Chemical Caution

Hands being washed with mud

We are surrounded by various chemical products in our day-to-day lives; in fact, most of our daily routines involve some kind of chemical: cleaning products, cosmetics, fuels, food items, etc. We also use chemicals in carp fishing, from flavours and glugs to PVA items, but the list is much smaller compared to the household items we use.

Have you ever considered that some of these chemicals we get in contact with might have a negative effect on your carp fishing? Carp, compared to humans, have a very high sense of 'smell' if we can call it that. These underwater creatures can detect very small amounts of flavour or chemical substances without even getting into contact with them. Carp have chemoreceptors outside their mouths that are able to ‘taste’ or ‘smell’ an item of food without taking it into their mouths; those whiskers outside their mouths are part of their chemoreceptive system.

Anglers try to trick carp with flavourful and nutritious bait; even though the carp are highly tuned in to seek out and avoid anything suspicious. Considering its sensitivity to the environment and sense of ‘smell’, it is vital to take a few points into consideration.

Clean hands

Our hands come into contact with bait and tackle on a regular basis. We can transfer unwanted chemicals onto bait without realising it, in return ruining its appeal and a good day’s fishing. These chemical products that could affect our fishing and catch rate are all around us. Various chemicals can be transferred to your hands at any moment and stay there for prolonged periods of time e.g. diesel or petrol from the car’s tank or boat engine, gas and firelighters from cooking or making a fire, sun cream, dishwashing liquids or soap, tobacco or nicotine can also stain your hands and the bait. As you can see, the list is extensive and all these are powerful chemicals that can ruin your fishing. To make sure your hands are ready to put into a mix or touch any bait, wash them in the river or dam's water or rub some sand or silt into your palms. Sometimes I take one or two boilies and rub them onto my hands to get the smell from the bait transferred into my palms.

Storage and transportation of baits

Where baits are stored and/or how they're transported is often overlooked, and the importance thereof cannot be stressed enough. Don’t store or transport your baits with or next to chemicals. Cleaning materials usually contain very strong compounds and their containers don’t always seal perfectly. Most chemicals can penetrate their containers, which is the reason we can smell the contents without being open, so make sure the dishwashing liquid is well away from your baits. Another substance that contains very strong chemicals and should be kept well away from your baits is firelighters or blitz – it must be sealed within a thick plastic box. The best way to protect your bait (even though it’s bulky) is by using buckets. Plastic bags still allow the contents to come into contact with other unwanted chemicals, so if you have your bait in a plastic bag, try to contain the chemicals in another container; better yet is to keep it away from the bait altogether.

And finally...

The warmer weather also brings those small, pesky mosquitos that will bother us every evening. Don’t forget to wash your hands properly after applying the anti-mozzie spray, cream or lighting the citronella candles. Treat it the same as you would sun cream, and the carp will only 'smell' your enticing bait, not the ‘dangerous’ or ‘alarming’ chemicals you just handled.

Have a great summer with lots of fish and fun!

By Razvan Vlad


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Author: CarpFever

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