Angler's Mail features editor Richard Howard revisits how to prevent nuisance species from robbing your hookbait.


THERE seems to be more nuisance species around than ever nowadays whether it’s crayfish and mitten crabs or bait whittling silverfish or diving birds.

At this time of year fishing how you want to fish can be nigh on impossible. Here are six tips and tricks to get around the problem:

Arma mesh


Exactly what it says on the tin, this is a mesh armour made of nylon. You load a mesh tube with your hookbait whether it’s soft like meat or paste or firm like a pellet, you then tie it off like a PVA bag.

Simple to use it even comes with it’s own Arma Mesh system like a PVA system. The only difference is Arma Mesh doesn’t dissolve in water.

There’s different grades of Arma Mesh, available from Fox, for combating different nuisance options up to crayfish and eels.


Hardened boilies


Certain bait companies offer specially hardened hookbaits – boilies and dumbells in their range, to make it that little bit harder for bait robbing crayfish to whittle down. You fish them in a conventional way.




Plastic corn catches thousands of carp and other species every year and providing your rig isn’t tangled it’s always fishing for you.

It can never be whittled down, but you can still hook nuisance ‘silvers’ on it. Try fishing it on a long hair or offer a big mouthful like a popped-up corn stack to try and avoid them.

There’s a whole menu of artificial baits out there now like maggots, casters, boilies, pellets, bread and other particle options, thanks to companies like Enterprise Tackle.




If your water allows them, try ready-cooked tiger nuts. Several companies supply already prepared tiger nuts, in a tin.

Being that little bit tougher they’re pretty good for resisting the attentions of silverfish and crayfish. They’re a great carp bait. Just don’t put too many in your swim.


Shrink wrap


Extend the life of a pellet for carp and catfish by shrink wrapping it. There’s different sizes available from good specialist carp shops.

By shrink wrapping and encapsulating the rounded sides of a pellet, the ends are still left exposed to leak-off enough attraction to draw fish in. Check out Korda’s Super Wrap.




There are also bait cages out there which can be used to encapsulate baits so that nuisance fish and crayfish just can’t destroy them.

They can even be loaded up with paste allowing flavour and attraction to slowly leak out of the holes to encourage a pick up. You can rig them up hair rig style.