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ITS ALIVE – AMAZING CARP and CATFISH Active Enzyme Baits and Flavours

March 29, 2007

The awesome ‘fish-pulling power’ of fishing baits that are ‘active’ is truly amazing!

This is a fact that many ‘secret squirrel’ type fishing bait makers and designers will not tell you too much about! But I will – I’m good like that!

I’m a professionally trained horticultural grower and you may wonder what the heck a plant science background has to do with making and enhancing very top performing fishing baits!

OK let’s see: for example, catfish stimulatory betaine, fish essential and non- essential amino acids, fish essential omega oils, essential oils, active enzymes. Countless fish stimulatory and volatile compounds and components.

From lecithins, fats, carbohydrates and protein ingredients, grits and corn to soya, wheatgerm and important effects of these. To fish stimulatory carotenoids, as in the famous ‘Robin Red’ bait ingredient, alkaloids; phenols in flavours, spices, herbs, biofavonoids in fruit oils. Their fish essential and attractant vitamins and minerals etc, etc!

This said - how many of the most powerfully effective drugs effective in animals in the world are plant derived? The latest relevant headline I saw in the paper was “Chilli peppers kill cancer tumours!" It’s interesting that these peppers seriously stimulate the ‘long range’ carp ‘motile’ and protein feeding response...
In fact most of the best fishing flavours have a lot in common with a very famous headache cure and heart attack preventative. This all proves that certain plant ‘active’ and ‘volatile’ ingredients and components are exceptional for putting more fish in your net, when used in baits - as we shall see!

But the practical question is: “Are your homemade fishing baits and readymades 'dead or alive' and just how many fish are YOU missing out on as a direct result??!

Many readymades and homemade baits are pretty much innately ‘dead’ when it comes to stimulating fish effectively!

It’s just like the marketing old trick used in carton packaged or canned orange or pineapple juice implying that it’s really great for you and ‘just like the fresh juice!’

What is faulty about this idea is it is simply not true, because the fresh juice is ‘literally alive’ with very highly beneficial active enzymes, which the stored juice has ‘lost’ in being preserved.

You will really notice the difference on your tongue when you eat a fresh pineapple or orange. I’d always add pineapple juice if I wanted to include a synthetic ‘pineapple’ flavour in a carp bait, that’s for sure!

The same effect is felt when eating spices, such as in curry powder, nutmeg, turmeric, cinnamon, chillies and black peppers, even many herbs like celery, garlic, onion, and familiar red and blue fruits like cranberry, blueberry, raspberry and strawberry and so on. Strangely familiar carp attractors and stimulators too!

When you eat a blueberry or strawberry, what is it that stimulates you to eat another one – it can’t contain much nutrition can it; it’s not packed with protein?! Maybe there’s some ‘active’ component at work on your brain!

Perhaps you can leverage such a principle to catch more fish – or even just to get a ‘take’ when times are hard and in ‘unfavourable’ temperatures and air pressure conditions.

The components doing the ‘tingling sensations’ on your tongue are natural ‘volatile components’ and active enzymes, oils components, antioxidants, and powerful acids etc. For example, the multi-use food digesting enzyme ‘bromelain’ is found in pineapple, while ‘bio-active flavonoids’ are especially found in the citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, lime etc.

In fact your carp or catfish bait is probably very similar to that carton of orange juice.
It may have ‘nutritional goodies’ in it, you know like vitamins and minerals, amino acids and proteins, carp attractive oils and so forth.

But will the taste or actual ‘state’ of the bait and it’s ingredients and attractors act like something natural and alive like the ‘real thing’ and ‘invigorate’ the fish, stimulating or boosting it’s activity or metabolism or changing its brain activity? Or will it add very little to its energy state and ‘feeling of well-being?’

Is your bait lacking in ‘biological activity’ of the kind that will really ‘trigger’ the carp or catfish or whatever target species’ sensory systems, organs and brain?

We are getting more and more health conscious these days because so much of our food is packed in containers or cans or is micro waved. Doing these things to our food can ‘kill’ essential enzymes, vitamins and ‘volatile’ food components etc, and remove much of ‘the energy’ from it, while rendering it far more difficult to digest and obtain usable nutrition and energy from it.

Basically food is about energy, for us and fish!

The more of an energy ‘rush’ or ‘brain simulation’ of this effect we get from our food, the more we like to it – immediately! Many foods contain artificially high levels of components to replace ‘lost’ natural elements which we really need from food.

Including the caffeine that we become ‘addicted’ to, in coffee, tea, “Coke," “Red Bull" and many other ‘on the go’ foods and drinks. Even chocolate, so high in fat and sugars (and caffeine components) has the same artificially short-burst ‘feel-good’ effects. These are worth thinking about using in fishing baits to ‘hook’ the fish onto your baits!

Some ‘active’ elements in our food actually help us to digest and in the end, to gain more energy from eating food.

The ‘bromelain’ included in body building and weight gain drinks is a fine example, especially as these powders are fantastic carp and catfish bait ingredients and make excellent boilie bait ‘soaks’ and ‘dips,’ adding so much added attraction ingredients into the surface of the bait!

A friend of mine took my suggestion and soaked all his 20 kilograms of ‘leading UK commercial bait company’ readymade boilies, in weight gain powders, mixed with water to form a solution.

When repeatedly re-frozen and soaked in this solution, they were ready for use... Going from 20 to 30 carp from single to double figures in weight per day, this simple example of ‘special treatment’ made a massive difference to the performance of his baits.

With the assistance of his brother, using these boilie baits, he caught 130 carp to over 20 pounds in one day. This was a result that proved theory! In fact, re-freezing your boilies increases the bacterial enzyme activity in your bait as the baits warm-up and thaw and many beneficial fish stimulatory structural and chemical changes can occur!

So health and weight or muscle improvement supplements (including many minerals and vitamins,) are great carp attractants in carp baits. Of course a major one is ‘betaine,’ which is a naturally derived extract of sugar beet. It is a great ‘feeding trigger’ and antioxidant ‘phenolic’ alkaloid and active enzyme. (Top anglers have leveraged its effects for decades.)

Obviously some plant extracts have very interesting ‘steroidal’ and growth performance stimulating effects and not just on humans...

If you try betaine hydrochloride with ‘free form’ amino acids, like the fruit flavoured body building liquid protein supplement “Minamino" or proprietary carp fishing amino supplements and ‘palatants’, it is generally much more effective as a fish feeding trigger and more healthy for fish!

(Certain added herbal extracts, vitamins, lecithins, glycerine etc, in combination with betaine hydrochloride can help too, in triggering feeding response in many species.)

Another healthy additive to your diet, is lecithin. These are derived from soy beans.  They have extraordinary ‘anti-cholesterol’ benefits regarding fats and energy in the body. For example enhancing and un-locking the energy benefits of other foods and promoting higher energy levels. The Korean herb ‘Ginseng’ has energy enhancing properties too...

Food which stimulate ‘fish metabolism’ and promote the fishes body’s own ability to generate and release energy, are the ideal ones in making fishing baits.

In fact, in regard to human diet, people on a ‘low value nutritional diet,’ perhaps high in sugars, fats and carbohydrates are actually ‘depleting’ their natural ability to generate and release their own body’s and stored energy and food energy.

Foods and drinks like chips, crisps, chocolate and “Coke," (without sufficient physical activity in a person,) can cause excessive build-ups of toxins in the blood. Whereas a diet high in natural active enzyme food components, antioxidants and ‘anti-cholesterol’ acting foods, would remove naturally. This is along with heart and artery damaging and clogging saturated fats, and harmful ‘free radicals’ - blood triglycerides etc.

If you are diabetic, then a vast number of the ‘diabetic diet’ foods will be found to be very stimulatory when used in fishing baits!

Another example is the ‘healthy’ fish oils which are part of the solution to ‘maintaining a healthy heart – and catching more fish! These actually balance-out ‘inflammatory and flammatory’ activities and processes in the body. Cod liver oil is a great additive, containing special ‘omega oils’ and even stimulatory alkaloids, which help to balance the body and release energy.

(Many top carp and catfish anglers in the UK use cod liver oil as a major attractor.)

Quite a few famous commercial carp bait companies and ‘big names’ in bait making, including Kevin Nash and Rod Hutchinson, have brought out boilie bait  ‘base mixes’ and flavours, based around powerful fish attracting natural fruit juices and extracts.

For example strawberry. I could be wrong, but I sure the ‘spray dried ‘Scopex’ base mix of Rod’s was along similar lines, exploiting the high levels of ‘active’ enzymes, vitamins and minerals in natural ingredients. ‘Synthetic maple’ flavour has some similarity of ‘principle’

Just to be different, why not experiment with your baits; try putting ‘fresh’ ground alfalfa asafoetida, or ground chicory in your baits to bring them more ‘alive!’...

These days we are taking more foods and supplements, containing ‘beneficial bacteria.’ These bacteria occur naturally in our gut and in fish’s guts too. These ‘good’ bacteria, like ‘Acidophilus’ and ‘Lactobacillus’ help us to digest our food and in the end gain more energy from it.

This is why I advocate ‘curing’ your fishing baits – it massively improves your baits ‘feeding trigger’ stimulation and attraction effects and digestibility too.

Many top modern carp bait flavours are like the ester, n-butyric acid. You may be familiar with the carp attracting power and extremely strong ‘pear drops aroma’ of the ester, amyl acetate, which is similar.

Esters can be made to have different ‘tones,’ high, low etc, from sweet to ‘savoury’ depending on the process of acids and alcohols etc involved and our ‘human’ interpretation of them. (Which has no resemblance to a fish’s experience of this ‘smell’ at all!

So next time an angler buys a ‘true strawberry aroma’ flavour, it’s worth remembering that it is the angler that has been ‘caught’ and not necessarily the fish!

Significantly, sugars are the energy source in ‘esterification’. It’s like fermentation which as we know produces some very good attractors to us too! The production of high mineral and vitamin content ‘barley malt products’ and ‘corn steep liquor’ are of particular relevance here as carp feeding triggers...

Esters will even form on ‘curing’ ham, by what in the food industry is called, the ‘Mallaid’ process. It is used in the ‘caramelisation’ of foods to great effect!

This makes food far more ‘palatable’ by producing new improved flavours in food and enhancing them naturally. Many savoury flavours are produced using the ‘Mallaid’ process. Significantly for us, and in making fishing baits, it exploits the natural action of bacterial enzymes in and on food and there is far more to ‘flavours’ than it first seems!

I’m certain that certain world leading readymade boilie manufacturers exploit the ‘Mallaid’ process! Glutamic acid is a pretty important natural taste enhancer in this respect too, I would have thought... (As in yeast extract, Marmite, Vegemite, etc.)

Sometimes the ‘improved palatability’ of your bait is all it takes to double or treble your catch results! ‘Curing’ your baits is a method well worth investigating further along with natural enzymes and synthetic enzymes in your baits.

These enzymes will specifically produce and enhance ‘activity’ within your bait for enhanced attraction,  nutritional properties and improved digestibility. Please note:

Bait digestibility in regards to triggering fish feeding  is of paramount importance, especially of protein based ingredients, but this applies to carbohydrates to sugars, oils and fatty acids to alcohols, etc.

Carp and in fact most fish seem attracted to certain flavours far more than others and many of these can be based on ‘volatile’ esters. As esters are the product of acids and alcohols this is not surprising, as these are each individually stimulatory to us and fish too! (Try using these with essential oils to ‘over-flavour’ pellets?!)

In fact the ester ‘ethyl acetate’ is involved in a particular energy release process in the fishes body, so that may be one reason why it this is significant, but it is certainly stimulatory to your nose and fish sensory organs and systems!

So when the ‘volatile’ components of plant and tree fruits, spices, herbs, roots, berries, leaves, bark, seeds and so on will bring ‘new life’ to your fishing baits! This is a massively proven fact, with literally millions of captures of  big fish over the years.

From the carp feed triggering ester ‘n-butyric acid,’ also found naturally from bacterial activity in blue and parmesan cheese powder, to the root extract betaine hydrochloride, to hemp seed active enzymes to black pepper ‘volatiles,’ chilli peppers and their carotenoids and alkaloids, garlic ‘allyll,’ cinnamon and cloves, to fenugreek and aniseed. 

Plants have the power to make your baits irresistible.  Perhaps next time you add fermented shrimp paste (‘Belechan,’) or some green lip mussel extract to your top secret homemade bait to add some enzyme and ‘spice’, you might remember to add a plant or two...

Inspired bait makers, whether ‘beginners’ or experienced fishermen, have used such hard earned secrets to make their own ‘experimental’ and devastating baits. They work on big carp and ‘cyprinus’ genus fish, but also for achieving outstanding results for all big ‘Silurian’ catfish (wels / blue / channel / flathead,) bass, trout, other ‘game fish’ etc...

They say “A little is knowledge is a dangerous thing" (I.e. to big carp and catfish etc!!!)

The author has many more fishing and bait ‘edges’ up his sleeve. Every single one can have a huge impact on catches. (Warning: This article is protected by copyright.)

By Tim Richardson. ‘The big fish angler’s fishing author and expert bait making guru.’

For more expert bait making information and ‘cutting edge’ techniques see the expert acclaimed new ebook / book:


3,230 - 10 - 2 - US
Tim Richardson is a full-time specialist bait secrets ebooks author. He is a big carp and catfish fisherman of over 30 years experience and has spent decades making and researching baits to target big fish. He has had over twenty 40 pound carp and over thirty 60 to 110 pound catfish captures in the UK on his homemade baits, the biggest carp he hooked was over 80 pounds at Rainbow Lake France in 2006.  
He has been published in carp and catfish magazines in Holland, USA, Denmark, Germany, UK, Spain, South Africa plus online, and is a member of the well respected 'British Carp Study Group. Find many more free articles and free ebook extracts plus ebook details at his specialist website: