Eurotec Angling Products Eclipse B and Enigma Baits
Eurotec is a new angling company formed in 2003, who among several other angling services and products offer bait for the barbel angler. More details of their products and services can be found on their website at http://www.eurotec-angling.com .
Eurotec's philosophy on bait making is utilising innovative food value ingredients, making their bait to a quality rather than a price. Their aim is to ensure that your bait contains the best ingredients available that will attract, hold and benefit the fish (in terms of nutritional value and growth rates) without the bait blowing over a short time period.
Interested in these claims and a few telephone calls later, I was pleased to receive some of the products, kindly accompanied by a personal visit and bait demonstration from Nigel Hudson of Eurotec.
Eurotec run their own Bait Clinics which are held at various places up and down the country. For details of future planned clinics please refer to the Eurotec website. From what I hear they are well worth attending.
OK, lets now have a look at some of the products.
Description of The Bait Products
Eurotec currently offer two ranges of barbel baits the Eclipse Barbel and the Enigma. Both are fishmeal-based baits that utilise natural flavours, ingredients and enhancers with the claim to make them the best long-term campaign baits available.
The Eclipse Barbel (nicknamed Eclipse-B) has an high fishmeal, fish extract and crustacean content and utilises a spice seed ingredient that is unique to Eurotec and gives the bait a subtle spicy (almost curry-like) scent and flavour.
The Enigma utilises a similar blend of fishmeals but has a slightly higher carbohydrate content to give it a more open texture and better digestibility in colder water conditions. The Enigma contains garlic and black pepper additives to both compliment the taste of the fishmeals and to give the bait a slightly more pungent smell than the Eclipse-B.
Both the Eclipse-B and the Enigma are available as a family of baits offering you a range of bait applications that compliments each other. This allows you to experiment with your approach to keep ahead of the field, whilst still presenting the fish with a uniform food signal. The range of baits within each family is currently as follows: Freezer Boilies, Base Mix, Specialist Paste Mix, S&M (stick and method) mix, and Bait Liquids (for hookbait glugs and dips). I am informed that for the start of next season Eurotec will also have available matching rapid-breakdown pellets and specialist hookbaits (such as pop-ups and pre-glugged freezer hookbaits).
Eurotec S&M mix, Eclipse B Boilies and Eclipse B Paste Mix
For the purposes of this review, I'll deal with my first impressions of some of the products under their specific headings.
Eclipse B - Ready Made Freezer Boilies
I received samples of the freezer boilies in 14mm size. These were lightly skinned baits, with fairly soft centres, which appeared to be tough enough to withstand to attention of nuisance fish, rather than rock hard baits. Their aroma was fishy with the addition of a subtle spicy tone.
Enigma - Ready Made Freezer Boilies
14mm freezer boilies were supplied and seemed to be firmer and have a more open texture than the Eclipse B. There was a smell of garlic with a hint of pepper on opening the packet.
Eclipse B - Dry Paste Mix
This mix is designed specifically for use as a paste mix and although it comprises of the same ingredients as the Eclipse B paste mix, there is the addition of natural binders that enable it to be mixed with water to make paste. This enables it to be transported to the venue in dry form and then use river water to make it. This has advantages - you can use river water instead of raw tap water (which may contain amounts of water treatment chemicals), you can make up small quantities as and when needed can minimise bait wastage and also will cut down on the bait weight you carry in your tackle bag.
Mixing is no problem and with the addition of water, kneading to the desired consistency makes a nice paste. Leaving for around 20 minutes to cure and kneading again seems to improve the pliancy. I found it possible to make quite thin paste wraps on my boilies if desired as well as my usual thicker wraps.
Following a couple of tips, I found that moulding the paste into various shapes and sizes and then air drying for a few days (time depending on conditions of course) also made some very usable hookbait pellets. Breakdown times of these paste produced pellets was of the order of a few hours.
The made up paste, suitably bagged, kept for several days in the fridge without any hints of going off.
Jam jar tests on balls of paste gave cloudy water with fine pieces of particulates breaking off, without compromising the main bulk of paste for a couple of hours. Obviously, breakdown times will depend on other factors - examples being water temperature and flow, but I've found that jam jar tests give a useful indication.
Enigma Base Mix
This was supplied without the Eurotec liquid, but no undue problems were encountered making boilies both by hand rolling and using a bait gun and rolling table.
Eclipse B and Enigma Stick and Method (S&M) Mixes
As these two mixes are broadly similar in their handling characteristics, I'll deal with them together to avoid repetition.
What are they?
Both S&M mixes are fishmeal and shellfish based intended to give high food, taste and scent value. Because of the inherent oil content of S&M Mix it can be dampened with water and used in PVA stocking material for the stick presentation. Mixed with suitable amounts of water it will not melt PVA to any detrimental effect, however, 'slop' your mix and be prepared for the obvious outcome!
The mix can be used at varying compression rates in the stick form to create sticks that break down fully at varying time intervals - typically between 1 minute and 10 minutes. The breakdown times will depend on water temperature and flow rates and also type of PVA used. The dampened mix can also be used in an open-ended feeder.
The same S&M mix can be mixed with water, kneaded and moulded around a method feeder or lead to give a firm groundbait ball that will withstand distance casting.
Whatever method is used, you can add quantities of additional items such as boilies, pellets etc to personalise your mix.
Add water to the S&M mix a little at a time, stirring in with your fingers. The mix will be ready when it just holds together as a ball when compressed in your hand. The mix will handle better if allowed to stand for a few more minutes.
For producing stick mixes, I tried making two diameters of stick - normal (40mm) and boilie (25mm) size and three different suppliers of PVA stocking mesh (Korda, Carp Quest and Black Cat). The latter two types were claimed to be ladder resistant and after my rather ham fisted initial attempts the claims seemed to be justified with not a ladder in sight. The Korda fared least well - but to be fair this was quite old and I have been since told that this old PVA stocking material has been replaced by a superior product. As this review and test takes place during the winter months then my emphasis was on the smaller diameter type sticks.
I prepared several sticks for a planned fishing session, but had to cancel it. After it became clear that I could not get out for a few days I tried freezing the prepared sticks for future use. On defrosting the sticks I expected problems with the PVA melting, but found that providing the sticks were removed from the freezer bag before any condensation could form, they retained their integrity. After experimenting a bit with defrosting I found that the best method was to take the sticks from the freezer bag, separate them so there was a slight space between each, and let them defrost. This was carried out either on a wire gauze tray (such as a maggot or groundbait riddle) or on a piece of kitchen towel.
Immersion of the sticks in water gave a breakdown time of a few minutes on average, but this could vary - the amount of compression of the S&M mix used during the making process and also the type of PVA. As previously mentioned, water temperature and flow conditions will also have a significant effect.
To test the breakdown in a real situation, I tried fishing the sticks threaded up the line, immediately above the hookbait. On a couple of occasions, after ten minutes or so in the river, I retrieved the stick pretty much intact. On other more frequent occasions it had broken down and was gone. If I had simply hooked the stick mesh then this would have told me little about the breakdown time, but I tried this and not surprisingly did not retrieve the stick once after a few minutes of immersion in the river.
Maybe more practice and experience was required in making the sticks to breakdown in the desired fashion.
Breakdown Illustration of PVA Mesh Stick Mix - Hookbait on Left Stick
Due to the limited time scale of testing, I had no opportunity to test using S&M mixes as a method mix on the river.
Bait Availability and Sizes
At the time of this review, Eurotec's freezer boilies are available in standard 14mm diameter, or in 10mm or 18mm by arrangement. Please note that the 10mm are more expensive due to the additional rolling work involved.
Base, Paste and S&M mixes bag size are to be confirmed.
For availability and current prices then please contact Eurotec direct or register with them to become a field tester. For any possible further news and updates, check the main BFW site.
Eurotec are running a series of Bait Clinics, which show and demonstrate the range of bait products. Also, baits are available for purchase at these meetings. More details of the location and dates of these clinics are available from the Eurotec website.
Eurotec have a field tester forum on Carp Bait City (Carp Bait | Cash Advance | Debt Consolidation | Insurance | Free Credit Report at Carpbaitcity.com) and there will be more feedback from the newly formed BFW team of field testers accordingly.
This review will also be updated accordingly when more information becomes available.
The Eurotec current range of baits look good and I look forward to seeing more of their products.
All of the products I've experimented with handle well and I was impressed. I particularly liked the S&M mixes, the versatility they offered and the paste mix.
Update 1st March 2004 - Eurotec products now available from the BFW Shop
Go to The BFW On-Line Shop
27th January 2004
Update 1st March 2004