Home made power bait.Works the same at 1/10th the price.
I apologize for the length of this post, if you just want to know how I made this stuff you can skip to the recipe at the end...
I'm from Michigan and the fact is that live bait and a very select few lures are the only things that catch fish in the great lakes, so I have never had any use for plastics, rubbers, doughs or anything of the wide array of crazy stuff you'll find on the bait shop shelves these days. They work great for bass, but I'm a trout, salmon, steelhead guy and since the closest I cant get to any of those is stocked trout I figured its time I learned the techniques for these baits. My friend and I were so desperate just to feel something tugging on our lines we took a trip to jess ranch and hit their angling pond since we were leery about being skunked on the lakes (not leery now, its a great place with great people). This was my first exposure to power bait dough and I was shocked that a fish would be enticed by what amounts to play dough on a hook! Yes I know the fishing is different in the lake than in the pond, but I have caught them in their lakes with power dough also.
I'm a biologist. I spend my days in the lab analyzing compounds blah blah blah and I couldn't help but wonder what this stuff was made of. Actually it was the $4.00 a jar that made me wonder what it was made of The jar doesn't say anything of course. I tried finding info online but couldn't find anything credible. So I thought it would be fun to duplicate it at home. Why waste my time? well, I'm bored and I like a challenge. Besides, what makes a man feel more like a fisherman than crafting his own bate with which to catch his preyhaha. I already had an idea of what it could be based on so I got in the kitchen and came up with a couple prototypes. Most of what I know about dough is you need some sort of binding material and a thickening agent. The smell of power bait is what confused me, I recognized it but just couldn't put my finger on its source. So I decided to do the best I could with what I have. I cooked up the two types of dough and then begun adding attractant's (both scent and visual) and trying to replicate popular colors. After getting waaaay too carried away on variations I tossed the ones that were just silly probably useless and kept the dough I thought had the best odds of success. here are the types I settled on:
-Tan/sardine flavor/green glitter
-Red/sardine flavor/ silver glitter
-Yellow/Garlic flavor/silver glitter
-Orange/Garlic flavor/no glitter
-Orange/Cheese flavor/silver&green glitter
-Green/No flavor/no glitter
So do they work? They sure do!! However, as with any bait there are limitations. Mine is just barely more dense than water (yes, I measured it, I am a nerd), so it will sink (but very slowly)while powerbait is neutrally buoyant and will stay somewhat afloat under water. What does this mean for you? well, if your fishing it with a Carolina rig like most do, it will just sit on the bottom. A bobber will easily solve the problem though, although I do like the 'natural' presentation powerbait gives by floating rather than dangling. But like I said, everything has limitations and I learned to overcome this by using a bobber and almost jigging it through the water. Yes I caught fish like this. What are the pro's? Well, my dough is a little more resilient. Sometimes you will lose your power dough when you cast a little to hard, or it will fall off while retrieving it. This dough seems to hold to the hook a little better, especially when wet.
Also, I can roll out full length worms that will stay on the hook (treble hook) even after a bite. It's still soft, rubbery, and pasty just like power bait, but this one wont stick to your fingers like powerbait will.
I used two different bases;
1)The first has flour as the binding agent and salt as the catalyst/attractant. This dough was very tough but still soft and life like and could be stretched without falling apart in the water which was nice. The down fall is it is very hard to color since it already has a natural tan-ish color. also, due to the flour, this dough is perishable. But as long as it's refrigerated in an air tight container, it should last at least two weeks, probably more.
2) The second type uses baking soda as a binding agent and starch as a thickener. This dough is softer than the first, and is very very workable. I'd say it's very close to the power bait consistency and as a result cannot be rolled into anything very long as it will break, like the real thing. a great feature though is that this stuff comes out perfectly white as snow which made it very nice to color and I got an almost exact match of powerbaits' "salmon peach" color and their "spring green" as well. If you can find an arts and crafts store or a bakery supply you could easily color this exactly like you want. I only had the basic red, blue, green, yellow available. this dough is not perishable. At least not much. as long as its in a good container like a jar or something this should keep for a very long time.
So how did it perform?
I took this stuff out to jess ranch today. apparently it was cyclone Sunday because the winds were whipping around like crazy. I could barley leave my gear to check my lines for fear of everything blowing away lol. A little frustrating. So, since I couldn't cast anything I decided to give my stuff a try. I put on my cheese dough and threw it out with no weight and simply jigged it in like a worm. I picked up a little fry on the first cast. Lunker or not,I was happy. I threw my Sardine dough out and after ten casts or so I had a decent sized fish on. He threw the hook, but it was proof non the less. After battling the wind for three hours and tiring of chasing my chair uphill , I decided I'd had enough. I like my fishing relaxing and this was far from it so I decided to hit the angling pons. It was empty and sheltered from the wind. Perfect. I put on my garlic dough, got nothing. I took another hunk and rolled it into about a 3 inch worm and wrapped its head around the hook (again, a treble hook. no dough can stay on a single hook for long). I jigged it in like a worm and got bites all the way in but no set. a few more casts like that and I finally hooked one. I watched him most of the way in and he was really chasing that thing. Pretty cool. There is a TON of garlic in this stuff.
So whats the conclusion?
Anyhoo, It worked and I was pretty happy about it. Both recipes have their uses so I can't say at this point which is better. Is it better than powerbait? Probably not, but I fished both today and caught the same number of fish on both, take that however you wish. Is it worth it? sure it is, it's cheap, it takes less than 5 minutes to make and makes more than ten times the amount you'll get in one powerbait jar for less than 10% of the price. It still has plenty of refinement to be done and I'm enjoying the hobby.
If it works the same then whats the point?
I finally was able to track down an article (directly from burkley) on the U.S. patent database and it turns out powerbait is mainly composed of PVC with an oil based resin as a thickener. Is that smell a little more familiar now?!! Ok, yes powerbait is biodegradable in the form they use the PVC, and yes, most fish don't normally have a chance to digest the stuff since their caught with it, but reading this made me uneasy. I eat fish like trout/salmon/steelhead because of their healthy meet and omega 3's etc, but I also care about what my fish are eating. If people are pumping this stuff into lakes and ponds you can bet there are petroleum levels building. Inorganic materials=poison=mutations=carcinogens. Anyway, just my two cents. Am I still using powerbait? Yeah, but probably until what I have is gone, I think I can get by without it.
Ok Ok, enough of my rambling, heres the two recipes:
-2 cups of plain flour
-2 cups of coloured water
-1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
-1 tsp. cream of tartar
-1 cup of salt
-2Tbsp glitter (if desired)
This makes a TON of dough, so if you want less just cut it down proportionally. I just made a lot so I could divide it up and make different colors.
Add water to a medium sauce pan, heat until it begins to steam, add the other ingredients and mix with a fork until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to medium high. Keep stirring until it becomes the thickness you want. Don't leave it alone because this happens fast! You will get a film on the bottom of your pan but it will come right off with hot water. If your going to add an attractant like garlic add it to the water first and let it soak for a few minutes before adding the other ingredients. Honestly the cheap granulated stuff works perfectly. If you want all your dough to be one color, add the food coloring to the water before mixing, its a LOT easier than dying it later.
Baking Soda/Starch based
-1 cup baking soda
-3/4 cup water
-1/2 cup corn starch
-2Tbsp glitter (if desired)
This makes about a quart of dough.
Directions: Cook exactly the same as above. I made my cheese dough out of this one using that powdered cheese that comes in mac'n'cheese (about two packs and more water). I also used this recipe for the sardine flavor by adding the oil from a can of sardines and blended one sardine and added it in before cooking. Like I said earlier, the great thing about this recipe is it comes out perfectly white so you can dye it any color you like.
I would keep these in as air tight a container as you can find. I used a canning jar and crammed it full so there was no air at all. this stuff can dry out just like power dough. Refrigerate it.
If you've managed to stick with me through this post without falling asleep, congratulations lol, and I hope that it may help someone or at least make your next trip a little more fun! Sorry about not having any pics up, I recently dropped my camera and have no way of uploading any. Don't worry though, you have an idea of what you need it to look/feel like. good luck!!
Of course it couldn't float and be safe to eat too! lol Nothing in life is perfect. PVC trout. Bass like to eat those.
Good work though. All you have to do is get it floating now or use a slip bobber for deeper situations than Jess Ranch.
PS when you find cig butts in your fish tummy it will make you quit smoking AND eating fish.
haha, I guess thats the good thing about the stockies. Theres at least a slightly less chance of that :P
Originally Posted by tacklejunkie
yeah thats gonna be an issue all right. I could easily resolve it with some powdered polystyrene, but I suppose that would make me a hypocrite lol
Originally Posted by tacklejunkie
The stockers are more inclined to have a butt in their tummy unfortunately. They've been around humans their entire lives.
My Cig filled trout came from Miller Creek, Silverwood lake a few years back. eventually led to me quitting smoking! and preaching all day about trash and cigs. It was fresh off a truck into a 20'x20' creek pond where peolpe had flick their cig butts and it ate one, topwater style.
I admire your approach to creativity and an alternative to "the man" Berkley with their plastic doughbaits.
Last edited by tacklejunkie; 04-24-2011 at 11:24 PM.
i dont work in a lab. and i know it wouldnt last as long but maybe if you added yeast it would float. also no clue on what it would do to there bellys. ehow also has some articules on making it
Last edited by LostCreek; 04-24-2011 at 11:28 PM.
Perhaps there is a way you can engineer a biodegradeable air bubble to insert into a ball of the bait and make the rig float?
Last edited by tacklejunkie; 04-24-2011 at 11:28 PM.
Terrible. I'm still getting used to California waters. Lake Michigan has its problems, but its still extremely clean.
Originally Posted by tacklejunkie
haha no need to work in a lab. Thats an excellent suggestion. Unfortunately I have tried it. yeast merely creates bubbles and they burst when you handle the dough. Especially when putting it on a hook.
Originally Posted by LostCreek
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