Colin Mitchell, in his popular weekly general coarse fishing blog tries mixing it up with his choice of fishing baits.

JUST call me Colin ‘Einstein’ Mitchell. Or maybe not…

Ok, I am by no means as smart as those guys but sometimes you feel like you are when a plan comes together. Remember fishing is all about being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing.

There are no hard and fast rules – far from it, because fishing changes from day to day and even hour to hour. The secret is to learn from experience and put those experiences to good use… or even experiment a little bit!

So in recent weeks I’ve been trying out a few little things I’ve not done before or just adjusting a few old tricks to see if they will work.

Now I have always been a believer in nice big, fresh, wriggling red maggots but as regular readers will know I’m starting to be a bit of a convert to dead red maggots.


Initially the plan was that these deads helped me to avoid smaller fish when targeting larger specimens.

Last week they proved to be a life saver to catch anything when all else failed…I couldn’t actually get a bit on fresh live reds or even my own trusty muck heap worms. But two or three dead reds on the hook brought me every single fish I caught during a nice session for carp and bream – plus a few roach and skimmers which took a liking to the bait too.

Cramming on the maggots

Now when those small fish take a liking to maggots dead or alive here’s another little trick I’ve tried – cramming as many maggots as possible onto the hook.

I know that we are always taught to nick the maggots at the fat end – but try hooking them carefully through the thin end and you will be able to cram even more grubs onto the hook! It works…

Now what if you aren’t sure what to put on the hook, what might bring you a bite or a fish? Well if you are fishing a bait on the hair why not make it a cocktail (as in the main image at the top of this blog)? You can get more than one bait on the hair – or you can even put something on the actual hook!

Yes, I know in some cases you want the hook left bare to give you more hooking power, but if you have a mini boilie on the hair where’s the harm in putting a couple of dead maggots on the hook? That brings us nicely to what should you feed…

 A carp that took a liking to single corn fished over a bed of micro and 4mm pellets with just half a dozen grains of corn mixed into the feed.

A carp that took a liking to single corn fished over a bed of micro and 4mm pellets with just half a dozen grains of corn mixed into the feed.


Quite often I like to feed one bait and fish another over the top so that my hook offering stands out.

Having experimented with this big time I now feel that you must include at least some hook offerings amongst your loose feed if you want to make the most of your swim.

Pellets are usually the first choice feeder now, often with a bit of groundbait. But I also like to add casters where they could just bring better results and there’s no harm including a bit of chopped worm which nearly always acts as a bit of a trigger (it didn’t last week on that dead maggot day!)

Mixed sizes of pellets in my mix

I don’t just feed one size of pellet either. I like micros because the fish have to work hard to mop them all up and they are not quite so filling but I will also include a few 4mm offerings as a bit of teaser if the fish get sick of just small nibbles.

Now when you feed at this time of the year when waters are starting to warm up you can often get fish fizzing in your swim. It can be a sign that they are preoccupied with what you have fed and are rooting around in the debris on the bottom to find more grub.

Or it could be you have fed too much and got too many fish in your swim. This can lead to foul hookers, line bites and not many properly hooked fish.

Locating tench can be easier than other species as those fizzing bubbles are a real giveaway.

So what can you do when they’re fizzing?

There are two things that quite often work for fizzers…The first is a nice big fat juicy worm that stands out from everything else and if you think about it won’t look out of place as the fis have been rooting in the bottom mud.

The other thing to try is to get your bait off the bottom by six inches to a foot and suspend it above the fishes’ heads. I know that sounds wrong but it means you shouldn’t get foulhookers or line bites and it is something that often works. Just because you have read that about the ‘right’ way of doing something don’t be afraid to try something a little off-beat yourself.

It might just work…

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