Friday, December 12, 2008

What Madness is This? Making Boilies.

© By Albert A Rasch

"And yet again, I have come to another conclusion of less than earth shattering proportions."


What the hell is a boilie? Sounds like something you get on your butt from humping a ruck to low. Just in case you’re not sure what “humping a ruck” means, it is a military expression relating to carrying a fully loaded rucksack, over an interminable distance, for an endless period of time, and of course, for no apparent reason.

But I digress.

Some time ago Bubby caught himself a 21 lbs carp out of an apartment complex’s retention pond. As you might imagine, a thirty-one inch long fish is a trophy no matter what kind. Recently, with the move to the suburbs we have found new ways to continue our outdoor adventures. Bubby in particular has found an extensive series of lakes, ponds, and water courses, to entertain himself with.

I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the nation, but in Florida we have a superabundance of ponds and lakes. It seems that no matter where you go there are any number of bodies of water, both minuscule and horizon busting, waiting to be fished.

As I have mentioned in several posts, we have moved to an apartment complex, within a planned community development area. Within walking distance, there are at least seven ponds or lakes. Bream, catfish, largemouth bass, carp, and assorted other fish prowl the sometimes inch deep shallows, to depths that would tax a deep diver.

There’s lily pad cover, cattails, sandy shorelines and concrete seawalls, along with strips and whole lawns of St. Augustine grass right up to (and sometimes growing in) the water. Most of the time those also have a house attached to the other end of the grass. Makes it tough on the backcast when flyfishing. I once snagged a blue hair and dumped her halfway in the lake before I realized what I had done.

Bubby’s been instrumental in searching for and fishing the myriad lakes in the area. We would have no idea where they were if it wasn't for him. The lakes have names now: The Bass Lake, where he caught I don’t know how many bass. Gar pond which has a gar in it. Go figure. The latest is The Catfish Lake where Bubby caught up with an eighteen incher. I wasn’t there so I couldn’t get any pics. Christmas may have a surprise in store for The Boo though!

Then there’s the Carp Lake with the monsters we’ve been trying catch for the last week or so. As it so happens, it is right off of Main Street, and it’s an exceptionally large lake. I’m guessing that it might have been a phosphate mine or a limestone quarry.

Almost crystal clear, it holds an abundant variety of plants, mollusks, bird life, and fish. Not to mention a good number of alligators too. Bubby’s pulled a number of smaller largemouth bass from it by fishing the edges with his secret-weapon, bream-patterned lures. Though lately I’ve seen him using a fire tiger pattern with similar success.

What he hasn’t managed yet, is to catch the lunker carp that frequently tail in the shallows. You would think that a shoal of redfish were in the lake the way the fins stick left and right out of the water. He caught the original on a piece of bread, molded around the hook. He has tried mightily to repeat the experience, but it just hasn’t worked out for him the way he has wanted.

In the hopes of helping him out, I have been doing a substantial amount of research on carp fishing in general, and carp bait making in specific. And yet again, I have come to another conclusion of less than earth shattering proportions. In the USA, we will make a club for anything, and brag about it too! Therefore, Bubby and I are joining the Carp Anglers Group. I don’t know why, it seemed like the right thing to do at the moment.

As with anything we do, or in this case import, a whole market has developed around it. You would think that carp fishing is going to be the next “Bass Masters” thing. The truth is they already have tournaments for them. Anyway, there are any number of tricks and techniques to catching carp. Obviously many of them come from Europe where carp fishing is an “olde and honoured” tradition. My favorite is the “hair rig,” which I think might be the bomb for those finicky sheephead that gather around pilings. Hell, I’ve already modified that rig to suit my purposes, but that’s another story altogether. There are special unhooking mats to protect the carp as they are landed and de-hooked. There are hooks designed for carp, especially in France. Carp specific rods and rod holders.

Well, we got plenty of fishing rods and reels so they’ll have to do. I'm not about to get into some kind of Euro-Angler thing. Get involved in something like that and the next thing you know you're wearing a beret, growing a goatee, spouting beatnik poetry, and trying to live a Bohemian life.

Having said that, I did find something worth appropriating. Boilies.

A boilie is basically a boiled ball of dough, hence the name boilie. Get it? They are comercially made in Europe in a bewildering arry of flavors, colors, and sizes. Plenty of people make there own, and there are as many different recipes as there are people.

Having given the “boilie” recipes their due consideration, I decided to do what I do best: Improvise!

A fifty pound sack of Sweet Feed is about eight bucks, a five pound bag of flour is two bucks, and the eggs were already in the fridge. I figured that budgetarily speaking it was a wise decision as opposed to going with an established recipe.

My mix is the following:
Four pounds of Sweet Feed
Four eggs
And about half a cup of flour
Water as needed

Find a place to work where you won’t get your head cracked open by an irate wife. There is nothing that ticks a wife off more than a man doing stuff that she:
  1. Doesn’t understand
  2. Understands but doesn’t care because you’re in the kitchen.
  3. Figures it is yet another phase you’re going through

To begin with, wet down the sweetfeed the night before. This will allow the pellets to break down into particles.

Mix in the beaten eggs.

Start mixing in the flour.

What you are looking for is a doughy mix that doesn’t crumble, but not so damp that it’s too pasty or sticky.

Now the hard part… Pinch off pieces of dough and roll them into balls approximately half an inch in diameter. After an hour or so your hands will be aching. They'll get sore between the thumb and forefinger. Which reminds me. Go to the bathroom before you start, hard to operate a zipper without the use of your thumbs.

Now in Europe, they have ball makers. You can make as many balls as you want with it. As a matter of fact you can get them to make really big balls if you need them. I don't know though... looks to me they don't sell 'em in France.

Anyway, after you have filled up a couple of bowls, or your hands hurt so much that you swear you'll try to kick my rear the day you set eyes on me, put a good sized pot of water on the stove and get it boiling. Gather up a good sized slotted spoon or one of those flat spoon things with a million holes in it. Even better would be a colander that fits in the pot.

Drop as many of the boilies in as you dare. Remember the water is boiling. It'll burn you, and bad too. give the boilies a couple of minutes, scoop them out and set them on a towel to drain. After a couple or three batches, the water will foam up and spill over the pot, thereby making a huge mess you'll have to clean up.

Once you have them all boiled, put them out to dry.

Someplace breezy would be fine, but if all you have is the widow sill that'll do too. This toughens up the outside of the boilie. I leave mine out for a day or so, put them in a plastic container, and store them in the fridge.

The only thing I don't know is if these will work. They should, but I haven't seen a recipe quite like this one. All the good stuff is there so I'm hoping that the carp appreciate all the hard work I have put into this.

Next time we'll discuss rigs, and how to use boilies. With some luck, Bubby and I will have caught something to show you too!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Ha Ha Carp fishing! What ever will you get into next!

here there are HEAPS of magazines and websites dedicated to 'carpers'. To the rest of us they are fisherman who thought 'maybe I'm making this too simple, what if i took more stuff with me to the water?' they take their kit in special wheelbarrows and camp by the water for days on end.

Some thoughts:

Carp are well smart, and have AMAZING sense of smell - hence pineapple and strawberry flavored boilies.

They may be able to see you coming - hence carpers wearing camo - really!

Monks kept 'stew ponds' full of them to eat on holy days when meat was prohibited, but the British stopped eating them when Henry VIII became protestant.

The Chinese are supposed to rate them as highly as salmon for eating, and purge them by keeping them in fresh running water after capture to remove the muddy taste.

Those cool Japanese fish tattoos are of carp that swim against the current and jump like salmon.

I recently saw a show where a British actor went stateside and bowfished for them, looked fun, totally illegal here though.

Good to hear your having fun


Anonymous said...

The things anglers go through to catch a fish! I don't know that my Dad has ever gone after carp, but I'm not showing him this post, just in case. We don't want to give him ideas.

Albert A Rasch said...


What I find very interesting is how commercial all sporting opportunities are in Europe. It took me a couple of times to figure out that carp "Syndicates" are the same as bird shooting ones.

We are really fortunate here in the USA that almost everything is free or close to it.

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

Todd: said...

You guys are radicals! I love the urban fishing tales. And boilies...why didn't we know about those in the Amazon??? They would have worked perfectly!