How to make your carp fishing hookbaits truly irresistible!

by Chris Haydon |
Updated on


It's been said many times before, but perhaps the most important elements in carp fishing are your hook and hookbait.

If the fish don’t want to pick up what you’re offering them, you won’t ever catch them – it’s as simple as that.

Now, it also has to be said that carp will obviously eat almost anything at least once. It’s the only way a creature without hands can investigate what’s in front of them.

It’s therefore important to consider how you can make the bait attached to your hook the first thing they zone in on when they enter the swim.


The first consideration many take into account with hookbait choice is colour. The trend that seems to carry weight on most venues is that early in the year, bright yellows, oranges and pinks seem to work really well.

Then, after the fish have spawned and have likely made a few mistakes with anglers’ rigs, these obvious offerings seem to become increasingly easy for them to reject.

This is when switching to a ‘match the hatch’ colour will certainly see an increase in pick-ups.

A superb single hookbait

Designed by CC Moore team member Mark Pitchers, the carp won't miss these neon yellow pop-up hookbaits!

Extremely buoyant and packed with a secret fruity flavour blend, these highly attractive baits are available in 12mm and 14mm sizes.

The durable skin on these baits ensures a consistent buoyancy for well over 24 hours. The flavour can also be boosted further with the sachet of potent CF1 hookbait booster included.


  • Extremely buoyant.
  • A fruity flavour the fish can't resist.


  • Could be too bright on really clear lakes.

Don’t discount colours entirely, however – after all, two of the most successful carp baits out there, bread and sweetcorn, are hardly discreet, are they?

Consider the contrast that’s made when selecting your colour choice. A white bait on a silty bottom will be easy for a fish to spot, which could either make it investigate or force it to flee.

The colour conundrum is all about experimentation, trial and error, and finding what works on the day.

You can always tone it down by using washed-out shades that closely resemble the appearance of old baits on the bottom – something the fish recognise as safe to eat.

Two colours of bait in the same pot

These new Tones Dairy Cream Pop-ups from CC Moore offer the best of both worlds when it comes to hookbait colour, so you can adapt your choice as the session and conditions dictate.

In each pot are both washed out pink and dark pink pop-ups made with CC Moore's famous Dairy Cream flavour blend.

They are available in 12mm and 14mm sizes, both with a consistent buoyancy that lasts for well over 24 hours.


  • Two colours of hookbait in the same tub!
  • Superb buoyancy.


  • Not available in sizes larger than 14mm.


The last decade or so has seen a real revolution in how carp anglers can boost their hookbaits.

There are now a large number of products on the market that leach off colours and flavours into the water column.

There really is no better way to entice fish towards your trap.

Soak one of these into your pop-ups or hookbaits prior to your trip so it penetrates deep inside the bait for long lasting attraction.

A super-attractive bait smoke

The latest addition to CC Moore's legendary Northern Special range is the NS1 Halo liquid booster.

An intense yellow hookbait smoke that contains high levels of the super attractive Northen Special flavour blend - this additive will take your baits to a whole new level!

The recipe used includes proven feed-inducing oils and esters, whilst the cloud given off by the yellow 'halo' around your bait will pull fish in from far and wide,


  • Creates a superb visual cloud around your hookbait.
  • Proven fish-inducing additives.


  • Prolonged soaking of pop-ups could impact buoyancy.

Alternatively, just quickly coat your bait before casting out for a fast-acting burst of flavour and colour on the spot.

Experimentation is once again key, because the over-use of these types of products can lead to the fish ‘wising up’ and the edge being ‘blown’.

Most companies also do their own matching bait boosters or liquid enhancers, and these are worth considering as soaks or glugs for your hookbaits, just to make them stand out over your free offerings.

An attractive hookbait soak

A new addition to the CC Moore range is this highly concentrated Ester Cream hookbait booster.

The 50ml bottle contains a superb 'cream of pears' flavour profile, as well as added stimulants and feeding triggers that will 100% draw a reaction from the carp in most situations.


  • Great soak for fruity pop-ups.
  • Proven feed stimulant.


  • Powerful, so use in moderation.

Hemp oil, salmon oil and fish oils are also worthy of a splash or two on your baits, and will certainly make it more likely the fish will slip up as a steady leakage of tantalising attraction leaches towards the surface.


Showing true love and care for your hookbaits has been, and still is, a massive edge for some of the country’s best carp anglers.

Many will cure and cultivate their baits in liquids and additional powders, for an end product with a dissolvable outer skin that slowly breaks down around the bait sending carp into a frenzy as they try to pinpoint the source.

Get the same effect by wrapping your hookbaits in paste, something more commonly seen done on the rivers by barbel anglers.

A good paste wrap for carp baits

This stuff stinks! But fish absolutely love it! Belachan is fermented shrimp from Malaysia and is a proven fish attractor.

Salty, fishy and perfectly natural, wrapping your baits in this can really get some bonus bites.

As a paste it is pretty tough and will last on your baits a while, so a little goes a long way. It's also worth grating some into spod and PVA bag mixes.


  • Superb natural flavoured bait.
  • A tough paste.


  • The smell is really strong and not one everyone will like using.


When trying to come up with a hookbait option, consider how important the bait on your hair actually is for the situation.

For example, if you’re fishing with PVA bags, in reality the fish are attracted to the contents of the bag and therefore will usually slurp down the whole thing in one go.

Hookbait choice here is less important – what matters is that it behaves in a manner where it will fly up into the mouth with the rest of your bag mix.

This is the polar opposite to fishing over a spread of boilies with, say, a Ronnie, Chod or Hinge rig.

Here the hookbait is doing all the work for you as there isn’t anything else directly around it. So, getting an attractive sweetie they want to open their mouth for is essential.

Fantastic PVA bag mix bundle

One of the best deals we have found on the CC Moore website recently is their Natural PVA bag bundles.

In this deal you get a 1kg bag of 2mm bag mix pellets, a pot of glugged natural wafters and 500g of frozen water snails. Pretty much everything you need to make a parcel of attraction the carp will not be able to ignore! It's discreet on the bottom too.


  • Superb natural mix.
  • Water snails are a huge edge!


  • Only enough for one productive session (but the price is more than fair for that!)


Topping your hookbaits with a few worms or a bunch of maggots can be a phenomenal way to get bonus bites – particularly on zig rigs.

You don’t even need to feed a lot of them – just that little wriggling natural offering can be enough to spark some interest. They’re not recommended for venues dominated by smaller species, which will peck away at them, but for carp-only waters it’s a really under-used edge.


Crazy right? But sometimes just ditching the boilies can transform your results. If you’re feeding heavily with particles, match the hatch by making your hookbait of a similar size and texture to everything around it.

Plastic corn is phenomenal when fished over spod mixes. Its buoyancy means it offers good rig mechanics, you can flavour it how you like, and it’s available in a variety of colours – even glow in the dark!

Again, it’s all about experimentation. Have a play on your next session and mix it up with your hookbaits – you may just stumble on the golden ticket for your water.

Best natural boilie hookbait

If you want to give your man-made hookbaits that natural kick then look no further than these awesome Bloodworm Wafters from CC Moore.

These bloodworm red 10x14mm dumbbell wafters are glugged in CC Moore's devastating and totally natural Liquid Bloodworm Compound. Every pot contains pure, fine blended bloodworm, one of the carp's primary naturally occurring food sources.

There are 50 baits in the pot that can be easily trimmed to balance and are durable for over 18 hours - but you will likely get a bite way before then!


  • Includes real bloodworm.
  • Wafter baits are great for tricky carp.


  • A bit messy to handle.

Author Chris Haydon is a keen and lifelong all-round angler that is currently in the position of Online Editor at Angling Times. As an angler, Chris likes to fish for just about everything that swims, from big roach to monster carp.

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