Pop up mix from scratch

Something that is talked about lots but has never really been discussed is pop ups, now I don’t mean cork dust pop ups, cork balls, poly balls, microwaved or anything like that. The sort of pop ups that I mean are the ones that you buy off the shelf in your local tackle shop, as much as you search the internet you will not find instructions on making them.  Although it is going to be a touchy subject when people find out the ingredient that makes pop ups float, I have been asked more times than I can remember if I know how to make a pop up mix like the shops use.  The answer is yes and I just ask people to remember that this ingredient has been used in the making of pop ups for almost as long as pop ups have been around.

To be honest I don’t know why these instructions haven’t been released before after all people make their own base mixes using ingredients from the same companies that sell the pop ups. For example FeedStimulants sell their own pop up mix but they can sell you lactalbumin, acid casein, brocacel yeast, liquid betastim, Liquid Amino Compound sweet fruit and liquid bait preservative from their range which not only opens up your bait making but makes them better sales. (They have no problem with me pointing this out by the way)

So why is it such a taboo subject? Well there are a couple of reasons, firstly the companies that don’t sell ingredients as well would obviously prefer you to purchase their readymade pop ups (understandably) or pop up mixes but lets face it, people can be lazy and some people aren’t going to be bothering to make their own mixes which means there are enough customers for everyone.

The second reason is in my opinion the more important reason, the magic ingredient that makes pop ups can be very dangerous before it is mixed with other ingredients as it is easily airborne and if swallowed can cause major issues with your lungs.  When using this product you MUST ALWAYS wear gloves, a suitable face mask and protective goggles.  Having said that, if handled with care and responsibility there is no reason you should not be able to use this ingredient yourself. 

Okay so what is this magic ingredient?  Glass bubbles – also known as microspheres, microballoons, air balls, pixie dust and probably a few other names too.  They are actually a product designed for the building industry to make polymers, resins and and silicons lighter and easier to sand and make a smooth finish. The product is that small and light that it acts like water when it moves on its own.

The company that I use is Easy Composites Ltd and they do three different size packages which can be found here Glass Bubbles The quality of the glass bubbles from Easy Composites Ltd is very good and consistently produces good quality pop ups.

You can use glass bubbles at an inclusion rate of upto 20% for heavier mixes but I have found that an inclusion rate of 10% is usually perfect for making good quality pop ups. You can make pretty much any base mix into a pop up mix using glass bubbles but if you’re looking to make a more dedicated single hookbait pop up then my all time favourite recipe is…

25g Calcium Caseinate

20g Soya Flour

15g Lamlac

10g Glass Bubbles

10g Lactalbumin

10g Acid Casein

10g Brocacel Yeast

12g Whole Egg Powder

5g Egg Albumin

20ml Liquid Amino Compound Sweet Fruit

15ml Betastim

10ml Bait Preservative

5ml SuperStim

The final mix is a good basic pop up mix…

25g Calcium Casienate

25g Lactalbumin

20g Soya Isolate or Soya Flour

10g Acid Casein

10g Rennet Casein

10g Glass Bubbles

Making your pop ups is very easy, mix all of the dry ingredients together in an airtight container and set to one side.

Mix all of the wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and then slowly start to add the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl until you have a firm dough that is slightly damp but that doesn’t stick to your hands.

If you have a sausage gun and rolling table use these now otherwise, pinch small pieces off and roll them into balls in the palm of your hands.

In a large saucepan bring some water to the boil and boil your pop ups for 60-90 seconds or you can use a steamer and steam them for 10 minutes.

Drain them off and allow them to air dry for 5-7 days before putting them in pots. These should last a good 8-12 months but once a month add 2.5ml betastim and 2.5ml amino compound sweet fruit making sure you gently rotate the pot to ensure they all get coated to keep the attractors fresh.


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