Mainline Baits Or Cheap Carp Boilies
I know what you are thinking, why would anyone use cheap budget carp boilies?
Surely they will be poor quality and I will not be able to catch any carp with those!
I certainly had this impression and never even considered using a cheap carp boilie, I would have always popped down to my local tackle shop and picked up some tried and tested Mainline boilies, which have helped me catch many carp, and would have not even thought twice about looking at cheaper carp baits let alone buy any.
One day I happened to see some carp boilies for sale online at a ridiculously low price, something like under £20 for 5kg, and this got me thinking...
Are cheap carp boilies any good?
Not only did I think about the quality of these baits and their effectiveness but also why would somebody buy these over say Mainline or Dynamite Baits?
Why would I buy cheap carp boilies?
When you think about this, it is kind of obvious why some anglers look at cheaper carp baits which are to simply save money whilst still being able to enjoy their carp fishing hobby. I don't need to tell you that many of us struggle to pay the bills at the end of the month and the luxury of buying carp tackle and bait is a non-starter.
These cheap carp boilies may be the difference between getting out on the bank or being stuck with the family all weekend!
So perhaps you are considering buying some cheap carp boilies, but the most important question is can I catch carp using these baits?
Can I catch with cheap carp boilies?
I decided I wanted to test out this question and purchased a few kilos of the cheapest carp boilies I could find. I tried to get some variations of flavour and sizes to test the effectiveness of the cheap carp baits at catching fish.
I managed to purchase the following carp baits online at quite remarkable prices.
- Carp boilies option 1 - 5kg of 15mm boilies for under £20
- Carp boilies option 2 - 5 x 200g packets of 16mm for under £6
- Carp boilies option 3 - 100 x 10mm mixed boilies for under £4
I broke down this review process into several steps which I think covers all aspects that are important to a good quality carp boilie.
- Initial impression
- Ability to attach to a rig and fish with
- Ability to catch carp
Let's get down to business with my findings for each set of carp boilies.
Carp Boilie Option 1
These carp boilies seemed to be excellent value for money, picking up 5kg of carp bait for under £20 which compared to the premium brand such as Mainline is a massive saving and over the course of a season really adds up.
These boilies were supposedly coconut flavour which upon my first impression was very hard to detect. The flavour was just not present and the only real smell I could detect was very generic and neutral, this is the best way I can describe it and it did not exactly fill me with confidence that these carp boilies would attract many carp to my swim or get a take.
Ability to attach to a rig and fish with
After the unimpressive initial impression, I headed down to my local carp lake to really try these cheap boilies out. Upon some further inspection when attempting to attach to a simple hair rig, I noticed the baits very dry and in fact, some even broke up when trying to attach them to the hair. If I had this much difficulty trying to work with the boilies what will happen when they take on water once cast into the lake. I had some reservations but persevered casting my rig out and waiting patiently.
I expected the baits to fall off the hair pretty quickly so decided to check the rigs and re-cast often. I found some of the boilies had come off and the ones that did remain on the hair were lacking in any kind of attraction.
Ability to catch carp
I kept persevering and to my surprise, I did manage to get a couple of takes and land single figure carp. I can only really think the pale white colour of these carp boilies did manage to catch the eye of these fish rather than the smells and attraction gave off.
Carp Boilie Option 2
These boilies came in very small bags and seemed to suggest they were to be used on the hair as a hook bait rather than free baits or in a spod mix.
The boilies came in 5 different 200g packets each with a great colour that I thought would be highly attractive to carp. Once opened each packet gave off a nice strong smell that again I thought would be a great attractor to any fish.
Ability to attach to a rig
The boilies were much firmer than the previous batch and seemed to be more like the premium boilies I am used to. I had no issue attaching to the hair and was confident these boilies would catch me carp.
Ability to catch carp
I had a lot more attention from fish and had a number of liners in a short space of time. I landed several nice carp including a couple of low double figure fish. Without a doubt, these carp boilies seemed to be much more effective at attracting and catching fish. Clearly, the downside of these boilies was the fact the packets were so small and this limited me in my ability to use the same boilies for baiting an area.
Carp Boilie Option 3
These carp boilies did seem slightly odd in the sense the packet contained 100 boilies of varying flavour 10mm boilies, an offering I have never seen before. They were very cheap and I thought worth a try.
It became immediately obvious that these carp boilies were very inconsistent in several areas. Many of the boilies were more like 5-8mm in size and there was a difference in the ratios of flavours provided in the bag with one particular colour being more prominent than the rest. There was also a big range in the dryness of these boilies with some being very dry and almost breaking up into a powder in my hand and the remaining boilies being very hard and a bait I would not want to feed to a carp.
Ability to attach to a rig
With this massive difference in consistency, I did manage to find some boilies that could be attached to the hair but it was a tedious process going through the boilies trying to find the best candidates and certainly not something I would do again. I want to focus on other aspects of my fishing and not waste time going through boilies.
Ability to catch carp
With so few boilies that were actually viable to fish with I did not have any success using these boilies. This is not to say they can't catch carp but the batch I received was lacking in quality and I was not surprised by the result.
After my series of testing the old adage comes to mind, 'you get what you pay for'.
My main takeaway point from boilie options 1 & 2 is the lack of consistency which really hampered my fishing. I struggled to find decent boilies to attach to the hair and even then I did not have the confidence the baits would have any longevity which is a must when carp fishing. The last thing I want is to think my bait has fallen off the hair and to re-cast often potentially spooking any carp in my swim and ruining my session.
I could, of course, use these boilies in my spod mix as they broke up so easily but my concern with this is knowing the quality of the ingredients that have gone into the bait. I want to ensure that I catch carp but at the same time, I also want to provide the fish with good quality food to allow them to stay healthy ready to fight another day.
Carp boilie option 2 did surprise me as these baits were much more like the boilies I am used to from Mainline and other premium bait companies. They provided a good range of colours for various fishing scenarios and the smells were very attractive. The downside with these was the size of the packets which did limit these boilies to being used only as a hook bait. I would suspect if I had purchased enough to bait up with these boilies I would be increasing the cost significantly and ultimately negating the cost saving. I will be keeping these in my tackle bag to use when I think a change of colour is required and for the money I can't really complain.
Overall, I would try to stick with the likes of Mainline, Dynamite Baits et al due to the quality provided. These baits give me much greater confidence which is a must-have when carp fishing especially on high pressured waters such as Oxford Linear.
The cheap carp boilies are good value if you can put up with the lack of consistency and the greater effort to fish with. The cheap carp baits do catch fish but I suspect you will not land a monster using these boilies. If you can, stick to the premium carp bait companies who have spent vast sums of money developing and field testing their products to offer the best carp boilies on the market. If you have a look at some of the carp that have been caught with the likes of Mainline Cell, for example, the results speak for themselves.
Why not purchase some of these cheap boilies yourself and see what kind of results you can get.