Those that are just starting to delve into the world of carp fishing bait most likely have no idea what stick mix is or why it’s useful. I was once this way, always opting to just crumb up some boilie of choice into some PVA Mesh, thinking it worked the same as stick mix.
Now that I’ve employed stick mixes in my arsenal of carp bait for quite a few years, I will delve deeper into what they are and why to use them.
What is Stick Mix for Carp Fishing?
So you’ve dabbled with different hook baits such as corn, bread, boilies and tiger nuts. You’ve most likely found a chosen few that outperform others, we all have our favourites. Now you’ve stumbled upon stick mix at your local carp shop. Well my friend, let me welcome you to the powerhouse bait that provides me with the majority of my success on the bank.
Carp Fishing Stick Mixes are made up of fine powders. These powders have highly concentrated attractive properties that carp absolutely love. They come in many different flavours and colours depending on the bait company that makes them.
How to Use Stick Mix While Carp Fishing?
There are many innovative anglers out there today that use stick mix in a multitude of different ways. I mainly use it in two different ways.
Stick Mix with PVA Mesh
I like to use stick mix in small PVA Mesh offerings. This presentation offers two main benefits. Firstly, once attached to your rig the PVA Mesh provides a nice tangle-free presentation. Secondly, once the PVA Mesh dissolves it leaves the perfect amount of stick mix around your rig and hook bait to provide the optimal amount of attraction.
Stick Mix with Glugged Boilies
The second way I use stick mix is to mix it with corresponding liquids and boilies. I will coat a bucket of boilies with an oily liquid and then mix in a few handfuls of stick mix. This makes for the perfect sloppy spod and spomb mix that stretches from the top of the water column all the way to your hook bait.
Stick mix is a very versatile bait as it can be made in so many different colours and flavours. There are many other ways to use it to increase your catch rate but these are the two main ways I employ it regularly in my sessions.
How Does Stick Mix Work for Carp Fishing?
Bear with me this is a bit of a lengthy explanation but the easiest way to explain how and why stick mix works so well for carp fishing, it came to me one day at one of my favourite swims. This particular spot is very close to some fast-food restaurants. As anglers were always trying to get the attention of carp and make them curious about our bait of choice.
On this particular day, I packed lots of snacks, coffee, water and other treats. I was well-fed and quite content relaxing behind my rods in the morning sun. All of a sudden the McDonald’s Restaurant fired up their grills and fryers for the upcoming lunch rush. Although I was content and well-fed where I was, that smell started to wear away at me. After about 15 minutes, unconsciously salivating, all I could think about was a 1/4 pounder meal with fries and a coke. About 30 minutes later there I found myself at the counter ordering food that I didn’t even need as I had already packed a sandwich the night before. How could this be?
The answer is simple. We are much like carp in the way we interact with our environment. Always on the search for food, shelter and comfort. Sometimes even unbeknownst to us our body and mind make the decisions for us with specific ques. Perfect example, smelling the McDonald’s, my mind constantly telling me how good it would taste and voila I packed up and grabbed a bite to eat.
This is the perfect example of how stick mixes work for carp fishing. Stick mix sends out powerful attractions into the water. Both up into the column with floating particles and down into the bottom substrate. Regularly on my underwater camera, I quite often see carp hone in on an area where I had placed some stick mix long after it was gone.
So carp can be swimming along contently going about their business and WHAM, swim straight into the flavourful water that contains your stick mix. With their natural ability to hone in on tiny food morsels even deep below the silt, carp have no problem finding your corresponding hook bait.
What is Stick Mix Made Out Of?
Stick mixes for carp fishing are made out of many of the same ingredients that go into boilies. They do have other ingredients that make them quite a bit more effective.
The ingredients that are the same include:
Stick mix comes in many different flavours. The majority are the same as boilie flavours such as tutti frutti, tiger nut, pineapple, citrus, banana, strawberry, fishy or other fruity flavours. They are the same as boilies as the two go hand in hand to create a very powerful carp attractant.
Colours and Dyes
The same colours and dyes that are used in the making of boilies go into the corresponding stick mixes. It is wise to use the same colour stick mix as the boilies you’re baiting with and use as hook baits. The pile of stick mix will give a bigger target for carp to hone in on exactly where your hook bait is as well.
Small particles such as crushed hempseed are often added to stick mixes and boilies. They add certain amounts of attraction but interestingly enough when dried, they float up through the water column trailing the stick mix flavour. Once saturated they slowly drift back down to the bottom.
Other ingredients that differ between stick mixes:
I’m sure some premade stick mixes I’ve used are made with powdered milk. This powdery material clouds up nicely in the water and also forms a cloud on the bottom creating the illusion of an area where carp have recently fed.
Bread Crumb is a popular carp bait ingredient among many anglers. Not only does it appeal to carp but all other species of fish. When many fish are attracted to an area, curious carp will surely move in to investigate.
While not all stick mixes contain pellets, they are a great addition. Many anglers mix their stick mix with pellets afterwards to give added visual attraction to a specific area that they’ve baited in the past with strictly pellets.
Other popular ingredients include rice meal, whey powder, wheat products, maize meal, and milk powders. Each bait company will use their own special mix of different ingredients but all excel at one thing, and that is attracting carp.
So you can see, stick mix can be whatever you want it to be. Simple or complex it is up to you and how much attraction you deem is necessary to attract an ever-curious carp within range of your rig.
Stick Mix Tips and Tricks
Crush and Add Pop-Ups to PVA Bags
We all have loads of old tubs of expired pop-ups laying around. It is rare that I will use every tub of pop-ups I buy before they expire. A little trick I like to use is to combine those old pop-ups with my stick mix of choice.
Simply crumb up the old pop-ups into small chunks or powder. Once mixed with Stick Mix they will aid in pushing the scent out through the water column. The pop-up chunks will slowly disperse and float through the water column pulling the scent and attractions in the stick mix with them.
Crush and Add Bits of Baitcloud to PVA Sticks
Baitcloud works amazingly in getting the stick mix flavour out into a swim. The shallower the water the more effective it is in dispersing scents and particles. Baitcloud comes in preformed balls. I find it best to break it down into powder or small chunks. When the Baitcloud is activated it bubbles and pushes stick mix particles up to the surface leaving quite the visual and scent trail.
Mix Stick Mix into Ground Baits and Pack Baits
Pack bait is very popular here in North America. To give simple homemade recipes that added kick just mix in a bit of stick mix of choice. Not much is needed, just a handful or two will give your entire mix of breadcrumbs, oats, corn and other particles of choice a powerful aroma of attraction.
Add Oils and Glugs to the Mix
Oils and glugs are made to travel through the water column and sink down into the lake bed much like stick mixes. If you want to supercharge your stick mix just add a bit of liquid flavour to the mix or drizzle it on the PVA Sticks before casting out.
One of my favourite things to do is pour a bit of Korda Kiana Goo onto the sticks once they’re tied up. The goo seeps into the stick mix and is slowly released into the water once the PVA Mesh dissolves.
Be Careful Adding Large Particles to Stick Mixes
I made the mistake of adding whole boilies and jumbo corn to my stick mixes in the past. If you do opt to add in boilies, corn or tiger nuts be careful when hooking the PVA Stick onto your hook. I lost a very nice fish due to an inferior hook hold because my hook was embedded into a large piece of jumbo corn from my PVA offering.
Popular Stick Mixes Recipes
There are many great options at your local tackle shop for pre-made stick mixes. Most dedicated carp anglers choose to add other particles as well to make their offerings even more attractive. We will list a few of our favourite mixes below.
Simple Home-Made Stick Mix Recipes
These simple homemade stick mixes won’t be quite as powerful as the store-bought versions especially made by big bait companies but they will still work with the same principles of offering free attractant around your hook bait.
Bread Crumb and Tiger Nut
I was having trouble sourcing some quality stick mixes as shipping was delayed due to world issues. I decided to make my own simple stick mix and it worked quite well.
- Bread Crumbs
- Tiger Nuts
- Korda Kiana Goo
I simply ground up 1/2 parts tiger nuts and 1/2 parts bread crumbs into almost a powder. I then added a bit of Korda goo to each stick once they were made. This method put quite a few fish on the bank.
Bread Crumb and Corn
Another simple beginner mix if you’re looking to try some out without investing much money. I recommend buying some PVA Mesh but this can also be used as a pack bait.
- Sweet Corn
- Bread Crumbs
- Jello Powder
With this recipe, you simply mix the three ingredients together and you’re good to go. If using PVA Mesh be sure to dry the sweet corn and soak it in a PVA Friendly liquid or oil to prevent the mesh from dissolving too early.
Premade Stick Mix Recipes
Although you can use stick mixes they are right out of the back with great results. Anglers always like to mix and match other baits to find the perfect weapon. Below we will list two of our favourite mixes.
DT Baits CWGB Stick Mix
This is the go-to mix that I use on the bank every session. It is simple, effective and doesn’t spoil as quickly as other homemade options.
- CWGB Stick Mix
- CWGB Pellets
- CWGB Liquid DNA
These three ingredients matched with a CWGB Boosted Hookbait create an irresistible amount of attraction the fish seem to love.
DT Baits CWGB + Banana Stick Mix
Although much similar to the CWGB Stick Mix I use this one has a little bit of a twist for warmer weather and murky water.
- CWGB Stick Mix
- CWGB Pellets
- Crumbed Banana Boilies
I find this mix works better in murky water with the added change of a banana hook bait with banana bait spray.
The great thing about stick mix for carp fishing is you can keep it as simple as you want or mix and match things up to make it your own secret weapon. From home-made to pre-made, the options are endless.
If you’re searching for more information on bait, be sure to check out Improved Carp Angling’s Guide to Carp Fishing Bait.
For great information and choices, check out the High-Quality Stick Mixes available on DT Baits Website. They all smell so good the hardest choice is picking just one!