How to make perfect carp floaters

Making floater cake is no different to baking a cake, so most of us will have all the necessary equipment to do this in the kitchen. A food mixer is handy, but you can just as easily make the sticky mix using a fork. 

Add 2oz of wheat gluten to Victoria sponge mix. This ingredient gives the finished bait a tougher, denser consistency. 

Now add 100g of butter to your mixing bowl.

Add two large eggs and 150ml of milk to the mixing bowl. 

A teaspoonful of concentrated liquid flavouring can now be added to boost the flavour. I tend to use sweet or fruit flavours.

Slowly add powdered ingredients to the liquid ones and mix for at least two minutes until a sloppy, lump-free consistency is attained.

Pour the mix into two tinfoil baking trays lined with greaseproof paper and sprinkled with hemp oil to stop the cake sticking. 

Bake the mix for 25-30 minutes at 160˚C. Make sure the cake is cooked right through and not still soft in the middle.

Leave the floater cake to cool, then remove it from the tray. The block of bait can be cut to size on the bank or frozen until required. 

Top 4 roach baits

If you are after a river roach this weekend then you may want to try some of these when you are out on the bank. We have put together a list of the best baits to use when on the search for a monster river roach!

No roach angler would ever go fishing without a pint of maggots. They work on almost every venue and can be fished shallow or on the deck, with groundbait or simply loosefed. Bronze maggots are the most popular colour on rivers.

The bait that has taken some massive roach on rivers right through the winter, it works well in summer too, especially for a specimen fish. Trot a big piece of soft breadflake down the swim to give you every chance of a specimen.

Seasoned anglers swear by casters for bonus big roach in match and pleasure sessions. Casters fall slowly through the water and are great for shallow swims or for picking out the better stamp of roach in a shoal.


Seen primarily as a hookbait, deactivated hempseed is sold for feeding pigeons – but when cooked so the seeds just split, it makes a brilliant feed for roach too! Hemp is fiddly to hook and doesn’t always work, but on days when it does the size of roach you catch will be markedly bigger than the norm.

Dr Paul Garner's 10- minute make | The maggot bait rig

When weed makes feeder fishing difficult I reach for the PVA bags and switch to an inline-lead system, which is much less likely to snag. A fine-mesh PVA stick filled with maggots and a pinch of groundbait is just as effective as a feeder and melts away in a couple of minutes, leaving just a pile of bait on the bottom. 

I recommend tying up a short braided hooklink of about 6ins in length. I always use soft 15lb braid to a size 12 forged hook when I’m tenching.

These nifty Bag Clips from Avid Carp enable a PVA stick to be added instantly to the rig, which is much more effective and tangle-proof than hooking it on.

Put a piece of dissolving foam into the narrow PVA mesh. Ensure that the PVA is a fine weave that maggots cannot escape from.

Now fill the PVA mesh with a palm-sized helping of maggots mixed with a small amount of damp groundbait. 

Compact the maggot/groundbait mix as much as possible before tying off the bag, as this will help it fly straight on the cast. 

Now nick the hook in the base of the bag, so that the point is covered by the dissolving

Top 5 barbel baits

Are struggling to find the right bait for your barbel fishing? Well we may have the answers for you here are the top five baits that you can use on the rivers this season that will land you your best barbel. 

Meat, normally in tinned form such as Spam, is as popular today as it has ever been. The beauty of meat is that you can form whatever size hookbait you like with it. A big chunk fished on the hair can be a killer hookbait for big fish, while a tin cut into into small cubes is great for using as feed when floatfishing.


Both carp pellets and halibuts, their more oily cousins, make fantastic barbel baits. The small 4mm-8mm versions are great for feeding via a bag, in a feeder or by hand. The bigger varieties from 10mm and upwards are great for fishing on the hair or in a bait band.

One of the most under-rated barbel baits, lobbies can make a great change offering, particularly when bites on more conventional baits are not forthcoming. Fish two or three on a hair on a bomb rig in both coloured and clear water.

Some of the biggest barbel in the land have been caught on boilie hookbaits. Fish-based boilies with krill, crab or crayfish flavouring are great for barbel. Fish one or two on a hair rig and break a few up as feed offerings in a PVA bag.

Paste can be moulded it into whatever shape or size you like. It breaks down fairly easily, giving off particles that attract barbel upstream. Squeeze some around your lead weight or wrap some around a boilie hookbait for an extra attractant.

Dr Paul Garner's 10- minute make | Pellet mash

Pellet mash is best prepared the night before fishing, and it takes only a few minutes’ work before it is left to soak until morning. Alternatively, speed up the process if you are in a hurry. A couple of kilos of bait will be plenty for a day session. 

Soak 6mm halibut pellets in cold water for 10 minutes. You can speed up the process by using warm water. 

Pour off the water and add a teaspoonful of hemp oil to the pellet mix. Shake well to distribute the oil evenly.

Once the water is absorbed, mix them up. Those at the bottom turn to mush, those at the top are soft, but still intact. 

Two handfuls of dry Method Mix groundbait will soak up any excess moisture and help bind the pellets together.

Dr Paul Garner's 10 - minute make | Make your own particle mix

Using just one particle bait can lead to the fish becoming preoccupied and ignoring other baits. This is especially a problem if you are feeding small baits, such as hemp or groats, as these are generally too small to use on the hook. Feeding a mix of particles can be a much better tactic, and is very easy to achieve. 

Baits of a similar size can often be prepared together. For my base mix I use a pint of hemp, along with a handful of dari seeds and a similar quantity of tares. 

In a second tub soak a handful of maize, maple peas, chick peas and black eye beans. If you can’t get hold of all these baits, adjust the mix to suit what you have.

In a third tub soak a pint of groats and some flaked maize. These particles only need soaking, so they must be prepared separately.

After 24 hours drain off the liquid and leave the tubs of bait to for a further 24 hours to allow the seed elements to start to germinate.

Boil up the hemp and small particles for about 10 minutes, and then repeat the process with the larger baits.

When all the baits have cooled, mix them together and add two tablespoonfuls of rock salt and the same of sugar.

How to pimp out your pellets

Find out how to make your pellets irresistible with Steve Gregory'svery simple but effective recipe that will not only help you catch more but also keep those F1s in your swim for longer. 

This is all done by soaking the pellets and then adding a bit of extra spice in the form of dry paste powder, which will help them bind into a ball and adds attraction.

Feeding should be regulated to bites. On a good day, he’ll easily get through eight pints of bait. When the fish are being funny, this will be cut back to a ball every four or five fish.

Follow the step-by-step guide below to try it yourself!

Add paste powder 

Pop the pellets into a bowl and pour on some paste powder. 

Coat your pellets 

Add enough to give them just a light coating when mixed in.

Add your water

Now pour in water so that every pellet is covered – just.

Soak the pellets

This is what they look like when soaked but they can’t be used yet!

The finished pellets

Left to stand for half an hour, the pellets have swollen.

Land the biggest F1s with this amazing paste


If you thought paste was a bait reserved for catching big carp then you’d be missing a big trick – that’s the verdict of match ace Steve Gregory who is famed for his antics with the stuff across a wide variety of commercial fisheries across the UK.

Paste still catches ‘lumps’, but as F1s become more common in our waters, Steve has adapted his approach to catch the lion’s share of a finicky species more associated with smaller hookbaits.

He’s perfected paste fishing for F1s so much that he can keep pace with anglers playing the numbers game fishing pellets and maggots. It’s all to do with the stamp of fish that paste produces on waters holding fish ranging from ounces to 2lb.

“Fish pellets and you’ll catch, but I’ve found the size can vary greatly,” Middy-backed Steve explained. 

“My paste sorts out the bigger F1s and it’s rare to get one under 1lb. There are lots of myths surrounding fishing paste and I think that can put anglers off using it. They shouldn’t be worried because once you master a few simple basics it’s a very easy method to fish.”

To demonstrate, the former British match record-holder invited us to Falcon Lake at Westwood Lakes near Boston, home to thousands of F1s of all sizes to show paste’s power.

Paste consistency

“Groundbait pastes are a waste of time because they dissolve,” Steve said bluntly. “That defeats the point because I want my hookbait to stay on for as long as it takes to get a bite. People think that I have a magic paste mix, but it’s just my original Miracle Paste that I’ve been using for years. However, I mix it a few days in advance because this gives me the consistency that I want.”

“It has to be soft enough to strike through, but stringy enough to stay on when fish are knocking into the line or mouthing the bait. I’ll prepare plenty of paste because, on places like Falcon Lake, you could be getting hundreds of bites and so getting through a fair bit. Two bags makes enough for a hectic session.”

Hookbait size

“It’s important to match your hookbait to the size of fish. Because F1s are the target, there’s no place for massive lumps the size of your thumb!” Steve said.

“I don’t use little pea-sized bits either. Typically, the bait is around the size of a £1 coin. That’s large enough to catch bigger F1s.”

Fishing short

“I’ll fish a top kit if I can to save time on waters where every second counts,” Steve said. 

“Having to unship a section of pole each time can lose you 15 minutes of fishing time. That can work out at over 20 fish you miss out on catching on days when the fishing it good. Fishing short puts you on top of the near shelf on a flat bottom, which is a must for paste fishing.”

Spotting a bite

“Don’t be tempted into striking when the float goes under – it’ll do all sorts of things as fish knock into the line or mouth the bait,” he advised.

“You’re looking for a specific indication on the float. This will be a sharp, positive ‘dig’ on the float as a fish gets hold of the paste properly. Even then you will foul-hook a lot of fish because of the number in the swim. By fishing relatively light hollow elastic, I can get these foul-hookers in. If you aren’t connecting with bites, hold the float tight to the line and you’ll see it fly under!”


Big hooks still rule

“Fishing paste on a size 14 hook is a waste of time because you won’t convert bites into hooked fish. You still need to fish a big ‘anchor’ and for me that’s a size 12 Middy 83-13 pattern. That’s plenty big enough to hold the paste in place and still strike through and get a good hook hold,” he explained. 


“Lines are 0.14mm Hi-Viz fished straight through with that light elastic being Middy’s 8-10 hollow grade.

“Finally we should talk about floats and I go big on this front too with a 0.7g handmade model that’s got a relatively slim body. I’ve seen blokes fishing paste with no shot on the rig, instead relying on the paste to cock the float. That’s nonsense and all it does is see any tow or wind on the lake put pressure on the hook and ultimately rip the paste off. I also leave the whole bristle showing to read bites better.” 

Dr Paul Garner's 10-minute make | Sweetened pellets and bulk groundbait

The combination of sweet additives and fishmeal-based baits has revolutionised bream fishing, and both these can be incorporated into all your baits.

A couple of days before a bream session, put your pellets into a bait bucket and add two tablespoonfuls of molasses to each kilo of pellets. The sweet, sticky liquid will infuse the pellets, boosting their appeal.

Make up a 50:50 mix of brown crumb and fishmeal Method mix. Add a teaspoonful of salt per kilo.

Mix using water with two tablespoonfuls of molasses added to each pint of liquid.

Mix large amounts of groundbait in a sizeable bucket. A groundbait whisk speeds up the process.

Add boilie flake, corn and pellets. Chopped worm and dead maggots are useful additions too. The baits added to the mix will alter the consistency, so add them only when you are ready to introduce your feed.