Best Carp Bait – is it Worth Buying the Latest and Greatest Bait?

Best Carp Bait 1 - The Tools I use

Some of the bait I’m currently using depending on what type of fishery and anglers already on the water


If you believe everything you read in the angling press, the best carp bait changes week on week and usually comes from the manufacturer that pays the most advertising. This article aims to dispel a lot of the hype in the carp angling magazines and gives some actionable, down to earth advice on real world baiting on a budget.

Many years ago before the close season was abolished, I was invited to a little fishery in Oxford. During the close season, not something that would interest me as trout fishing was my other angling fix during the close season, Good friend Dave had organised the trip to get some much needed carp fishing.

Don’t Pre-Judge – Adapt to the Environment

We went with all the normal baits: boilies, sweetcorn, floaters. In fact none of these worked on the water as well as lob worms filled with air. This just demonstrates that nothing has really changed in all this time. You just can’t pre judge what bait is going to be the best for carp angling. In my opinion there is and never will be a “wonder bait” that is going to catch fish every time you cast out. Having said that there are times when one bait absolutely out fishes any other.

Hairfield went through one of these periods when I fished there. This was due to the fact that most anglers were fishing with Richworth tuti. The fish just got pre occupied with this bait. The only other bait with any consistency was the good old tiger nut.

Home-Made Boilies

When I first started carp fishing there wasn’t any bait company’s producing ready made boilies; we had to make our own. Duncan Kay’s carp tract addiditives was all we had in my area. Geoff Kemp was the first bait company I can remember. I tracked down a company called Unbar Rothon who produced flavours for the food industry. The cream flavour from them caught me a lot of carp in the early days, mixed in with bird food semolina and various types of fish meals. Later we moved on to milk proteins. Food enhancers also worked well in these mixes.

Chick Peas as Carp Bait

My Hemp,Maize and pigeon mix with sea salt, black pepper being soak for at least a couple of day before boiling, this is the added to the ground bait of choice

My Hemp,Maize and pigeon mix with sea salt, black pepper being soak for at least a couple of day before boiling, this is the added to the ground bait of choice.


Rod Hutchinson really made some progress with his range of baits and oils, fishing on a budget as we all did in them early days. Flavoured and coloured chick peas created the same response as boilies in my local lakes. We could bait up this cheaper option, matching the colour and flavour to our boilies as hook baits.

Adaptive Carp Baiting

My bait these days is usually chosen with the water I’m fishing in mind. If there are so called field testers for bait company’s on the water I’ll always have a kilo or two and matching pop ups in case I’m inadvertently fishing over pre baited areas after the weekend anglers. I use a lot of particle with added ground bait and the new up and down zig type mixes. This can create a massive response when fish start feeding on it. My recent boilie choice has been S Core from Richworth and mainline essential cell in ready made format. I find that wastage is kept to a minimum. Particularly when taking frozen bait on a session then don’t use it.

Ready Made Affordable Bait That Works

I don’t make my own bait any more, it’s not cost effective and can’t get some of the vital ingredients needed as a minimum order is now required. Other baits I use are from Alan Ralph’s tackle in Hastings. He gets end of range and orders not collected from some bait companies. Since I pay for all my bait it saves money.

Why I Air-Dry All of my Baits

I air dry all my baits including shelf life. The reason for this is I believe the bait works best when rehydrated with the lake water you are fishing, sometimes I’ll add some additive or two with it. In truth it’s what ever your confident with when your sitting for long periods of time for a bite. You need to make your own decision on what makes the best carp bait for the location and conditions that you are fishing in.

For further reading, you may be interested in the article and videos here.

Best Carp Bait - Don't Believe The Angling Press Hype by