Paul Garner reveals a clever way to fool wary fish with his new hookbaits
The perfect baits to trick wary fish
“Powdered gelatine, once activated, sets to form an edible compound”
THEY say there are no new ideas in fishing, but certainly some are way ahead of their time.
One bait idea that has slipped way off the radar are edible gels that can be used to bind together all sorts of liquids and powders into a useable bait.
I first read about the use of these way back in the 1990s in Kevin Maddocks’ book Carp Fever, and I have been fascinated by the idea ever since. Being able to make your own custom hookbaits using almost any ingredients you like is an interesting concept that opens up a whole world of possibilities.
Just recently I have been experimenting with these baits again to try and overcome a couple of problems I was having.
First, I wanted to be able to fish with a hookbait that very closely matched my groundbait, to see if this would bring more bites from cagey fish. Second, I wanted to make some long-lasting baits that would ooze out flavour over several hours. Gel baits proved to be the solution on both counts.
So, if you are looking for the ultimate in custom hookbaits, give gels a go – they are easy to make and open up so many possibilities.
To make my super hookers you need to use a gelling agent. This is normally a powder which, once activated, sets to form an edible compound. Depending on the amount of liquid used this can vary from a runny liquid to an almost rubber-like consistency.
For bait making we are looking for something more towards the solid end of the spectrum that can be easily hair-rigged or side-hooked, and there are few different gels that can be found in
the home baking section of your local supermarket.
There are two different gelling agents that I use for bait-making, depending upon the consistency of the finished bait that I am after.
The first is powdered gelatine. This gives quite a spongy texture to the finished bait, but it breaks down slowly, even in summer temperatures. Gelatine baits will easily last several hours on the hair and become really tough when left to dry overnight.
The second variation is called Vege-Gel, which gives a much more rubbery textured bait that breaks down faster. After a while in water it has an almost slimy texture, and gives a fantastic release of liquid attractors.
Both these gels are human food grade and are normally used to make cakes and terrines, but by cutting down the amount of liquid used to just five to 10 teaspoonfuls to a sachet of powder you make a stronger mix suitable for bait-making. Simply follow the instructions and add your favourite powders to the liquid before it starts to set.
Pour the mix into a shallow tray or bait tub and allow it to set. Then use a meat punch to produce perfect pellet-shaped hookbaits. One sachet will produce around 50 hookbaits, all for less than a pound!
Once the gels have set, treat them as a fresh bait and store in the fridge or freezer if you are not going to use them straight away.
Imagine being able to make hooker pellets out of your favourite groundbait1 This is easy to achieve, just by adding the dry mix to the gel. I have also been using hookbaits made from some of my favourite Method mixes and the results have been very encouraging, catching not just carp, but other species too.
You can use other powders, such as fishmeal, krill, dried maggots or boilie base mix, to produce custom baits to exactly the recipe you wish.
Liquid additives can go into the mix too, but remember not to add too much – just a few drops is enough in each batch of hookbaits. I have tended to use some of the less concentrated additives, like boilie dips, yeast extracts and other liquid foods, and these work really well.
Use a meat punch to produce uniform baits.
Gelatine powder can be bought from any supermarket baking section.
Gel pellets have ‘give’ and some have an almost sponge-like texture.
Gel pellets will stay on a hair for a long time.