ANGLER'S MAIL is No.1 for bait tips and fishing tricks! Here is a quick one from John Bailey.

Most of my stillwater fishing tends to be with particles as I am not really a boilie or pellet man at core. However, I don’t know about you, but I am shocked by the price of particles these days.

My maggots cost £3 a pint and a plastic jar of seed/hemp mix has now risen to nearly £8 if I buy it from the shelves.

This all means that a three to four hour morning tench session can easily cost me £12-15 in bait alone.

Go each day for a week and that’s £100, not even taking fuel costs into account.

I often eke out my particle spend by incorporating rice into the mix. Rice at Tesco costs £1.50 for a kilo … and that is a lot of particles, believe me!

How to prepare your rice bait

I prepare half that amount roughly in a very large pan with cold water. I bring to the boil and let it simmer. Now is the time to add salt or colouring if you wish – the former is good by the way.

I cook the rice so it is harder than you need it for human consumption – par boiled if you like. A rough guide is six to eight minutes but keep checking… sometimes it needs nearer ten minutes or so depending on amounts and so on.

What you do not want is the grains sticking together in a sludgy mass! Experiment with small amounts at first.

I will add the rice to my maggots or seeds or whatever to bulk them out. I will use around 60 per cent rice to 40 per cent maggots as a very rough guide, so two pints go a lot further.

You do not want to overdo the rice so the fish become preoccupied – try putting rice on a hook! Another bonus is rice grains do not burrow into the silt and, being tiny, keep fish grubbing in the swim for ages.