Adding Colour and more
While thereís no doubt
that baits in their natural state catch plenty of fish, thereís a growing band
of anglers who swear by additives. In fact, anyone who has fished a bronze
maggot has used an additive - even though in this case it was a dye added to the
food the maggot ate while it was growing.
And if dyeing works for maggots, then why not for breadpaste or sweetcorn? If fish get caught many times on corn, they may become wary of it. In such cases, perhaps a little red-dyed corn will do the trick.
And it isnít just colour
you can add. Thereís a whole host of flavours and appetite stimulators
available. These range from ordinary kitchen ingredients like cheese and custard
powder to hi-tech specialities such as amino acid mixes or sticky toffee
flavouring. The choice is seemingly endless, and if you employ a little common
sense they can only help you improve your catch rate.
A splash of colour
The response of fish to
colour is a complex subject, influenced by many factors including light, depth
and clarity of water. But to the angler thereís no doubt that coloured baits
are worth a try when the regulars have lost their touch.
Use only food dyes to
colour baits and choose dyes which have been tested and are safe and easy to use.
Coloured maggots from tackle shops are tinted with commercial dyes put into
their feed. Maggot colour is down to personal preference, but red ones are the
most popular for taking big tench and bream from gravel pits. They are
particularly useful fished with red hemp - a crucial coupling for barbel on such
venues as the River Kennet.
Commercial dyes are
powerful and shouldnít be used at home. So, if you want to colour your own
maggots try adding turmeric powder to white maggots. This gives you a light
bronze-coloured maggot which also has a distinctive curry flavour thatís
deadly for dace.
Add colouring to the water used to make bread paste and youíll end up with a soft, effective bait. Experiment with your own colours, but one tried and tested killer is paste dyed orange (with added sweetener and tutti frutti flavouring) fished over a bed of mini-boilies.
When cooking hemp, stir in
red dye as it cools. On venues heavily fished with natural hemp, the red-dyed
sprouting seed is effective. As well as being potent on the hook, red hemp is a
deadly attractor fished with a red maggot hookbait.
sweetcorn is a very popular bait on waters where the fish have become wary of
natural sweetcorn. All you need do for a super bait is put some dye in the
sweetcorn water. Jazz up chick peas in a similar way, by putting dye in the
water while they are soaking before cooking.
food mixes are a popular surface-fished carp bait, but they are often used so
much that fish get hammered on them and become wary. So why not ring the changes
for choosy fish by offering them coloured floaters?
If youíre looking for a
winning formula, remember that colours go hand in hand with flavours. A bright
bait might attract the fishís attention at first, but smell could be the
There is a huge range of synthetic liquid flavours available. Most come with instructions on how much to use. Follow them. Fish can be but off by too intense a smell. Usually you need about a teaspoon (roughly 5m1) for every 450g (1 Ib) of dry bait or loosefeed, but you may only need a few drops.
If youíre going to
flavour maggots, riddle off any maize or bran and make sure they are clean
before you start. Maggots absorb flavour better when their skins are clean and
dry. Remember to replace the maize or bran if youíre going to keep the maggots
for any length of time.
There is endless scope,
too, at your local supermarket. Honey, milk shake flavours, cake flavouring and
sauces such as tomato ketchup can all be used as liquid flavours.
Powders and pastes which
have helped catch fish are also easily available and include stock cubes,
powdered soups, curry powder, milk powder and sugar. Ground turmeric is
especially popular for flavouring maggots during the winter. In addition to any
flavouring effects, this spice degreases the maggots, making them sink faster.
It is also supposed to irritate them, making them wriggle more enticingly.
For example, mix 450g
(1lb) of standard boilie mix, a heaped teaspoon of Fruit Appetite Stimulator and
1 teaspoon of liquid Strawberry flavouring to make a very effective boilie. The
carp is attracted by the flavour, takes one of the free baits thrown in earlier,
is stimulated by the taste and goes looking for more. This is an ideal situation
that can be, and is, achieved regularl.
But itís in their liquid form that aminos really score. Specialist carp bait suppliers have formulated blends which diffuse into water, and they can be deadly. Carp arrive in the area to find the liquid amino in suspension around the bait and are triggered into taking it. Itís not surprising when you consider that aminos in that form are virtually liquid protein.
There are a few reliable
starting points. The sweeter fruit and creamy flavours generally work best in
the warmer months for fish like bream, roach, tench or carp, with the spicy
tastes coming into their own in the winter. Barbel like the meaty approach,
while fish-based attractors draw chub and perch like a magnet.
You can either mix these
additives in with groundbait or hookbaits such as maggots - add them to the
maggots overnight so they are ingested. Proportions should be one teaspoon of
each additive to 560ml (1pt) of bait - mix liquid aminos with water for use with
groundbait. Thereís a blend of aminos and enhancers that can turn on your
favourite fish, in your favourite water. All you have to do is find it.
Ideas for old soaks
sometimes drawn to your hookbait if it smells different from any groundbait or
free offerings in your swim. You donít need to make special hookbaits
beforehand - just dip your bait in a small pot of flavour before you cast.