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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I’VE just wandered through one of the biggest tackle warehouses in the country and been amazed at the plethora of baits on the shelves.

All sorts from boilies, pellets, mixes, groundbaits, canned corn and hemp…the list is virtually endless.

It made me start to think: first, are we ignoring traditional baits such as maggots and worms to the detriment of our own sport.

And second, do we need some form of safety net here for all of the commercially produced baits?

Let’s look first at the drop in sales of worms, maggots and casters. Lots of anglers have taken to wearing blinkers when they go fishing and can’t see past a pellet or a boilie.

They are the ones whose sport is suffering, especially at this time of the year.

It’s fine to ignore these smaller baits when the weather is warm and you want to avoid smaller fish. But just now, when the weather can still be cold and the seasons are changing they can be bite makers.

Recently, I was the only person catching at a commercial fishery because I was the only one there with maggots. Sad but true.

Obviously I ditched out a handful to the few anglers nearby and they too soon caught a few fish. I can’t believe they went armed only with a few pellets for hookbaits.

I know some people don’t like to be traditional but sometimes it really is the best way forward.

A selection of quality baits – but there is plenty of dodgy stuff being used!

Second think about all of those tinned and bagged baits. I’ve been around some of the factories that produce some of them and believe me the quality and content of some bait really is impressive.

Yes, even to the state where these baits could actually be eaten by humans! (Don’t try it, just in case…no matter how nice that Brasem might smell).

But if baits were stocked on supermarket shelves they would need sell by dates. Should we also have them on baits in tackle shops?

Or at the very least should we be told that they are preserved well until a certain date and after that time it’s best to check them over?

I often freeze unused groundbait at the end of a session but never keep it for too long. I’m never sure how long it will remain ok or it it is kept too long if it will go off and scare fish rather than attract them.

Likewise with dry groundbait or breadcrumb once a bag is opened. Just smell fresh crumb and then some that has been around for a while. I can tell you now that it will make your mind up whether to hold onto bait or not!

You wouldn’t buy old maggots that are turning to casters, or worse had floating casters among them. So you don’t want pellets that have dried out or baits that have lost their smell.

Next to trusted hooks and line bait is the most important item in an angler’s armoury. Make sure it is quality.



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