Paul Garner re­veals a clever way to fool wary fish with his new hook­baits

The per­fect baits to trick wary fish

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

“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.

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