MY THOUGHTS THE ‘APPLIANCE OF SCIENCE’ AND CATCHING CARP
Ok, own up. How many of you used to find yourselves nodding off at school during chemistry lessons?
Unless it was a practical and there was an outside chance of blowing the school up.
However if only they taught us about ‘CHEMORECEPTION’ I might have paid a bit more attention.
Right I hear you say, what is ‘chemoreception’. It’s the chemical stimuli to fish, [carp]. I have been carp fishing since 1979, and I’m also interested in food and nutrition.
I have been through the sweetcorn, luncheon meat and pastes [specials] stage, and then the boilie boom. I began wondering how I could combine my interests and catch more carp into the bargain.
I have been making and selling carp baits for some time now to friends and fellow anglers where I live.
Ok I have wanted to make a bait that would stimulate the carp, in order to catch these elusive fish, well wouldn’t we all ?
Right back in 1653,Izaak Walton wrote a book called ‘THE COMPLETE ANGLER’ in which he encouraged anglers to apply attractive substances to chemically enhance baits.
Fish detect chemical stimuli through at least two different types of chemoreception, which are the olfaction [smell] and the gustation [taste]
OLFACTION is involved in generalised alerting responses and is associated with fright, mating, spawning, territorial and homing behaviours in fish
GUSTATION is involved in the detection, selection and ingestion of food and protection against noxious [mostly bitter] substances
Because these systems are activated by water – soluble molecules. It is difficult to say for sure, they may interact.
However, I believe we can make a [reasonably] educated guess of which Izaak Walton would be proud of.
We know certain chemicals will stimulate carp, hopefully in a stereotypical sequence of behaviour, i.e.: -
3. UPTAKE AND INGESTION. [a run to you and me]
In reality, sense organs vary from species of fish and through ecological changes [water to water], but some generalisations concerning effective chemoreceptions can be made.
Effective chemoreceptions are usually small molecules and are often nitrogenous.
These are the building blocks of protein. They contain at least one amino group in their molecular structure.
There are over eighty known amino acids. [Amino group is chemically known as NH2. A nitrogen molecule joined by to two hydrogen molecules.]
Twenty amino acids occur frequently in the structure of protein. All amino acids are water soluble [which is handy for us anglers] and white crystalline solid’s. One of the simplest is Glyline
Ok, so how will this help you to catch more fish? Keep reading
The Gustatory responses to amino acids vary amongst different fish species. Carp have six possible receptor sites in their taste system.
3. L-GLUTAMIC ACID
5. L-ASPARTIC ACID *
6. BETAINE *
* Aspartic acid and Betaine enhance the responses to amino acids.
Remember that carp rarely encounter single pure stimuli.
Typically carp have a complex mixture of taste and smell.
However animal / fish extracts and mixtures of amino acids have been shown to attract carp by stimulating their senses. However individually components of these extracts & mixtures may be inactive or weak stimulants. It may well be likely that the stimulatory ability of mixtures is due to synergistic interaction among the components.
This is, very generally speaking, a 1+1=3 situation, where the combined effects of two amino acids is greater than the sum of the individual effects. It seems reasonable to conclude that a tailored mixture of amino acids will be effective at attracting carp.
Betaine is a non-toxic, natural physiological compound, also used in foodstuff
It is extracted mainly from sugar beet. High levels of betaine are found in
many of the natural prey animals of fish.
Being a bipolar molecule means betaine has both positive & negative
charge increasing water solubility.
Betaine also acts to enhance the responses to amino acids. From research
studies it also seems that betaine helps to maintain chemical balance &
metabolic activity in fish, as well as improving protein synthesis itself by
These studies are at a relatively early stage & not specific to
carp. However, it would not be totally unreasonable to conclude that betaine
is very likely to have a beneficial effect, biochemically & metabolically to
fish attracted to it & carp have certainly been shown to possess betaine
receptors from studies.
Ok in real terms adding this to your bait should help stimulate they
gustatory & olfactory organ, which is responsible for smell & taste. Also
betaine helps to enhance amino acid in your bait.
But adding betaine to your bait will not make you catch 100%, but it
This is another group of chemicals that have some role to play in chemoreception.
These consist of a nitrogenous base, a sugar and one [or more] phosphates.
Carp have the ability to detect nucleotides by their taste system.
In the research done very low quantities of chemicals are used.
Alanine has been used in 1/1000th dissolved in one litre of water, or 0.009% solution was used.
In some studies, as little as 0.000001grms dissolved in one litre of water was detected by fish.
There are other substances that promote arousal, search and ingestion, such as alcohol’s, ammonia, fatty acids and vitamin B12 and many others
But none of these seem to have as powerful an affect as amino acids; well there are the building blocks of protein [life]