Paul Garner’s Homemade Hookbaits
Angling Times’ Bait Clinic specialist, Dr Paul Garner shows you how to make your own hookbaits from scratch to give yourself an edge on the bank this weekend…
One of the old traditions that I still like to uphold every spring is making my own boilies. This is very much a lost art these days, as Tackle Shop shelves and freezers are laden with every conceivable type of boilie, but I think there is still a case to be made for making your own, especially hookbaits, which can be tweaked to not only bring you more bites, but improve the efficiency of your rigs too.
With boilies being a staple part of the bait menu for almost every angler these days, being able to stand out from the crowd can be a big advantage. Perhaps you want to make some pop-up or wafter hookbaits, maybe want some bright hookbaits that stand our against your darker feed baits, or even want a different shape boilie. By making your own all of these, and many more, can be customised.
There is a definite art to blending raw ingredients to produce a great boilie, so a much better starting point is to use the boilie making packs that most bait companies produce to complement their readymade baits. These packs will contain the dry mix, plus the blended liquid additives that you need to replicate your favourite bait. All you need to add are eggs, which act as a binder when the baits are boiled. There is no room for doubt with these mixes, so they are a great starting point, easy to make, and you know they will catch fish.
One of the things that I like to change when making my own hookbaits is the shape of the finished baits. One of my favourites is to make pellet-shaped hookbaits. These stand out better than a single small bait on the bottom, and once a fish picks them up they are harder for them to eject, so can bring more bites.
Another good tip is to make a few hookbaits in different sizes. If you are using 15mm boilies try a really big 25mm hookbait, as this will really attract the carp’s attention. Alternatively, try making some tiny hookbaits that are perfect for the the Method feeder for smaller species.
From all of my underwater observations of fish feeding one thing that has really stood out is that fish much prefer soft baits to hard ones. Home made baits tend to be much softer than readymade ones, and for me, this is one of the most important reasons that I will make my own baits.
Don’t try and make too many baits at once. Start off with one egg as a trial as this will still make quite a substantial amount of bait, and certainly plenty of hookbaits. A kilo bag of mix will require around a dozen eggs to make it all, so this gives you plenty of opportunity to experiment.
For your next steps, why not try changing the colour of some of the baits, by adding powdered dyes, or boosting the smell of your hookbaits by doubling the amount of flavour used?
This is a good opportunity to try experimenting with other additives too, although keep in mind that the bait will have been formulated very carefully, so don’t add too much.
One of my favourite hookbaits is a wafter. The buoyancy of these baits that offsets the weight of the hook means that they are very easy for fish to pick up and tend to give very good hookholds as the rig shoots back further into the mouth.
To make your own wafters you will need some powdered pop-up mix. A small tub of this goes a long way, as we are only using it for hookbaits, so it is well worth the investment if you want to make your own hookbaits.
TEN MINUTE MAKE – Make your own wafter hookbaits
By combining your chosen boilie base mix with an equal volume of pop-up mix you can create your own custom wafters, that are just about the best hookbait going! Remember they are fresh baits though, so store them in the freezer, or cover them in salt to preserve them.
- Take equal volumes of boilie mix and pop-up mix, and mix together well.
2. Crack two large eggs into your mixing bowl and add the liquid additives from the boilie kit.
3. Slowly add the powder to the liquids, stirring all the time with a fork.
4. Aim for a putty-like paste that can be easily moulded to shape.
5. Roll the pieces of paste on a work surface into a sausage, then cut it into equal sections with a knife.
6. Roll the pieces of paste in the palm of your hand to form round baits.
7. Boil the baits for one to two minutes. Don’t do too many at once.
8. Let the baits cool down and dry out on a piece of kitchen roll.
QUICK TIP 1 – Keep back a lump of the unboiled paste to use as a wrap for your hookbaits!