High protein baits

The excitement has long since died away that greeted the arrival of high protein baits. But genuine advantages do spring from knowing where and when to make sparing use of HP High protein (HP) is not a magic for-mula bait that will guarantee big fish catches. But used wisely and correctly on suitable water, it will succeed where other baits have failed to tempt fish.

The originator of high protein baits was Fred Wilton of Snodland in Kent. As long ago as 1967 Fred had already achieved success with his high protein preparations on a Kentish water that proved to be the ideal experimenting ground. Fred’s idea was to provide the undernourished carp with a vitaminized, high protein diet far superior to the food chain the lake could supply, since the water was overstocked. He reasoned that, after a long and heavy groundbaiting programme to introduce and to familiarize the bait, it would be taken instinctively.

Fred’s results were truly remark-able. He would often catch five or six carp per session and once landed carp in near zero temperatures after clearing ice from the swim.

Waters with insufficient food

As has been said, this was on a water where the carp failed to achieve their weight potential simply because there was not enough food to go round. The lake in question—and there must be scores of waters in other places with similar characteristics—was inhabited by carp to the occasional double figures, plus pike, roach, tench, perch and literally thousands and thousands of silver bream. ‘Silver slimies’ are of no interest to the carp hunter even if the matchman or pleasure angler takes some delight in them. Fred overcame the risk of ‘nuisance’ fish picking up the bait by using eggs to mix the compound instead of water. The paste, dry weight about 10 oz, was then rolled into balls of 1oz and boiled for one minute. This produced a tough, rubberlike skin on the outside of the bait ball and defeated the attentions of the unwanted species.

Initial recipe

This initial recipe consisted of Phillips Yeast mixture (approx-imately 43% protein) and contained the vitamin B complex which is water soluble; wheatgerm, similar but with a slightly inferior formula and only 31% protein, Farlene baby food and Pomenteg, a groundbait additive. It was made up as follows: 6oz of wheatgerm (Bemax), 2£oz of PYM, £oz of Farlene and 1oz of Pomenteg.

When the number of catches fell off in January, casein (milk protein), with calcium, was introduced in place of the Farlene and Pomenteg, and catches immediately improved. Calcium caseinate is 90% protein and this put the overall value of the bait up from 31% to 46% protein. The winter campaign that year fetched 72 carp, 13 of which were double-figure fish.

The following season was begun, after a heavy groundbaiting pro-gramme, by fishing a water that boasted a good head of 20lb carp. It failed, although on other experimental venues with similar stock conditions, results were once again impressive. The best fish taken by the author that season weighed a modest 17lb. On overstocked waters, therefore, with a deficient food chain, high protein is a top scorer, but on ‘rich’ waters it is often no better than any other bait.

It has been proved that HP will catch big carp; the author has taken several 20lb fish using it. He re-mains certain, however, that the expense of buying individual ingre-dients is not justified by big carp returns. On big-fish waters, high-protein-using carp men have sat behind lifeless lines while a ‘layman’ using luncheon meat has pulled out a 28lb carp. And remember, the use of high protein baits is expensive.

Today, there are very few waters left where the carp have not seen high protein. If you know one, you are lucky! Consequently, the pro-blem of an expensive groundbait programme can be dispensed with. It is now often a subtle preparation that will put carp on the bank. The present-day carp angler also uses HP in particle form, and the latest vogue is to include a smell additive. This can range from a soup stock to a teaspoonful of vanilla essence and generally these have proved very successful. But once again, the usefulness of any ingredient lasts only as long as it continues to attract carp. The carp is wily and quickly learns what to avoid.

Memory or instinct?

Why and how does a carp learn to avoid certain baits? Does it have a rudimentary memory? Does it pro-duce an alarm substance when taken which warns other fish? Some carp-type fishes do. Some eminent anglers argue quite vehemently that carp do not have the ability to distinguish high protein from tomato juice. The key may lie in instinct. The early baits were probably successful because they were novel and also in some cases because they provided the carp with a nourishing diet. Therefore, ‘rich’-water fish will occasionally ignore it.

If you want to see fish climbing on each others’ backs to feed on high protein, visit your local trout farm. The trout are fed on a high-nutrient diet to ensure a fast growth rate—and they love it! Ground-up trout pellets make a useful carp special when mixed with soya flour (44% protein) and milk powder. One such mixture contains 5oz of pellets, 2oz of soya flour and 2oz of milk powder (Casilan). Where fishing for carp in a water that contained the odd trout, the author caught four mirror carp to 14fib and three rain-bows—all on trout pellet paste!

Follow the recipe carefully

Another tried and tested high pro-tein mix comprises 4oz of Purina cat food, 2oz of soya flour, 2oz of Phillips Yeast mixture and 2oz of Casilan. Mix thoroughly and then add six standard eggs—remember to whip the eggs first—then roll into roughly 1oz balls. Boil for one minute and allow them to cool. If you have followed the recipe carefully you should end up with a firm bait that will catch big carp.

To make a particle high protein bait requires a bit more patience. The mix is made as before, but there follows the lengthy task of rolling the paste into |in strips. These are immersed in boiling water for 30 seconds and allowed to cool.

It is as well to groundbait with the particle offerings as you fish. This will often attract fish into the swim. Particles often tempt other species, however, so be prepared for big roach, bream and tench.

It may never be necessary to groundbait heavily, as has been ex-plained, unless of course you have access to a water that has not seen high protein baits. Then a light and regular pre-baiting—say, four ses-sions at roughly 50 balls per baiting—and success should follow. Remember to choose areas that you know are frequented by carp, such as reeds, shallow bars and islands.

Given ideal conditions, high pro-tein bait should prove a top scorer, but never go to a water without an alternative bait.