On this page I will discuss the many different types of bait that are available to the common angler for different styles of fishing, covering and just to name a few float, feeder and pole for all sorts of fish from bream, roach and rudd to tench,carp and catfish.
Ground baiting is a type of baiting technique used to lure fish into your swim. It is also a term used for the type of bait you use 'groundbait'.
After you have selected your swim and what spot you are going to fish, you have set up. After you have finished setting up you should begin ground baiting as this puts a bed of bait on the river bed or in mid water depending on the mixture. This attracts fish into your swim. Groundbait can either be thrown in or catapulted.
Groundbait can contain lots of different things. The most common groundbait is based on bread crumb, vanilla sugar, hemp, maize, pellet and fish meal. These dried powders are then moistened with water until it is possible to make a ball. If the mixture is slightly damp the balls may break up quickly and create a cloud of particles in mid-water, this will attract mid-water fish or if it is slightly damper sink to the bottom and break up on the river bed drawing in bottom feeding fish.
Maggots are now without a doubt the most popular bait to date and are used by anglers across the country. There are 3 main types of maggots.
Bluebottle maggot - This is the most common maggot used. These grow in large numbers very quickly and have tough skin. These are good for loose feed or a hookbait.
Greenbottle maggot- This is a high quality maggot, they are smaller than the bluebottle maggot and these are also good for loose feed and hookbait and these are known as pinkies. When fish won’t take normal sized maggots anglers use 'pinkies' hoping the fish will find its smaller size less suspicious.
Housefly maggot- This is roughly the same size as a greenbottle maggot although they are a little softer and can burst if too much pressure is applied. These are commonly known as 'squatts'. These are used more for loosefeed than hookbait.
Hooking maggots -To hook maggots gently squeeze the maggot and nick the hook into the blunt end of the maggot, you know you have done it right when there is no juice coming out of the maggot. If the maggot has busted open or too much liquid is coming out of the maggot take it off and try again. When people fish for species like carp or barbel and they use maggots, a fine wire clip is used and then attached to a hair rig.
Like many other types of baits maggots can be coloured and flavoured. Many anglers flavour there maggots with flavours such as fruit, vanilla and cream these flavours are preferred during the summer months and meat and spicy flavours preferred during the winter months although this can vary from different places where other flavours would be preferred during different seasons.
A caster is the chrysalis form of maggot. The colour of a caster can vary from a light creamy colour to a dark brown. As the colour changes the buoyancy also changes to. We can tell the buoyancy by the colour of the caster the darker it is the more buoyant the caster and it will float; this is useless as bait. The most common way of keeping casters is to drown them in water so they do not hatch. But don’t drain the water as they will turn into floaters because they will dry out. When you reach the bank side if there are any casters that float skim them out and throw them away as floating casters can float down the swim and take fish with them.
To hook a caster all you have to do is take the point of the hook and push the point into the end of the caster, the end with the two brown dots these are the casters nostrils then push the caster along the hook so it is buried in the caster. Then finally push the hook point out the side of the caster another way it to simple nick the caster in the blunt end of the caster just like a maggot.
Sweetcorn has become a common and effective bait in any anglers arsenal. It has become one of the most common baits as it is cheap and readily available. All species eat sweetcorn, but the main success has been seen in Carp, Bream and Tench. This bait can also catch you those bigger fish when other baits only see you catching those smaller specimens.
This bait can be used straight out of the tin and this can be any type of corn, from any supermarket or corner shop and all you do is simply drain the liquid or save the liquid to put into something like groundbait instead of water.
There are many ways to hook sweetcorn but the easiest way is to simply push the hook into the rounded end of the grain of sweetcron so the hook point is just protruding the grain of corn. Another way is to simply take a small hook around size 20 and nick it under the skin similar to a maggot.
When fishing for bigger specimen fish like Carp or Tench anglers use a few grains of corn threaded onto a hair rig and simply ledgered or used with a feeder.
Sweetcorn like pellets has the ability to take on colourings and flavourings. Although the traditional yellow sweetcorn is still effective other types of sweetcorn are available on the market, although not available at supermarkets red and black corn are available at tackle shops or bought direct from the bait companies themselves. These two colours of corn have become very effective when fishing for different species of fish.
After colourings and dyes proved successful anglers began experimenting with flavourings. This like the colourings has also proved effective with flavourings such as pineapple and strawberry also proving worthwhile. Adding flavourings can be done by the person themselves by putting sweetcorn in a bag then adding colouring and flavouring into the bag and shaking, this covers the sweetcorn evenly, then you leave it overnight to soak up the colouring and flavouring and it is ready to use the next day. Now most tackle companies do this ready prepared.
Worms have a wide diversity throughout fishing because it can catch anything that swims. When hooking a worm there are a couple of ways to do it. You can either simply place the hook through the centre of the worm so it dangles like the letter U. Another way of doing it is pushing the point into the tip of the head and threading the worm up the shank of the hook and pushing the point through the side of the worm, this ensures all the hook is covered by the worm with the point just exposed out of the side of the worm.
! CAUTION! Do not push the hook through the saddle of the worm; this is the large band that wraps around the worm. Some anglers will tell you to place the hook there but this is where most of the worms blood vessels are most prominent and if this is punctured by the hook the worm will die quicker although this will release more flavour and juice into the water the worm will not last as long, unless you know there are fish in your swim and you are fishing for a quick bite.
Hemp seed is the seed of the hemp plant this bait was used in the early days of fishing for primarily roach although now anglers have found that it is very effective against other fish but is still successful when wanting to catch roach. Hemp seed isn’t really used as hookbaits for other species besides roach but is a deadly feed for species such as Chub, Carp and Chubb. Well nowadays hemp is used as feed more than a hookbait
To prepare hempseed place about 3 pints of water to 1 pint of dry hempseed into a pan and add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and bring to the boil. Stir occasionally then simmer for about half an hour, then the seeds starts to split. If you want to use it as a hookbait try not to overcook it you should take it off the heat when most of the seeds have split but not all. When using hempseed as feed it doesn’t matter if you cook it a bit longer until all the seeds have split.
When hooking hempseed choose a seed that has just to say started to split and push the point of the hook into the split, making sure the shank is on the same side of the grain as the 'eye' of the seed, the blunt end. Then push the shank into the eye of the seed but make sure the hook point is protruding unless you won’t be able to set the hook.
Pellets are the cheapest and most widely available type of bait. Now this would be a really long article if I were to talk about every type of pellet, so I will just name the important ones. Pellets can be very diverse as pellets can take on flavourings, sweeteners and colourings very easily.
Hard Pellets- These can either be attached using a hair rig or a bait band, the successfulness of hard pellets is with feeding. When using pellets you must fire a few pellets around your feed area every 5 seconds or so to induce a bite. When fishing with pellets a pellet waggler really comes into its own and this can be a very simple yet effective way of fishing.
Expander Pellets- This is the most common type of pellet that is used in fishing. When preparing expander pellets you start by soaking the pellets in water for around an hour then drain so there is a small amount of water, just so the pellets stay moist. When prepared in this way the pellets will float but the weight of the hook will slowly sink the pellet.
When using expander pellets as feed bait you must prepare them so they sink to do this you use a pellet pump.
Many anglers could swear by using meat as fishing bait but there would also be an equal number of people who would say it doesn’t work and this has caused a huge controversy in fishing.
Meat can be used for such species of fish such as Carp, Bream and Barbel anglers swear by meat across Britain and it can still be effective while fishing for silverfish. Meat can either be simply placed on the hook with the point just exposed but this can lead to lose of hookbait when casting longer distances. Now when people use Meat as bait they attach it using a hair rig with a boilie stop on to stop it from coming off when casting. With this bait anglers can catch a variety of fish and it can also have a habit of selecting the bigger bream while other bait can leave you catching those smaller species.
The most simplest way of preparing meat is to simply cut it into sizeable chunks the size depends of what you are fishing for obviously bigger chunks would be used for Barbel fishing and smaller pieces for silverfish then store it in a polythene bag and put in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
It can also be used as loose feed or in a feeder.
Bread is bait that’s been used since fishing was created but still used today. This baits success can be because of its easy availability and cheapness and every type of fish can be caught with it from small roach and rudd to large carp. There are many types of ways of using this bait such as.
Flake- This is the centre of the slice of bread. When this is hooked correctly it will drop through the water columns very slowly giving the fish chance to take the bait. Try matching your hook size to the size of your bait. To hook the bread flake, take a piece of flake then lay the hook shank in the middle of the flake then fold the bread flake around the hook ensuring the point of the hook is protruding out of the bread flake. Then to ensure it stays on you lightly squeeze, but don’t squeeze the bread flake too tightly as it loses its attractiveness. A good way of testing this is every time you strike the bread flake should of come off the hook.
Crust- The crust is used as surface bait used mainly for chubb and carp. Again like flake you must match your hook size to the size of bait. To hook simply take a piece of crust and push the hook into the crust it doesn’t matter if the hook is exposed as crust softens in the water. Bread crust is also effective when ledgered.
Punch- Punch is simply a small piece of bread which has been punched out using a bread punch. To use place a slice of bread on a hard, flat surface then push down on the bread with the bread punch giving it a couple of twists to ensure a clean cut, now a piece of bread will be lodged in the punch you then push the point of your hook into the bread and pull the bread out of the punch again match the hook to the size of the bait.
Bread as feed- When using bread as feed it must first be prepared either as liquidized bread or bread mash. To make mashed bread you take some stale bread and put it into a container and add water and mash it up with your hands then leave it to soak. To make liquidized bread simply add slices of bread and put it into a liquidizer and liquidize. A thicker consistency will be used for bigger fish and for smaller fish a finer crumb will be required.