Angler's Mail pleasure fishing blogger Colin Mitchell looks closely at baits. Which ones do you use?
THERE was a time when just one bait went with me on fishing trips.
Maggots were the sole offering in my bait box – unless of course I was pike fishing!
They were nearly always white grubs before bronze maggots became the vogue and we went to school with hands that looked like we had been smoking 100 cigarettes a day over the weekend.
All that changed with the cancer scare linked to some bait dyes and then there was the advent of red maggots, something that developed from a bit of a craze on mainland Europe.
It didn’t take me long to realise that worms were also a very important bait, one in fact that you should never be without.
Bread, luncheon meat…the list then grew quite rapidly. And in more recent years we’ve all been engrossed in the pellet revolution.
But has the pellet led to us forgetting there are other baits that can be equally effective – and sometimes even more deadly?
Pellets in all shapes, sizes and flavours are now a vital part of an angler’s bait armoury. But it’s also time that many fishermen started to realise that fish fancy a change of food just like us humans.
In recent weeks during our travels my fishing partner and I have found that we’ve gone from corn through meat to pellets and now to paste. The change in fish’s feeding habits have been very noticeable.
There’s no doubt that paste has scored exceptionally well – as usual – during the warmer weather. If the heat dies off in the coming weeks this bait’s effectiveness will also wane.
Don’t forget cheese…please!
There are already a number of alternatives that I have mentioned above but I have deliberately missed one off the list up to now. Guessed what it is before you read below?
Cheese. How many times have you used a bit of Cheddar or one of its mates in the past few years? If at all!
It’s become one of the forgotten baits of our time, often used now by a few specialists who turn it into their own pastes, often for chub.
But other species also love cheese (that’s if they get a chance to nosh it, should it not end up down my throat!).
On those venues where many ‘normal’ carp baits are no longer effective, cheese in some form could be a great attractor.
Cubes, paste, ragged pieces…give them a go. Cheese can be manipulated to fit like a paste around a pellet. It also has the advantage of staying on the hook a bit more.
Mould it around your hook – or a pellet on the hook – and then just drop it into the edge of the lake or river for a time. The cold water makes the cheese go a bit harder to aid your casting.
Try to think a little outside of the box too: how about a bit of grated cheese or some Parmesan sprinkled into your groundbait? Or little bits of cheese sandwiched between groundbait in an open-ended feeder?
Hidden bait treasures on supermarket shelves
Lots of anglers scour supermarket shelves now in search of something that could just give them an edge and lure a few more fish.
Tinned fish has become an interesting additive to groundbaits for many species and I know lots of guys who use various natural spices in their mixes or home-made boilies.
One for you to watch out for which has been good recently – meatballs, direct from a can, swimming in lovely gravy that mimics a boilie dip!
I’ve located a few other potential baits that I am going to try in coming weeks. They are well different, I know they are safe for fish because I have checked and – providing they work – I will let you in on the new ideas.
Meanwhile, if you’ve caught on something a bit different, even if you know it was a fluke catch, let us know!