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Popular carp bait recipes

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Published in June 2004

Common carp from Ladner BC

They are extremely picky grazers, which can often be hard to entice if you are offering the wrong bait in their waters. Although most fishermen like to believe carp fishing is a kid's play, so many times this kid's play can turn into a frustrating waiting game. The missing link usually lies in the bait. Your carp fishing day is determined by the scent of your offering. In Europe, hundreds of bait mix formulae have been developed for this heavily fished species! In British Columbia, carp is fortunately not fished heavily so your standard bait will usually produce a fish or two. When the day is slow, it can be an advantage to change the flavour every now and then. Here are several popular carp bait recipes that may become handy for you!

The simplest bait to prepare when time is an issue can be bought at your local grocery store. A few pieces of toast or bread rolls can sometimes be your best ticket to carp heaven. Bread balls are deadly for many coarse species around the world. The preparation is simple and clean. Roll a small piece of bread into a ball, wet it with your saliva and onto the hook it goes. Use bread balls for surface feeders, as your bait has a tendency to float.

A can of corn can provide a season of fun carping. Don't overlook these tiny seeds. They may seem to be unscented, but carp often find them irresistible. Thread several onto the hook so it is completely covered.

Although the Asian and European bait mixes are unavailable in British Columbia, you can still create your own magical dough that outfishes others. A cup of flour mixed with a cup of corn meal should be the basic ingredients of your bait. Flour alone can do the job, but the corn meal has a tendency to keep the smaller fish from stealing the bait. Whatever you add on top of this will depend on you, or the fish. Since scent is strong factor, the addition of a strong, yet new smell in your bait can often produce surprising result. Scents that are commonly used include strawberry, vanilla, peanut butter, corn and yam. Ironically, none of the above scents have been extremely productive for me. Instead, a couple of scoops of curry powder have resulted in many lucky days.

Just like other fisheries, use what you have confidence in and be sure to switch if one becomes unproductive. Like Pavlov's dog, carp will quickly associate your bait to pain after a few hookups. The magical bait does not exist, experimentation is the recipe to success.

Please note: Ground bait, or chum, is banned in British Columbia.