Continuing this short expose of some of the best-kept birdfood secrets in the carp, I would like to concentrate again on the blend we discussed last month (Red Factor™ + Ready-Mix™), along with another widely used but often woefully misused birdfood, Haith's® ™ Red Band® Pigeon Conditioner.
This is Haiths Red Band ™ Pigeon Conditioner. There are other pigeon conditioners out there, and some folk claim that there is no difference between them, however, I would suggest that this is misguided thinking! There is pigeon conditioner and then there is RED BAND! If you want the best, use Red Band and do not accept any pale imitations! . As you can see from this photo, the blend comprises a huge mix of seeds, grains and cereals mixed together to Haiths’ unique recipe. A large dose of aniseed oil is then added to the mix to give it extra bite.
Many anglers use a method of preparation that involves nothing more than an overnight soak in boiling water before, so they say, the bait is ready to use. I will not argue with this as up to a point it is correct. However, in my opinion that is the lazy man’s way and the blend can be hugely improved if a bit more trouble is taken in the preparation stage. Here’s how to get the very best out of Red Band Pigeon Conditioner ™! Put the blend in a large saucepan or two and then pour on boiling water to cover the seeds generously. You will need to add more boiling water from time as the seeds etc. absorb water like a sponge. Once the blend has stopped absorbing water, put the lid(s) on and leave to stand for 24 hours.
After the soak you will notice that the bait has absorbed a considerable amount of water, the seeds and grains have swollen and some of the pellets have started to soften.
Now transfer the pan to the stove and bring the water in which the bait has been soaking back up to the boil. You should keep a close eye on pan and add more boiling water from the kettle if necessary.
Now lower the heat to a tick-over and simmer the bait for 15-25 minutes, stirring frequently to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and allow the blend to cool. During the cooling process most of the water will be absorbed back into the grains, at the same time releasing the oils from the seeds and the gluten and sugars from the cereals in the mix. It should look like this after a good long simmer and cool. Sweet!
Now is the time to add whatever you feel may enhance the bait. This photo shows just three of your options but you can also add Marmite, salt chilli flakes…whatever you like to be honest.
And stirred well in…
Now come the big question: to ferment on not to ferment? I have always been a big fan of allowing ALL my particles, seeds, grains etc. to stand for a few days before using them. However, as I think I mentioned a few issue back, I am now firmly of the opinion that fresh is best. I therefore like to use the prepared Red Band ™ as soon as possible. Where feasible I love to fish it right in the edge, preferably where I can see the bait carpet and watch as the carp home in on it. However, if more distance is required, you will find that the conditioner, prepared as I have just shown you, will spod out very well with little spillage.
Just one final point on this fermenting business…Red Band will definitely change its character and consistency after 5+ days in the bait bucket. It will thicken still further and start to loose the aniseed aroma in favour of a rather unpleasant vinegary one. This is NOT fermentation; what is actually happening is that the bait is rotting!
This is a blend of Red Factor and Haiths Ready-Mixed Colour Food and this blend is a key part of a real “old-school” boilie recipe, one that was successful in the 70s, 80s, 90s and is still doing the business for those in the know in the 00s. It was known back in the day when I first heard of it as the Red Bait. This was back in the early 70s but in fact I think at the time there were actually two ‘red baits’ around, this one and a particular recipe that contained Robin Red. Both have stood the test of time and this one is cheap as chips!
First you need to grind down equal amounts of uncooked Red Band…
Mix the two ingredients together by placing them in a large polythene bag. Blow into the bag and twist the mouth to seal it, and then shake well to ensure that ingredients are properly mixed.
Now carry on as if you were making a batch of boiled baits, i.e. add eggs, flavour and liquid food to a bowl followed by the powders. To make the final blending that bit easier put some oil in the palm of your hand and then finally work the paste to the correct consistency.
You should end up with a nice ball of paste that is now ready to be rolled out into sausages, cut and rolled to size and then boiled to create boilies.
Hold back some of the paste, as you are going to be making a paste hookbait with this. Here’s how…Roll a pinch of paste in your palms to form a boilie-shaped ball. Now using the new Fox Arma Mesh, form a bait-sized hookbait, like this.
Using a fine lip-close needle such as this splicing needle, thread the paste hookbait onto your hair…
…And insert the bait stop.
Finally fold a section of soluble packaging foam around the shank of the hook, trapping the hair against the shank in the process. This not only helps prevent tangles but also eliminates the possibility of the hook point catching in the mesh on the cast.
Any remaining paste can be stored for a considerable time, certainly the length of your average fishing trip, (in my case mostly a week at a time). A thin film of oil over the top of the paste will preserve it still longer.