?tspecialist tackle shops sell pike flavourings amongst their vast range of carp bait additives. These flavours include smelt, tuna, grayling and freshwater eel. All of these flavours work well throughout the year as they are not oil based, though they contain glycerol which acts as an emulsifier for the colder waters. Smelt is a personal favourite of mine, and many big pike have fallen to my rods using a smelt flavoured bait. The smell of the smelt is very similar to a cucumber, and actually does not smell at all like a fish, so heaven knows why the pike find it attractive! Grayling is an unusual flavouring, and works well on pressurised waters where pike anglers are already using flavours. The carp bait side of flavouring holds many secrets where pike fishing is concerned. Strawberry is a very attractive flavour to pike, along with the less than pleasant monster crab and seafood concentrate. These flavours will again work throughout the year and do not require any form of emulsifier. The injecting of these flavours into the bait is the same as for oils, by the use of a pipette.

Food additives.

The use of such additives as fish sauce and oyster sauce has been a common occurrence amongst the carping fraternity, though has been overlooked by the pike angler. Both these sauces are sold as additives in Chinese cooking and can be found in most major supermarkets. Failing that, try the small convenience store on the street corner. The sauces are made from extracts of fish and oysters respectively, and are both super additions to the pike anglers flavouring methods.
The fish sauce has brought me many pike when fished alongside unflavoured baits and is exceptionally cheap, while the oyster sauce has given me positive results throughout the year! Both sauces have a fine consistency and do not require the use of an emulsifier, which means they are both effective throughout the year. I have found that both sauces can be mixed with milk to give a cloudy leakage from the bait. The use of a pipette to inject the sauce into the bait is not so important as the sauces are both fine and will flow through a syringe needle if required.

Alka Seltza and Milk.

A tip I learnt many moons ago was the insertion of Alka Seltza tablets into deadbaits, this will certainly liven up the dead! When the tablets come into contact with water, they begin to dissolve and will either cure your hangover or make the bait twitch! If a tablet is inserted into a deadbait, upon entry into the water, it will dissolve over a period of time. While it does this, many bubbles are produced which cause the bait to lift off the bottom and twitch in mid water, mimicking a dying fish which the pike find irresistible, trust me! If the tablet is inserted into a suspended bait, again the fish will twitch all over the place, proving irresistible to the pike. The addition of milk to a bait regardless of whether any other additive has been added, will cause a ‘cloudy aroma’ around the bait, which can give you the edge over other baits.


Many of you will know how a red spinner will catch fish on certain days, while on others only a bright silver one will do, well the same can be said about the colours of deadbaits. The colouring of deadbaits requires slightly more thought before fishing. The colouring can be done two ways, though both methods have to be done before freezing the bait, so the colours are absorbed into the flesh while in the freezer.
The easiest way is to buy coloured tissue paper from art shops, and instead of wrapping the bait in Clingfilm before placing in the freezer, wrap it in the tissue paper. As the bait slowly freezes, it draws the colour from the paper onto the baits skin, and hey presto, coloured fish! The other way is to make a solution using powdered colours which are usually used in carp fishing. Once the powdered colour has been thoroughly mixed with water, brush on the solution using a fine brush, then wrap in Clingfilm and freeze as before. I actually prefer using the coloured tissue paper method for two reasons. The tissue paper method is less messy than making a colour solution, and it is considerably cheaper as no Clingfilm needs to be bought. I have had a lot of success using the colours red and yellow, while green and blue tend to be very slow in producing runs. I imagine this is due to the colour spectrum in the water.

Final Tip.

The addition of flavours and oils need not be done on the bankside, but can actually be done before you originally freeze the bait. Fish are usually unfrozen when bought or caught, and this is a excellent time to inject oils and flavours into them. As the fish freezes in the freezer, it absorbs and draws in any moisture around it. If the bait has been spiced up before freezing, the fish takes the oil or flavour and absorbs them through its body leaving a fully flavoured and oily bait, which is what Pike love! This way of flavouring baits is also less messy than doing it on the bankside, and you need not worry about transporting all those small bottles and pots full of flavours and oils to the waterside, which invariably leak in your bag! Do not try this with Alka Seltza though, as the bait will be twitching for ages in the freezer!

I hope you will try flavouring and colouring your deadbaits for Pike, as they certainly give you the edge over plain baits.

Keep catching.