Beware of chemical additives

Some carp anglers use large quantities of chemicals in their baits which are carcinogenic—which may cause cancer. Even in minute amounts these chemicals have been banned from human food. Recently, amyl acetate was recommended. In human beings this is regarded as dangerous if inhaled, and produces irritation to the nose and throat and coughing. The advice of a chemist must be sought before chemicals of this nature are even considered for use in baits.

Of seed baits, some of the better ones, such as maple seeds, black eye beans, hempseed, chick peas, sweet-corn, sultanas and haricot beans, can be purchased from food stores or pet shops. Others, such as aduki beans, reddai seeds, rapeseed, buckwheat, soya beans, lucerne beans and lupin seeds have to be obtained from health food stores or seed merchants. Larger beans require cooking before use, but the small seeds can be fished raw. They usually soften quite quickly in the water. Larger peas and beans are hooked directly, while smaller seeds have to be stuck to the hook with ‘Mystic’ paste or a good glue.

Other particle baits, such as trout pellets, which tend to split when a hook is pushed through them, can be made into a paste for the hookbait or, alternatively, holes can be bored through hookbait-sized pieces with a hot needle.

Particle baits are successful because carp are attracted to large numbers of small food items and readily become preoccupied with feeding on them. Once samples of the particle bait are already in your swim, it is only a matter of time before the hookbait is taken. A pro-blem with small baits on carp tackle is that the fish seem to learn quickly how to avoid those hooked seeds which act differently.

Float fishing can be particularly useful with particle baits. The method gives an indication of where the hookbait is, and loose bait particles can be scattered around the float. It also minimizes the danger of hooked bait being taken down the throat, especially if a sensitive lift method is used. But on heavily float-fished waters, carp no doubt see the line. Float fishing then becomes pointless and you have to revert to ledgering or freelining.