Bait has been an obsession for me from nearly the start of my carp fishing, it probably has a lot to do with learning to carp fish in Kent in the late 70’s when a lot of the local lakes had been hammered by a certain Fred Wilton on his high protein milk based baits, it most certainly gave me a lot of food for thought and in those days, baits were discussed in very hushed tones and ‘secrets’ were closely guarded, information was gained through research and occasionally by plain luck!
Thankfully, nowadays, there is a lot of good information in the public arena about bait but there is also a lot of confusion or discussion (delete as appropriate) about what constitutes a good bait.
This piece is aimed at the angler who wants to either make his own bait, which in itself is very satisfying when you get it right, or an angler wishing to make an informed choice from the vast selection of companies out there. I am not going to get unnecessarily technical and I will refrain from scientific references as much as I can as I would like this to be understood by novice and experienced angler alike.
So, where do we start? Probably the best point is what carp detect and what they are attracted to… Something that seems to be forgotten when designing some baits.
Carp can detect the following:
Certain amino acids
Electrical fields (this has a link to pH but that is getting a little technical and I will leave that for the moment)
Changes in salinity
Ammonia levels (also linked to pH)
Monosaccharide (simple) sugars (not 100% convinced - 99% only)
Now, of the above, what attracts a carp? I tend to define each one in terms of bait as either an investigation trigger, meaning that when a carp encounters it, the carp may search the area looking for food (or if it is too great, swim away as it has repelled it) or a feeding trigger, meaning that the carp will actively seek food as its instinct (hard wired chemoreception) tell it there is food in the area.
From the above I would class aminos and monosaccharide sugars as feeding triggers, pH and salinity as investigation triggers (although I will come onto salinity later) and the rest as neutral in relation to feeding, electrical I will not deal with in this piece as I am still getting to grips with some of the thoughts on this one and just for the record I do not advocate Duracell’s and bait!!
Now we can look at what a carp can utilise in its diet, this is fairly well documented in scientific terms and is not difficult to research, of the main food groups, carp require the following (in order of importance):
Fat soluble Vitamins (A, D, E & K)
That sort of contradicts the feeding triggers at first sight, with Carbohydrates at the bottom? Well, not quite…
Protein is the primary food source for a carp, it is used for growth and tissue repair, when food is scarce it is used for energy, same principal as everything living, lipids (fats) are a very good source of energy and if used in a bait will be used as such and therefore the protein will be used for growth and repair rather than energy. Carbohydrates are not converted into energy anywhere near as effectively as lipids and are mainly used as a binder for the protein.
Natural food… Minefield as to what you class this as, but a couple of thoughts, bloodworm… carp will ravage bloodworm beds throughout the year, moving around the lake to find them, same with the water snails, daphnia and all the rest, just what attracts them, how do they find them? When you have bloodworm or anything living for that matter in water, when it dies, its body is broken down by all sorts of bacteria, this creates a localised pH change (if there are enough dead ones, meaning there are plenty of live ones) and a release of amino acids as proteolytic enzymes disassemble the proteins and monosaccharide sugars as carbohydrates disassemble the polysaccharide sugars in the decomposing bodies. What does the carp detect to know there is a large concentration of bloodworm in an area and how does this impact on our bait?
To be a good bait that stands the test of time, your concoction of substances should mimic, or at least give off similar signals, I am not in any way saying bloodworm is the way to go, just using it as an example.
So where does this leave us? The bait must contain protein, lipids, necessary vitamins, and carbohydrates and the most important being protein. To deal with them in order:
There are so many protein sources that your head would spin if I went into describing the benefits and disadvantages of each so the best way of understanding this subject is a short piece about First Limiting Amino Acid, sorry, this is technical but I will try to explain in as easy way to understand as possible.
Proteins are made from amino acids that form peptide chains that when combined make proteins; each protein is different in the aminos required to make it. So let’s say that a carp requires the following to grow and repair…
2 x amino X
1 x amino Y
4 x Amino Z
And your bait supplies (once broken down)
2 x amino X
1 x amino Y
2 x amino Z
Your bait is deficient in amino Z by 50%, your protein is now only 50% useable and if you started at 40% protein in your total ingredients only half that is useable by a carp and the rest can be used for energy. Simple analogy, but not far off the mark…
Or fats/oils as described in bait literature, the most effective form of energy for a carp, easily digested and assimilated and should be an important consideration even in winter, despite some claims. The fact that some fats may slightly solidify in cold weather means what… I do swear that some bait manufacturers don’t think the laws of physics and chemistry apply to carp or carp nutrition, either that or they don’t understand them in the first place!
Fat Soluble Vitamins
This is a dodgy one and the jury is out as far as I’m concerned, it’s a grey area and one that impacts on peanut usage. Peanuts became a problem on waters where they were the predominant food source, on paper they aren’t bad, good protein, if a bit limited but a very high oil content and also high in Vitamin E but apparently not enough if the staple diet. I have used peanuts in vast quantities and the fish have thrived, putting on greater weight gains that any other bait I have used, but then I’ve never fished a lake where the fish are reliant on anglers’ baits to live. If the water is rich, there is absolutely no problem with peanuts, probably going to get some comments on that statement, but if anyone wants to question it, have some facts handy… There is no requirement for most vitamins in our bait as the carp is adequately supplied in its natural aqueous (hopefully) environment.
Rather than go into a lengthy and boring few paragraphs about fish not having the capability to utilise anything but monosaccharide sugars, I will invite any sugar enthusiasts to send me any evidence they have that a carp can detect or utilise them, I have a dissection scalpel ready. I do believe a well known bait company brought out a bait based on complex carbohydrates but can’t remember the name…
From the above, we know what a carp can detect and what it requires, and most importantly, how to achieve that.
Now I will turn to Salt.
There is a section of well known anglers who advocate the use of large quantities of salt… WHY? It is not, cannot be and will never be (delete as appropriate) a feeding signal, it cannot (laws of physics/chemistry/biology again) be utilised in the fashion advocated. What is going on? The vast majority of new carp anglers believe the absolute shit printed in the magazines or published on the internet and treating it as gospel without questioning the credentials of the person issuing the ‘statement of fact’. The fact that the person making the statement may have the brainpower and imagination (or the ability to reason) of a chair leg seems not to matter one jot. Salt is already present in quite high proportions if you use a fishmeal, I see no reason to add to that level on an attractor or otherwise level.
However, if you upset the osmoregulation of a carp by the use of salt you will create a feeding reaction… All negative, if you are adding lots of salt, STOP! You are not doing the carp any favours and you are actually ruining your own chances.
I do not to want to finish this piece on a negative, so for those out there looking to make a bait, or have a look at what I think is good, nutritional and effective, mix this one up and compare it to your ‘shop bought’ in terms of fish caught.
The numbers are proportions and can be ounces, pounds or Kilos.
3 Heat treated soya meal
2 Coarse ground semo
1 Fine ground semo
For every 6 large eggs add:
100g Grated belachan
30ml Ground nut oil
You will notice there are no ‘flavours’ in the mix, it doesn’t need them, works just fine without them.
There is far more to bait, you can go down enhancers, enzymes, ‘flavours’ if you want to call them that, if a more detailed and in depth look is wanted, I will do another one looking at common and uncommon ingredients and look at enzymes & amino, their uses and some of these so called ‘attractors’ that have been doing the rounds, but the above gives a good grounding in making an attractive, nutritional bait.
BCSG & KIBIK
How do I choose a Roof Specialist?
I’ve dealt with my fair share of roofers in my time, some good, some bad, others down right awful, I hope the guide below finds you before you find the bad or the downright awful!
One of the best places to begin looking for a roofer is trade association websites such as the NFRC or CORC. Always make sure the roofing contractor you hire is registered with at leasat one major. Consider at least 3 quotations from three different companies before choosing one. This is the suggested approach when choosing any home professional or contractor.
Weeding out the cowboys, or how to spot a dishonest contractor
It’s every property owner’s headache: Choosing a contractor that looked capable on first impression, only to have him/her make a mess of your lovely home through lack of skill! The good news is, your best defense against this disappointment is good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Ask friends, family or nearby neighbours for referrals (or warnings!) relating to local companies. Ask them if the work was finished in schedule and within budget. Also, you can ask the potential contractor for a portfolio of personal references and images of their work. Any good contractor is going to be happy to provide you with these. If they’re not, it’s probably wise to look somewhere else. A list of costumer’s addresses would also be helpful, as you could personally see the work.
Evaluate the problem yourself first
One of the key signs that your roofer might be a dodgy tradesman is if he exaggerates the scale of the problem, how much work he will have to do and, subsequently, what kind of money you’ll need to shell out. It was actually a roofing company in Barnet who gave me this advice ( SQR Roofing And Building Services) , it’s so simple and yet makes so much sense, on further research it is actually recommend by industry experts that you attempt to evaluate the problem yourself first prior to calling anybody out. For example, if your roof leaks from one small, single area, it is unlikely you need a full re-roof and instead will simply require one section to be patched and repaired.
If you have a friend or member of the family with knowledge of home improvements or DIY, ask if they would take a look for you. If not, use a ladder to safely and carefully look at the damage yourself.
Check their credentials
It is vital that you always look into a company diligently before employing them to complete any work. This means ensuring that they are a qualified, experienced and insured company with the related accreditations and trade associations.
One of the most effective ways to work out swiftly if they are a well established firm is to ask for all their details – which includes their address and telephone number. Any roof contractor who just gives you a mobile number should raise your suspicions as they are then almost untraceable.
Inquire about their experience
Before contracting a roofing company, even one reccomended like SQR roofing & Building were recomended to me to re roof my flat roof industry experts suggest that you make sure they’ve got related experience executing the job you need them to do. It is ineffective to hire a roof contractor with unique experience in thatched roof restorations when you need a new flat roof installed and it’s likely that, following their work, you will have to hire a second roofer to fix the job the first one didn’t do!
Instead, ask them to be truthful with their working experience. You want to ensure you employ a roofer that has a wealth of knowledge and professional experience undertaking the actual job you require. There’s no point wasting your time – or theirs!
Finally, trust your intuition. If a roofer rubs you up the wrong way, even at the contract stage, don’t be afraid to back out prior to signing and resume your search. Unless water is pouring in overhead, it pays to take your time on this major financial commitment.
The BBB ( better business bureau) offer some good advice in the video below before hiring a roofer: