Plastic and rubber baits are well proven to catch even the biggest fish and many factors are involved in this success beyond the obvious. Just how can it be that a big wary carp can get hooked in the depths of the darkest night on a piece of rubber sweetcorn simply cast out at random? The explanations for this are many, and homemade and readymade fake bait options and uses are extremely diverse and these are very effective fish catchers so read on and find out more!
Although fake baits have been around for decades in terms of luminescent or fluorescent sea and predator lures for instance, few carp anglers had applied the principles until very recently. Carp can detect light just into both the ultraviolet and infrared ranges of the light spectrum and certainly particular carp fishing products available today exploit this. Some of these products are more than just gimmicks and rerally do multiply catches. Carp sight feed far more than many carp anglers realise so why not seriously help them to find your hook baits far more easily?!
Decades ago I went carp fishing with floresent jelly worm type baits and caught, but then became fascinated with making my own nutritionally balanced baits which lead to repeat captures. The results on these showed the true power of bait over fish! However I have in the past also dabbled with hook baits with light emitting isotopes attached which can be a great edge in various water and light conditions even in the day. However the thoughts on carp safety of losing one of these and having it swallowed by a carp has prevented further experimentation!
However, there are many baits which are available today such as those by Enterprise Tackle which do emit light. These baits are activated before casting baits out using light to kind of charge them, so they remain lit up for a prolonged period while being fished. It may be noted that such baits often work surprising well during daylight hours. These highlight your hook baits making them easier to spot by sight feeding carp in turbid water and in deeper where less light of particular wavelength can penetrate. It is no coincidence that such baits work far more efficiently where carp are feeding where water is very much clouded due to fish movement and silt disturbance and so on.
The range of fake baits is growing all the time with so-called everlasting day glow type hook bait boilies, glowing corn and so on. The range includes fake bread, fake luncheon meat, fake dog biscuits, fake red worms, fake maggots, fake pellets, fake boilies of various kinds, fake tiger nuts and fake hemp to name but a few. Part of these baits attraction is their lack of notable food signals and their ability to induce curiosity feeding. (How much do we know that carp do not play around with new rig bits on the bottom until they discover they get them hooked?)
One of the great advantages of using a fake bait perhaps in conjunction with a plastic bait is that no matter how much fish try to pull a bait off without getting hooked, you know an impermeable plastic or rubber bait will still be attached to your hook; so no more worries about that all night long!
I have used foam for decades to balance baits initially but far more importantly to negate the impacts of the weight of my hooks which carp normally detect very easily. The difference in bites between using a fine wire hook and a thick wire hook can be very dramatic when not using foam on a rig! (Of course the same principle goes for using much smaller hooks.) I have used trimmed foam on top of my hook baits for years to produce highly effective popped-up buoyant baits while using identical conventional sinking baits as free baits and ground bait.
In fact I used to used black foam to exploit carp detection of tone and contrast eyesight for surface baits and pop-up baits. Nowadays black foam seems to be all the rage and very popular in use with so-called Zig-rigs and so on popularised at places like the Carp Society Horseshoe Lake etc. Rig foam is available in many various colours with differing buoyancies and absorbencies, different textures and degrees of hardness and pliability and different tastes too! So do experiment with them to find the ones you find best suit your needs, such as finding extremely buoyant rig foams for very weedy or chod (leaf litter and other detritus) type fishing situations.
I find some foams have more capacity for holding liquid triggers for example! I find using foam in liquid triggers and attractors really is a huge edge and my arsenal of tricks in this regard is well refined. (Try Ccmoore Marine Amino Compound or liquid Super Slop for instance with their Crab Essence flavour for brilliant fake pop-up or floating baits! (Try roach fishing with fake maggots or fake corn (or the real thing) soaked and dipped in liquid Super Slop; the results compared to using the unsoaked is incredible!)
The use of foam has been extremely effective for me for bigger fish used in combination with various homemade paste baits of differing buoyancies, densities and solubilities etc. When using trout pellets years ago I used bits of buoyancy foam rubber underlay to hold the baits on and used trimmed rubber bands as hair stops. In fact I still often do today as these have no nasty sharp edge which incredibly many commercially available plastic hair stops still have! If you use such hair stops the act of just burying your hair stop in your bait is a definite plus in my opinion although when using foam or fake corn etc as hook weight negators I always make a slot in these so I can bury my hair stop.
Having mentioned fake baits in regard to hair stops and balancing rigs, the nature of many of these baits means they have a different texture and taste to the vast majority of baits carp have been used to dealing with in the past and are often able to be squeezed or compressed in the case of the rubber baits. This is something I think carp love to do in testing baits anyway. Rubber baits can cling onto lines which can be very useful when you are constructing creative rigs with these and in combination with anything from boilies, pellets, maggots, worms, all kinds of particles, meat baits, fish chunks or whatever.
Probably the major advantage of many rubber and plastic hook baits is their buoyancy which not only does the supremely critical task of negating the weight of your hook, but can be used to create pop-up baits of endless variations and combinations. Of course such baits are not pumping out carp feeding triggers attractants and so on to the degree that conventional hook baits like boilies, pellets, particles and live baits do.
This has great advantages too, although it has to be said that fake baits can very easily pick up impurities from your hands such as various oils, butyric and other acids, various amines, salts etc, which permeate and lubricate your skin naturally. Although such impurities will be in very insignificant amounts, carp are known to detect certain substances into just 3 or 4 parts per billion concentration in water - and science is still far from knowing all there is to know about carp senses!
It is the case that fake corn fished on its own at night can get picked up without the additional use of any free bait to draw attention to the hook bait. I am just putting forward my own suggestion here, but I think that as carp are sensitive to electrical fields it may be that rubber and plastic baits make a change in the water, (which of course acts as a conductor) and the carp notice the electrical anomaly or the difference in their aquatic environment.
I'm sure carp pinpoint the location of baits and leads cast into the water from sounds and vibrations too of course plus the possible displacement of silt etc by the landing of such tackle and so on. The vast majority of carp anglers use real bait in conjunction with fake baits and this is no surprise; the results improve very significantly in general compared to fishing fake baits just on their own!
The power of a hook bait is all too often limited by the potency of your ground bait and so this area really deserves a huge amount of attention too; far too many anglers depend upon standard over-exploited free baits and ground baits that many pressured fish already know too well and either avoid or feed far more cautiously on; so making them far harder to actually hook! One of the major aspects of free baiting, especially in regards to nutritional free baits is the exploitation of the varied buoyancy and density of different and varied feed ingredients, so leading to improved fish pulling power and impacts upon feeding intensity and competitiveness amongst feeding carp. Buoyant fake baits score very well with such free baits.
The use of boilies, pellets, method and stick mixes, spod mixes and slop mixes etc in combination with fake baits all improve carp feeding response and influence more intensive feeding behaviours in the vicinity of fake hook baits and this huge impact must never be underestimated! These days it is very common to find that wary carp will ignore fresh baits and primarily fall for baits washed out after long periods of immersion.
Fake baits are obviously a great option for hook baits for wary carp. As they do not release volumes of chemicals of both natural and synthetic origins into the water they represent less of a threat than fresh baits do and are in effect similar to washed-out baits which are well-proven wary fish catchers too. There is no doubt that using a combination of a well-designed bait, either of attractor type or nutritional value type or both, used in conjunction reaps great rewards.
Just one of my own well-proven examples is of using a specially buoyant version of homemade Ccmoore Odyssey boilie base mix incorporating Feedstim XP liquid at 100 millilitres per kilogram of mix, balanced on the rig still further with a large piece of fake sweetcorn for instance. For fish that like to whittle down baits to smaller safer sizes why not try some homemade paste wrapped around a har rig with fake maggots for instance. Such an approach with stick, method or PVA bag mix is very effective. I find using large boilies with bits cut out of them and in big PVA bags alongside smaller whittled baits and crumbled boilies and a much smaller hook bait to be very effective.
Tipping a boilie with fake corn for instance is very popular and I feel is far too much over-used. I can make flourescent homemade baits the size of sweetcorn and resiliant enough to stay on the hair and be very effective for 48 hours. Such very small baits are ideal balanced with fake corn, or a trimmed down bit of fake bread or fake tiger nut for instance. Not many carp these days come across bread glowing in the dark! Read on for details of some unique carp bait making secrets ebooks and further articles!
By Tim Richardson.
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