Smooth preparations for fishing bait

All many carp see these days are boilies or multiple baits, so try paste baits in boilie waters and you may get a few surprises. Even in very hard waters, strong-smelling pastes are likely to appeal to carp fed on boilies. Fish two rods, one with boilies and one with paste, and compare results.

Bear in mind that some pre-baiting is usually necessary for fishing pastes, and this may attract other species. You do tend to catch more big tench, bream and chub on paste baits – even smaller fish can eventually make their mark on a large, soft paste bait.

Paste progression

Some of the earliest carp baits were pastes. These included stale bread mixed with water and sometimes flavoured with honey or sugar, mashed potatoes and bread mixed to a paste, and cheese paste – bread and any type of cheese mixed to a paste with water.

For many years these were the main carp baits, but when more anglers started to spe- cialize in carp fishing around 25 years ago, they began to think about new ideas. Sausage paste The first of these was sausage paste – bread or a groundbait mixed with water and sausage meat. Pet food paste Then came pet food pastes: cat or dog food, stiffened with groundbait and mixed to a pungent paste. Trout pellet paste was next, in the early 1970s. Easily obtained, the pellets were a great success. Some pellets only need hot water added to make a paste, while others are first ground to a powder in a food grinder. The mixture usually requires stiffening with sodium caseinate, wheat gluten, groundbait or flour.

Trout pellets, with around 50% protein content, were really the first high protein bait and there is no doubt that carp like high protein foods. Breadpaste, with about 10% protein, can still do well on easy waters until the fish become wary of it.

Prime pairings

For all traditional pastes you need a binding agent to add to your bulk ingredient. This gives an adhesive quality which holds the paste together and makes a smooth hookbait that stays intact during the cast. The best binders are fish meals, sodium caseinate and wheat gluten, potato starch and flour. You can use almost any food as the bulk basis for a paste, but generally strong-smelling ingredients with a good protein content are successful.

You may have to experiment to get the right consistency for your pastes, adding more binder or water as necessary.

Pilchards mixed with flour, liver sausage and rusk, tinned sardines and wheat gluten and any pet food mixed with tinned pilchards in tomato sauce, with groundbait added – are all successful combinations.

With modern high protein and high nutritive value ingredients, you can now make many more types of paste. Most use milk proteins such as sodium caseinate or calcium caseinate as a base since they have a protein content of more than 90%. They also have good binding properties.

Test out your pastes first without any flavouring, but if you want to add some, put in about a teaspoon for every 10oz of mix. Never use more than two teaspoons of flavour per 10oz mix – it may actually put fish off.

Bun spice, maple, cream, caramel, strawberry, peach, Bird spice and fishy flavours are some of the best flavours. Get them from bait suppliers and tackle shops.

The addition of a sweetener can often help, especially to take the bitter edge off strong flavours.