Testing fine-ground ‘Reds’ - how grinding our ingredients featuring Robin Red makes them even more versatile.

Testing fine-ground ‘Reds’ - how grinding our ingredients featuring Robin Red makes them even more versatile.

Recently I was playing about with a sack of SuperRed and was trying to reduce the original fairly coarse product into a very fine mesh powder to use as a base mix.

This gave rise to the idea that maybe Haiths could do a much better job of producing a fine-ground product that I ever could. A phone call to the office resulted a few days later in the arrival of samples of all three Reds that had been ground down to a really fine powder of, I estimate, about 80-mesh. It was now time to start a few experiments.

First of all I wanted to see if the powdered product could be used straight from the bag to form boiled baits, so with the addition of some oil and a flavour and a few well beaten eggs, I found it was simplicity itself to make excellent boilies out of SuperRed.

Here you can see the finished boilies after 2 minutes in the boiling pan.

And here’s one cut open to show the crunchy, seed laden interior.

I then tried the same experiment using NaturalRed, again boiling for 2 minutes.

Again the results turned out exactly as I had wished for, this time the center of the boilie being less coarse and more paste-like.

HoneyRed followed using the same process.

And again the results were excellent with the soft-centered aspect being still more evident.

Finally I carried out the same procedure using fine ground MarineRed, and was once again able to form perfect boiled baits.

I then went a bit further by experimenting with an egg-based paste using MarineRed. First I mounted two SuperRed boilies on a simple stiff rig…

Then I made a small pancake of paste, flattening it in the palm of my hand…

Next I placed the double hookbaits in the center of the pancake of paste…

And then wrapped the paste around the two baits, encasing both the hookbaits and the hook in the soft paste. When cast out this little package of attraction will ooze all the attraction inherent in MarineRed into the lake, drawing in carp from far and wide.

Fine ground 'Reds' - part two

I guess it is no secret that I am getting on a bit! In fact, I started carping in 1963 – albeit, VERY badly! Logically I guess that it follows that not many of you Supercatch fans were around back in the days when birdfoods first became popular, but if you were you may remember the very crude mixes we used to use then. Basically it was a matter of mixing Robin Red with any of the egg-biscuit ingredients, grinding the whole lot down and then throwing it at the eggs and the flavour. Astonishingly enough, this crude bait actually caught fish!

Now at the time everyone was turning to birdfood baits and among the main bulking ingredients were Nectarblend, Softbill Rearing Food, Red Factor and Egg Biscuit. Well, it didn’t take long before the thinkers started trying to put together paste baits that could be made simply with water rather than eggs, the reasoning being that there was already a large egg content in the base mixes thanks to the egg biscuit-based ingredients. Low and behold, we realised that we could even make boilies (with a lot of fiddling about, it has to be said) out of the water-based pastes!

One of the ways I used to exploit these high egg content ingredients was to create water-based paste balls of bait – namely paste rolled out like boilies and then air-dried. There are a number of advantages to these little beauties:

1) No boiling so leaves ingredients and attraction intact and unaffected by heat. This is the prime advantage of this method.

2) Less labour intensive and less expensive.

3) No eggs needed. Most mixes will bind adequately enough using water alone, so also less expensive.

4) Air dried they go like bullets after about four days or so. Caty- and stick-proof.

5) However, they will break down to a soft paste after 18-24 hours in the water.

6) Once dried they can be used in much the same way as boiled baits but will break down much quicker. You can even use one as a hookbait if you use Arma Mesh.

7) An indefinite shelf life once fully air-dried. Once fully air-dried there is no area where airborne bacteria can get a hold and make the paste balls go moldy.

I can illustrate what I mean with a few pix. Please note, this little wheeze is not restricted to birdfoods and while my own experience is largely birdfood-based, you should be able to do this with any type of base mix. In this series of pix I am using two Haiths Supercatch products, SuperRed and MarineRed.

First grind any coarse mixes to a fine powder (this is ground SuperRed), and add any additives you want to use. I would strongly advise a hefty dose of amino acid food liquids at this point – CSL and Molasses are excellent. You can also add a flavour or even an essential oil is you wish, as well as powdered additives or pure amino acids.

Next add water to form a paste. You will need to experiment to see if your mix will bind with water alone – most will. If it won’t then use eggs, though this is not as good as using water.

Roll the paste out first into a large ball and then into a sausage, as if you were making boilies.

Now roll the rest of the paste into sausages.

Cut the sausages into the required size…

…and then roll into balls as if making boilies, and leave them to air dry in a warm room or the airing cupboard.

You can use other less coarse mixes to form smoother pastes. Here the fine-ground MarineRed is placed in a mixing bowl and water added a little at a time to form a paste.

The paste should then be formed into a ball and allowed to ‘rest’ for about 10 minutes.

As before, the paste is then rolled out into sausages and then into boiled bait- shaped balls. After 24 hours they will be quite hard. After a week they will go like bullets.

This is a breakdown test. On the left in this pic is a SuperRed paste ball air dried for 4 days. On the right is a MarineRed ditto.

And here are the same two baits after 18 hours in the water. First the MarineRed.

And this is the SuperRed water-base paste ball. Note the inherent oil leaking out. None has been added previously. This is in-built oil from the ingredients.

You can continue to dry the baits indefinitely, and the longer you do so the harder they become. In fact they become so hard that eventually you can only break them with a mallet….

…Yet after only 6 hours in water they have already started to break down.

After 24 hours they have dissolved almost entirely.

Fine ground 'Reds' - part three

Just to round off this look at the various applications available to us after creating a fine powder out of our top groundbait mixes (namely SuperRed, MarineRed, HoneyRed and NaturalRed), we’ll close by looking at using both eggs and water to bind the fine powder and some of the useful applications to which the products can be put.

Here we see two extra thick paste sausages made from find ground MarineRed mixed with beaten eggs.


Here we ses them again in close up. Note how well the sausages have bound together.

It is now necessary to boil the sausages for 4 minutes.

In this next photo we see the sausages’ after being allowed to cool. They are then cut in half and again into quarters to form strips.

The strips are now cut into shapes we call ‘chops’.

Here you can see the MarineRed chops in close up.

And here they are again in even more detail. Chops can be used in much the same way as boilie, either introduced to a marginal swim by hand, catapulted out to about 25m, or spodded out to long range.

In this next trick we shall be using water-based SuperRed groundbait as a Method mix, but first we need to create a rig that will work effectively with the Method feeder. The nearly finished rig comprises of two bits of plastic corn on a very short, coated braid hooklink with the last 1.5cm stripped back.

To complete the rig you need to attach it to a speed link.

You should now thread on your Method feeder, pulling your reel line through the center of the feeder and then tying it to the end of the speed link. The later is then pulled into the rubber bead at the front of the feeder.

Take a good handful of water-based SuperRed paste and flatten it in the palm of your hand ready to be molded around the feeder.

The Method feeder has now been loaded with SuperRed water-based paste, as you can see here. The hook is then lodged lightly in the outer skin of the SuperRed that has been molded around the Method feeder.

An alternative to using a Method feeder is this Paste Bomb, which is fished free-running pendant style.

And finally here we see the same rig fished in combination with the paste bomb.

Written by Ken Townley