Introduction to Boilies

In tackle shops today there is a vast array of carp baits and products available.  Shop bought ready made boilies should not be the ‘be all and end all’ of your bait choices. There is a wide selection of other baits available without costing a fortune.  In this section I will cover the most common carp baits out there today.  This is not a total reference just a guide to get you started.


Boilies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with literally hundreds of flavors. Some boilies are better than others, but nowadays all are of great quality and made to very high standards. Choosing your boilies is down to personal preference, but you need to be confident in your chosen bait. Novice anglers will need to learn how to attach their boilie on to a hair rig, which in turn is attached to what is called a rig. Rigs can be confusing to start with. But once you have tied a few, they will catch you carp. They do account for most of the larger carp caught these days, and so you will need to master them. (see my rig section where you can see my rigs to make or buy). You can also attach other carp baits to the hair as this is the preferred method.

Types of Boilies

Most carp anglers use boilies as their carp bait than any other bait, they are very easy to use, easy to store and have a great track record when used fishing for carp. The main types of boilie are shelf life, frozen or home made.

Shelf life boilies

These are available in most good tackle shops and can be ordered by various companies that roll the baits to your specifications or from proven recipes. Once opened they will last a long time if kept cool and dry. They will become very hard if allowed to dry out, these are called air dried baits and are useful on waters that have a crayfish population because they are unable to eat them. If they get damp, they will go mouldy. Once I have opened a packet, I try to use them during the session or freeze them when I get home. I like to try to use a new batch each time I fish.

Frozen boilies 

 These becoming a lot more common but I tend to use what I can as once defrosted they really shouldn’t be refrozen. They contain no preservatives so will go off quickly if left out. I like to use frozen as they tend to work alot quicker on shorter sessions.

Home made

This is a section on its own. Many anglers don’t like using boilies that they had not made themselves. They will always be fresher and you can make them to your exact requirements to suit the lake conditions and feeding habits of the carp you are fishing for. There are many base mixes, additives, flavours, sweeteners and attractors for you to use. There are so many combinations that if you want to make your own it would be best to experiment to get it just right. I have made my own fishmeal and birdseed based boilies and have caught fish. It does make it all very worthwhile.