Trout anglers have long known that one of the secrets to really great trout fishing lies with bait. There are many mass produced commercial trout baits on the market, however, most of these have a few basic ingredients in common. When you get down to it, trout love cheese, garlic and anise oil. Specifically, Velveeta cheese, garlic salt, the enticing liquorice scent of anise oil simply drive trout wild.
Start with one pound of Kraft Velveeta cheese. There are several things about this cheese which make it so enticing for bait. The scent of Velveeta acts as a very potent attractant on its own as in comparison to other cheeses. Velveeta also has great staying power on the hook because it does not easily fall apart and is very pliable. Place the cheese in a microwave safe bowl and heat it until it is melted.
Add the remainder of the ingredients. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 cup of all purpose flour, 3/4 cup corn meal, 1 tbsp of garlic salt and 1 tbsp of anise oil. The water will help incorporate the corn meal and flour into the cheese mixture. You may want to combine the water, flour and corn meal separately prior to incorporating with the melted Velveeta. Before deciding to opt for garlic powder rather than garlic salt, keep in mind that by doing so will certainly change the balance of scents and taste of the bait. Anise oil is a very potent liquorice scent and a little goes a long way. Start with the recommendation and go from there. Remember, in this case it is easier to add more than to take away or add additional ingredients to balance. When working with melted Velveeta there is a fair window of time before the cheese resets.
The addition of food colouring is completely optional. Many commercially-produced baits incorporate the use of colourings as part of the attractant. Light reds and pinks are traditional favourites. There is much debate as to the colour spectrum observed by trout. Keep in mind that for darker red, more colouring should be added and vice versa. This is the point to add colouring if desired.
Place a pan or pot on a stove with water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. With a spoon, dip out a portion of the bait. Form the bait into a ball in your hand and carefully drop the bait ball into the boiling water. An ideal size is that of a salmon egg. This is about 1/2-inch or so prior to cooking. You will want to monitor the process closely and even try one bait ball as a test. Keep in mind that as you add more bait to the pot, the cooking time may be increased. At most, you should expect to let each bait ball boil for around two minutes or so. When done, remove the bait and place on paper towels to completely drain and dry them.
Keep in mind that this is your bait. The truly great thing about making your own trout baits is the ability to customise. From colour to scent, you can custom tailor your own baits for a variety of situations. This is also a great way to get kids involved in fishing as it presents a unique opportunity to learn and understand what attracts trout and how they feed.
Remember that anything you put in the water should be natural and safe and should in no way present a danger to the environment or fish. Also keep in mind that some managed streams or ponds may have regulations regarding homemade baits and the use of certain additives including anise oil. Please read, understand and obey all local fishing regulations.