The drawing on the right shows a simple pop-up rig. The bait is anchored of the bottom using a split shot or some of the many weights now sold for the purpose.
The bait can be "balanced" by it's anchor weight so that it just sinks. The idea being that the bait moves around on the bottom with the currents of water, when a carp is near. I just add a BB or AA shot, which ever it takes to sink it and I have always seen to do well.
There are a number of ways that pop-ups can be made, which include microwaving, and using cork balls. A number of bait companies have now brought out specialist pop-up base mixes, which are made into a paste and boiled in the normal way, but the resulting boilies float.
Until I went to the NEC in Birmingham in the Spring of 1999 and watched the demonstration on bait making by the Rod Hutchinson team I just did not know how to make pop-ups correctly. There are a number of ways to make pop-ups such as rolling the base mix around a cork ball or microwaving instead of boiling the base mix. The thing I had against microwaved pop-ups ,was that it seemed to alter the finished boilie to much. That is to say that the microwaving altered the texture of the boilie and caused it to loose almost all it's flavour. However after seeing the demonstration I have changed my mind on this and now used microwaved baits when I need to use pop-ups.
The base mix is prepared in the normal way and rolled into balls as normal, however instead of boiling the baits they are microwaved instead. I normally microwave 30 14mm boilies at the time. They are placed on a microwave type dish or plate and microwaved on full power for 2 minutes. At the end of the 2 minutes examine the baits for any sign of burning, if there is none continue to microwave the baits on full power for a further 15 seconds. Again examine the baits for any signs of burning, continue to microwave the baits in 15 second bursts examining the baits each time for any slight burn marks. As soon as you detect any signs of burning, stop the process and you know have your pop-ups.
The trick is to microwave exactly the same number and size of boilies each time and make a careful note of the time you spent microwaving the baits. For example lets say that you microwaved 30 14mm diameter baits for the initial 2 minutes (that is 120 seconds) and then you needed 3 further 15 second spells in the microwave before you noticed any burning (that is an additional 45 seconds in total), so altogether the baits spent 165 seconds (120 + 45) in the microwave. As we don't want burnt baits we must subtract the last 15 seconds from the total microwaving time, 165 - 15 = 150 seconds. So we know know that we can make perfect pop-ups by microwaving 30, 14mm boilies for 150 seconds on full power. For this to work you must use the same base mix and boilie size each time. If you want to alter the diameter or recipe you will have to start at the beginning and work out a new time for each size and/or recipe change.
I'm not an expert cook, but during the microwaving cooking process, the longer you can microwave the more buoyant the baits become. Hence it is very important to microwave your'e baits for as long as possible without burning.
Base mixes that contain the milk protein
Casein seem to make the best pop-ups, but the above method
will work with most base mixes. You will find that baits
which contain casein make much harder baits than baits that
are mainly based on semolina, Soya Flour etc, but give any
base mix a try and see how you get on.
For those how wish to produce rock hard pop-ups the following a good commercial base mixes to make pop-ups from:
Solar's Perfect Pop-Up Mix, Rod Hutchinson's Pro Mix 50/50 and his "Hit an Run mix, Mainline's Protein Plus Base mix and Nutrabait's Ni-Nu-Val. Sorry if I've left some out, but if anyone knows on any more base mixes that make good pop-ups, e-mail me and I will add them to the list.
When microwaving baits, the microwaving process drives out some of the flavour, so I like to add more flavour to the eggs than normal, twice as much per egg is a good starting point, but you will have to experiment with your chosen flavour to find the best level.
Cork Ball Pop-Ups.
The idea behind this is simple, the base mix is prepared in the normal way, but before boiling a small amount of base-mix paste is rolled around a cork or Polystyrene ball. The baits are then boiled in the normal way and left to dry. That is all there is to it, you know have you're pop-ups. Because the baits are not microwaved there is no need to add extra flavour, but there again there is nothing to stop you increasing the flavour levels in you pop-ups produced in this way, for "high attract" hookbaits.