No. 1 Best Carp Bait…




Price: £8.00 – £12.00 per kilo on average (shelf life & freezer boilies). There are many brands of boilies on the market including baits from Mainline, Dynamite and Nash, to name a few. Personally I would avoid cheaper brands as these are more often than not low quality baits that have just been thrown together to look good and smell nice.

Outlets: Most good tackle dealers and bait companies. Also don’t forget Amazon and eBay.


Top Tip or Fact: Fact – boilies first came about in the 1970’s and were the invention of Fred Wilton.

Boilie Review:

Boilies is my No.1 best bait for carp fishing and has been for some time – no surprise there then! I’ve literally caught hundreds of carp on boilies and is the bait that I personally have the most confidence in (I’m sure many of you will agree).Tutti Frutti Boilies There are many types of boilies out there; all different colours and flavours, not to mention sizes.

I tend to use either 18mm or 20mm baits but it basically boils down to personal preference. Sometimes I will fish a single boilie hookbait and other times I will use two boilies on a critically balanced snowman setup (regular boilie and a pop up on a hair rig – but make sure the pop-up boilie is always on top.) If you haven’t tried this rig yet then I recommend that you do because it’s a cracking little setup and will guarantee to catch you fish – trust me!

Pop-up baits are also extremely popular. I have used these on a lot of waters and have caught plenty of fish. I always go for a brightly coloured fluro pop-ups as this seems to give me the most confidence. Sometimes I will fish a single fluro pop-up with no free offerings. This is a tactic I use on new waters to try and locate the fish and hopefully get a quick bite.

“Shelf life or freezer boilies…?”

You can buy boilies off the shelf or freezer boilies. Some people prefer shelfies, others prefer freezer boilies and some anglers like to use a mixture of both. Over the years there has been an ongoing debate about which is the better boilie (shelf life or freezer) but more importantly which are the better bait for the welfare of the fish and the water, if left to decay on the bottom. The below 23lb Common carp was caught using a Monster Tiger Nut boilie – classic boilie bait!


People have questioned the actual ingredients or preservatives that have gone into self life boilies and the potential long term side affects they may have on the fish. Fact is times have changed and in my opinion shelf life boilies and the ingredients used to make them have improved significantly in recent years. I’m a fan of both although I’ve probably caught more fish on shelf life.

“What flavour boilie floats your boat…?”

My favourite brands that I use for both Shelf life and Freezer boilies are definitely Dynamite and Mainline. My personal favourite flavours have to be Dynamite Tiger Nut Boilies and Mainline Spicy Crab. One boilie flavour that has become very popular of late is White Chocolate and Coconut Cream.

Hair Rig BoilieThe vast majority of boilies have base ingredients which are either fishmeal, bird food or rich protein. Standard sizes are 10mm, 15mm, 18mm and 20mm.

There are many dips and glugs on the market for extra attraction. Two of my favourite dips are Caramel Cloud Power Smoke and Strawberry Kick Bait Smoke – these rock! To be honest I think most of the dips and glugs available will do the business!


Pros vs. Cons

Dynamite TERRY HEARN CRAVE 15MM Boilies

Click image to buy these Dynamite Crave Bait range of flavoured boilies.


  • Boilies are highly visible and attractive to carp.
  • They come in many different colours, flavours & sizes. Click here to view Mainline’s Dumbell Boilies. These are an excellent alternative bait as they will keep the carp guessing because at the end of the day you don’t want the fish to get used to one particular size and shape of boilie.
  • Can be purchased from most tackle dealers and bait companies as well as on Amazon and eBay.
  • Boilies contain high protein ingredients for a healthy balanced diet.
  • Shelf life boilies will last many months if unopened. Freezer boilies even longer.
  • Pop-up boilies (Fluro pop-ups are always a good choice) can be used to fish off bottom in very silty/weedy conditions. Click here to view a full range of Mainline Hi-Visual Pop-Ups.
  • Excellent bait presentation. For me one of the best is the critically balanced snowman set up! (regular boilie and a pop-up on a hair rig).
  • Boilies can be soaked in various dips and glugs to enhance their attraction to carp. I highly recommend that you invest in some of these as they will increase your chances of catching a fish. To be honest I wouldn’t leave home without them now.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous you can make your own unique type of flavoured boilie.
  • Good all year round bait. Even in the winter months boilies will produce carp. But I would recommend using a smaller single boilie, say about 10mm as the carp’s metabolism slows right down in colder conditions and so larger baits are just not as attractive to the fish.
  • Boilies are great for firing out as free offerings because you can reach long distances; whether you’re using a catapult or a throwing stick.

Mainline Hi-Visual Pop-Ups Clockwork Orange

Click image to buy these top rated Mainline Hi-Visual Pop-ups


  • Boilies can be quite expensive to buy*
  • Other species of fish have developed a liking for boilies, including tench, bream & barble.
  • More recently crayfish have become a real problem on some carp waters. They will eat your hookbait in a matter of minutes! Not good especially if you’re night fishing because more often than not when you reel in to recast in the morning, guess what? the boilie has been eaten.

To combat the problem a lot of carp anglers now use mesh or even the material from a pair of fishnet tights (just don’t tell the Mrs haha) to encase the boilie and stop the crayfish from eating it. Just cut enough mesh to cover the boilie leaving a tiny bit of excess. Then add a dab of superglue onto the excess to seal the mesh casing.

This is really only a temporary fix as the crayfish will eventually get at the boilie, but it just means that you can leave your hookbait in the water for a lot longer. But I would say definitely no more than two hours.

Why not make your own boilies…

Boilie making - Boilie Rolling Table

Click image to view this great Boilie Rolling Table

* Why not make your own boilies to save money? Well guess what? you can! You can now buy a boilie base mix (500g – 25kg) which is mainly made up of protein powder and some other goodies; then just simply add eggs and what ever flavourings and additives you want and you’re away!

To be honest I haven’t got the patience or the time to make my own boilies but I’m sure with a little bit of practice it can’t be too hard to master. 

Below is a short recipe list with instructions on how to make your own boilies. If you buy a Mainline boilie base mix there should be step by step instructions on making your own boilies on the packet itself but it’s pretty straight forward stuff.

To make your life easier, one important piece of equipment that you might consider using is a boilie rolling machine. Once you have prepared and rolled the paste then the boilie rolling machine will produce the desired boilie size consistently and with ease. Also if you don’t want to roll out the paste yourself then using a sausage gun will give you a perfect length of paste, ideal for cutting and producing perfectly round boilies (15mm, 19mm & 22mm diameter sausages.)

Boilie making – step by step. 


500g Base Mix Instructions:

Boilie making - Boilie Rolling Gun

Click image to buy this Boilie Rolling Gun

  1. Crack 4 medium sized eggs into a bowl.
  2. Any any liquid ingredients you might have including additives, colouring, flavours, sweetner and mix thoroughly.
  3. Then gradually add the dry base mix (500g – 25kg) to the liquid, stirring at all times (see below video).
  4. Keep adding the powder mix until a soft but firm paste is formed (try and make the paste as dense as possible to avoid splitting or cracking when boiling).
  5. Then roll the paste into thin sausages either by hand or using a sausage gun.
  6. Cut and roll the balls by hand or use a rolling table.
  7. Then put the baits in boiling water for approximately 2-3 minutes, depending on how hard you want the boilies. The longer you boil them for the harder the boilies will be.
  8. Then simply remove the boilies and leave them on a piece of kitchen towel to dry out and harden.
  9. Your boilies are now ready to use! Store them in a cool dry place or freeze them to use for a later date.

Cell balanced wafters 15mm by mainline baits

Click image to get cheap Cell Wafters on Amazon

Great Boilie Offers on ebay

There are lots of different boilies on the market but I’ve listed below all of the main brands of frozen and shelf life boilies. Most of the cheap boilie deals can be found on eBay and are distributed directly by tackle dealers which I’ve sourced for you. Just click on each link below to be redirected to the relevant buying page, all of which have Free P&P.

If you’re not a member of eBay then you’re definitely missing out, it’s FREE and easy to use, so JOIN HERE to find out more….and to get involved!!

Dynamite Baits Cartptec 15mm Boilies 1kg (Flavours: Strawberry, Pineapple & Banana, Tutti Frutti, Crab & Crayfish, Plum, Spicy Quid, Bloodworm) – Click here £8.25 each.

Nash Bait NEW Instant Action Boilies 200g *10mm, 15mm or 20mm* (Flavours: Coconut Cream, Crab & Krill, Tandoori Spice, Tangerine Dream) – Click here £3.99 each.

Mainline High impact Boilies 1kg *15mm or 20mm* (Flavours: Aromatic Fish, Banoffee, Essential IB, Spicy Crab, Salty Squid, Peaches & Cream) – Click here £10.95 each.

Mainline Baits Frozen Boilies 1kg *All Flavours 10mm, 15mm or 18mm, Dumbells & Pasta* (Flavours: Cell, New Grange, Activ 8, Proactive Pineapple, Fusion, Hybrid) – Click here  £10.99 – £16.99 each.

Mainline Baits Response Boilies 200g handy pack or 450g standard pack *15mm or 18mm* (Flavours: Tutti Frutti, Strawberry Zest, Salmon & Shrimp, Pineapple & Banana, Squid) – Click here £3.50 or £7.95 each.

10kg Bag Of 15mm Boilies. 5 Flavours Krill Halibut Tutti Frutti Sausage & Scopex – Click here £39.99 each.

Mainline CELL Boilies, 1kg Freezer Boilies *10mm, 15mm & 18mm* – Click here £14.65 each.

Final Take:

Boilies truly are an excellent bait and have evolved enormously over the years. They have caught countless numbers of carp and will continue to do so for a long time to come. The rich ingredients contained in boilies is without doubt one of the reasons why carp have grown to such huge sizes and live longer healthy lives.

I’m sure many of you will agree that regular boilies and fluro pop-up boilies are a fantastic carp bait. If you haven’t tried them before then give it a go and I bet you’ll be surprised at the results.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments box below and I will get back to you. Thanks again.

Click here to continue with my Top 10 Baits…


7 Responses to Best Bait for Carp Fishing – No. 1 – Boilies

  1. Pat says:

    Some useful tips there – will certainly be giving the white chocolate and coconut cream ones a try. You mention the different sizes, and usually go for the middle of the road 18mm myself – any tips on when it might be worth changing to a larger or smaller size?

    • Ade says:

      Hi Pat,
      I personally tend to use different size boilies especially when baiting up with free offerings. The reason being is that you don’t want the carp to get too used to one particular size of boilie – keep the fish guessing!
      Another instance when I might change the size of the boilie is when I’m getting pestered by smaller fish then I might use a much larger boilie as a hookbait!
      Hope this helps

  2. jue says:

    how can you tell when a shelf life boilie is past its best can i glug them and keep them in a glug pot if so for how long?? how long are shelf lifes good for once opened and can i freeze them to last longer i am only asking as i have brought a large amount of CC Moores boilies,
    Thanks and regards, Jue

    • Ade says:

      Hi Jue,
      Firstly if the boilies are unopened then they should last you up to a couple of years so long as they are kept in a cool, dry and dark place. If they have already been opened then I would say they should still last you anything up to 6 months or even longer. But you need to ensure that they have been re-sealed properly and are air tight. Again keep them in a cool, dry and dark place. I would avoid glugging the baits to preserve them unless you are talking about a hand full of hookbaits then they should be good for a couple of months a least. I never freeze shelf life boilies I just think you’re better off storing them in an air tight container.
      Hope this helps

  3. fred says:

    What happened to fisherman? I’m 64 and moved to the Jersey shore in 83. Next week I will go on my first CARP trip since then. Grew up in Philly constantly fishing for the great CARP. Part of the experience was making our own bait. Changing and experimenting as we went along. Now I manage a bait and tackle shop in Wildwood New Jersey and I see fisherman come in every day wanting precut, packaged bait. Now it sounds like CARP fishing has gone the same way. Part of the fun was the night before a trip when all the ingredients came together. Corn meal, sugar, flower and strawberry jello. That aroma that came out when the mixture was finished just filled you with expectations for the following morning. If I didn’t make it then I had zero confidence in it. Sad but it seems we are becoming better fisherman by what we can purchase. The art of fishing is slowly being packaged right out of our sport.

    • Ade says:

      Hi Fred, You have a fair point but it doesn’t matter how many man made baits such as boilies are used; there will always be a place for simple natural baits like sweetcorn, tiger nuts and bread – these baits will catch you carp of all sizes anywhere in the world.
      At the end of the day carp anglers are always looking for the next best bait or the next best boilie that has evolved from better and more attractive ingredients. For a lot of people it’s all about having the edge over other anglers but more importantly having the edge over carp (if that’s possible), so you hopefully have more success in catching the next big fish.

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