The Link is Mainline’s new highly anticipated fishmeal boilie but what’s in it, how was it developed and is a shelf-life version on the horizon?
Our tackle editor Marc Coulson went straight to Mainline boss Kev Knight for the answers…
MC: Some anglers would say that it’s about time you had another fishmeal in the Mainline range, but why now?
KK: You’ve just said it yourself, mate. It’s come about purely through demand.
The Cell has been doing the business ever since its launch and shows no sign of slowing down in terms of success or sales, but there will always be an element of carp anglers who want an out-and-out fishmeal bait.
Some say that big carp prefer a fishmeal – how much truth there is in that I do not know – but enough anglers believe that to be the case. So, we simply answered their calls.
MC: Some have suggested that the launch is also in response to other baits on the market and the success they’ve enjoyed. Is there any truth in this?
KK: I think you know us well enough now, Marc, we do our own thing and to our own schedule.
We do not allow others to dictate our plans and development. At any given time there will be up to three or four test baits being used and reported back on by our team of anglers.
Only when we’re all happy with the final product will we launch it to the market, with very many prototype baits never seeing a shop shelf at all.
MC: So the time it’s taken to launch the bait, has that been purely down to fieldtesting time?
KK: That and the fact that the price of good-quality fishmeals has rocketed in recent years.
You can buy some very cheap fishmeals but they’re substandard and extremely inconsistent.
We weren’t going to even consider launch until we sourced the right fishmeals at the right price and in quantities that we can sustain the obvious demand for the bait, which has already proved phenomenal.
The results that all of our anglers have had in testing have been mind blowing, even rivaling the Cell in many cases.
When your fieldtesters are begging you for more of a certain bait then you know you’re on to a winner.
In fact, before we arrived at the final bait which you now see as the Link, we’ve had two or three versions come and go with the final bait being the culmination of nearly two years’ genuine testing and feedback.
MC: So without giving away any trade details, what’s in there?
KK: Haha! This is a great point as we’ve had lots of suggestion from people as to what the bait is based around.
It’s funny actually, as John Kneebone took a batch to Linear Fisheries and asked random anglers down there what they thought of it.
Very many of them tried to guess what the ingredients might be and there were some really varied attempts.
It’s one of those baits that many people struggle to put their finger on in terms of the aroma and even the taste, with many saying they recognise one ingredient or another.
Let me assure you though, there are plenty of different ingredients in there, all of which add to the overall profile, but the main base is the fishmeal, which is absolutely top quality.
MC: The age-old question of year-round use will doubtless crop up. Is the Link okay for winter as well as summer fishing?
KK: Yes, in a nutshell, because of the nature of the bait and the fishmeal we’ve used it is effective all year round.
It’s a funny one, really, as you hear all the time how fishmeals are less effective in cold conditions.
Yes, they naturally have more oil in than other baits but the slowdown is entirely down to the carp not eating as much in the winter as they do in summer.
Once they do feed in the winter though, they’ll gladly eat good-quality fishmeals. If you’re not sure, though, just use the Cell!
MC: Finally, what does the launch of the Link mean for your other baits? Are you dropping any from the range?
KK: You only need so many baits in any range, albeit some companies seem to want to bamboozle anglers with an array.
We’ve already streamlined the Mainline range over recent years, with New Grange being replaced recently, but the stalwart Activ-8, the Cell, Essential Cell and Hybrid still remain, in terms of freezer baits anyway.
I would add, however, that whenever we drop a bait from the range, we always continue to produce the base mixes and additives so you can roll your own or we can recommend a company to roll it for you.
MC: Actually, just one more on the subject of freezer baits – why do you not produce any of your headline acts in a shelf-life version?
KK: Okay, we’re asked this a hell of a lot and we are currently working on a system whereby we may be able to offer all of our baits in a shelf-life version for European anglers.
This is led largely by the logistics of supplying bait to such a wide area, with hundreds of miles often separating tackle shops, but also the style of European carp fishing.
The big inland seas with very different stocks lend themselves to the use of shelf-life baits far more than here at home. All I can say on this one is watch this space.
There’s no doubting that fresh is best, especially when pre-baiting and wanting carp in a captive environment to accept a bait as a good-quality food source – the types of situation we face in the UK.