I guess it is no secret that I am getting on a bit! In fact, I started carping in 1963 – albeit, VERY badly! Logically I guess that it follows that not many of you Supercatch fans were around back in the days when birdfoods first became popular, but if you were you may remember the very crude mixes we used to use then. Basically it was a matter of mixing Robin Red with any of the egg-biscuit ingredients, grinding the whole lot down and then throwing it at the eggs and the flavour. Astonishingly enough, this crude bait actually caught fish!
Now at the time everyone was turning to birdfood baits and among the main bulking ingredients were Nectarblend, Softbill Rearing Food, Red Factor and Egg Biscuit. Well, it didn’t take long before the thinkers started trying to put together paste baits that could be made simply with water rather than eggs, the reasoning being that there was already a large egg content in the base mixes thanks to the egg biscuit-based ingredients. Low and behold, we realised that we could even make boilies (with a lot of fiddling about, it has to be said) out of the water-based pastes!
One of the ways I used to exploit these high egg content ingredients was to create water-based paste balls of bait – namely paste rolled out like boilies and then air-dried. There are a number of advantages to these little beauties:
1) No boiling so leaves ingredients and attraction intact and unaffected by heat. This is the prime advantage of this method.
2) Less labour intensive and less expensive.
3) No eggs needed. Most mixes will bind adequately enough using water alone, so also less expensive.
4) Air dried they go like bullets after about four days or so. Caty- and stick-proof.
5) However, they will break down to a soft paste after 18-24 hours in the water.
6) Once dried they can be used in much the same way as boiled baits but will break down much quicker. You can even use one as a hookbait if you use Arma Mesh.
7) An indefinite shelf life once fully air-dried. Once fully air-dried there is no area where airborne bacteria can get a hold and make the paste balls go moldy.
I can illustrate what I mean with a few pix. Please note, this little wheeze is not restricted to birdfoods and while my own experience is largely birdfood-based, you should be able to do this with any type of base mix. In this series of pix I am using two Haiths Supercatch products, SuperRed and MarineRed.
First grind any coarse mixes to a fine powder (this is ground SuperRed), and add any additives you want to use. I would strongly advise a hefty dose of amino acid food liquids at this point – CSL and Molasses are excellent. You can also add a flavour or even an essential oil is you wish, as well as powdered additives or pure amino acids.
Next add water to form a paste. You will need to experiment to see if your mix will bind with water alone – most will. If it won’t then use eggs, though this is not as good as using water.
Roll the paste out first into a large ball and then into a sausage, as if you were making boilies.
Now roll the rest of the paste into sausages.
Cut the sausages into the required size…
…and then roll into balls as if making boilies, and leave them to air dry in a warm room or the airing cupboard.
You can use other less coarse mixes to form smoother pastes. Here the fine-ground MarineRed is placed in a mixing bowl and water added a little at a time to form a paste.
The paste should then be formed into a ball and allowed to ‘rest’ for about 10 minutes.
As before, the paste is then rolled out into sausages and then into boiled bait- shaped balls. After 24 hours they will be quite hard. After a week they will go like bullets.
This is a breakdown test. On the left in this pic is a SuperRed paste ball air dried for 4 days. On the right is a MarineRed ditto.
And here are the same two baits after 18 hours in the water. First the MarineRed.
And this is the SuperRed water-base paste ball. Note the inherent oil leaking out. None has been added previously. This is in-built oil from the ingredients.
You can continue to dry the baits indefinitely, and the longer you do so the harder they become. In fact they become so hard that eventually you can only break them with a mallet….
…Yet after only 6 hours in water they have already started to break down.
After 24 hours they have dissolved almost entirely.
Join us next month for the concluding part of this look at water-based birdfood pastes.