The HNV Theory, its baits, and what it means to us
HNV (High Nutritional Value) baits were pioneered by carp angler Fred Wilton in the 60’s. Fred Wilton had this theory that the normal baits being used at the time such as pastes made from cat and dog food were far from ideal. Fred theorised that all animals have a natural instinct to consume the most nutritionally beneficial foods, enabling them to firstly survive, and ultimately thrive and grow to their full potential. If he could provide the fish with a highly nutritious bait, and applied it in enough quantity to establish it as a food source, he could maximise catches. He made baits that contained high protein ingredients such as milk fractions, casein and calcium caseinate, to these milk proteins Fred then added vitamins and minerals and made it into a paste. The kicker to the theory was that these baits would be picked up and consumed in preference by the fish over lesser nutritional quality items of food and bait. Throughout the 60s and early 70s Fred and his close friends put his baits to amazingly good use, having some stunning catches from some difficult Kent waters. Following on from this paste revolution, Fred also developed a strategy to avoid 'nuisance' fish, and incorporated egg as a binder and started to boil his baits, the boilie was born!
That’s just a very brief outline of what Fred did back at the birth of boiled baits, and I thoroughly recommend you search out and read as much as you can about Freds theories and accomplishments. He's one of the true pioneers, that’s in no doubt, and all carp anglers owe him a beer!
So that was back at the start. Today bait science has moved on a long way, fish nutrition is much better understood and new compounds and ingredients are being tested and utilised all the time. However, Freds theory still holds true to this day, why? because its a basic fundamental of life that all organisms need to search out nutrients for their survival. We as humans find this hard to understand because we are today somewhat removed from our natural instincts through the way society has evolved. We are no longer wild animals who need to hunt and fight for our meals. Comparatively we can consume what we want, when we want it, so we have lost our instinct to 'hunt out' nutrition. Saying that, having been fortunate enough to become a father two years ago, watching how my daughter eats is very interesting. Having no exposure to society as we know it, in the early part of her life she operated purely on instinct, crying for mothers milk. She'd even turn her nose up at substitutes when offered.
In the animal kingdom the instinct to hunt out nutrition is much more obvious. Give my dog a bowl of scraps, and the first thing that gets eaten is the meat. Goats can be seen climbing sheer rock faces to consume minerals, a clear sign of what we should include on our baits were we to angle for goats!! The Koala bear eats Eucalyptus leaves, they hunt them out above all other food items, the Panda, Bamboo shoots and so on.
So you can see how it clearly makes sense that if you want a carp to eat a bait, the best option is to make that bait out of something in needs to eat. If your offering a 'complete package' of nutrition, why would the carp need to eat anything else? For us at Beechwood Baits this means using the very best quality ingredients at the very optimum levels to create the very best nutritional package possible to capitalise on these facts. We monitor a vast array of nutrients in our baits to ensure we are hitting the levels, post cooking, that we are aiming for.
A down side to all of this is that cramming all this goodness in can take up most of the space in your bait. So we use some clever ingredients that crossover roles and gain us maximum impact for their inclusion. We simply wont waste time, money or bait space on ingredients that don’t play an important role in the bait.
Thanks to advances, developments and our own research into fish nutrition we can now offer baits that not only tick all the HNV boxes, but we can also include extra feeding triggers and stimulator’s. The heart of a good quality HNV base mix will always be pumping out extremely good food signals, which links back to Freds theory’s, and today we can go even further and include a vast array of ingredients at our disposal to make even more effective baits.
For a more indepth look at HNV baits, check out Gav's blog 'HNV Uncovered'