WELCOME to the Sunday blog on this new-look Angler’s Mail website.
Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.
For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.
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MY QUEST FOR MAGIC FISHING BAITS IS STILL GOING ON!
MANY anglers go in search of the Holy Grail of fishing – the secret bait that will catch everything that swims, even when fish aren’t hungry.
Of course, no such thing exists. Or does it? Well right time, right bait, right place and of course you could hit the jackpot.
I’d never really thought about the superbait theory until I was introduced to continental groundbaits years ago. I’d read and been told about how the French were masters or the right mix for certain species but didn’t investigate
Then I got the chance to see the first Van den Eynde baits, before they were even available in England. The smell of these even made me want to feed, never mind the fish.
Then I had a trip to the factory that was actually at the late Marcel van den Eynde’s house in Belgium. You went through his front door to get into the place!
The world changed! It got even better – or should that be more mysterious – when I saw the ingredients. I swear there were currant buns going into the giant skips, or maybe it was just the magic aromas playing havoc with my senses!
A trip to the Sensas factory in France and a few fishing trips with their France international Jean Desque had the brain cells working overtime about baits, additives, smells and groundbaits. The superbait had to exist!
Former World Champion Ian Heaps and I went off to Germany for a big match on the mighty River Weser and a canal-like venue. We knew there were bream, roach and some big barbel. We were still learning about additives… a point to remember here!
Anyway, Heapsy and I had a practise and struggled on this canal-like very slow moving river. Struggled? We couldn’t buy a bite!
A trip to the local tackle shop was in order to relieve the boredom and get a few bits and pieces. The chat got around to fishing and from under the counter the tackle dealer gave us a little plastic container with a red lid containing some powder-like substance that contained different coloured very small grains of… well, something!
It smelt nice but he warned us not to taste the stuff as it was very strong. There was a hint of bubble gum smell and we were told the bream would love it. Yeah, we’d heard it all before…
Heapsy never gives up easily so we went back to the bank, knocked up some groundbait, sprinkled a bit of our new additive into it, lobbed in a few balls and started fishing.
You’ve guessed by now… the bream arrived, almost instantly. The swims became Slab City! We had to go back to the shop and convince the guy to sell us a lot more of this stuff.
Needless to say that next day we were ready for the match – and our super additive just didn’t do the business! We caught, but nowhere near like the previous day.
Back home in England, years later, a tackle dealer from Leeds called Jack Bryan started bagging up big time on the Trent using the feeder and a wonder additive, called… Red Cap!
My old mate Dave Coster is another angler who is always thinking about baits, presentation, tackle and fishing in general and comes up with great ideas.
So when he told me about a groundbait he’d discovered that caught loads of skimmer bream, I just had to listen. In fact I bought some from the tackle shop he ran at the time.
Armed with my Amorce X21 I entered a match that weekend and picked up money – with skimmers! No big surprise as the venue held the species and they often earned prizes.
Next up a trip to the Kennet and Avon Canal for a match, a venue that does hold skimmers, but not where I drew! A few roach and little else was what I was told to expect.
When the scales arrived at the end of the five hours I was asked what I had and said about 8lb of skimmers. The knowing smiles on the other anglers’ faces said it all: ‘this guy is bonkers, there are no skimmers here.’
Ok, so I got it wrong… I had 10lb of skimmers and there were rather a lot of stunned anglers about. Including me!
Meanwhile, I recently decided to try and come up with something new myself. Hence the birth of the Mitchell Mini boilie, vanilla-flavoured!
I wanted something that looked a bit like sweetcorn, offered something a slightly different, was more robust to fend off smaller fish and could be a real catcher.
Semolina, egg, water, few drops of vanilla essence, roll to size of corn but leave a big ragged and in different shapes, boil up as normal.
Did they work? A tench first chuck followed by more and a few crucians. They are so good I could eat them myself.
COLIN MITCHELL’S NEXT BLOG WILL APPEAR ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 26.
MONDAY: Carp crews on rotation – Korda, Fox, Nash and ACE.
TUESDAY: Steve Collett, Mail contributor and ultimate all-rounder.
WEDNESDAY: Angler’s Mail HQ – yes, us!
THURSDAY: Specialists from Pike Anglers Club, Korum and Pallatrax, on rotation
FRIDAY: Carl & Alex, Angler’s Mail juniors and video diary makers.
SATURDAY: The Angling Trust – guys at the governing body.
SUNDAY: Colin Mitchell, veteran coarse angler and top journalist