Category Archives: Bait

Enhancers and amino acids used in fish baits

People often say: “An hour after a Chinese meal I was hungry again.” It’s a classic example of a flavour enhancer at work – MSG (monosodium glutamate) is widely used in the food industry both to boost the food’s natural flavour and to keep the customer wanting more.

Often used in carp baits, this type of enhancer covers a wide range of tastes, but it has given way to appetite stimulators designed to boost just a single taste, perhaps fish or a fruit.

Enhancers and amino acids used in fish baits There is a huge range of enhancers, stimulators and amino acids available to anglers. Although they are normally used by carp anglers for adding to boilie mixes, they have a truly vast potential for improving the catches of all types of anglers. Various essential oils -natural organic scent enhancers – are strong and should be added to your hookbaits or groundbait in precise quantities to prevent overkill. Mix one teaspoon of each bait enhancer with one pint of dry groundbait. Meat flavoured enhancers and appetite stimulators work really well for barbel and chub.


John Wilson cradles a fine bream

John Wilson cradles a fine bream. Archie has found that bream are perhaps the species most responsive to additives -skimmers have different tastes from slabs.Appetite stimulators and flavour enhancers work when a fish has tasted the bait with its barbels or mouth. Fish also detect aminos through their sense of smell via the nostrils.

These mixtures combine aminos and appetite stimulators in equal quantities. Specialist bait suppliers, such as Solar, Nutrabaits, Hutchinson, SBS or Richworth, make these ingredients.

Enhanced Baits

Maggots (per pint)
Groundbait (per dry pint)
1. 5ml/1 tsp Shellfish amino acid blend1. 5ml/1 tsp Shellfish amino acid blend
1 tsp Fish flavour appetite stimulator1 tsp Fish flavour appetite stimulator
2. 5ml/1 tsp Savoury amino acid blend2. 5ml/1 tsp Savoury amino acid blend
1 tsp Savoury flavour appetite stimulator2 tsps Brewers yeast
3. 5ml/1 tsp Supreme amino acid blend3. 5ml/1 tsp Liver amino acid blend
1 tsp Meat flavour appetite stimulator1 tsp Meat flavour appetite stimulator
4. 5ml/1 tsp Spice amino acid blend4. 5ml/1 tsp Regular amino acid blend
1 tsp Spice flavour appetite stimulator1 tsp Spice flavour appetite stimulator

Appetite stimulators

With the rapid advance in carp-fishing technology anglers can now walk into most tackle shops and pick up a small pot of powder specifically designed to react with a liquid flavouring, both enhancing that flavour and the whole taste of the bait.

A good example is: 1lb (0.45kg) of standard boilie mix, a heaped teaspoon of Fruit Appetite Stimulator and 5ml of liquid Strawberry flavouring. 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 regularly.

Amino acids

Amino acids form the basis of protein, and experiments by US scientists have proved that certain combinations instigate a strong feeding response in different types of fish. Aminos are present in powder form in the appetite stimulators and the very latest developments have provided aminos based on specific flavours.

But it’s 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. It’s not surprising when you consider that aminos in that form are virtually liquid protein.

Differing tastes

Although attractors were developed for carp they have proved equally successful for other species, each showing a preference for a particular flavour. Unfortunately, these preferences vary from water to water, year to year and even from summer to winter. Water temperature too has a pronounced effect on what works, or not.

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.

These additives can either be mixed 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 one pint of bait – liquid aminos must be mixed with water for use with groundbait. There’s 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.

Baits for trolling

All over the world, trolling — towing a baited line behind a moving boat – is a natural and obvious way of catching predatory fish. The problem with this in Britain, though, is that most of our sea fish species are confirmed bottom feeders. The exceptions are porbeagle shark, bass, pollack, mackerel and garfish. TheseContinue Reading

Silver snakes – white gold

White rag are very hard to obtain – but they can be well worth the trouble. Certainly you can’t afford to be without them for an important match. More matches have been won with lug tipped with white rag than almost any other bait. Not for nothing are they known reverently in some parts ofContinue Reading

Bait digging essentials

Digging your own lug or rag or collecting sandeels, cockles or crabs isn’t the most glamorous way of spending an afternoon. But there are many advantages in doing so. Fresh black lug, for example, is unsurpassed in tempting winter codling, and if you dig your own you can save a great deal of money. TheContinue Reading

Hermit crabs -cloistered crustaceans

Life for the hermit is tricky to say the least. It doesn’t grow a hard shell all over its body. Instead it settles for an armoured front end but relies on old whelk shells to provide most of its posterior protection. Once installed in a suitably vacant shell the hermit sticks its pincers and twoContinue Reading

Digging and using rockworm

A member of the ragworm family, but rather rarer, the rockworm is found only in chalk rock, living in small sand-lined burrows and crevices. Similar to the king rag, but much smaller at about 8cm long, it is a bright brown/orange colour. It looks much like its close relative the small ragworm found inside theContinue Reading

All about harbour rag

Very few big fish give harbour rag a second look. These small but juicy squirming worms are primarily a bait for hard shore venues where small fish are the target. High on the list of takers are flounders and thin-lipped mullet, but they also attract small pollack, wrasse, garfish, scad, pouting and herring. The onlyContinue Reading

Jigging with jellies – the rubber revolution

Anglers keen to catch fast predatory species on the lightest tackle are proving that colourful jelly lures’ offer advantages over more common artificial baits. Mostly innovations from America, they can be just as successful this side of the Atlantic for bass and pollack, as they are for species in sun-drenched blue water. Soft and squidgyContinue Reading

Scoring with sandeels

Four distinct species of large sandeel live in British waters – the greater, the smooth, Raitt’s and Corbin’s. These can be anything from 23 to 33cm long. Few anglers can distinguish between species so, in practice, all large sandeels are regarded as greater sandeels. They play a vital role in the marine food chain. EssentiallyContinue Reading