Shelf Life vs Freezer Bait: Which Should You Use?


January 2nd, 2023



Written by

Rob Warburton

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shelf life vs freezer baits 1920w

When it comes to choosing between shelf life boilies and freezer baits, many anglers have debated and discussed which one is better. 

Old school anglers often swear by freezer baits, claiming they are superior to shelf life bait. Back in the day this may well have been the case, with the lack of quality ingredients available to bait manufacturers.

But as time has moved on, shelf life boilies have improved tenfold, and the truth is, there is no longer a huge difference between the two.

What’s the difference between shelf life and freezer baits?

Shelf life bait is almost identical to freezer bait, with the exception that a small amount of egg content is replaced with a food grade preservative.

The preservative in shelf life bait counteracts the active ingredients within the bait, preventing it from turning or going off. Similar to canned food that you buy from the supermarket, shelf life bait can last for years unopened.

On the other hand, freezer bait, if left out, will eventually turn and go off due to the active ingredients reacting.

You’ll also notice a difference in consistency. Shelf life boilies tend to be harder than freezer baits. With that in mind, you may want to look at how you prepare them for your sessions.

I always prefer a softer bait so regardless of whether I’m using shelf life or freezer baits, I’ll soak them for a few hours ahead of a session so that they can be mulched up in spod mixes.

The only time I won’t soak baits is when I know I’ll be baiting up with a throwing stick, as in this case you want the baits to have a solid consistency so that they fly through the air without breaking. – Shelf life baits are great for that.

Which are more effective?

Both shelf life and freezer baits are equally effective in their own way.

Some anglers prefer the active ingredients in freezer bait, allowing them to ‘turn’ slightly and release the natural sugars within the bait.

This has its obvious advantages of boosting attractiveness, but along with that you’re probably committing yourself to using all of that bait during a session, as it can’t be saved.

Shelf life baits rely more on water to activate the baits by becoming porous and then leaking food signals into the water. Obviously, we try to improve this breakdown time by steaming our boilies and double-dusting them, but shelf life baits always take a little longer than freezer baits to become porous.

Looking at the Parker Baits catch reports for both the OG Fish & OG Fruit & Nut, both shelf life and freezer baits produce consistent results. It would be impossible to say which one is more effective. In my opinion, the two are so close now that the reasons why you would choose one over the other are down to practicality.

So, why would you choose one over the other? (shelf life vs. freezer baits)

To make it simple, here are some reasons why you may choose shelf life bits or frozen boilies:

Choose shelf life if…

  • You don’t have freezer space
  • You only use small quantities of boilies, or fish short sessions where you’re not sure how many you would use
  • You need harder baits for baiting up with a throwing stick
  • Your sessions are not planned in advance so you would benefit from just being able to grab a bag and go.

Choose freezer baits if…

  • You want the absolute freshest bait in the game, every session
  • You like softer boilies for the winter months
  • You have the time ahead of sessions to prep them. (Removing from the freezer, thawing and rehydrating)
  • You don’t fish really long sessions where it may be tough to keep freezer baits staying fresh.


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