There was a time when boosting your bait with flavouring was as sophisticated as dipping bread flake in a pot of honey!
How times have changed. Walk into most tackle shops these days and it will resemble a supermarket. Shelves are stacked with tubs, bottles and pots that contain exotic flavours and potions. The sheer scale of the choice can be bamboozling.
In this helpful guide we explain what the main ‘families’ of flavourings are so that you can decide what types of flavour to arm yourself with.
1. SYNTHETIC FLAVOURS
These products use artificial flavourings manufactured to mimic food stuffs like strawberries, peanuts and banana. They are available in two different forms.
Firstly, there are highly concentrated flavours made by specialist firms like Nutrabaits, Nash, Richworth and Hutchinson for flavouring boilie mixes.
These potent products have specific dosage levels printed on the bottle. It is VITAL you don’t exceed these recommendations otherwise the finished bait will smell TOO STRONG and will repel fish rather than attract them. In fact if you add these flavours to groundbait you must dilute them with water to spread flavour through the feed.
It was the problem of overdosing with highly concentrated flavours that lead to the creation of less concentrated liquids by firms like Van den Eynde and Dynamite Baits. These products have been specifically designed for adding to groundbait, covering pellets and meat or soaking boilies.
2. NATURAL EXTRACTS
As the description suggests, natural extracts are liquids or powders that are made by processing real foodstuffs.
Among the best natural liquids are corn steep liquor, betaine, kelp, green-lipped mussel extract and liquid liver. They can all be added to groundbait or poured onto baits like boilies, meat, corn and pellets. The liquid will soak into the bait and then be released in the water to attract the fish.
They tend not to be as concentrated as artificial flavours but still stick to the dosage recommendation on the packaging.
Many of these liquids contain large amounts of Amino Acid. This is the substance that signals to a fish that something is edible, natural extracts have therefore proved to be great fish attractors.
3. ENHANCERS AND SWEETENERS
The list of sweeteners and bait enhancers are legion, and they are made to make a bait taste nicer.
These products can be added to homemade boilies, pastes, cooked particles or even groundbait.
Like humans, many fish love sweet food and the addition of a sweetener to a bait can encourage the fish eat it.
Some sweeteners and enhancers are made in liquid form others are powders. Either way they boost the taste of a bait and often improve the smell of it too.
Oils are available in two forms and both have very different applications.
Firstly, there are standard oils that are drained from fish, nuts or seeds like salmon oil, hemp oil or sunflower oil. These products are derived from natural products and contain a great deal of protein and fatty acids. Oils are excellent for adding to groundbaits, Method mixes or injecting into deadbaits.
They don’t tend to be too concentrated either so dosage levels are not so critical.
The second type of oil you may encounter is an essential oil. Usually produced by specialist carp bait firms, like Nutrabaits or Nashbaits, essential oils are highly concentrated extracts taken from spices, herbs and plants.
They are added by the drop and are suited for adding to boilies and paste mixes.