IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. 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. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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DIFFERENT baits become more effective during the season.

At this time of the year it’s usually pellets and paste that start to score exceptionally well. Add another to the list of baits you should carry in your box for the next few weeks at least – meat!

For the past fortnight meat has outscored every bait I and my fishing partner have used on a multitude of fisheries. It’s caught when the tried and usually trusted baits have failed and it’s also regularly out-fished other offerings. We’ve used all sorts from normal luncheon meat through Spam to a really wicked variety with added garlic.

I know many anglers, particularly those after barbel, have their own favourite brands and flavours of meat. I look for meat with a bit of fat – not too much, as we wouldn’t eat really fatty meant. But that fat does give off attraction! Also look for one that has a stringy-type texture. I’d tell you to get Spam but to be honest there never appears to be consistency in any of these products. It’s down to what you find is good and a lot of the time that means supermarket own brands (which have the added bonus of being a cheap bait). You can hair-rig bits of meat; cut it into cubes or tear off irregular shapes. All work at various times.

But recently I have found that punched meat works a treat. You can use a cheap purpose-made punch (mine are made by Middy and are cheap, effective, offers me three punch sizes and is smart into the bargain). You can punch out a short piece of cylindrical-shaped meat or a longer section… dissect to the length you need. I reckon that by punching out bits the size of various pellets you have a better chance of catching.

Fish know what a pellet looks like so they get interested. The ‘new’ texture and flavour gives you an edge – until everyone else gets on the method! The bonus with these ‘pellets’ is that you can actually hook them. If you leave them exposed to the air for a short time they develop a skin that further aids casting. This is quicker than using a hair; less fiddly and just as effective providing you match your hook to the size of the bait.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to use a very small hook. A 14 is about right for most of these ‘pellet’ shapes. You can bury most of the hook but leave enough exposed to aid hooking. Feed pellets or groundbait as you would normally, maybe with a few bits of mashed up meat just to get the fish interested. Bonus time again – that makes your ‘pellet’ of meat the only one in the swim and gives it a little bit more stand-out power.

Another tip: if you keep getting little dips and shudders on your float as small fish either try to take or do take your bait, go up a punch size. It’s amazing how a slight increase in size of the ‘pellet’ causes a sudden cessation of bites from the small fish you are trying to avoid. No surprise that carp love meat, but we’ve also caught crucians, bream, lots or roach and even perch!

Get on the meat treat – try not to eat too much of it though!



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