Keith Sykes Bait

How to keep your baits in fine fettle this summer

By previous bait company owner, Keith Sykes

Come the warmer weather, keeping bait in tiptop condition can be a nightmare. Of course this isn't so much of a problem if you are using shelf-lifes, but frozen baits are a different matter, so here are a few simple tips from Sykesy on keeping everything in tiptop condition?


STAGE 01 "The first key point with boilies is a good cool bag or cool box. Our Hardware Comparison Tests proved that the best cool bag produced is the Nash Tackle's Cool Bag - fact! Otherwise use a good plastic cool box such as those produced by Coleman available in various sizes."

STAGE 02 "Next keeping the bag or box and its contents cold. Mr. Regan freezes bottles of milk or orange juice, which is brilliant, as not only do you keep your boilies chilled, but you are not wasting space on carrying milk or juice. Me, I prefer to use water, I drink loads of it in the summer!"

STAGE 03 "When you pack your bait, keep everything as tight as possible, with the bait itself packed into one-pound bags and ensure you get all the air out. I put another piece of foam at the base of my bag, then the bait, then the frozen water bottles. When you take a bag of bait out, make sure you keep the lid closed."

STAGE 04 "I like to fish my baits from frozen to the lake, but that is a personal thing and I think is very important with milk proteins. However, take out just enough for feeding and hang in a good air-dry bag such as those sold by Gardner or Nash, keeping the rest in the bag in the shade."

STAGE 05 "One other thing I like to do, predominantly with fishmeals, is give them a good old covering in fish protein extract, this keeps them fresh, makes them highly attractive, hardens the baits over time, and is a good edge, unless it's been hammered."


"Particles are a little different to boilies aren't they, so they need to be looked at in two lights: one is keeping fresh, the other is getting some fermenting as they work better this way, so the warmer the better with the latter group."

STAGE 01 "Tiger nuts are one bait which I think perform better when they are in that syrupy or gloopy liquid that is produced. Warmth and preparation is the key to this and I know anglers do add extra sugar; I prefer honey, it seems to be better. I know it's messy but the carp love them like this."

STAGE 02 "One way of keeping particles fresh for any length of time is simply to replace a percentage of the water they are standing in, or alternatively add salt. Now I realise this is a contentious issue, but used sensibly it's no problem."

STAGE 03 "There are two particle type baits that I personally just can't handle if they go off so these I do pay attention to. One is maize (cooking it is bad enough!) and the other is oat groats in carnation milk. If this goes rancid, it's a throat-chortling job!"

STAGE 04 "So if you are not worried about the particle liquor and you are fishing for any length of time, just fill you air-dry bags with them and stick 'em in the margins, this is good as long as your bags are strong and there aren't crays about!"

STAGE 05 "Finally, what many of my mates who really exploit particles do is prepare them fresh on the bank, this way you are in control of just how much you want to use, how you want to use it, and of course it means you are barrowing buckets of particle everywhere!"