Essential Big Barbel Range
I can't remember a company releasing three new baits for the barbel angler at the same time and have never seen barbel specific pellets before so when I surfed onto the Essential website and saw the range I had to find out more.
I have made all three and used them to write a bait making article so if you want to know how the tests I put them through have a look at the Thatcher's Basic Guide to Bait Making article coming soon.
The range is split into three flavours those being F10 Meat, LT Milk and Big Red. They all have their own base mixes, additives, pellets, pastes and ready made boilies either frozen or shelf life.
Big Barbel Base Mixes and Additives
Barbus F10 Meat
A nutritional fishmeal and meat bait. A mixture of complex meat extracts, fish proteins in conjunction with F10 Stim feeding trigger and betaine. Particularly suited to autumn and summer use.
There are two additives for this mix Anchovy Enzyme that has a malty pungent fish smell and Crayfish that has a sweet crayfish with a hint of garlic to my mind.
This bait has me scratching my head wondering if it smells of fish or meat. OK the additives are Anchovy and Crayfish but the meat of the base mix comes through as well. A word of warning about the Anchovy Enzyme. Unless you have the forearms of a curb stone layer do not try and use a syringe as it has the consistency of a thick milkshake so use a measuring cup when measuring. Another use for the Enzyme would be as an additive for a method mix.
Barbus LT Milk
A sweet milky base mix that is recommended for low water temperature use that includes betaine, Sweet Cream, Thaumatin a natural sweetener and Milkspice B. Based on F10 Meat but with much higher soluble milk proteins.
Milkspice B is the liquid additive sweet condensed milk and with a strong smell of cloves.
The finished bait has the same sweet milk smell with a subtle trace of cloves. Tasting the mix the Sweet Cream comes through particularly well. The base mix is finer than the others are as all milk influenced baits. For those maggot users amongst you I would have a long hard look at Milkspice B at 3ml a pint.
Barbus Big Red
This is an all season bait that is a selected combination of F10 Meat and LT Milk with the addition of Robin Red. Betaine again features, as does cinnamon.
Natural Cinnamon is as the name suggests a strong cinnamon flavour.
I am not certain if it is made anymore but if you remember Big Red chewing gum you will know where the name came from and you can taste the similarity with one difference. That is of course Robin Red that brings a spicy element to the cinnamon. Robin Red has been catching fish for years and I suspect will continue to do so for many more to come certain when it comes to this bait. The Natural Cinnamon is again another maggot additive begging to be tried.
Big Barbel Pellets
All three mixes have matching pellets based on the base mixes.
Big Barbel Paste
For those of you that do not make their own bait and find ready made paste more convenient there are three pastes all ready to go in 140g screw top pots. These have all been impregnated with oil to ensure that they remain pliable even in cold conditions and a shelf life of 6 months.
Mini Barbel Boilies
Available in 12mm either shelf life or frozen but not reviewed here just mentioned for information.
Some base mixes are shall we say an opportunity when it comes to making paste and from there into boilies. I have made all three and had no problems in using a bait gun or rolling the paste into boilies first time. I have made quite a lot of bait in my time so asked she whom should be obeyed to make some paste giving her no instructions other than those on the packaging and to call me when finished. The result was good so there should be no fears for the beginner here.
I mentioned the method earlier and will mention that if you add 5 ounces of base mix to 1lb of Vitalin with the attractors at the same level as recommended for paste that the results are more than interesting.
The packets say that they can be used with water as the binding agent instead of eggs so I tried water, again no problems. Remember that you will not be able to make the bait into boilies if using water and also that the bait will break down faster than using eggs. Think about that a minute and you will see an advantage to water baits as freebies.
The pellets are intriguing. All three break down within 15 minutes depending on water temperature. Yes I even put a couple of bottles of water in the fridge to test them in cold water, how sad is that! All three mirror the base mixes and having seen how normal pellets attract fish can hardly wait to see these in use with the base mixes or paste. I can also see these being used with flavoured maggots to good effect.
The paste becomes pliable quickly after a little kneading. I put them in the fridge to see how they reacted to the cold but due to the oil was little trouble in making it mouldable.
I have mentioned flavouring maggots but of course meat, corn in fact any particle is applicable.
All three baits are individual and are unique in the world of barbel fishing in that I have not seen anything else quite like them, I will add yet, as there will be clones.
Essential have produced a whole suite of alternatives that demonstrates that they have thought out the needs of the modern barbel angler and have given alternatives to those that do not consider themselves quite so modern.
With the increasing use of the method I think that groundbait would be a great addition to make to the range along with a choice of boilie sizes but that is harsh criticism, as I didn't review them.
For those of you that do not know Essential Baits have been around for quite a number of years now with an ever increasing reputation for what they have been doing all the time, producing quality bait and this range enhances that reputation at first scrutiny.
Well done Mike I think that there will be some very happy anglers as a result of your work.
10/10 for innovation and ease of use.