What bait do you use or what bait is best is an often asked question and is usually responded to by a list of adverts for boilies made by bait companies that individuals are testers for or sponsored by. They are almost obliged to say Mainline, CCMore, Urban etc. Just look at the likes of the great Jim Shelley he has been sponsored by more bait companies than anyone and yet which ever one he is sponsored by at any particular time is the best thing since sliced bread (I might come back to sliced bread). All the conflicting responses should tell you one thing, “there is no best bait” and anglers will just tell you their favourite or the one they get at a discounted price or indeed the one they produce.
My question would be why are you using boilies when there are possibly better alternatives. Remembering boilies were first made and started to become popular in the 1970’s to deter other more prolific species from nibbling attractive paste bait away before a carp had a chance to find the bait. The boiling process was first just intended to put a skin on the paste to make them more durable, but had the unfortunate side effect of locking in the attractive ingredients.
Now fifty years later almost every carp anglers first choice of bait would be boilies even when the dominant species is carp and there is often less competition from smaller fish. Personally boilies are often a last resort, even though I have an extremely effective and rather exclusive one at my disposal.
Particle baits are a cheep alternative bait, but again there is a popular misconception that a mix is best, like the pigeon mixes. There are a few that shine though and their attractiveness is well known. Hemp for example is fantastic, why mix it with less attractive seeds? Ignore the saying that it’s best to use a mix, with the alleged suggestion that this confuses the fish and makes it harder for them to differentiate free baits from the hook bait. Maybe if nobody else was using particles in this way it might be an advantage but from what I see it is now the norm, so that possible advantage has long since gone and it will, in my opinion, be more effective to just use the better ones.
Sweet corn is a supremely attractive effective bait and until I know if there is an issue with smaller nuisance fish is always my first choice. I don’t see occasional bream and tench a problem. Boilies don’t stop them anyway.
I could give loads of examples of fish I’ve caught without using boilies but have picked one. The fish pictured was caught on a single white plastic imitation sweet corn, with a sliced loaf of bread half liquidised and half mashed (as you would use for chub) as free bait, surely proof there is more to bait than boilies.