Doughball is one of the most popular baits for carp in the United States. It also works for catfish and other species in America and other parts of the world. Although doughball is commonly made and used, a lot of people still wonder how they can keep doughball on their hook while fishing since the stuff has a tendency to fall off.
Just like the name says, doughball is a ball of dough. There are countless doughball recipes around, and you can even buy ready made doughball in stores and over the internet. There are some tricks to keeping doughball on the hook while still enticing fish. I’ve been carp fishing for years so I can tell you some of what I’ve learned.
Don’t be afraid to customize. If you buy doughball that was already made you can modify it as you see fit. If it’s too soft and runny just pour in something like cornmeal or wheat germ. If it’s too hard, mix in some water or liquid flavoring. Get the bait how you want it. Or just make it yourself. Boiling some water and adding things like in corn meal, flour and wheat germ usually works.
Don’t be afraid of making doughball that is too hard. Boilies are one of the most popular baits in the world for carp. Yet boilies can be quite hard. Carp are able to eat them thanks to the design of their mouths. They have a bit in the back that lets them crush tough food like snail shells. The carp’s mouth works for breaking boilies too.
So your doughball can’t technically be “too hard.” But it can be bad in other ways. The main thing to worry about is that your doughball might not leach any flavor or scent into the water. Carp seek out food largely by smell and taste. So you want your doughball to leave a trail of scent in the water. At the same time, you don’t want your bait to disintegrate as soon as it hits the water. Then the carp would find nothing but an empty hook next to a bunch of free bait to suck up.
Ways to keep doughball on the hook
One way to strike a good balance between baiting up the water and keeping bait on your hook is to use your doughball as a sort of “pack bait.” You put a different bait directly on your hook. You can use things like sweet corn or a piece of Corn Pops cereal. Then you pack a handful of doughball around the hook. The doughball will slough off in the water making a sort of chum pile, and your hook bait will be laying temptingly nearby. The carp smell the bait, come in and start eating, then suck up your hook bait.
Another option is to adopt specially made hooks. I’ve already talked about dip bait holders in a previous write up on dip bait for catfish. They might work for carp in a pinch but carp are typically a lot more suspicious than channel catfish. So a lighter hook hidden in the bait can catch more fish.
There are actually hooks made for fishing doughball around. They mainly seem to come from Asia. I haven’t seen or found many anywhere in the United States. They basically just have little coils or springs around the hook shank that gives the doughball more to stick to. And they work.