Boilie's are very much a modern bait and are almost used solely by specimen anglers, Carp and Barbel anglers in particular. Boilie’s are a progression of paste baits and in particular HNV (high nutritional value) paste baits.

HNV baits where pioneered by a Kent based Carp angler called Fred Wilton in the mid to late 60’s. Fred Wilton had this theory that the normal baits being used at the time such as pastes made from cat food and dog food could be much improved upon and he set out to prove it. Fred made baits that contained high protein ingredients such as casein and calcium caseinate, two products derived from milk, to these milk proteins Fred added vitamins and minerals and made it into a paste, his theory was if you give the fish a better diet they will instinctively know it’s better for them and eat that food in preference to other available foods. It certainly seemed to work as Fred and his close friends used the baits to great effect on the Carp waters of Kent during the late 60’s and early 70’s catching many fish from very difficult waters. The boilie itself was a progression from those early paste baits, the anglers were catching a lot of ‘nuisance’ fish, that is fish of other species that they was not actually fishing for, this was thought to be because the baits were too soft, so the paste was made up with beaten egg and boiled and the boilie was born.

















For many years if you wanted to fish boilie’s you had to make your own and successful recipes were, and to some extent still are, closely guarded secrets, things are a little more relaxed these days though and the Internet abounds with good recipes that have proven track records, do a little research with this and you will find some great boilie recipes that will catch plenty of fish. Boilie's seem to have taken two paths now and that is based on what the bait contains in it’s make up. The first type is what has become to be known as ‘food’ baits, these are baits that have a good food value and are really following on from Fred Wiltons HNV theory, these baits are the best choice if you want to stick with one bait on a certain water and rely on the fish recognising it as a good food source that will do them good, these baits are made from good quality ingredients such as milk proteins, high quality fish meals, bird food such as Nectarblend and Robin Red, and vegetable proteins, they are usually given low doses of flavours too, in some instances they are not even flavoured at all just relying on the inherent flavour from the ingredients. The second type of boilie in common use is the instant attractor type of boilie, these are often made with lower food value ingredients such as semolina and Soya flour, they usually contain higher levels of flavourings too and these baits tend to work pretty quick, especially in easier waters whereas the food type of bait can sometimes take a little while to get going until the fish are on it, the downside to the instant baits is the life of them in terms of effectiveness tends to be short compared to food baits.


Making boilies is pretty straight forward, the mixes are usually based on a quantity of 10 oz or 1 lb (16 oz) and the recipes need to contain the main ingredients that the boilie is based on, for example, milk proteins and fish meals for food baits and a suitable binder too. An example of this type of bait might be as follows.4oz casein, 2 oz calcium caseinate, 1 oz lactalbumin, 3 oz soya isolate, 4 oz high quality fish meal and 2 oz of bird food. This would probably require 5 or 6 eggs to make the mix. An example of a low food value attractor mix might be as follows; 8 oz semolina, 4 oz soya flour and 4 oz of ground halibut pellets, to this would be added a good quality flavouring.

Boilie’s are generally designed as bottom fished baits but they are not all like that, some are made up with different ingredients to make them float, these are known as pop ups pop ups can be made with quite high doses of fine cork dust in them and this makes them buoyant, another way is to wrap some of the boilie’s paste around a cork ball and boil in the normal way, a third way that works is to microwave a handful of lightly boiled baits for 30 seconds or so, when they start to swell take them out, and these will float too, but is doesn’t work with all mixtures so you will have to experiment a bit to find out if the mix you are using works in the microwave or not














You can buy them in a huge amount of flavours and some very bright colours too, this is because pop ups are designed to be seen easily, they are often fished just off the bottom over a bed of loose feed and they will usually be the first bait the fish will see as it approaches the baited area, they often contain increased flavour levels too to help with the increased attraction. Pop ups can also be used as floating hook baits when surface fishing and I have had quite a bit of success using pop ups in this way.

Boilie’s are easy to keep as they freeze very well, just let them cool properly and dry off after boiling and freeze them in plastic bags. Boilie’s can also be ‘air dried’ this is a process where nearly all the moisture content is removed during the drying process and the boilie’s can keep for a very long time after being air dried. The usual method of air drying is to put the bait in a mesh bag, tackle shops now sell special bags for the purpose, and hang them up somewhere well ventilated, just give them a good shake every day to make sure they are drying evenly. Tackle shops and bait companies also sell what are known as ‘shelf life’ boilie’s, these are boilie’s that contain preservative and have been dried too, they are often effective and convenient to use as you can always have a bag of bait in your tackle bag as they never seem to go off.


By Chris Nicholls.



Boilie's come in an incredible range of colours, flavours and sizes and there is hardly a week goes by without the launch of the latest ‘cannot fail’ recipe or flavour being launched by one of the big bait companies, as you would expect some are more successful than others!


Pop ups are usually only used as hook baits and all the bait companies offer them ready made, usually in pots with screw top lids to keep them fresh, shop bought ones must contain a lot of preservative as they never seem to go off.