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Bait Making Ingredients

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Bait Making Base Mixes


I've been trying to work out how to put down an idea of what ingredients do what, how they work and how there use affects the bait we use.


The only way I can really come down to describe it I suppose is to give an idea of why we should feed Carp a good bait, then breakdown as best as I can the ingredients we could use in that bait. I will try to keep it as simple as possible, as the whole subject is one that can be really easy to get lost in.


Unlike us, Carp feed by Nutritional Recognition. The theory behind this in Bait is that Carp take a food that provides all or most of the needs that they have at any time. Carp do not have the power of being able to think as we do. Humans feed by Hunger, and can choose to eat sensibly or not, Carp have to eat what is available, a choice of Natural Food or our bait. 


In theory the food that we should be providing for Carp contains Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals in the correct proportions.


Protein is used for Tissue Growth and repair, Fats and Carbohydrates are Energy Sources, and Vitamins and Minerals are used to "assist" and help the body develop and grow as it should. If you don't provide enough protein then the body cannot grow and develop. With not enough energy providing foods then there is a constant tiredness, not enough energy, but if you have too many energy providing foods then the risk of being overweight.





When it comes to Proteins, then there are various types of protein, and each protein is made up of a mix of Amino Acids. Carp have a basic requirement for 10 of the available Amino Acids, of the other 12 they can be synthesised from those present. Unfortunately 1 type of food does not provide all of the Essential Amino Acids, so we need to try to mix our Protein sources together, this can be a mix of Fishmeals, Meat Meals, Milk and Vegetable Proteins. However Protein is also unique in that as well as being used for Growth and repair it can also be used as an energy source.




Fats contain the elements Oxygen, Carbon and Hydrogen, and are used as a source of Energy, and also as an Insulator against the cold, being stored beneath the skin. Too much fat though and you become overweight, obese and at risk of Heart Disease. Fats come from different sources, Meats, Fish, and Vegetables. To put it simply, vegetable fats are normally the "lightest", (unsaturated), but because of this provide less energy than fats from Meats or Fish. Meat fats tend to be Saturated, giving rise to increased Cholesterol, which can lead to Health problems, so only a limited amount is required. Fish Fats are also Unsaturated, providing a source of Omega3.




I tend to think of Carbohydrates as "Instant" Energy sources, they are used faster than fats or proteins. Many Carbohydrates come from the various types of sugars which are found naturally, Fructose, Maltose, Sucrose etc.


Vitamins and Minerals


Vitamins and Minerals assist in the body working properly. Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system, support normal growth and development, and help cells and organs do their jobs.



Bait Making Ingredients and Properties


It is so easy to have an understanding of bait, and very easy to make a Good Bait that will continue to catch. As simple as going to the local Tackle Shop and picking up a bag of Boilie Mix, be that from Mainline, Nash, Nutrabaits, Tails up, but in doing that you may end up the same as the guy in the next door swim. If you fish the same as everyone else you will catch the same as everyone else. Yet just by having a knowledge of some of the reasons for why, or what is in a Base Mix, it can be possible to improve even a standard bagged mix. That little "tweak" can improve results immeasurably, and put you catching on your terms. While I break down the various ingredients I can only give a limited idea on each of them. There are many varieties of some ingredients, Full Fat, Defatted, Pre-digested, Low Temperature and even the Coarseness (mesh) of the product. The higher the number in mesh means the finer it has been ground. Just by changing a mesh from say 80mesh to 100mesh can change how a bait rolls totally.




I've always believed in making a variety of protein sources in a bait. The more different type of protein sources, even just a variety of Fishmeals, then you cater for any shortages in Amino Acids that there may be.



Fishmeals are in simple terms fish whole fish, fish bones or fish offal, that are processed, and dried to form a powder. There are various varieties available, by species or by type of processing. Just about any species of fish or shellfish can be used to produce Fishmeal. Most are in the region of 60-70% protein. In winter many fishmeals are supposed to lose their fish attraction and nutrition due to being hard to digest, but by making them only part of a bait a year round result can be achieved. In addition to that Carp do not require as much food in colder temperatures as they do in the warmer Summer time. This is a rough breakdown of probably the most commonly used Fishmeals in baits.


White Fishmeal

White fishmeal is actually normally coloured either a light brown or grey, and like a slightly heavy flour.

Normally in the region of 60-70% protein, and an oil content of approximately 6%, although this can change dependant on what fish are used in its manufacture. It contains a high amount of lysine, one of the essential amino acids in addition to most of the other essential acids



A high quality fishmeal, rich in amino acids, providing an excellent source of protein. The Protein content is close to 66% (hence its name :wink:), and oil content of 8%



A Norwegian Fish meal produced at low temperature, not meaning that it is suitable for low temperatures. This high quality meal is the genuine article where low temperature fishmeals are concerned. Produced from chilled raw fish, it is treated at low drying temperatures, maintaining more of the nutritional qualities and amino acids, making it far superior to most standard fishmeals. With an oil content of around 11% and a protein content of 72%+ (of which 94% is digestible).


Standard Fishmeal

A mix of Capelin, Herring and Blue whiting, this meal has a protein content of about 70% and a fat content of about 11%.


Shrimp Meal

A meal produced from either shrimp that is not suitable for Human consumption or culled shrimp. Normally either Sun dried or freeze dried and ground. It has been used in Trout and Salmon diets to actually improve Tissue pigment of the fish. If you use it in a bait then it is actually a buoyant meal, and can be used to make bait lighter and more buoyant. Too much and the bait will actually float, so it can be used in Hookbait to create Pop-ups.


Salmon Meal

Salmon meal normally comes from the various Alaskan Salmon species, and is approximately 70% protein 11% fat and provides avariety of amino acids.


Sardine Meal

Sardine meal is a heavier ingredient than many of the other fish meals, and has a protein content of approximately 68%, as well as slightly higher fat content. It may require an ingredient to "dry" it as it can roll awkwardly


Meat Meals


Meat and Bone Meal

Meat and Bone meal is a product that contains approximately 50% protein and typically about 8-12% Fat. It has been used in the feed of various animals to improve the amino acid profile, but after the BSE problems is thought to have been responsible for the spread, so has been banned in many animal feeds.


Beef Meal

Beef in theory is the perfect protein source for humans as well as Carp, although Carp would struggle to utilise it as a whole product, but as a meal it can be used. The meal is rendered from the parts of cattle that are unsuitable for human consumption. Again used in Animal feeds to improve protein content.


Liver powder

Liver Powder has been used for many years in Carp baits, as an attractor, a rich source of proteins, vitamins and minerals, including iron.

Liver Meal is a high protein specialty product manufactured from whole livers. These materials are processed under controlled time and temperature conditions and then dried to provide a fine meal product. The protein and fat content of this product provide for an exceptional source of energy and a real liver flavour.

Liver Meal performs as an excellent ingredient in pet food formulas, as well as aquaculture feeds. Suggested usage levels of 1 to 3% will provide significant palatability increase


Chicken meal

A meal that is heavily used in the Pet food industry for its protein content, but it is not as high in proteins as some of the other meat meals available.


Blood Meal

Dried powdered meal again used in Animal feeds. A totally soluble meal high in proteins and lipids. Because of its solubility it is not suitable as the whole protein content, and is best mixed with other meals.


Milk Proteins


Milk Proteins can only be stored for a certain period of time before they start to go "off", so you don't want to bulk purchase if you aren't using a great deal of them.


Calcium Caseinate

Calcium Caseinate is a form of Casein manufactured from filtered milk, then treated with an alkaline salt to form powder. It is a fairly high in protein, approximately 89% and is a "heavy" ingredient. It is also a valuable source of Calcium.


Sodium Caseinate

Sodium Caseinate is the buoyant version of Casein, formed by using Sodium Hydroxide. Again high in protein, about 91% and containing 8 essential amino acids



The major protein in milk at about 90%. It is available in various meshes, so to get a consistent bait always use the same grade.



Lactalbumin is a milk protein obtained from the whey, again containing a mix of amino acids and high in protein.


That is a basic breakdown of types of some of the Protein ingredients available for bait making.

If you notice the Fishmeals and Meat meals also contain a quantity of fats, so theoretically you won't need to add any other fat sources.



That is a fairly basic list of Birdfoods.

Birdfoods are a useful ingredient in many Base Mixes, in addition to providing attraction they also have other useful properties in that some also bind the bait together, provide a mix of Vitamins and Minerals and are fairly high energy providers.



Nectablend is a mix of Egg yolk, biscuit, honey and other ingredients, mostly seeds. It is described as a rearing food for young birds, and a protein content of approximately 14%, fat content of 5% and many vitamins and minerals.



CeDeis another egg food, containing egg yolk, hemp, biscuit and small seeds. It contains Carophyll, and is used as a Canary Rearer.


Red Factor

Red Factor is another Canary Priming Food, containing

Soyabean, Oats, Maize, Oat Groats, Vegetable Oil, Wheat Gluten, Calcium Carbonate, Canthaxanthin, Dehydrated Red Chilli, Vitamins and Minerals.

Its Nutritional Makeup is approximately Protein 21% Crude Fat 17% 

Crude Fibre 3% Salt 0.5%



PTX is an animal protein mix, with added honey and molasses. A protein content of approximately 32%.


Robin Red

Robin Red is a Haiths registered product. Almost every Bait supplier that sells it buys from Haiths! Spicy, BRIGHT Red and very attractive to Carp, although it has been fished out on some waters.


Prosecto Insectivorous

A blend of Dried Insects, honey, seeds and various oils.


Red Band Pigeon Conditioner

Probably more known as a Particle Mix, but can be ground down and used in Boilie Making.

High in carbohydrate content, and is fortified with vitamins and minerals.


All baits need ingredients to bind them, and probably the most basic is Semolina, although Wheat Gluten and Soya Flours can be used. Egg Albumen provides an amount of protein, but it can be used to reduce the boiling times of the mix, provides a tough outer skin on the bait and still keep the centre soft.


There are other ingredients available either as a main ingredient or in addition to a basic Base mix as attractors or to replace any deficiencies.


Whatever bait you come up with it will need a mix of Soluble products as well as "hard" ingredients to make it attractive and edible to the Carp. No matter how high the protein content of all the ingredients you use due to the binder in most cases this will drop as you mix the ingredients. It is really no use making a bait if it does not roll at all, and Carp can't really utilise a protein content of much above 50% to my thinking.


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Despite what we all think there is no Ultimate Carp Bait YET! 


When it comes to choosing a bait, choose a bait with some history of catching Carp. 


Spend some time selecting a bait to suit your needs, either by reading articles on the bait, looking through Bait Companies Brochures and catalogues or even getting on the phone to them. 


When it comes to choosing a Bait then remember the difference in types, an Attractor Bait, Food Source Baits, and Hi-Attract/Overflavored Hi Viz baits. 


Attractor baits are best used in limited quantities, maybe as few as 1 or 2 around the hookbait. They may have a limited life in terms of feeding and catching of as little as hours. They may attract Carp into the swim, then due to their limited Nutritional Value they may cease to work after a period of time. 


You then have the Hi-Attract Overflavoured and Hi-Viz Baits. These baits are designed usually to be hookbait only, to get the Carp to be inquisitive, to try it. 


Food Source baits are long term baits, they are balanced Food Source or Nutritional Baits. They become a Food Source that the Carp will actively search for to provide their Nutrition, this bait will provide Protein, Fats, Carbohydrates and Vitamins and Minerals. To enjoy the best results on them then Pre-bait with them, and put as much in as possible when you leave. It may even be worth with fishing with limited amount of bait in the swim at a time. The pre-baiting is to build up the Carps confidence in the Food. If you hook a Carp on the Bait first time you use it then it may stop eating it. 

Once you have chosen a Bait, then give it a fair trial. It may not catch immediately, but if it is a viable Food Source then it will, or is very likely to start to catch, if it is fished properly.

Try to use a GOOD quality base mix with Natural Nutrition. These ingredients will provide Natural Attraction to the Bait. 

Only Use Fresh Bait, Dry mixes have a Shelf Life. The recommended life for a Fishmeal mix is 6months, even less if you have Milk Protein Ingredients. It is best to make up as much as possible with Fresh Ingredients, including eggs, then split it down to smaller quantities and freeze it. It is also best NOT to Refreeze after a session any leftover bait. This leftover bait can be put into the lake or river. It is your pre-baiting for the next trip. Any bait the Carp find that they don't get hooked over will only increase their confidence in the Bait as a Food 


Also don't forget the large numbers and types of Particles out there: 




This thread covers the types of many/most of them. It also has Preparation times for soaking and boiling. 





Boilie recipes for anyone if interested, let me know how you get on. I used them years ago, but they still work even now, and against many of the more expensive baits on the Market. 




7 oz Ground Pond Pellets

1 oz Sodium Caseinate

1 oz Soya Flour

1 oz Codlivine


8 oz Sluis Universal

8 oz Sluis Mynah Food

2 oz Casilan (Casein)


Mix with 4-6 eggs and boil normally for 90 seconds.



Simple Birdfood Recipes

Just a couple of SIMPLE Birdfood Recipes. Feel free to try them, been using them for years and they still work.


Animal Feed Suppliers or Haiths will have the Powdered Ingredients.


8oz Semolina

8oz CEDE

2grams Betaine

25ml Multimino PPC

4ml Sweet Nutraspice

2ml Spice Cajouser

Low level Geranium Essential Oil


6oz Nectablend

2oz Robin Red 

2oz Rennet Casein

6oz Semolina

2grams Betaine

2grams GLM Extract

2ml Spice Cajouser

4ml Game On Flavour Nutrabaits UTCS

20ml Nutramino


mix with 4-6 eggs and boil for about 11/2 minutes


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