There are lots different types of liquid additives available, in a host of different flavours. They range from Oils, Natural Extracts, Synthetic Flavours, Enhancers and Sweeteners in almost any flavour you can think of.

Gone are the days when I used to thin out marmite with some warm water to soak my hook bait in. Now you can go into a tackle shop and see a huge selection of colourful bottles and pots full of these liquids all with the promise of catching more fish.

The problem I feel, especially with the synthetic flavours, is that people use far too much of it on or in their bait. This makes it very overpowering and fish simply don’t like it. In the early 80’s when I used to roll my own bait, I was always told that if I could smell the flavour that I put in my baits, it was too strong. Now, a lot of the boilies and especially hook baits, smell far too strong in my opinion. This is down to the bait companies overdoing it with the Synthetic Flavours.

Synthetic Flavours are liquid chemicals that have been formulated to copy the smell of different foodstuffs. These flavours come in different strength and the bait companies like Nash Bait, Mainline Bait, Sticky Baits and all the other top bait companies will use the most powerful ones. They will make their baits to a formula, so they know exactly how much flavour to add to the basemix to attract the fish. Then we add a load of other flavours through boilie dips, glugs or goo’s then wonder why the old chap that has just cast out a cube of luncheon meat, is into a fish before us. You think back to when you were younger and you used to catch carp for fun. You didn’t care what you caught it on tackle wise but you knew that that carp feeding on the surface would love a bit of bread crust. Or when you were fishing for them on the bottom, sweetcorn, cheese, luncheon meat or whatever else you could get from the local food shop would do the job. Then we get all serious, start using boilies, glugging the hell out of them, then wonder why we aren’t catching! When adding a synthetic flavour to your base mix or glug, always remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it back out once it’s mixed in.

Natural Liquid Extracts are produced in the process of real edible foods, like liver and fish etc. Some of the best extracts available are Betaine, Corn Steep Liquor, Molasses, Green lipped Mussel extract and Liver liquid. Natural extracts won’t have the potency in smell of artificial flavours but they pack another punch. Natural extracts are full of natural proteins and amino acids that carp love. But the main thing about this, is that aminos are the organic substance animals recognise and a signal leading them to a food source. So in other words, if carp detect an amino acid, it knows its a food source. So this is why natural extracts can give you more of an edge than a very strong overpowered smelling bait. A lot of the good baits companies will put natural extracts in their bait, which will give off this amino signal. So the next time you smell a bait and think, that smells nice, is that to catch you or the fish? Because a lot of the triggers in a bait that stimulate carp to feed, you won’t be able to smell, but the carp can.

The way I picture a flavour in the water, is like seeing dust in a shaft of sunlight. How many time have you or someone sat down or hit a cushion or something else and you’ve seen a plume of dust appear in the sunlight but look at it from a different direction and you can’t see it, but you know it’s there. If it’s a lot of dust you will smell and taste it and it won’t be very pleasant, so you will remove yourself from the area. Just like carp and flavours, they can’t see the flavour but they can detect and taste it in the water, just like we could with the dust. If the carp likes the taste or smell (or really, detects it a food source), it will be attracted to the area. If it’s a very overpowered taste / smell and its doesn’t like it, this is enough to push it away from your baited area. I’m not saying you won’t catch on a strong smelling bait, because at the end of the day, the only real way a carp knows if its 100% edible, is by putting it in it’s mouth. Just another point, why do you think baits companies are selling washed out coloured baits with a subtle taste?

Oils are another great liquid to use, to enhance your bait. There are two types of oils, Natural Extruded Oil and the other is Essential Oils, but the two are used in completely different ways.

Essential Oils are extracted from, herbs, spices and plants but this type of oil is very concentrated product and only to be added in very small quantities, mainly by the drop. These oils are mainly used in the manufacture of boilies.

Natural oils are extruded from, Fish, Nuts or seeds like, Hemp oil, Nut oil and Salmon Oil. Unlike essential oils, you don’t have to be so critical with the dosage used. Natural oils contain a huge amount of proteins and fatty acids that carp crave for so they are always a great choice.

Hemp oil has a smooth nutty aroma and works well if drizzled over your boilies or added to your hemp and particles. When the carp come in to feed, it produces a lovely slick or flat spot on the surface so you know to get ready.

Then you’ve got salmon oil or mixed marine fish oil. This stuff is great added to floaters when surface fishing, giving off a slick trail in the water that carp follow till they find the bait.

All these oils are also perfect to be added to your stick mix, instead of using water making it PVA friendly. Also when you drizzle this oil over your pellets it will prolong their breakdown time in the water because the oil creates a barrier around the pellets and prevents the water from getting to them straight away.