Of all of the very many bait additives I have experimented with over the years, corn steep liquor (CSL) has proved to be one of the most successful and it was one of the key additives I used during what proved to be my most successful couple of winters’ barbel fishing back in the days when I was young(er) and keen(er).

It became apparent during a period of very intense fishing and experimentation that some makes of CSL tasted very different to others; some were so ‘vinegary’ as to make your eyes water, others were so full of natural sugars you could get a carb rush just breathing in the fumes and yet others were somewhere in between. It seemed to me to depend less upon the original source of the CSL but more upon what the bait company added to their particular variant – although there is variability in the production of CSL by the very nature of the manufacturing process.

I used all of them to soak the PVA bags of low oil pellets I was using at the time and I had fish on all of them but some were far better than others. It was also very apparent that the results I had on CSL soaked pellets were much better than when I didn’t soak the pellets.

I know through reading the FM forum pages that there are some who are very sceptical about the effectiveness of bait additives and enhancers; I am not. Correct and effective use of the right additives and enhancers WILL catch you more fish, especially when the going is tough.

I’ll go further than that and say there are some additives and enhancers that are so good they ‘almost’ rival location in terms of their importance – and here I am primarily talking river fishing for barbel and chub; although I can think of a few key additives for stillwater roach, bream and catfish I would not like to fish without too.

Bait-Tech CSLOK back to the CSL – it is not one of the additives which is right at the very top of the pile in my book but it is well up there and is certainly one of the key enhancers that will make a significant difference to your results.

What is it? Well, basically it is a slightly acidic, high-protein, high-energy by-product of the wet milling of corn and maize with significant importance as a liquid feed additive for animals. Agriculturally it is widely used in liquid form as a pig, and ruminant feed and as a binding or pelleting agent in other animal feeds, poultry for example . Chemically it is a mixture of soluble protein, organic acids, carbohydrates – especially dextrose, vitamins – including the B-complex and minerals – particularly phosphorus, potassium – and the nitrogen fraction is high in free amino acids. Oh and yes, fish just LOVE it, some more than others admittedly but they love it.

The Bait-Tech ‘Super Soak’ CSL range includes a ‘natural’, as well as tuna, pineapple and chilli variants; the latter having a nice, fiery taste as a background the tuna being discernible but mostly subtle and the pineapple a little more to the fore. The taste is on the sharp side of sweet but my palate did pick up plenty of natural sugars as a background note.

It is supplied in screw-top litre bottles and has a multitude of uses from soaking pellets and particles to mixing into groundbaits and method mixes, adding to spod mixes etc. In respect of soaking PVA bags of pellets and particles the Bait-Tech labelling points out that CSL does naturally contain an element of water and advises caution but I never had a problem and is, anyway, easily overcome by a bit of salt and shake.

Expect to pay around £4.99 per bottle from all Bait-Tech stockists.