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Winter Woes and Creation of a Bait
I’d like to point out at this point that
I am in no way a bait expert. I knew
the basic principles of bait making
from back in the early 90s so knew
what worked well together and how
to create a decent base, but things
had moved on a bit since then. Luckily I knew a few people in the trade
that were a lot more knowledgeable
than me and willing to bring me up to
speed and offer words of advice. I had
also kept a keen interest in what
ingredients were in any of the baits I
was using. No one in the bait industry
is going to give away exactly what is
in their winning base mix, but from
reading the blurb on the website and
having a few conversations with
those that work there you can normally glean a rough idea.
The first and easiest task was to
put a binding base together, and then
I had no hesitation in adding a good
quality fishmeal to bulk it out, but I
didn’t want to add too much fish
because I wanted to keep it winterised, so kept it to 20% by adding a
birdfood and milk proteins. Then
came the interesting part of playing
with natural extracts and feeding triggers. I wanted to give the fish something that they really wanted to eat! I
can’t go into too much detail but
31lb from a local water on a single The
Edge hookbait.
GLM was the first ingredient on the
list, followed by krill, liver powder,
kelp etc, and it wasn’t long before I
had a “fantasy football” base mix on
paper. I must admit I had to make a
few tweaks to make it roll and hold
together before I decided on the
flavour label. I wanted something
creamy/dairy, because that had
always worked for me in my early bait
making. I opted for Scopex and added
a subtle fishy flavour, along with L030
and just enough oil to help it roll. I
wasn’t with Aqua Dynamix back
then, so all this formulating and playing about with mixes was done with
another company, which I wasn’t
going to name, but there is no animosity on my part and I had five good
years with Vision Baits and caught a
lot on their boilies.
My first outing with the bait was on
a one-off session on Christchurch I
had a fantastic result by bagging a
44lb 14oz mirror called Poolies. It
wasn’t caught on the bait because it
was too soft to stay on the hook, but it
was over a bed of it. I then followed it
up with a thirty. On the strength of
this result I decided to put my quest
for Choco on hold and give the bait a
proper trial on Christchurch. I made
up some hardened bottom baits and
cork ball pop-ups and trialled it
against a proven bait. In whichever
swim I fished, I baited one side of a
spot with the new bait and the other
with the proven one. Over the course
of six weeks the new bait outfished
the old one by 14 takes to 11 and I
knew I had a winning recipe on my
hands.
We had a few issues getting the
mix right after that; I wanted the bait
firmer because we were talking about
releasing it. But I continued to catch
on the original batches, including a
winter 39lb (that made the front cover
of last month’s magazine) and several
fish from a local water in the spring.
The latter really surprised me because
most of the fish came to single hookbaits or very light baiting on the water
that hadn’t seen the bait before. I
knew that because of the quality
ingredients it would be a very good
campaign bait or one that worked
very well fished over a few kilos of
free offerings, but to catch the number that I did and others did on singles was very promising!
In spring last year I decided to
leave the bait firm as consultant;
there were three or four reasons for
my decision, which I’m not going
into. It was a hard choice for me
because I’m very loyal to companies
that have looked after me, but I felt
the only option was to leave. There
wasn’t any big argument or any animosity (well certainly not on my part),
and I was without a bait sponsor for a
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