Tom Maker explains how keeping it simple but effective with his go-to mix will keep the bites coming in the colder months
Big-Fish Hookbaits - Text Only
Adam Smith details the fishy hookbaits that he uses to catch some of the finest big fish in the land.
I have been fishing Stoneacres for the last few seasons, and it requires a completely different mindset and approach. It is not like other lakes where you may recast each day; sometimes my baits are out in the pond for a couple of days at a time. This means they need to be ultra-durable and be able to withstand attention from both tench and birds to allow any chance of the carp seeking them out. The Krill is naturally a soft bait, which is how good bait should be, but when leaving it out in the pond for a while, you need to mesh it to ensure it remains on the Hair. The easy option is to use something like a tiger nut or some plastic, but the fish get big through boilies, and I know how much these carp love them.
When you feed a proper fishmeal ramped full of nutrition and attraction, carp will keep coming back for it. I have seen it time and time again, especially on this lake. It is the fourth season of it going in now, and it still catches the vast majority of the fish. I have seen others come on the lake with a plan to heavily bait it, but it quite often just sits there until the birds eat it. On big-fish lakes, cheap flour mixes get found out, and this is certainly the case on here.
I have made my own fishy hookbaits for years. It is more of a confidence thing, and to try to get some sort of edge over other anglers. I put a lot of effort into my fishing. It would be really easy for someone to jump in behind my hard work and reap the rewards, so this is why I do something slightly different with both my freebies and my hookbaits. With the boat being accessible on Stoneacres, I have learned a hell of a lot. Some of the things that carp will do to spots is incredible, it really is. I know, though, that there is more chance of getting bites over these spots than from fishing just into the silt. Because of this, I favour a pop-up presentation.
The Multi-Rig is ideal for fishing over fine layers of silt, and it requires a cork ball pop-up to make the presentation sit correctly for a long period of time. If I was fishing across the way on Christchurch, or on one of the Linear Lakes, I would be more than happy to use one straight out of the pot, but on here, I like to use my own little mix that keeps my hookbaits fishing for days on end. The Krill Hookbait Kit is perfect, being the base mix to the Krill but with added egg albumen. This toughens the mix and makes the hookbaits really durable and long-lasting.
I start off by mixing an egg into a pan or bowl. I then add a spoonful of the liquid, which is provided in the kit. I give that a mix around so that all the liquid is mixed in with the egg. Next I add a spoon of both Liver Powder and Betaine, before mixing it all together. It is then a case of simply adding some of the base mix little and often until you find the right consistency. It should be like bread; you should be able to mould it easily and it not stick to your hands. At this point, I break off a small bit of paste and put it to one side. I grab a few cork balls, which I vary from 8mm to 14mm, so I have different sizes of bait to suit various situations that I find. I then add a good few millimetres of paste around the cork balls. I don’t like having just a skim of paste, I want there to be as much of the bait around the cork ball as I can get away with, and I can use slightly more because of the rig I use. If I was utilising something like a Chod or a Stiff Link, I might be inclined to use slightly less paste.
I boil the hookbaits for 90 seconds and then place them on a towel to dry out. I normally give them a couple of days, making sure they are in the shade in a cool area. Once I have done this, I actually mesh every single bait I make. This saves time when I catch a fish, so I can just tie on a new bait and away I go. Once this is done, I quite like adding glugs to them – not too much, just a coating of liquid.
I would love to really load up my baits on here, but the tench would never leave me alone. I just add a light coating in order to put a bit of moisture back in, and it makes the mesh almost disappear into the bait.
Step-by-step – Hookbait Kit
1: You will need cork balls, an egg and a Hookbait Kit.
2: Crack the egg into a bowl.
3: Give it a good whisk and make sure the yolk is mixed in.
4: Add a teaspoon of the liquid (supplied in the kit).
5: Give this a good mix and make sure it is evenly distributed.
6: Adam then puts in a spoonful of the Liver Powder.
7: The same amount of Betaine is then added.
8: Gradually add the hookbait mixture, bit by bit.
9: Keep mixing it until you are left with a dough consistency.
10: Wrap the paste around the cork ball.
11: Then roll around in your hand to make it nice and round.
12: Adam sets the timer to 01-30 minutes.
13: This is how long he leaves the baits in the boiling water.
14: Once done, arrange them out on a dry towel.
15: After a few hours left drying, Adam adds some glug, which absorbs into the bait.
I like to make a mixture of wafters too. I mentioned about breaking some of the paste away earlier, and this is what it’s for. I flatten the paste and lay it on a bucket lid. I then take some cork dust and try to put an equal amount next to it. Once this is done, I knead the paste into the cork. When it is all mixed in, I mould some on a rig and test it in the edge. If it is too buoyant, I add some more paste; if it’s not buoyant enough, I add more cork, and so on. This means I can have baits the size, and even shape, that I like to suit the rig I am fishing. Everyone has their own opinion as to the perfect buoyancy for a wafter to suit the rig they favour.
Step-by-step – Wafters
1: Mix 50-50 with the paste and cork dust.
2: Keep kneading it together.
3: Mould some round the Hair and check it in the edge, just to see if it is the right buoyancy.