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Mark McKenna

Successful Bait-Making



Mark McKenna

Apologies to those reading and to Mark McKenna; last month we ran short of space and had to ask him to hold off until this issue. So, now he's back and has some more interesting ideas about creating your own bait.



n part two I dealt with the bulk protein in the DIY Carpworld formula, and at this stage it might be worth stating the objective of this feature again, which is a) to give you a simple recipe for a sound, nutritional boilie that you can make yourself from readily available ingredients, whilst understanding the function and purpose of each ingredient within the bait, and b) to give you a better understanding of how such baits are formulated and why they catch more carp, so that you can make a more informed choice when you need to. If your interest in bait is limited to `how much can I get for a pound?' I'll cover that too, and also tell you where to get the gear to make it. Gentlemen, let's broaden our minds. The information I'm giving you here is not available in any other literature about carp fishing ­ this series is exclusive to Carpworld! I haven't seen this information anywhere else, I've had to find it out for myself and I'm sharing it with you, along with my experience, for what you've paid for the magazine. I'd like to see you use it, but whether you use it or not, be aware that the way we are going to put this bait together is the correct way to formulate a nutritional bait. It's the way all animal feeds are formulated ­ and an HNV carp bait is an animal feed. In fact, if done properly it's better than any pellet available to the aquaculturalist because I'm concerned with providing the very best nutritional package possible, not how to get a fish to table weight as economically as possible. There's a reasonable argument around that carp anglers should not be concerned with feeding fish when our only goal is to catch them. I wouldn't contradict this kind of comment if we

Successful Bait-Making

I believe carp really home in on the readily available amino acids contained in these ingredients and demolish them with great intensity when they're presented in the right quantities

Mark McKenna

I wouldn't be in business if low food value baits and single hookbait fishing were the best way to go about catching carp ­ fortunately for me the carp soon wise up and go in search of real food.

were giving them a swift tap on the canister and sticking them in our bags to take home for breakfast. I would not be given the time of day by any of my customers, or potential customers, if low food value baits or single hookbait fishing was the best approach to catching carp. I've seen many people catch on such methods but there is a law of diminishing returns with them that will ultimately lead to failure in the end, and sadly I've also seen diehard (read bonkers) proponents of such methods go a whole season without a fish. I don't know of any competent angler who has failed in this way with a decent food bait (Car Park members get a pass on that last comment!). If you have a look at the amino acid matrix that's been developing as we've been progressing through this series, you'll notice that there are still some limiting amino acids to supplement in the carp diet we're developing. It's important to do this because protein metabolism grinds to a halt at the first limiting amino acid. I'm going to give you a couple of options for running these out, one of which is what I consider best practice or fail-safe, and the other is what I consider to be the economy version. The way I take care of the remaining amino acid requirement is to add milk protein fractions to the formula, which more or less knocks the amino requirement on the head. The reason I include milk protein fractions is that they are the most digestible source of protein available. I rate whey protein concentrate and its fractions beta lactoglobulin and alpha lactalbumin

as the very best protein supplements for the carp. I believe carp really home in on the readily available amino acids contained in these ingredients and demolish them with great intensity when they're presented in the right quantities. That's an important point to make; I don't think that using a bait with a milk protein content of greater than 20% is of any benefit, in fact I'd go as far as saying that at above 15% you're decreasing the digestibility of a bait of this nature by presenting the fish with more quality protein than it could ever utilise in a sitting. You have to be a bit careful with ingredients like whey protein concentrates because they have properties that have an outcome in the finished formula that needs to be controlled. I've kept the formula extremely simple because every single version by the numerous manufacturers of every single milk protein fraction has different properties. The fraction they manufacture will have been manipulated during the manufacturing process to perform a specific role as a nutritional ingredient. If you are buying milk protein fractions, insist on the seller telling you exactly what you are buying, and from which manufacturer. This is a very basic requirement, and only fair when you consider how much you have to pay for each kilo you're buying. Milk, in itself, would not be much use to a carp in its raw form because it's designed for calves; in fact, many would argue that it's not much use to a human ­ the size of the molecules are larger than in human or, say, goat's milk. When talking about fractions, the bulk of the digestion of these large intact molecules has already taken place and what we're left with is digestible by carp.


Mark McKenna


I routinely use combinations of six different milk protein fractions in my HNV formulae to supplement the amino acid content of the bait, increase attraction, and give the bait functional properties, such as a firm skin that will withstand the use of a throwing stick. Let's have a look at some of these in a bit more detail. Casein Casein forms the bulk of the protein content of milk protein (82%) and is the most heat stable of the milk proteins, having a fairly complex structure. Although insoluble it is a fascinating ingredient for a number of reasons, including the presence of opioid peptides, which mimic the effect of opiates on the brain and have an effect on a number of behaviour traits, including attachment (addiction). Whether carp have opioid receptor types that would bind with casomorphin is anyone's guess, and total conjecture on my part, but nonetheless milk protein fractions are the only protein supplements that contribute to the long-term effectiveness of a bait. So, is this because the carp recognise their nutritional value or because they simply get hooked on them? Either way, in my bait they're in for keeps. There are three main forms of casein used in bait ­ acid casein, rennet casein, and calcium caseinate. Acid casein is obtained, as its name suggests, by acid precipitation from skimmed milk, and whilst insoluble, is dispersible in water. Regardless of this, the pH of a carp's digestive tract is high enough to alter its molecular structure to make it soluble. Acid casein is also used in the manufacture of calcium caseinate, with the incorporation of calcium, which is an alkali ­ this raises the pH, rendering it soluble straight from the bag. Rennet casein is obtained by curdling skimmed milk with rennet, which is a less dynamic process, producing a more nutritious end product. All three are excellent binders and have a firming effect on the bait, which is worth bearing in mind if you need to apply bait with a throwing stick. At this point it's worth mentioning the effect the various particle sizes will have on the bait ­ the lower the mesh size, the more coarse the powder will be. The inclusion of a 90-mesh casein will have a firming effect, a

Essential Amino Acid Carp's requirement per kilo of bait 15.0g 06.4g 09.0g 16.0g 21.0g 06.0g 12.0g 13.0g 02.0g 12.0g

Better than your average pellet!

Successful Bait-Making

Try some of this in your bait, for a craving beyond the carp's mental control.

The best one for our purposes.

Caseins are excellent binders and help to firm up a bait, a worthy ingredient if you intend to bait up using a throwing stick.

bait with 5% 30-mesh casein should enable you to bait up with a baseball bat, depending on what other ingredients you're using. All caseins are excellent binders and are rich in the amino acid proline, which is highly attractive to carp. Casein can be used at up to 10% in a balanced HNV bait. The caseins I use/have used are: · Acid casein 30/90 Mesh ­ Irish Dairy Board/English (Meadow Foods)

75g of CPSP90

85% protein = 63.8g of protein (273.80g)

· Rennet casein ­ Irish Dairy Board · Calcium caseinate ­ New Zealand Milk Products (Alanate 385) · Calcium caseinate ­ French (Armor protilight IP4) Instantised ­ highly dispersible (for softer baits with faster breakdown time) Whey Protein The remaining protein content of milk protein, whey protein concentrates, is a

45% protein = 45g of protein (358g) 33.67g Carbohydrate

300g of LT94

70% protein = 210g of protein

75g of Whey Protein Concentrate 100g of Full Fat Soya Flour

80% protein = 60g of protein (313g) 3.75g Carbohydrate

Arginine Histadine Isoleucine Leucine Lysine Methionine Phenylalanine Threonine Tryptophan Valine

12.81g LAA 04.20g LAA 09.03g 16.38g 16.80g LAA 06.51g 08.40g LAA 09.24g LAA 00.00g LAA 10.08g LAA

04.02g 01.44 LAA 02.39g 03.99g 04.56g 01.88g 02.03g LAA 02.65g LAA 00.51G LAA 02.93g

01.68g 01.20g 03.30g 07.20g 05.82g 01.32g 02.22g 02.24g 01.32gLAA 02.20g

02.70g 00.94g 01.69g 02.83g 02.32g 00.47g 01.82g 01.51g 00.51g 01.74g


Mark likes to add a small amount of soya flour to aid rolling.

Successful Bait-Making Mark McKenna potential minefield for the home baitmaker because there are many different versions on the market, with many different functional properties. Whey protein incorporates the fractions betalactoglobulin and alphalactalbumin. Broadly speaking, a whey protein concentrate's properties will vary, depending on the content of these two components, and betalactoglobulin is the least heat stable fraction of whey. So a whey protein concentrate with a high betalactoglobulin content will have a high gel strength when exposed to heat during cooking of the bait. Alphalactalbumin is far more heat stable and will be less affected. My favourite alphalactalbumin is already heat treated, so it's even less affected by the heat of cooking and, as such, is almost guaranteed to deliver its entire protein content to a finished bait. You may have some concerns about what effect boiling the bait has on the protein content of the bait. Betalactoglobulin's molecular structure is altered, and, as such, denatured to an extent, by the boiling process. However, this doesn't reduce its amino acid content, so just keep boiling times to a minimum and you don't need to worry about the effect of boiling on the amino acid content of milk protein fractions. It's another reason for using them. Some manufacturers also manipulate the mineral content of their whey protein concentrates to make them more heat resistant, so these are less useful for gelling. Others manipulate the proteins through the production process to make them more easily altered by heat. These are the ones that are designated `high gelling' (HG or SHG,)

A warehouse full of the best ingredients still won't catch you carp unless you know what you're mixing with what, and more importantly, why.

The NZMP 131 general purpose Whey Protein Concentrate.

This one is a bit hush-hush, but you saw it here first!


Mark McKenna Successful Bait-Making


and are what we use for giving a bait a tough skin and reducing the boiling time to protect the vitamin content. Conversely, you may find that you have difficulty getting the more general ones to gel at all if you have a lot of salt in your bait, as you are manipulating the heat resistance of the whey protein yourself. Here are a few whey proteins and their fractions and properties, which I have experience of using: · Alacen 131 ­ New Zealand ­ General nutritional use, good gelling properties · Alacen 381 ­ New Zealand ­ General nutritional use, weak gelling properties · Orogel 80 HG ­ French ­ High gelling, very hygroscopic, use sparingly, produces rock-hard bait, but sausages and rolled baits `pull up' on the rolling tables and in the trays, making round baits a challenge. Gels `salty' baits. · Mieli 70 SHG ­ German ­ Super-high gelling, similar properties to Orogel, not quite so `lively' · Alatal 825 ­ New Zealand ­ Top protein supplement, poor gelling properties There are many others, so you'll have to experiment to make sure the one you use has the desired functional effect. I've used a balanced functional/nutritional 80% protein whey protein concentrate in our recipe to supplement the amino acid content of the bait and to firm it up a bit, whilst maintaining a sensible breakdown time in the bait. Feel free to experiment with the levels, but avoid going past 10% or it'll all end in tears. At this point it's worth mentioning solubility. Ideally, as I've said previously, you should try to have plenty of soluble ingredients in the bait. However, you'll notice that casein isn't in, neither is my favourite brand of alphalactalbumin. They're all dispersible in water, and, as such, present a large surface area for the proteases in the carp's digestive tract to work on, particularly in the smaller mesh sizes. The other thing I should mention is that whilst insoluble fractions are slightly harder to digest, this

Mark's findings have led to the formulation of his own bait range.

It might appear complicated, but it's an essential part of the profile of bait-making.

does not affect their nutritional value, particularly in large adult carp, which will have a reasonably sluggish metabolism when compared to a 12lb bionic Simmo, and big old carp are always my target audience when I'm formulating a bait.

Catching carp on your own home-rolled baits can be a gratifying experience.


What you should have so far is that we're still missing a drop of tryptophan. This is not a problem. Fish products, for all the growth factors, are pitifully low in tryptophan. I've chosen to supplement this in our bait with full-fat soya flour. What? Soya Flour!!!!!! It's crap, it's poor quality protein, and it'll ruin an otherwise superb recipe. Wrong, boys and girls! I haven't got a problem using up to 10% soya flour, and neither should you. There is nothing in this amount of soya flour a carp can't fully utilise; it's been cooked so the antitrypsin is deactivated, and it's finely ground so the fibrous cell walls have been largely marmalised and the carp is equipped with the digestive enzyme cellulase to crack open the cell walls and get at the amino acids and other nutrients stored within. So rest easy, as we're improving the quality of the protein in our bait and enjoying the benefit of being able to roll the bait far more easily by adding a few drops of soya flour. That completes the protein content of our home-made recipe, and I have deliberately left out the amino acids contributed by the eggs we are going to be using during the bait-making process. This provides us with some insurance that the carp will get the amino content it requires when it gets round to eating the bait, and a bit of excess protein also helps the carp deal with the anti-trypsin called ovomucoid, found in egg white ­ the more protein the carp ingests (within reason), the more trypsin it will

Successful Bait-Making

Big old carp are always my target audience when I'm formulating a bait

produce, thus reducing the effect of any active ovomucoid. You can argue with me until you're blue in the face about the inclusion of milk proteins. I've laid out in black and white why I think they should be used and I'd never be as confident in a bait that didn't contain any, especially in the colder months. I cop for a lot of flack on t'Internet regarding the high cost of my bait, and the inclusion of milk fractions is a major contributory factor. I make no apologies ­ the results justify their inclusion so they stay in, and I'd advise you not to go to all the effort of making your own bait and then leaving out something so effective for the sake of a few quid. What you're making by including milk proteins will be a far more concentrated source of nutrition and attraction, and, as such, you can get away with using a lot less of it, whilst achieving double the results for a much longer period. In my book this is far more economical in the long-term; you can't buy half an ounce of Golden Virginia with what you're going to save in an average weekend's bait use by leaving out milk protein! I understand that times are hard, so if you really want something that's cheap and cheerful but still nutritionally valuable, I'll show you a non-milk protein formula amino acid matrix using the amino content of the eggs we are adding after I've finalised the deluxe base mix next month. I'll sign off for now, and we'll reconvene with a look at the carb content and move onto the liquid package formulation and additional attractors that are the other part of the jigsaw required to put all those extra carp in your photo album. See you next month. MM

Mark McKenna

Mark will be showing you how the amino content of the eggs you use in your bait can be used in place of milk proteins to create a cost-efficient but nutritionally-valuable bait. This one didn't mind a bit of milk!



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