe half of the marketing employed by various companies, you could be forgiven for thinking the Carp will be jumping out of the water just to get a sniff of the bait!
There is no magic solution when it comes to bait. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there is a ‘wonder’ ingredient – or rig for that matter – that will transform your fishing. The most important aspect of your Carp angling is location. Find hungry Carp looking for food and instantly the odds are stacked in your favour. Give them something they want to eat and put an effective rig into the equation and you will get takes.
The location and the rig won’t be addressed here but, bait – specifically boilies, will be.
What should I look for in a bait?
First of all lets get one thing straight. Carp will eat, or at least try to eat all manner of things. You can buy one of the greatest Carp baits of all time for about 19p a can down the supermarket. If you find fish on the surface, a handful of dog/cat biscuits or good old bread are all devastating.
“Aren’t you meant to be selling me your boilies here?”
Oh yeah I forgot! Buy our bait and the fish will be jumping out of the water as soon as you enter the venue…
The number of companies producing boilies (or at least marketing them) at this current time is staggering. There seems to be this notion that the ‘small garage/shed bait companies produce shite’ while the bigger companies produce quality. Here is an idea I’d like to sell to you however. I believe that some of the best boilies in the UK are being rolled by anglers that make their own bait or by small to medium sized companies.
Why do I think this? It’s simple really – cost! Take Core Baits for example. When Matt and myself start designing a bait the last thing we consider is how much it will cost to produce. We start by looking at we want from the bait, get the nutritional value right, the amino acid profile right and so on. Then we start to panic when we calculate the ingredient costs at the end! Most of the big companies are working to a price first. Consider the normal retail price of a well recognised boilie brand down the local tackle shop. For this article let’s say £11 (£10.99) for 1kg of the latest lake emptier’s. Tackle shops work on 100% profit which means they buy that 1kg of boilies for £5.50. So that means the bait company has to produce that kg of boilies and make profit on £5.50. Now who you choose to believe is your business but, figures of anywhere from £1 to £3 are regularly quoted as being what the big firms bait costs to produce.
When it comes to sourcing ingredients the big firms have the buying power to buy in huge bulk which does make a big difference to what they pay for something like LT94 fishmeal compared to a humble little operation like ourselves. But to produce a quality bait for somewhere around £1? Nah!
So to address the first question of “what should I look for in a bait?” if you can’t (or can’t be arsed) to roll your own bait, look for a company that tell you exactly what’s in their baits. Look for a company who are open and will let you visit their premises. Don’t expect them to give you the exact recipe to a bait but they should be comfortable telling you what’s in there.