FL09June - Page 24

hen we first started to play
a ro u n d w i t h p o p - u p s , w e
would often simply mould
matching boilie paste around a
cork ball and cook them in the normal fashion. These baits would have elevated attractor levels to compensate for the fact that only
a very thin skin of paste was able to be used
in order to achieve the correct buoyancy for
our rigs. These at the time were the old faithful hinged stiff link pop-up rigs that utilised a
size 6 Drennan Continental boilie hook and
Amnesia 20lb monofilament for the stiff
boom and pop-up section of the rig.
Not exactly light tackle, so these pop-ups
had to be really buoyant if they were going to
be left in the water for extended periods of
S o o n w e re a l i s e d t h a t t h e s e b a i t s ,
although very buoyant, would take on water
fast, gain weight, and our presentation and
rig efficiency would suffer greatly.
We began adding egg albumen to the mix
in order to achieve a tough skin on the popup and hopefully delay the dreaded water
ingress into the bait. It worked!
But with the solution, another problem
occurred… The albumen most definitely
firmed the skin on the bait, but egg albumen
is a heavy ingredient, thus reducing buoyancy if too much is added to your mix. Back
to the drawing board it was, and we decided
that if we were to create a very buoyant,
durable pop-up that could be left submerged
for at least 24 hours, then we would need to
rethink our mix dramatically!
We started to experiment with ingredients
that we knew were very light in weight, things
like shrimp meal, milk proteins and cork dust.
All had their pros and cons. Shrimp meal is
very light, but it needs to be bound well in
order to prevent too much water ingress, and
it just didn’t really produce consistent
enough results for us. Some mixes would
warp and change shape hugely after boiling,
all very frustrating and very time consuming.
Mix after mix would distort, driving us nigh on
mad in the process!
Microwaving the pop-ups was the next
idea we had, and with a little thought
between all that were gathered, we had
designed an elevated cooking platform that
prevented the baits from scorching wherever
they touched the plate. But yet again,
microwaving your baits to make them buoyant will cook out the attractors and denature
your mix, basically meaning that your pop-up
is not working to its full potential. Also they
become very porous and cannot be left submerged for hours on end.
We experimented with the cork dust,
which to be fair worked quite well, but we
really wanted to use as many soluble ingredients as possible in our mix, and in order to
use the cork dust in the pop-ups you need
an awful lot of dust! For a while we settled on
the cork dust, until one day Matt popped a
pot of powder on the desk and he looked
very excited! It was very light in weight for its
mass and certainly looked promising. We
quickly threw together a mix, containing our
usual ingredients and a guessed amount of
the aforementioned white powder. Holy
smoke – it worked. No swelling, no inconsistencies, no loss of colour, but very, VERY
hard. We tried adding less and less of the
powder in the hope of reducing the texture of
the finished baits, but all failed to the point
where they just weren’t buoyant enough.
Not being the sort to give up easily, we
tried a few more times and increased the
amount of milk protein in the mix to help
soften the bait, and being light, it should
hopefully help to maintain their all needed
buoyancy. Bingo! But damn, again a problem
arose, literally. The baits swelled up so much
that they looked like marshmallows, and it
happened time and time again. If we just
simmered them, they would swell, and
everything we tried just did not work. Disas-
ter had struck, and I can remember driving
home absolutely fed up to the back teeth
with pop-ups. What could we be doing
It was about this time that we had decided
to start up Nucleus as an actual bait company, purely down to the fact that our friends,
family and their friends were asking us for
bait more and more, and it was a natural progression. The problem with supplying bait to
the general public is that everyone has personal tastes, and a happy medium has to be
struck whenever you release something
– not too hard, not too soft, not too strong on
the nose etc etc. We have developed lots of
successful bait recipes over the years, but
some don’t smell very good, or they hardly
smell at all, hence why they don’t sell well
and get put in the vault. We have never
understood why some anglers think that if a
bait smells appealing to them, then surely the
carp will like it too! This aside, we still needed
to develop our pop-up mix, and that is
exactly what we did, and a pure eureka
moment occurred one day, by accident.
We found an ingredient that was ridiculously light, inexpensive and only needed a
tiny amount to achieve the desired buoyancy,
meaning we could pack the pop-up mix with
soluble ingredients, perfect for their attraction! This is the very mix that we use today to
manufacture our matching standard and
handmade maize and cuboid shaped popups. Our standard round 10mm and 15mm
pop-ups contain 10% of the key ingredients
that is in the matching Nucleus freezer range
boilie. We are very proud of our pop-up mix
due to its high buoyancy, high leakage and
durability. Our pop-ups will easily hold up
heavy hooks for over 72 hours and still retain
over 90% of their bouyancy, meaning your rig
is fishing at its maximum efficiency for longer,
presented perfectly for a hungry carp.
Fish well!
Matt and Karl. NUCLEUS BAITS.


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