A few weeks have past since part one. Sorry with apologies for the slight delay, here is part two of the Natural Extracts series.
Liver extracts and concentrates are superb ingredients as their free amino acid content makes them potent attractors. Any bait mix be it fishmeal, birdfood or even a 50/50 mix will benefit from the inclusion of liver in some form or other. I know one guy down my way who even went so far as to liquidise chicken livers and add the resulting 'soup' to other dry ingredients to create boiled baits…and very well he did too!
Powdered liver products come in a great variety of different guises, some are very concentrated, others less so. I use this Liver Extract Powder, which is pre-digested. It has a well balanced amino acid profile and has significant nutritional properties in the form of peptides, salts and enzymes. The powder is water-soluble which makes it easily detectable by carp on the look out for food. I invariably add 10% liver powder to a base mix before creating boilies.
I also add it to groundbait and PVA bags to add still further to the attraction. As winter approaches I feel that fishmeal-based groundbaits become less effective so I go for a nut-based groundbait, which is designed with its ability to bind as a priority. Here you can see some balls of SuperNut groundbait that have been formed using water (no eggs), which has been laced with liquid and powdered attractors including Liver Extract Powder. On the lakebed these will break down completely within 30-40 minutes to flood the area with a recognisable food signal.
I am a big fan of pellets of all shapes and sizes, especially well-formulated varieties that bring a little bit extra to the table. Everyone has heard of Robin Red and you will surely have heard of Haith's Bait's own SuperSoft pellets, which are Robin Red-based. The beauty of our pellets is their very rapid breakdown rate, which is particularly useful in the warmer month. However, Dynamite Baits also offer a Robin Red pellet, which is very different to the Supersofts and is a very useful alternative.
The Dynamite RR Pellet breaks down very slowly and as it does so it creates a hard core of attraction on the baited area. Here are some of Dynamite's mini Robin Red Pellets and a bottle of Robin Red Oil. The pellets are available in sizes, 4, 8, 12, 15 and 20mm, the later being pre-drilled so they can be used on a hair rig.
I like to form PVA stocking mesh parcels of varying sizes, which can either be used to free bait an area, introduced by hand or with a catapult, or to draw attention to the hookbait but attaching one to the hook prior to casting out.
These little parcels of goodness can be customised by using a glug with the liquid of your choice, making sure first that it is PVA-friendly! These have been treated with Dynamite's Robin Red Oil. Bear in mind that being an oil this treatment will slow down the dissolve rate of the PVA considerably. This may be fine in summer but it's not so good in winter. After all, you don't want to retrieve the parcel, still intact, after lying on the lakebed for hours doing only half a job.
I use glugged stocking mesh parcels for 90% of my fishing effort, attaching one to the hook virtually every time I cast. These too have been glugged with Dynamite's dedicated Robin Red Oil.
Before I leave the subject of Dynamite’s pellets I thought you might like to take a look at them in action. In order to demonstrate the slow breakdown speed of these pellets, I popped a handful in a small glass bowl and covered them with tap water, which was about 12-degree C at the time. The mesh stocking is actually an Arma Mesh-wrapped parcel of pellets that can be used directly on the hair as a slowly dissolving hookbait.
Here is that same Arma Mesh hookbait after four hours in water. Imagine a carp moseying up to that little bundle of attraction!
Here are the same pellets and mesh hookbait after four hours. You can see that they still maintain their shape but they are clearly beginning to dissolve.
A unique aspect of the larger sizes of the Dynamite Baits's Robin Red pellets is that they are drilled so they can be used on the hair.
Attach a small, glugged PVA stocking mesh parcel of pellets to the hook before casting out.
Natural glugs and pellets go together like gin and tonic and this liquid food is one of the best natural attractors I have used. OK, before you say it, what's 'natural' about a squid when we are talking about a fresh water species? Let me clarify: It isn't the squid that's natural, it is the protein (free amino acids), vitamin and mineral content of the liquid that makes it so attractive.
Place some pellets of your choice in a bait bucket and add a decent glug of the Squid Hydro.
Now give the bucket a good shake to distribute the liquid evenly and then add a generous sprinkling of Liver Extract Powder.
Another good shake will coat each pellets in Liver Powder.
Dried granules of seaweed were first (used under the radar) in the early 80s but they have gradually since found widespread popularity with bait buffs and bait companies alike. Dried seaweed is a product that I first used extensively in 1986 having tripped over a tub in the local farmer's retail store. I later passed on my findings to Bill Cottam boss of Nutrabaits at the time and he was so impressed that he included it in the company’s product range and in a couple of base mixes including Big Fish Mix. It can be used at medium to high levels in any type of mix, particularly fishmeal and birdfood baits. A blend of 25g/475g is enough to add a sparkle to your bait by improving its vitamin and mineral content. Once boiled, the granules come out a chewy little green bit in the bait. Irresistible!
Carp are very aware of the need to consume vitamins and minerals but they can do so entirely by eating natural foodstuffs that they find on the lake bed, in weeds or in silt. However, we can boost their levels of vitamins and minerals by adding them to our boiled bait. Powdered kelp extract is perfect if you want to compliment naturally occurring source of vitamins and minerals with your own highly attractive Kelp Powder, which is also rich in aminos and carbs. Use it at anything between 5% and 15% of the base mix.
Liquid Kelp is yet another excellent natural extract that can add considerable pulling power to your boiled baits. This thick black liquid has a potent smell and is rich in vitamins and minerals. There are plenty of suppliers out there but have a look in outlets that sell equine supplies. You might be surprised what you can find on their shelves!
Despite its appearance as a thick, black gooey liquid it is actually soluble so it is the perfect medium to which to add powdered attractors. As you can see from this old photo, I was using it back in the 90s to carry powdered attraction into the water table. I still use it today. Give it a try…It's very potent!
Here's a carp from way back, when I still had hair, caught on a fishmeal boilie containing liquid kelp, betaine HCl and GLME.
You will probably have heard about seafood extracts and with good reason, as they are among the best natural attractors money can buy. I have used several different ones and all have added further to the pulling power of my bait. However, I feel that this full fat Green Lipped Mussel Concentrate (not the cheaper de-fatted version) is one of the best. I have waxed lyrical about this excellent bait additive before but it is so good that I make no apologies for coming back to it again. It is a perfect supplement to any mix. I am not sure if GLMC has an upper limit! I guess its inclusion rate is limited only by the depth of your pockets! In fact I have use this particular version at 10% in a fishmeal base mix but I guess a more realistic level is probably around 5%.
One reason why GLMC works so well is its highly significant Betaine content. I first encountered Betaine many years ago and used it with good effect on several waters. Tim Paisley first introduced me to it back in the day and later bait expert Keith Sykes pointed the way to use it and other ingredients and attractors more effectively. I followed his lead and his guidance has been key to my bait philosophy down the years. Thank you, Keith!
Betaine is a naturally occurring substance found in tiny quantities in a variety of living things. It is found in plants, yeasts, fungi, the flesh of fish and in other crustaceans, molluscs (the green lipped mussel for instance!) and other invertebrates. There are two types of Betaine, anhydrous version and hydrochloride. Both are very effective feeding triggers.
I have used what I would call 'proper' baits ever since Tim and them Keith took me under their wings. Their advice has been priceless and I am certain that without their guidance I would not have caught half the fish I have over the years. Here's another fine carp from way back when, caught on Tim's HERNV bait idea.
There cannot be many specialist anglers who haven't heard of Robin Red. It has been around for donkey's years but year after year the magic 'red stuff' accounts for hundreds, if not thousands of carp. This wonderful natural additive is a blend of oil, extracts, vitamins and minerals and includes peppers and spices in its make up. Its attraction is legendary and if you’ve ever used a base mix with the word red in it, this means you have almost certainly used a Robin Red-based mix. The Source from Dynamite Baits is one of many Robin Red-based baits. Of the ones I have used - Big Fish Mix, Enervite, Trigga Red etc - The Source is right up there with the best.
And the bait buffs at Dynamite don't rest on their laurels! Having developed the massively popular boilie The Source boilie they have now also released a pure Robin Red attractor bait.
There are times when carp find Robin Red totally irresistible. This long forty pound common, caught by my missus was actually landed by the pair of us three times in a fortnight on just such a bait!
Until the next time, enjoy your fishing!