What are Carp Boilies - Pile of boilies on table

If you’re new to the carp fishing world, I can imagine you could be completely confused by the wide range of baits, rigs, approaches and tactics used to put carp in the net that is alien to other angling.

Carp are known for being challenging to catch, and one of the reasons is all of the baits and ways to use them you’ll need to learn.

One of the most common baits used by carp anglers is the boilie. When you first start learning how to catch carp and the baits they prefer, you better believe you should learn what boilies are.

In this post, I’m going to teach you all about carp boilies, what they’re made of, the types available and how you can use them in your carp fishing approach.

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  • What are Carp Boilies?

    Boilies are essential boiled balls of carp-attracting ingredients. 

    Modern-day boilies are usually made up fishmeals, milk proteins, bird foods, semolina, soya flour and added flavourings, oils and other carp attractants.

    If you walk into a tackle store today, you will be sure to find full shelves of carp fishing boilies all of the different sizes and flavouring ranging from fruity to meaty.

    All these ingredients are mixed and then rolled into balls before being boiled.

    The boiling process gives the bait a hard exterior shell that allows them to spend long amounts of time submerged underwater without breaking away from your rig.

    They also deter small nuisance fish from picking away at your bait as they struggle to break through the hard exterior coating and fit them within their small mouths.

    This is one of the main reasons boilies were developed and widely used in the UK during the late seventies as the modern carp fishing scene began to take off. 

    Around this time, new baits and rigs were being developed, including the hair rig, which is still widely used in modern-day carp angling.

    As word started to spread about this new fishing bait that seemed to put more fish in the net while avoiding nuisance fish the boilie started to become widespread and commercially produced across the country.

    As more people going involved in the hype, more experimentation took place with ingredients, additives, flavours, preservatives and sweeteners to make way for the large range of boilies we have today.

    Commercial fishery owners also noticed that carp seemed to grow at faster rates, with many anglers baiting with boilies and giving the fish the nutrition and energy they needed to grow.

    Types of Carp Boilies

    What are Carp Boilies - Mixture of boilies

    When it comes to the type of boilies used today, there are three main types. Each type is generally made up of similar ingredients and produced in a similar way, but each has its own use in certain fishing scenarios.

    Original Boilies

    The standard boilies sink and are used as a bottom bait to take advantage of the carp’s bottom feeding behaviour.

    These can also be used for pre-baiting areas or packing into PVA bags, spods, or even for throwing in around you swim. 

    They are often paired with method feeder rigs and PVA bag rigs.


    A pop-up boilie presentation allows the rig to sit slightly above the bottom of the waterway. The composition of the boilie is made to be more buoyant. The mix of the boilie is what makes it more buoyant. 

    One tactic that companies use is by mixing in cork dust which holds air and elevates the bait in the water column.

    There are a few instances where having a boilie not sit on the bottom can be very helpful. Deciding to use a pop-up does require a little bit of field research and prior knowledge but nothing that you can’t handle.

    The biggest is when you know the bottom is very dirty and silty. When there is no semi-solid bottom, the boilie can be lost in the muck and not visible to the carp. On that same note, many pop-ups are brightly coloured so they can be seen amidst the filth. Colours like white and yellow are quite popular.

    There are no hard and fast rules regarding which tactic must be used. Use your discretion in conjunction with your prior knowledge and pick a rig that will work best for you.


    Wafters provide the benefits of normal boilies and pop-ups to create an extremely highly attractive and robust hook bait.

    They are semi-buoyant to counteract the weight of the hook and sit slightly off of the bottom.

    When a carp comes along to investigate, they suck the bait into its mouth. Since a wafter is semi-buoyant, it will fly into the carp’s mouth quickly and hopefully allow your hook to set.

    Wafters also allow your hook to sit flat on the bottom with the bait “wafting” around above it to disguise the rig. 

    Does Colour Matter?

    What are carp boilies - different coloured boilies

    When selecting a boilie, you’ll find a massive range of colours on the shelves. This brings us to the question does what colour of boile you use really matter?

    The simple answer is, that the majority of coloured boilies will catch carp on their day, but the colour you choose could mean the difference of catching a lot of carp or not many a tall on a given day.

    A lot of experts, if they are baiting with one colour of boilie will fish with something brighter and more attractive so it stands out over the bed of bait.

    In the winter, it is also common ti find people fishing with really bright boilies as you typically won’t feed much at all. This means one sole bright sole boile can be enough to attract the fish if they are in the area.

    Although the colour of your boilie will matter, this can change from day to day. If you’re struggling to put any fish in the net then a change to a different colour could be enough to entice some fish to bite.

    Does Flavour Matter?

    Carp have a sense of smell that is thought to be thousands of times stronger than ours that they use to find food in the water.

    It’s then no surprise that the flavour of boilie can have a large impact on the fish that you catch.

    Carp investigate baits and often taste them by pulling them into their mouth before deciding if they’re going to consume to food or not.

    Pungent and strong flavours can help speed up this inquisitive process and have them investigate baits quicker.

    That being said, though, flavours also need to be paired with an effective and nutritious bait so the carp will enjoy eating it.

    Although flavours are a factor in your carp fishing, any strong and pungent flavour should do the job of bringing in fish.

    Flavours that are used in our confectionary industry seem to work well for carp. These flavours are usually sweet.

    Also, flavours used in the pet food industry, such as fishy and meaty also work really well for carp.

    How to Use Boilies?

    Over time, there have been a lot of advancements in terms of equipment and strategies for catching carp. We see this a lot with the boilies as we have already discussed. One area where this is very present is the rig on which the boilie is situated.

    How you present, the bait is super important. This is why we are rounding out this guide on what boiles are with a few of the rigs that can be used. In some ways, this is the most important aspect of boilie fishing. So, here are a few of the best rigs for boilies.

    The Ronnie Rig

    First off, we have the Ronnie Rig. This is also known as the spinner rig because there is a 360-degree rig that gives the rig the ability to swivel. This swivel is really important because the boilie will freely rotate. This causes a natural look and will lead to more hookups than when the carp can tell something is up.

    This rotation effect also allows for a far better hookset. When that boilie can move, you are disguising the hook at the same time that it is in a perfect position to hook into the lip.

    This all being considered, it is important to know that there is some maintenance required. You need that swivel to be 100% effective and the hook to be in the correct spot. Every so often, you will have to adjust the rig and make sure it is set up to work correctly.

    The Chod rig

    What are carp boilies - man holding chod

    Also known as the Choddy, the Chod Rig is super popular amongst carp anglers, especially when using boilies. This is the exact rig to use when you know the bottom of the waterway is silty, dirty, or full of weeds. This is because the Chod Rig pairs your boilie with a hook that has improved buoyancy. So, it slightly lifts off of the bottom and gives it a more present action.

    This setup is quite similar to the Ronnie Rig in the fact that it has a 360-degree rotation aspect. This is a great perk for the same reasons at the Ronnie Rig.

    The Snowman Rig

    What are carp boilies - Man holding snow man rig with liquid

    Although there are many more rigs that can be used with boilies, the final on our list is the Snowman Rig. This rig combines the traditional boilie with a pop-up all on the same thread. This adds an extra ounce of visibility.

    You can play around with the thread length and colours of the boilies as you see fit. So, use this rig in really dirty, mucky water to yield the best results.

    That’s All

    I’m assuming you ended up on this page as you are new to the carp fishing world and wanted to find out what boiles were. You should now have a basic understanding of this bait and why it can be so success for catching carp.

    The variants of the boilie you can buy may seem endless, and it’s up to you to try some of the stand-out brands, flavours and colours to work out what seems to work out best for you.

    If you have questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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