JUST because vogue baits such as pellets and boilies dominate today’s fishing, more traditional foods certainly haven’t lost their awesome fish pulling powers. 

It’s definitely worth incorporating some ‘retro’ bait in your bait armoury, as ringing the changes from the norm can often yield a bonus fish or two – especially on venues where the inhabitants have grown cautious of pellets and boilies constantly being scattered in over their heads.

A wriggling lobworm lowered gently in the margins will often be inhaled confidently by the biggest and wisest of specimens.

Other traditional favourites such as a pinch of bread flake, sweetcorn or a well-presented maggot on delicate tackle are more than capable of triggering a response in an otherwise stale swim.

Chopped worms release the most naturally potent flavour trail known to angling, which nearly all species find totally irresistible. If a big perch is on your wish list, then this is the bait for you!

Bread is another classic bait, and not often seen on the banks these days, but don’t ignore this age-old fish catcher.  A crumb packed open-end swim feeder and a pinch of fresh flake still rate as a top method for specimen roach.

Sweetcorn has accounted for some historical captures. Tench and carp are the chief targets, but river species such as chub and barbel are also suckers for the grains.

Luncheon meat also scores well. Its oily nature leaves enticing flavour trails that barbel find too good to resist.

Use uniform little cubes to haul out pastie carp, or tear off a big, irregular piece to fool cautious whoppers.

1. A freelined worm hooked just below the saddle results in positive slamming takes on rivers and lakes. Pinch an SSG shot a few inches above the hook on rivers and feel for the bites from hungry chub or perch. Keep worms in a tub with some damp moss and store them somewhere cool – a garage is ideal, where they should keep for several days. The juices from freshly chopped worms attract fish from a wide area.

2. I use luncheon meat confidently for a multitude of species. Oily scent trails make it a classic river bait that still packs a formidable punch in heavily coloured floodwater conditions. Experiment with different-sized cubes, but select an appropriate size of hook to conceal inside. Alternatively, mount a cube on a hair or tear off irregular pieces to fool fish that have grown wary of regimented cubes.

3. Every species snaffles maggots with no hesitation! It is the ultimate bait for anglers when they start out in fishing, such is the awesome pulling power of these little bluebottle grubs. Two pints will set you back around £6, and provide you with enough bait for a decent day’s sport. Spraying grubs is usually guaranteed to send fish into a feeding frenzy. Even big, canny chub let their guard down when a shower of maggots waft past their nose. Colour can often prove critical. Red maggots usually score over whites, particularly for predatory fish such as perch and chub. Bronze maggots often produce good sport, too, so take a mixture with you.

4. Fish find sweetcorn irresistible. Don’t worry too much about overfeeding with the golden grains. With such a high water content it takes masses of corn to over feed your quarry, making it a confidence feed in the bitter cold of winter. Present several grains on a hair for bigger fish, or bury smaller hooks in single grains for smaller species. Changing the colour of corn on venues where the fish have become wary of bright yellow hook baits is a tactic worth trying.


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