What is groundbait - Carp Bait mix and slingshot

Groundbait really can be a game changer when it comes to coarse fishing and improving catch rates. That being said I’m sure you will still hear many beginners asking what is groundbait? Well in simple terms’ groundbait is used to attract fish into your swim and towards your hook bait.

Groundbait is made from a selection of natural ingredients that will either break down soon after hitting the water or sink to the bottom where it breaks up for bottom feeding fish with the hope the fish will find your hook bait.

All groundbait mixes are different depending on the brand with companies producing different flavours, colours and types, some working better than others.
The vast choice of groundbaits can make choosing a suitable bag a little challenging and confusing for you beginners. The first thing you’ll want to do before buying a supply of groundbait is to acknowledge the type of fishing you are going to be using it for.

If you are looking to catch big commercial carp the groundbait mix you opt for will be far different from the mix anglers will use for targeting silvers. There are many other factors that influence what groundbait you should be using but don’t worry after reading this post you’ll know all about it.

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  • Types of groundbait

    I’m sure the first step before bringing groundbait into your fishing sessions is to understand the many different types and the advantages they bring.

    The vast selection of ground baits can make it difficult to pick one with the most effective mix of ingredients so it can really pay to know what you are looking for and get the most for your money and hopefully catch plenty of fish in the process.

    Unfortunately most groundbait mixes won’t actually have a full ingredients list printed on the back in an attempt to keep their mix a secret but most will atleast have the main ingredients outlined.


    Fishmeal ground baits are literally made from crushed dried fish carcass, disgusting I know. That being said though fish seem to love it and it is most likely the most common ingredient in groundbait today. Fish meal sits on the bottom and is great for attracting carp, bream and tench.

    As fishmeal groundbait piles up on the bottom it releases plenty of scent that attracts hungry fish. Although fishmeal is inactive in the water and fails to provide any fizzing action for added attraction it seems to make up for this with its scent. Fishmeal groundbait is great as a base ingredient for groundbait but some added ingredients can go a long but they will come further on.


    As well as sweetcorn proving as an excellent hook bait for carp and other coarse fish ground sweetcorn also works extremely well in groundbait mixes.

    Sweetcorn ground is incredibly groundbait and does the job of attracting carp and other fish that are swimming in the area.

    Adding whole sweetcorn can also be an extremely effective method of providing some added attraction and if you really want to go all out died sweetcorn could prove even better. Sweetcorn ground baits aren’t’t all that popular in the UK but across Europe they are used widely with great success so why not try something new?


    Crumb groundbait is one of the original ground baits and has been around for a long time. Crumb groundbait comes in either white or dark as it is basically ground bread.

    Crumb mix is one of the cheapest ground baits you can buy and is great for bulking out more expensive mixes which will make them last a lot longer without taking away too much of their quality. If your looking for the basics with nothing fancy then crumb is the answer.

    Crumb groundbait is also great for using as a base if you plan on making your own mix and save some cash.


    Hemp is an ingredient that is commonly added to ground baits to make them more “active”. This gives the mix an almost fizzing action in the water.

    Depending on the venue hemp in your groundbait mix could prove for a good day of fishing. Hemp ground baits can be great for catching species that feeder higher in the water but not so good for bottom dwellers such as carp.


    As you’d expect method groundbait mixes are aimed at anglers fishing the method feeder. This type of ground bait is quite dense and almost sticky to ensure it moulds and sticks to your feeder and doesn’t fly off during a long cast.

    When using groundbait for method feeders it is even more important that you mix it correctly so it sticks to your feeder as it sinks to the bottom before it starts to break away from the feeder. If you are fishing method groundbait it can be good practice to add some micro pellets to your mix for the best of both.


    River groundbait as you would expect is designed to be used in flowing water. If groundbait aimed at commercial lakes was used the mix would most likely breaks up very quickly leaving a pretty useless result.

    The groundbait would be flushed away almost immediately before it has time to settle on the bottom. So to stop this from happening river groundbait is usually more dense and even stickier than method mix. This allows the mix to sink to the river bed before it starts to break up.

    Spices, vegetable matter and crushed seeds

    Variations of these ingredients are quite common in modern ground baits. They added to increase the scent given off by the mixture in the hope of attracting more fish to your swim. They are also added as cheap method of bulking out mixes.

    Does colour matter?

    The bottom line is yes colour does matter to a certain extent. What time of year you are fishing and the clarity of the water should determine what colour of groundbait you should opt for. With a little bit of knowledge on groundbait colours you could increase your catch rate massively and really its pretty simple.


    Brown ground baits are the most common and a safe choice if you are unsure. These ground baits blend with the bottom of lakes and provide the most natural looking feeding area for all species of fish.

    Smaller fish will feel far more comfortable feeding over brown groundbait so they don’t stand out from predators swimming above. Brown ground baits create a patch releasing scent without the vibrant colour that could deter shy fish. Brown ground baits can work well anytime of year.


    Red ground baits are extremely vibrant and bright in the water and give the fish a spot that can look visually appealing. I’d definitely not recommend a bright groundbait on natural venues but they do have a place for commercial fisheries where the water is packed with fish all hungry and competing for food.

    Red groundbait tends to work best in the warmer months when the fish are most active and is good for carp and tench.


    Green groundbait is a good choice as it is a natural colour that the fish will feel comfortable feeding over. A common ingredient in green groundbait is betain which is added to stimulate fish appetites.

    This can also make green groundbait a great colour for targeting commercial carp hoping to encourage the abundance of hungry carp to feed and stay in your swim.


    Black ground baits are pretty uncommon but they do provide a few benefits. The main reason for choosing a black groundbait is if you are going to be fishing a natural venue. It creates a black patch on the bottom that fish will feel comfortable feeding over especially in the winter months when the water is clearer and their is less colour.

    Mixing groundbait

    Mixing groundbait to the correct consistency really is the key and can be challenging for beginner carp anglers with little to no knowledge.

    If you groundbait is too wet it will fail to break down effectively so no clouds will be created in the water and the fish will find it difficult to feed on if it is still clumped into a ball.

    On the other hand if your groundbait is too dry it can cause it to breaks up mid-flight into the water which will cause it to spread out make it almost completely useless to your fishing efforts.

    The best way to explain how to mix the perfect groundbait is to show so have a watch at the video and make sure to follow the steps closely to maximise your chances of catching.

    YouTube video

    That’s it!

    Groundbait can be a great addition to any fishing session but make sure you are choosing the correct one for the job to maximise your chances of catching fish. In simple terms’ groundbait is a mixing of ingredients that is used to attract certain types of coarse fish into your swim giving you the chance to catch them.

    All ground baits will tell you on the bag what type of fishing they are best used for so really you can’t go wrong but its good to have a little understanding behind why you are using them so I hope this post was beneficial.


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