It would be fair to say that the humble boilie has changed massively since its inception way back in the early bait development days, and nowadays there is a bewildering selection of top quality baits to choose from.
It’s widely mooted amongst carp anglers that the most consistently successful anglers tend to select a bait to fish with and persist with it, applying it throughout their season and making it freely available to the carp in their chosen venue. Provided the bait is of a good quality and the carp find it to their liking, this approach will always pay dividends in the long-term. Often, the angler on your venue who has steadily applied their bait throughout the year will sometimes go through lean spells throughout the more difficult times of year (the height of summer for example) but will then really reap the benefits throughout the bumper autumn period when the carp are actively searching out their bait as they seek to condition themselves for the coming winter.
However, you can be sure that the more consistent fish-catcher’s on your club lake or syndicate will often be employing some little edges within their fishing to keep them ahead of the rest! The ‘heat treatment’ is one such edge to really give your boilies a boost and keep those results coming throughout the season. Read on!
A standard bait from the bag is a nutritious morsel for the carp, that is well known and accepted but how can you very easily increase their attraction using ‘off the shelf’ products? The process of using heat to soften baits, therefore making them more porous and allowing water exchange in and out of the bait is one that has been used for many years now by some of the top big fish anglers in the country. A lot of anglers demand a bait that is firm enough to use in a throwing stick, and this means that often the baits need to be dried, making them very hard and not allowing the attractors within the bait to be released quickly. By applying hot water to the baits, the texture alters immediately with the baits expanding and softening, almost becoming paste-like in consistency for a short while.
This step-by-step sequence of pictures will show you how to use this awesome method to really customise your free offerings and have them oozing attraction immediately after baiting up!
Step 1: Give them some heat
Take your frozen or shelf-life baits and put them into a decent sized bucket, enough to hold around a kilo or two of bait is perfect. Boil up your kettle and add the boiling water directly to the baits, covering them (just!) and seal the bucket lid. Let the baits soak in the hot water for a good ten minutes or more so they go much lighter in colour and really soften and expand in size. After this, drain off any excess water leaving few centimetres or so depth in the bottom of the bucket.
Step 2: Add some liquid attraction
This is where you can be as inventive as you like really! There are a huge number of high-quality liquid additives which are highly attractive to carp available nowadays. One of our favourites is the deadly Tuna L030 Liquid Fish Protein, which replaced the original L030 liquid from a few years ago. This tuna-derived version is incredibly water-soluble, rich in protein and high in salt so there is no wonder carp go wild for the stuff!
Whilst the baits are still hot, add a liberal glug of your liquid food to the bucket and give the baits a thorough mix around making sure they are totally coated. Don’t be shy here, really give them a good amount so they are absolutely covered! Replace the bucket lid and again leave them to ‘stew’ in the nutrient rich soup you have created.
As the baits begin to cool they will start to absorb this highly attractive liquid, becoming laden with extra attraction and goodness. Highly soluble liquids such as Feedstim XP and L030 are perfect for this process, as they will begin to disperse and spread through the water column immediately after you introduce baits into your swim, sending out a message to any carp in the vicinity that food is available… far more so than a bog standard boilie straight from the bag!
Step 3: The finishing touch
The next step is to add a final dose of attraction! Again, this is open to experimentation and there are numerous quality additives you can try. In this instance we are using Pacific Tuna boilies with the L030 liquid, so the obvious choice to compliment this was Green Lipped Mussel Extract – highly attractive to all carp with its distinctive shellfish aroma and amazing nutrient profile.
Simply take a teaspoon and add a good sprinkling of this to the coated baits and give them a really good shake so they are all covered. The powder will adhere quite nicely to the surface due to the gloopy nature of the L030 liquid. As the baits cool this will bind nicely to the surface of each boilie, giving them a huge boost of both taste and attraction once fed over your chosen spot.
You could easily combine several different powdered additives here, such as Feedstim XP Powder or maybe krill meal? Matt Jackson swears by using krill meal to dust his baits, and has caught serious numbers of big, pressured carp in doing so!
Overall, the heat treatment process is a very simple one and is something that can definitely give you a serious edge over the other anglers on your venue fishing a standard boilie approach. Your treated baits can either be introduced straight away whilst still hot (this can be deadly!) or you can do this at home and bag the baits into a freezer bag, popping them back into the freezer until your next trip. By doing this, the baits will obviously contract and shrink back to their normal diameter, and much of the liquid coating will be drawn deep within the bait as this happens. This again will massively increase their level of attraction once you take them from the freezer on your next session.
Give it a go, and be prepared for some serious feeding activity from the carp!