One of the most common questions that beginners and experienced carp anglers ask is: What is the best carp bait?
Is the current “going bait” the best carp bait?
Sometimes people answer with the carp bait that is popular at the time. Depending on the lake, someone might say “fishmeal boilies” or even “maggots”.
What tends to happen is that most fishermen “follow the crowd”. If the “in” bait on a venue is fishmeal boilies with fruity flavors, and 9 out of 10 people use these baits, it stands to reason that most of the fish will be caught on these baits.
But does this mean that these boilies are really the best baits for carp?
You have probably found fishing venues where boilies don’t seem to work very well. Perhaps sweetcorn or hemp get the best results. So everyone uses sweetcorn and hemp.
Perhaps a juicy worm presented in the right spot would get a better result.
Be careful who you ask!
The best carp anglers to ask the question of “which is the best carp bait?” are less likely to answer you truthfully. There has always been a small group of thinking carp anglers that are always trying new things.
By trying a new bait and going against the grain, most of the time you will be reducing your catch chances, but from time to time you will hit upon a new winner.
For example, if everyone is using boilies and ground-bait sticks on a lake, the chances are that this method works. There will have been some great results that have created the “following effect” from other carp fishermen.
Now, if you were to fish one rod with the boilies and the sticks, then one rod with some experimental milk protein paste, then a third rod with a chilli pepper… The chances are that you have cut down your fish potential in half.
(Lets say that the chilli pepper is useless, and the milk paste less attractive than the boilie, It is like you are only fishing with one full-time rod and one part-time one isn’t it?)
Discover the next best carp bait and experience some serious “carp hauling” success!
But by tracking your results and looking for patterns, the chances are that sooner or later you will discover a winner. Maybe a few weeks later, you are using the boilie/stick, some luncheon meat, and some sausage meat mixed with Krill paste…
…You discover to your delight that the sausage meat and krill is an awesome carp bait for this venue!
Now, when everyone comes around and asks you what bait you are using, are you going to tell them the truth?
…After all of those wasted hours experimenting?
…Will you just hand the information over on a silver platter?
You are more likely to say that you are using the boilie and ground-bait stick, just like them. They will assume that you are just lucky, or that you are in a better fishing spot.
After a few sessions, you might tell a couple of good mates, who a few weeks later tell a few more of their friends.
Before you know it, everyone is on the sausage and krill. At this time it is losing its effectiveness!
Keep ringing the bait changes!
If you are the guy who discovered the new sausage and krill bait, if you are smart then by now you are only using it on one rod.
Perhaps now you are on boilies and PVA bags on the second rod, and pop-up slugs injected with tutti-frutti flavor and air on the third!
So the lesson here, is to be the thinking angler, the guy who keeps trying new things and recording the results.
The best bait for carp on one lake might not work on another. What works now might not work later. As you ring the changes and build up valuable experience, you will find yourself at new venues or in new situations that remind you on previous ones. By using the same tactics you will often get the same results. This experience separates the top carp anglers from the followers!
So, is there a top carp bait?
I mean, if you take into consideration the amount that each bait is used, the fact that different fishing venues respond differently at different times…
If you average everything out, and had to commit to an answer…
What would it be?
Sweetcorn and bread are really hard to beat, even after all of these years. The same applies to hemp and luncheon meat.
My advice would be to always follow a similar strategy. If you have 3 rods, on one you use the “going bait” this is in case some people have been running a baiting campaign and the carp are only eating the going bait. It can happen.
Secondly, use a “traditional” carp bait such as sweetcorn or bread.
Thirdly you need an experiment rod where you are trying different baits.
One day you will discover the next “best carp bait” and have some amazing catches, before everyone else starts to copy you.