Shelf life baits are known to last longer than fresh baits, but they don’t last for ever. This begs the question; how long do shelf life boilies last?
The truth is, there is no set answer for all shelf life boilies on the market. Though typically they will be marked with a manufacturers use-by date which will last around 12 months.
But should you take notice of this and can you extend it even further?
Let’s find out more.
What makes shelf life baits last so long?
Shelf life boilies usually contain preservatives and are dried in a way that allows them to last long in their packaging.
This is in complete contrast to frozen boilies, which contain no preservatives at all. As soon as you thaw freezer baits, they begin to go off within a couple of days.
On the other hand, if shelf life boilies are stored correctly, in an environment away from direct sunlight, they can last for well over a year.
Like most preserved foods, they don’t last forever though, and there is always a point at which they begin to lose their attraction and nutritional value.
That’s why carp bait companies add use-by dates. Just like high street food manufacturers add use-by dates to items such as jam and peanut butter.
How long do shelf life boilies last once opened?
Once opened, you should use them within 12 months, considering that you have been able to reseal them and keep them in a dark, dry environment.
If you’re out on the bank in hot weather for a week’s fishing, you may begin to see them lose their freshness in smell and texture.
Luckily, most brands now offer resealable bags to ensure you can keep your boilies fresh for as long as possible.
Quality, resealable packaging was a consideration for any of the baits we featured on our recent guide to the best shelf life boilies. Most anglers buy shelf life due to their longer lasting nature, and good resealable packaging definitely helps them go the distance.
Should you take notice of boilie use-by dates?
With the ever increasing price of boilies going up, they are far from considered as a cheap carp bait. With that in mind, it can be tempting to ignore such use-by dates on labels.
Put simply, it all comes down to personal choice.
Bait choice and freshness should be considered as a major part of your angling approach in my opinion.
Carp know what’s good for them. And like most things in carp fishing, it’s all about stacking the odds in your favour. If that means ditching some baits on the edge of stale and restocking, then so be it.
Your choice of bait becomes even more important when it comes to longer campaign fishing and pre baiting, where you may be trying to get carp to become accustomed to boilies as an everyday food source.
If you’re putting in so much effort, you’re going to want to make sure you’re using fresh bait that carp will want to return to.
Can you make shelf life boilies last longer?
Technically, you can’t make them last longer than their stated use-by date.
However, you can improve their attractiveness out of the packet using a variety of methods, including:
- Glugging the baits in their matching food liquid, allowing them to soak up more of the flavour
- Dusting baits in matching stick mixes to give them a thin outer coating that disperses in the water
- Soaking boilies in lake water to make them softer and easier for carp to digest
The concept of soaking boilies is probably most important with shelf life boilies. Due to being preserved, they are generally a little tougher than their frozen counterparts.
With that in mind, it’s worth giving them some time to soak. This will make them softer and easier for carp to digest.
Why do some venues ban shelf life boilies?
Venues that ban shelf life boilies typically do so to protect their carp. By limiting boilies to just freezer versions, the venue can basically ensure that a higher quality of food is being digested by their carp.
With anglers using so many boilies as free offerings, lakes have become known to be overfed with shelf life boilies. The result is then hundreds of baits left rotting on the bottom of the lakebed, further decreasing the quality of the water.
There have been dives done on popular day ticket lakes in the UK where they have discovered plenty of ‘off’ shelf life boilies littering the lakebed. – Something to consider when you make your choice between shelf life and freezer baits.
About the writer
I’m Rob, Carp Squad’s main contributor. I’ve been carp fishing on and off for 15 years, but the bug is well and truly back at the moment. Hopefully the articles I write on here help you put more carp on the bank.