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Bait
13 Dec 2016
by CARPology
Should we be more aware about what we feed carp?
We ask Gary Bayes and Dave Moore...

With EEC feed regulations coming in, which will mean the larger bait companies will have to declare what they are using in their bait formulations (to some extent), should we be concerned about what we are feeding our fish and the effect it may have on the total biomass of a lake? There are bait-fillers which simply do not do carp, or any other fish for that matter, any good, so should we expect better and more controlled regulation in the UK into what goes into bait? For instance, would you feed your kids sand in their food?

Gary Bayes

“Nashbait is one of the few bait companies that have been declaring what is required by the EEC, typical analysis, composition, additives, target species, batch numbers and manufacture and best before dates.

“Typical of anything we do to be “correct”, the more we do, the more it’s been checked but we’re there now after a lot of expense, money and hours. In the early days when fishing bait was first put into the feeding fish for human consumption category it took some sorting out as the rules kept changing while the authorities were making their minds up but it seems stable now.

 “It’s frustrating when ingredients and additives used for human food, if they’re not on the animal feed register we cannot legally use them. There are also loads of ingredients on the permitted feedstuff register that I would never put in a bait.
“We should be concerned what we feed the carp on, especially on high stocked waters. I overstocked and over-fed my day ticket lake and now have some of the worst silt and silkweed I’ve seen in any lake which contributed to an oxygen crash last summer. It’s the build-up over time that is the problem and it’s hard to see it coming. It’s mendable but will take several years of gentle treatment and could have been avoided; greed to grow my fish really.

“We are in an age of overstocked waters, heavily fished and baited and hear of oxygen crashes, fish kills and various disasters all too regularly, and yes, some water quality factors can be down to the bait ingredients but there is a lot of other variables as well.

“I believe the baits I design are 100% fish-safe but like anything, can be abused. I’ve experimented with different foods in my filtered pond and have to clean the filters and part water change every two- to three-months if I heavily feed them with commercially available coarse pellet, whereas if I feed them with our specialised Monster Carp Pellet or our boilies I can get away with a filter clean and water change every 12-months.

“I can control what goes into my fish pond and experiment to the max but on a fishing lake there is very little control and any problems caused by abusive bait use or bad ingredients cannot be rectified easily so I believe the bait companies should put the extra effort in to sourcing good bait ingredients, not because it’s regulated but because it’s only right to do so.”

Dave Moore

“For a start, the EEC laws applicable to Great Britain apply to everyone that wants to operate within that common market and in this case it will affect, and should, all companies that want to sell bait on a commercial platform. I know if I were the owner of a big bait company I would want this to apply across the board. From a consumer point I would also want this to be the case, so I’m allowed to make an informed choice without any of the hype that can surround sales tactics.

“If you actually look at the true interpretation of our consumer legislation and peripheral mandatory safety legislation, we should have been disclosing what’s in commercially sold bait quite some time ago. So to be honest, it’s about time the bait industry both big and small was held to account on the basics around formulation and content.

“The legislative control on bait formulation is another completely different issue. The basic problem is a complete lack of good research and meaningful conclusions. I’ll pose a question to everyone; it’s not that difficult but think very carefully about your answer. I’ll assume everyone thinks they are using safe and effective bait. How do you know whether the ingredients in “your bait” are safe for use or have a legitimate reason for being used? What you need to do before answering this question is ask yourself, who told you it was, how legitimate or credible is that information likely to be and what’s the evidence.

“I come from a science background and all good research is based on a few simple rules. Firstly, someone has a theory. This theory will then be researched and analysed for its legitimacy. It will then be tested in numerous ways and measured exhaustively. From all this you get results and data, which can be further analysed and tested. From this you will get a set of conclusions, which in most cases will not be conclusive and may recommend further research or trials. What this process does is create a long knowledge base, which ultimately gives someone a guide. How many of the bait ingredients today do you think has really gone through this process properly?

“I suggest to everyone reading this, seek out the most recent research done on shelf-life baits and their long-term effects by Ash Girdler and Dr Robert Arlinghaus of the Leibniz Institute of Fresh Water Ecology. It’s scary reading to say the least and still inconclusive!

“Does anyone remember the peanut debate? Peanuts are usually the first bait to be banned on most venues. It’s quite bizarre this piece of angling history because we suddenly accepted that they were dangerous based on very slim and not fully research piece of evidence. Sadly I was around when this bait was first used and to be honest I can’t remember any sudden unexplained carp deaths or experienced anything negative from their use. However, what we all did was instantly stop using them. The reason we all did was because we cared about what we were doing and there was no reason not to be cautious.

“The other very big point is there wasn’t anyone telling us they were safe because they had no commercial interest for anyone in the bait industry at the time. Shame I can’t say the same about the overuse of fish oils or mounting negative evidence around certain other baits still being widely used.

“Most of the bait ingredient research done on any commercial scale has all been done by the big pellet manufacturers. Their motivation and final results are different to ours but the basics behind feed safety are there and always a good guide. The commercial bait industry’s problem is we look for catch results and not anything else because that’s how all sales and marketing is pitched. I wonder if any bait company has ever asked themselves the question what will be the long-term effects of this latest product or how safe is it to release into a water-borne environment?”

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