FACT...No one likes change, especially when it comes to something as important as a bait that you trust. As a fan of both Monster Squid and Scopex Squid for the bulk of my carp fishing when Gary Bayes broke it to me that those two and many more were to be discontinued I have to say I was as surprised and not a little worried if I’m being honest. I’d done so well on both and had tweaked my hookbaits and approach to such a level that I knew I could take them anywhere and catch.
A number of new baits were going to be released in 2014/15 amongst which was 4G Squid, which Gary told me would be ideal for my style of angling and in many ways was a new and improved version of both Scopex Squid and Monster Squid. Having been round the block a few times I tend to prefer to see when something works for me but in all honesty it sounded good, very good, the best of my two favourite baits but with a new twist.
Base mix was ordered plus a variety of frozen and shelf life baits so that i could have a play with it prior to making my decision for 2015. TG Active was out as I am allergic to garlic and The Key although very impressive was not the kind of food source I would use on my short sessions dotting from water to water putting in good amounts when I had a water to concentrate on. So it was 4G or bust for me!
I first started playing with the bait in late 2014 and as I write this late summer 2015 I can say it has not only been what I hoped for but even better. I loved Monster Squid and Scopex Squid but in all honesty I would never go back to either, 4G Squid is genuinely even more effective. Here are my findings from six months’ use on a variety of waters, winter through summer and targeting carp both on prolific and difficult waters.
The Taste Test
As with all baits (yes I know I am barking…) I do taste them myself and the first thing that struck me was that 4G has no bitter aftertaste at all and was to me quite palatable. It’s no test for the carp I guess but baits that don’t taste right to me don’t fill me with confidence when it comes to sitting behind them hour after hour, day after day. The combination of Scopex, Red Liver Oil and sweetener just seems spot on. Secondly I got the frozen ones and tested them for breakdown in the water and found that with the 15mm ones 24 hours made them super soft and with the 20mm baits it was nearer 30 hours. Again spot on. I don’t need or want rock hard baits but because I would be baiting up with them I didn’t want anything too soft either. 4G is much like Monster Squid in texture and firmness I guess.
It’s no secret that i am a pop up fan so my pop ups were made one of two ways. My standard corkball pop ups were simply 70% base mix and 30% protein/ pop up mix sieved and then rolled around 10 and 12mm cork balls from The Tackle Box, Kent. I added 20ml of the 4G Liquid Bait Soak to a one egg mix to make the paste and it not only made the paste roll well but the flavour and smell was perfectly matched to the free offerings. I rolled them around 15mm, left them a week to harden and then added a slight glaze of the soak before putting them in a plastic bag and into the freezer.
When fishing bottom baits I simply have a bag of shelf life 15mm 4G baits which I have dried for a week in the airing cupboard to really harden them up. I added a light glaze of the Liquid Bait Soak and then leave them to harden once again. These are now hard enough to withstand nuisance fish but are still very attractive pumping out the "eat me" signals.
For balanced bottom baits or wafters I use our 4G Airballs and keep trimming them with a craft knife so that they just sink when attached to a Fang or Twister 5. I soak the 15mm Airball pop ups heavily in the liquid bait soak so they are little balls of attraction and less buoyant and need less trimming. They are absolutely deadly on clean bottoms from my own tests and results. They don’t need freezing and I keep mine in plenty of the soak so they absorb more and more as the season progresses. For snowman presentations it’s simply a hardened bottom bait and half an airball pop up sitting ready for its next victim, and the Snowpots offer a brilliant and convenient way of achieving the same.
Mix and Mush
From the very start of my carp angling when it comes to free offerings I have always been a fan of frozen baits. I am not going to come up with some hyperbole about why I think frozen is best other than it’s what I have always done and see no need to change a winning formula. Clearly the majority of my hookbaits are shelf-life but I don’t see any advantages for me in moving off frozen baits. I have plenty of freezer facilities but if I didn’t then clearly I'd look towards the shelf-life range.
All my prebaiting, or baiting up when I leave is done with 20mm baits, when I’m fishing over a spread of boilies it’s usually 15mm free offerings and if I am fishing over mush or particles I always add plenty of 10mm 4G freebies. I know there is a very logical argument for mixing the sizes up to keep the carp confused but i honestly haven’t felt the need to do that.....yet! Occasionally I will use larger baits on a stringer or smaller ones in a PVA bag but the usual tactics tend to work nicely for me.
The crumbliest, flakiest freebies…
4G Flake.... A godsend for me, thank you Nashbait! As a big fan of what I call the mush I have spent many, many hours chopping and crumbing boilies to make them super effective when combined with particles and bulk liquids. No big deal I guess but now bags of Flake coming ready cut, chopped and crumbed it saves me time and in all honesty it’s a perfect combination of crumb and chopped boilie pieces. Personally I find crumb on its own is too fine whilst chops without crumb don’t have the impact of the crumb. 4G Flake is a combination of both and a one kilo bag is perfect for an overnighter. I add the particles on the morning I go fishing rather than the night before. Too much soaking makes it too much like soup in my opinion and I do like some substance in there. Probably 3-6 hours maximum is ideal but when the carp get on it the response is amazing. If I am fishing where a good head of carp are present and I’m hoping for a multiple result rather than fishing for a bite a couple of handfuls of 10mm boilies go in to keep them in the zone longer.
4G is definitely an all year round bait and for the first part of the year I did spend a lot of the time fishing single hookbaits with a PVA stick. The dedicated 4G Stick Mix was perfect for this and all I did was add a small amount of the Liquid Boat Soak and made up plenty of mesh sticks. They literally explode on the bottom and plenty of carp seemed to find it to their liking and to their undoing!
So there you have my initial findings on the mightily impressive 4G Squid. As the season progresses I will be returning with more updates including the Squid Salt Dust, the new 6mm pellets and combinations I have found to be real winners. As it’s a new bait to me these first twelve months will see me experimenting more than I usually do but anything I do uncover will be on here soon. What I can say is that it’s definitely my bait for 2016 too. Can't wait!