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.

Please share this blog on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the icons above.





VARIOUS scientists tell us fish have an acute sense of smell and that many species don’t have great vision.

This blog is part of National Bait Month – great gifts, and competitions, and tips are inside every issue of Angler’s Mail magazine each week during May.

So how do we know which baits will look best and, just as important, taste best to the species we want to catch?

There are no easy answers to the questions of smell and colour. The best advice is to experiment, learn and also to pick up tips from other anglers’ experiences.

There’s always been a quest for the Holy Grail of fishing baits, that one item of food that would work when all else fails.

I’ll let you into a secret…it doesn’t exist! Different baits, flavours and colours all work at various times. The secret is knowing when to use what and when to change to something else.

All fish get used to a certain colour or smell and look for a change of food. Get the change right and you could keep on catching or have a totally bag-up day.

Former World Champion Ian Heaps and I were in Germany many years ago practicing for a big match and we simply couldn’t catch. We went to a local tackle shop where he had a “secret” additive which the craft Heaps managed to get hold of with some delicate pleading.

We put some of this bubblegum-smelling additive, which looked a bit like those sprinkles you put on ice cream, into our groundbait and balled the river. Result: a load of bream. Next time out the stuff didn’t work quite the same. Ok, didn’t work at all!

It later appeared in England as “Red Cap” and a couple of quick-thinking match anglers cleaned up on the Trent using the stuff.

Since then I’ve experimented quite a bit and, keeping it very simple, here are a couple of favourites that can be plucked out of the kitchen cupboard when no one is watching:

Angel Delight – you’d have to be bonkers to use it in your bait, right? WRONG!

VANILLA: Preferably in liquid form, like your other half might use to bake with, and put into groundbait. Bream love it, as do carp. Other fish won’t turn up their noses!

CARAMEL: Similar to above, but roach and tench have quite a sweet tooth in the summer. Can have the edge where vanilla has been used a lot.

ANNISEED: Roach and gudgeon – and I’ve even got the feeling that perch home in on this too.

ANGEL DELIGHT: Again, all species and it helps to bind groundbait for balling or holding onto frame-type feeders.

CURRY POWDER: It can work all year but I favour adding a bit to bait and groundbait in winter when it appears to have greater pulling power. Medium strength or you might get carp becoming turbo-charged!

FISH: Any fish, mashed up into groundbait! Pilchards, sardines, tuna…and the bonus is that you can buy it in cans so that it keeps with your tackle until you need it. Needless to say any fish homes in on this.

Colours are an entirely different topic but last week I did an experiment whilst at Godalming’s Marsh Farm in Surrey that was pretty interesting. I got a red maggot and a white one, dropped them into the water, which is just colouring up for summer, and timed how long it was before they drifted out of sight. I wanted to know which could be most effective as a visual bait. Which do you think I saw last?

You’d expect white to be last on view, wouldn’t you? It was the red one that was visible for longer…now you know why they often outscore whites. More about coloured baits another day…there’s enough experimenting to be done on flavourings for now!


A nice Marsh Farm tench that took a liking to double red maggots last week


Remember this lively website has a new blog every day.

Click HERE to catch up on all this website’s latest blogs


Don’t miss out on this week’s top value Angler’s Mail!

Like us on Facebook >> AnglersMailMagazine

Follow us on Twitter >> @AnglersMail

Watch Angler’s Mail TV >> AMTV