You can exceed the success of expensive readymade boilies by making your own for winter if you really understand what to optimise and maximise in your bait function and performance and why you will do best by doing these things. The secrets of exceptional carp baits are profound but a few are simple and you can easily exploit them right now so read on and find out more!
There are three major steps that must be done to change baits for winter. These make baits far more successful not merely for winter but massively more successful for the rest of the year too! These vital three aspects plus more profound factors and principles and processes can be harnessed to ensure that you make baits which are instantly nutritionally stimulating, but are so potent that they do not require any prior baiting whatsoever!
Baits constructed in this way and refined for individual carp waters will be very instant even when not made with any additional flavours at all!
In the beginning of carp bait evolution even 300 years ago, carp baits contained certain substances which had vital properties of water reactivity and feed triggering capacity and properties which induced more instant and more prolonged feeding by being made even more palatable. So it will probably not be surprise that a top of the range carp bait 300 years ago would have been based around something similar to matured rabbit meat, bound with wheat flour or some form of bread and enhanced with honey. This may seem very simple yet such a bait is pretty complex looked at closely in comparison to modern day winter carp baits as so many basic properties and principles are the same.
The key to winter baits or indeed baits designed for colder months outside of carp metabolic and digestive enzyme ranges, are energy efficient digestion and more importantly still, water reactivity. Not many anglers talk about this as they dumb it down in terms of solubility. Even hundreds of years ago carp anglers were not stupid!
I am certain that many great minds did consider what to use to catch great carp which in those days would in many areas particularly in the UK have been extremely hard to catch much of the time, due to relative carp scarcity, and limits of tackle design evolution at the time. This meant that old carp bait was indeed the height of refinement of many minds, and the bread and matured rabbit meat and honey paste is actually an advanced bait suitable for all year round use especially if baits were made with absolutely no fat to speak of in winter.
It is pretty funny to consider that the aim of bait is to become solution so carp can most easily detect bait solution in the water around them, yet the vast majority of readymade boilies and indeed homemade boilies are actually made and designed in ways that drastically stop baits becoming concentrated solution! In winter carp mostly spend their energy if feeding at all by filter feeding on tiny natural food in the water such as algae and zooplankton, and the concentration and positioning of these in the water column will vary according to the time of the lunar month, the ambient light penetration, water clarity, quality of the water, prevalent winds and their temperatures, silt deposits particularly in the shallow margins and rich sweet healthy silt beds containing benthic natural food items such as bloodworm, tubifex and other invertebrates and also snags and dying weed and lily roots etc harbouring mussels snails, leeches, shrimps and so on.
One of the points to focus on about winter baits is that if you mimic natural food in terms of their relative density to water, their digestibility, and substances their issue which fish can detect, then you really can make things much easier to catch carp on specifically designed homemade winter baits. So for instance you might well consider using no egg at all as it is digestion inhibitive and very dense substance which takes an incredible amount of energy for carp to digest. Instead use substances rich in pre-digested or hydrolysed proteins which offer very favorable levels of free amino acids which become solution in water instantly and which carp very easily detect.
You can certainly go down whichever path you choose including using pre-digested yeasts, or fermented corn steep or fermented barley (malt extract) type products, or go for highly soluble sugar and salt rich biscuit meal bulking products rich in natural vanilla oleoresin. Or perhaps use natural algae in the form of spirulina for example which will basically be an incredibly rich protein food that carp are feeding on all the time anyway. Algae should never be ignored for any bait at any time of year as their can be no more basic building block food for carp as algae existed long before carp evolved and so carp are supremely evolved detect algae and to internally extract maximum benefit from all its elements and nutrients and factors.
The most exceptional winter baits are all about solubility of one form or another and water reactivity and internal bioactivity of any particular substance or combined substances.
Solubility is a bait factor that most anglers dumb down from other more powerful words such as ionization, absorption and adsorption for example. There are plenty of far more scientific words and definitions
Some of the bio-active substances that carp respond to by feeding include pheromones and certainly terpenes of various forms have pheromone like impacts on carp and trigger feeding and the famous Tutti Fruitti flavour is reputed to contain thyme oil for instance. Other famous winter flavours include Bun spice B, and certainly spices such as clove and cinnamon figure well in winter bait success over the decades and with a quality PPC liquid lecithin to help emulsify your essential oils you can confidently fish using no conventional solvent flavours at all. Natural ester based flavours are very effective too for example, but this relates very much indeed to solubility factors and ease of detection when in solution.
But the most important part of winter bait should be the intrinsic way that your bait reacts with water as a whole and becomes solution that is extremely easy for fish to detect around them and this means not sticking with the old egg based carbohydrate binder bait paradigm but totally new paradigms which the massive majority of carp anglers and indeed bait companies have yet to realise.
The last thing I want to use to make bait for winter is egg! I cannot eat more than a few eggs in one go as my body instinctively knows eggs are a massive energy drain to digest such dense insoluble protein, yet how many anglers are still using eggs and actually boiling their baits, just because that is how they think it is the way to do it. But I assure you it is a million miles away from the best way to do it today, and far more successful methods for making and designing homemade baits are being used right now, which is where the actual secrets in carp baits come into their own.
One other factor about solubility is that you can make baits which are totally water soluble and can be designed to break down just when you ideally want them to. In winter I regard ideal break down time as being 3 to 4 hours maximum.
You might not understand why but as a consultant and field tester having done comparative testing and product reviews for endless bait designs for many a number of the biggest bait companies over the years and making homemade baits using extremely soluble substances over the past 7 years the results speak for themselves. In fact I have reached a stage where I do not even like the word boilie! Boiling and indeed steaming makes baits so much less effective it is a miracle that some boilie formulations have ever caught anything at all!
Remember that carp bait really is about solubility. Bait is solution. It is an illusion that carp bait is that shiny glowing bright round ball or barrel or cylinder shaped object. That is not the bait. The bait is the solution it becomes. When you use this quote please do me the courtesy of saying where you first read this truth! If I could make a winter bait simply from substances such as CC Moore Feedstim XP powder and liquid, or indeed pure betaine, or betaine HCL or the old Finnstim then I would, and actually I can. But to do so I need first to open my mind completely away from the old out dated paradigm of bait design and old paradigm of extruding paste and rolling dough in a bait rolling machine or table, and boiling or steaming baits. These steps are actually all out dated and indeed can all be removed. I do explain how to do this as part of my one to one face to face bait tuition for individuals as it is best shown first hand.
The changes and factors that will help you make far more effective winter baits and indeed utilise those exact same baits for all year round success include the removal of eggs, the avoidance of boiling, and the optimising of bait water reactivity. But even these few basic factors mean opening your mind to new paradigms of thought and approach which are completely different to those currently used by big bait companies churning out thousands of conventional round and barrel shaped boilies.
I must also point out that selling them as food baits espousing the rewards of using a food bait which by definition requires that you pump your swim with bait in order to condition fish onto your bait, which is highly costly! But truly great homemade bait is totally different and requires zero prior baiting!
This makes making completely uniquely cutting-edge paradigms of homemade baits far more economical than the old food baits that require prior baiting or mass baiting to be successful!
In fact I will go as far as state that if any bait requires prior baiting to be successful it is not an effective bait in truth and indeed is a very under-optimised and under-maximised bait paradigm! Many of you reading this will be confused by this because it is the opposite of what you have been conditioned to believe. To put it another way, a commercial sea fisherman once described to me how they set their crab pots with very specific bait.
Out of all the fish they tried, only one worked best. In effect the signals that the bait fish released into the water currents were precisely the right profile and strength of solution concentration to stimulate and attract the most crabs! Other bait fish still attracted crabs, but to lesser degrees even failing completely in some conditions and some times of seasons!
But if you had never experienced catching crabs in the numbers possible using the most suitable fish bait you simply would never believe that such a successful bait paradigm existed. And as it happens, the best of something is most certainly not always made public and shared in magazines or online in any way. Favours and other elements such as feeding triggers and enhancers are all very useful for winter bait construction and there is far more to just these than meets they eye, and indeed even one substance which defies any description other than it helps the body assimilate all nutritional elements far more, can make all the difference to a bait, (if you are enlightened about this one substance out of many possibilities!)
You can avoid all that by making very different homemade winter and all year round baits, but only if you are prepared to forget all the carp magazine hype driven by the carp fishing industry, and have the courage to be different; are you ready?