A variety of options for my spring hook-baits

Spring Preparation – Pimping your Hook-baits

A variety of options for my spring hook-baits

With Spring just around the corner this is the month where I will be busy preparing several hook-baits, in preparation for when I hit the banks. This includes both bottom baits, wafters, pop-ups and plastic options, all with slightly different additives or liquids to boost their attraction.

What follows are several of my own favorite spring hook-baits and how I prepare them. These are all tried and tested and I’ve caught many carp on them over the years, but there are literally hundreds of different options available to you with the only limit being your imagination.

Plastic Baits

Plastic corn soaked in a flavor fooled this upper 50lb common

For the most part I use plastic corn and maize with nearly every hook-bait I cast out. This includes using them as a topper to bottom baits and pop-ups, but also on their own.

My standard additive is Hinders Betalin as this leaves a lingering odor on the plastic. In some cases I’ll also add a flavor, such as pineapple.

Application: After using the plastic for a few sessions, simply put it back into the container to soak again. If needed, add extra liquid to coat.

Betalin and a flavor to boost attraction

Korda Goo

Almond goo soaked hook-baits

Goo has been out for several years but I don’t see it being used that much. I’ve had great success with both the smoke’s and the supreme variations, with the main difference being the viscosity of the liquids. My particular favorites have been the almond, bumbleberry and mangonana although this spring I’m trying the mystic spice as I’ve found spice baits to be particularly effective in the spring.

An autumn capture using Korda goo

Application: Add the supreme first as it will penetrate the baits better. Over a few days make sure to shake the container to completely coat the baits. Once coated, add the smoke liquid and repeat the process.

Mangonana pop-ups ready to go

Boster Sprays

I typically add a few squirts of the boster spray to the baits, every week or so as it will soak in and then dry. Prior to a session I will repeat this process.

Classic corn boilies ready for boosting
Coated and ready to go

Application: Once the bait is ready to be cast out, I will add a quick spray onto the hook-bait, pva mesh or even the lead to boost the attraction levels.

Pink Pepper – A firm Spring favorite
A single hook-bait boosted with a matching spray can be deadly

Liquid Glugs

These come in several variations and make be a complementary flavor or something completely different; such as the Spotted Fin Finamino which is specifically designed as an additive.

Finished product
Hook-baits ready to go

Application: With the glugs I will place the hook-link with the attached bait into the pot (during the session) and leave for a few hours. If the glug is pva friendly I will also soak the pva bag (mesh or solid bag). With the Finamino I use this ahead of time and soak the hook-baits for at least a few days.

A matching flavored glug resulted in this beauty


I generally use alcohol additives during the winter as they do not coagulate in low temperatures. However, these can be deadly in early spring. Over the years I’ve used whisky and vodka which is especially effective on maize hook-baits.

I also use Bailey’s Irish Cream (there are cheaper options available) for pop-ups. You can also add this liquid to your feed bait as well.

A liberal glug of Baileys

Application: Liberally add this to your hook-bait pot. With vodka or whisky, you can also add a flavor, although it’s not really needed.

A winter thirty, taken on an alcohol soaked bait


These hook-baits take much more time and effort to prepare but have produced several big fish for me in the spring. I start by taking my hook-baits (usually ones I’ve made myself) and adding them to a container. I then will coat them in an oil (Salmon or halibut oil is my preferred choice). The next step is to add a powder (I use a pre-made ground-bait such as betaine) and shake them until coated.

You will repeat this step several times over a period of at least a week, until the baits develop almost a paste wrap around them.

Cultured bottom baits

Application: These baits will last several seasons if prepared correctly. Ahead of the session, just add a little oil and powder and repeat the process to freshen them up.

An upper 30 that took a liking to the cultured hook-bait

To buy and try your hand at pimping you’re very own hook baits. Follow the links below over to Big Carp Tackle.