Some Additives Work - Some Don't.
One of the problems with adding things to your bait like curry powder, in addition to the flavour is that you never can be sure if you would have still caught the same number of fish if you hadn't added the curry powder in the first place. I therefore think that assessing the fish pulling power of such additives takes longer than flavours.
I remember once that Geoff Kemp used to sell a very expensive liver powder, which he recommended you only add a teaspoon full of to your boilie mix. I made a batch of boilies on a milk protein base that contained no flavour as the attractor but only the liver powder. I took them down to a very easy water and never had a touch, yet I also had some standard flavoured boilies with me (the flavour was Green Zing if I remember rightly) and had several fish on the flavoured boilies. I also repeated the experiment again with the same results.
The bait industry is currently trying to push all sorts of additives. You no longer seem to just need a base mix, sweetener and flavour. They always seem to recommend adding a couple more things, which all seem to cost about 10 quid a bottle.
There are so many liquid additives available it would be impossible to try them all. I am just going to list the ones that I have confidence in. I am sure there are other excellent liquid additives available that I have not tried.
Liquid additives should be added to the eggs along with flavours at the start of the boilie making process.
I wasn't quite sure to include this one on the page that deals with sweeteners, but it ended up here with the additives. It's a very dark, thick, treacle type, sweet liquid. Unlike Intense sweetener or Protaste it is a "natural" liquid, that is to say it is a natural by-product and not artificially produced by blending chemicals together.
Because of this it can be used at very high levels in a bait, I like to use between 10 and 20ml per pound of dry base mix. It is an additive that carp find very attractive. Mollasses meal or liquid is an ingredient in successful birdfoods such as PTX by Haith's (see ingredients page) and some flavours.
I like to use it with cream type flavours such as Chocolate Malt, Scopex and Maple Cream. It can also be used with fruit flavours, but I have not as yet tried it with fish or spice flavours. Regarding base mixes I have used it in both 50/50 and birdfoods with great success, I have not't yet tried it in fishmeals, but I can see no reason why it shouldn't be very good.
Corn Steep Liquor.
Not quite sure how this one is produced but it's one I like a lot. It is available from tackle shops or in a "live" version from Quality Baits, which is my favourite brand (see the links page). Their live version is still fermenting, so you really need to keep it in the fridge. If the lady of the house won't let you, then keep the cap of the bottle unscrewed (to let some the the gases escape) and keep it in the coolest place possible.
It has a wonderful very rich malty, brewery type smell. I normally use 10ml per boilie mix, it goes with just about any flavour or base mix you care to use it with. Also worth trying in a bait is 10ml of corn steep liquor and 10ml of liquid mollasses (see above) and your normal flavour, the two seem to work well combined together.
Amino Acid Liquids.
Sold by most bait companies as "something amino" or some such name. A lot of these products are "Minamino" which is available from Boots the Chemist (normally to special order), just re-packaged and sold under a different name.
To be honest I have never found that these liquids made the slightest difference to the attraction qualities of my bait. I've even tried soaking my boilies in Minamino and then using them on the hook, I've never found it made the slightest difference to my catch rate.
The one I do like is "Multimino" by Nutrabaits. Not in my bait , but used as a bulk liquid with a flavour to make a bait soak. I normally use it at 50ml of Multimino, plus the same level of flavour that I am using in my boilies per mix (see the bait soaks page for more details).
One easy way to "spice" up your bait a little is to go to the local supermarket and buy a tub of curry powder for about £1.00. I haven't really found one brand or type of curry that stands out from the rest, but don't be afraid to use some of the hot ones. I have caught my biggest fish from one water on Red Hot Spicy Peperami, so carp won't be afraid of a good hot curry.
If I am going to use curry powder in my baits, I like to add half an ounce of curry powder to the dry powders of the base mix, before I shake them up together (see the making boilies section). Also worth a try is adding a couple of heaped teaspoons of hot chilli powder along with your curry to the base mix
One important point, when buying a curry powder, look carefully at the list of ingredients on the tub. You will see a list of spices and other ingredients that the curry powder contains. They are listed in the order that the curry powder contains the most of. So if you see Cumin, Fenugreek, salt etc., the curry powder contains more Cumin than Fenugreek and more Fenugreek that salt etc. Always ensure that Salt is listed well at the bottom of the list of ingredients. On some curries you will se salt listed first or second or very near the top, I do not like to use these, as they are to salty. Having said that salt can be a very good additive, but at about a teaspoon per 16oz of base mix.
I used to know someone who was a very good match angler, in fact he was one of the best anglers that I have known. He swore that when fishing commercial carp fisheries one of the additives that he had found that made a real difference to his catch rate was Sensas's Fenugreek Additive. I had a look around the tackle shops myself for it, but I could only find it in packets that looked well out of date, so I never bothered. What got me really thinking a couple of years later, was when Quality Baits started to advertise a mixture of garlic and fenugreek as one of their attractors. They still sell it under the "Pure Natural Extracts" section of their website.
If you want to try fenugreek on its own or with other spices, it's available from most supermarkets in those small "Schwartz" glass jars that you find on spice racks, it costs just over £1.00. Don't use to much, I have found about a level teaspoon (about 4 grams) to be about right per mix.
It works with all base mixes and flavours, but as with curry I like to use it with birdfood and fishmeal bases and spice and fish flavours. Like I have done in other pages on this site, let me again stress, that is only my personal choice.
The use of garlic is well documented in carp baits, I use to use garlic sausage in place of luncheon meat, with very good results for both carp and other fish. When it comes to boilies I like to use garlic powder, a couple of teaspoons of which I add to the dry base mix, before shaking the ingredients up together.
I do not find that the garlic granuals or garlic salt that you can buy from most supermarkets is suitable for the purpose. The type to go for is the almost pure white garlic powder sold by Chinese and Indian supermarkets. My favourite brand in by "Rajah" which should cost around 90 pence for 400 grams, which will keep you going all season.
I have seen some recipes by other anglers that recommend using up to 1oz of garlic powder in their boilies. I haven't tried it at these sort of high levels yet, but I intend to do so in the near future. As with all spices I like to use garlic with fishmeal and birdfood bases, and fish and spice flavours. In particular I seem to have done well using garlic powder with Rod Hutchinsons Mega Spice Flavour or Solar's Squid and Octopus. Again I haven't really used it with fruit flavours, but there seem to be many anglers who do so with success.
From the Buthchers or Supermarket.
The list of things you can try from shops is endless, milk shakes, spicy meats, sausages etc. Fresh or tinned meats or fish can also be added to boilies to improve them still further, the two listed below are my favourites.
To use them you will need a liquidiser. The meat or fish is added to the eggs, flavour and sweetener (if you use one) in a liquidiser and blended for about a minute. The base mix is then added to the resulting liquid in the normal way.
There are also liquids and powders such as milk shakes, soya source, oyster source, anchovy extract (an excellent salty fishy extract) etc.
If you really want to use liver in a boilie, the
best way is to go to the butchers or supermarket and buy
some fresh liver. Add 3 ounces of it to your eggs and
liquidise as I have descriped in the paragraph above. it's
great with fishmeals or birdfoods. Use with what flavour you
like, it will give your bait extra pulling power.
Available as Lambs liver or Pig's liver, which i haven't tried yet. Lambs liver is milder in taste, but slightly more expensive.
Again great if you liquidise a couple of ounces of fresh squid in your boilies, as described above. Available from most fish mongers, supermarkets etc. Also available from tackle shops in small box packs and from Chinese Supermarkets at about a third of the price.
Salt and Taste Enhancers.
Just a note on salt, a teaspoon (about 5 gramms) of which can add to a baits taste. It seems to work well with fishmeal or savoury baits. The salt is added to the eggs before beating to blend the flavour etc. in.
Also worth a mention is Soya Source which contains salt and monosodium glutamate. This is a taste enhancer which helps to give Chinese food that "just one more" sensation. Oyster source is also something similar.
I must mention anchovy extract again. This is a very salty fishy extract that is available in supermarkets for just over a pound. I tried a recipe I saw in the angling press many years ago that was a paste made from cheese spread, anchovy extract and wholemeal flour. This caught quite a few fish, so they do find it attractive.