Colin Mitchell, in his popular weekly general coarse fishing blog asks: is there a limit to the number of baits you should take on a session?

HERE’S a question for you: which is the best coarse fishing bait?

I will bet that most of you will go for pellets. But what would come next on your bait list?

Maggots, worms, sweetcorn, meat and bread are probably the next most popular baits, but not necessarily in that order.

So that begs another question: how many baits do you take with you when you go fishing?

If you take just one you either know your venue very, very well or you are simply happy to run the risk of fewer bites than if you had a bigger selection.

The first thing I get out of my bait fridge is still the good old maggot. Not as many as I used to take but there is always a pint, usually live ones and often a sealed plastic bag of dead ones too.


Worms are usually next. I am happy with a tub of hookers but happier if I also have a few extras for chopping. That’s why I keep a wormery ticking over at the bottom of the garden.

The reliable maggot will catch every freshwater fish that swims in our waters – and on the days that they don’t find chomping on a grub they will almost certainly take a worm. And you can’t beat chopped worms when you need to turn a swim on or try to revive one that has died a death.

So what’s next into my cooler bag? Usually meat or corn… depends on where and how I am fishing. I used to think these were mainly summer or warmer water baits but now know they work all year.

Corn will attract even in the depths of winter when the meat does fade a little. So that’s pushed bread and pellets right down my list…and probably unfairly.

PunchesBread is a vastly under-used bait. It catches in the very cold weather when nothing else does, either in punch or flake form, and it also deadly this time of the year as flake or as floating crust, where allowed. It’s cheap and you can also freeze unused bread for your next trip or even liquidise it for groundbait.

So pellet comes in at the end…well, not really!

Pellets have become a vital part of our armoury and my carryall always contains some micros and 4mm for feeding, plus two small sealed tubs that contain various 4, 6 and 8mm pellets for hookers. I’ll usually have small sealed pots of small boilies, soft pellets and pop-ups of some kind.

Nash Riser pellets-4

Do I use them all on every trip? Of course not!

I will always have at least three baits with me for every session, no matter what species I am after, as you just never know what the fish might fancy. After all… would you always fancy the grub that is put in front of you at meal times without being asked?

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