Cheap, easy to get hold of and a multitude of uses, bread is one of coarse angling’s most underused baits, but one that has caught some of the biggest fish in history! Here’s the four main uses…
The preserve of the matchman, breadpunch is also effective for specimen roach and chub. Put simply, punch is bread that has been punched into discs of varying sizes using special brass-headed tools.
Once in the water, punch will swell up to twice its size but stay on the hook well thanks to the punching process. Canals, drains and rivers, where roach are the main quarry, respond particularly well to punch, especially in winter and even some commercial carp fisheries have seen decent nets of carp taken on bread.
Take a look at the sequence below to find out how to use punched bread effectively - a great technique to try on canals, slow-flowing rivers and even stillwaters in the winter.
You will need a bread punch. They are available in a multitude of sizes to suit a variety of different sized fish. Whichever punch you choose, remember that the punched bread bait will swell to twice its size once it is submerged.
Quality white bread is best for punched bread fishing. Mother's Pride is one of the most favoured as it is quite a 'duoghy' and sticky bait that hold onto the hook well. Place a slice onto a hard base and press your chosen punch into the bread.
The bread punch will cut out a small pellet of bread. Here it can be seen resting within the sharp brass cuttign section of the bread punch.
Use your hook to remove the pellet of bread. Pass the hook point through the groove in the side of the brass cuttign blade of the bread punch and you will extract the bread pellet. You may need to use your fingers to gently work the pellet right onto the shank of the hook.
The finished punched bread should sit on the hook perfectly central and hang from the hook shank. Once it hits the water it will begin to swell so don't worry that a lot of your hook is showing when you first hook the bread - it will quickly become masked by the swollen bread in the water.
The specimen hunter’s friend, flake is a killer hookbait for almost everything that swims. Sliced bread is okay for flake but better still is a whole loaf, which allows you to tear off any sized chunk you wish. Mould the bread around the shank of a big hook such as a size 8, leaving the rest of the bread to fluff up once in the water.
A great surface bait, crust fished popped up off the bottom at half or three-quarters depth is also a great bait to ambush cruising carp. Rip off a piece of crust and hook normally or via a hair-rig, especially when carp have become wary of more conventional floating baits such as pellets and Chum Mixer biscuits.
Not used that often, paste is a good winter chub and roach bait for legering, especially when used in conjunction with mashed bread feed. To make paste, use old slightly stale bread mixed with a little water and kneaded into a stiff paste.
Can bread be improved?
You can flavour and colour bread using liquid additives but be careful on the amounts, otherwise your slices will be useless! A better bet is a bait spray to lightly coat each slice and popular flavours are Strawberry, Scopex and Cheese for paste. Likewise, bread can be coloured red but one of the main reasons bread is so good is its natural colour – the whiteness stands out well in the water, allowing fish to home in quickly.
What about feeding bread?
There are a couple of ways of feeding bread depending on what you’re fishing for.
Big fish like chub and roach love a bit of mashed bread, which is easily made my mixing stale white bread with water until you have a wet slop with bigger particles of bread within. This can then be fed in small balls in likely looking swims before fishing – great for roving on small rivers.
For smaller species on rivers and canals, try liquidised bread. Pop slices, crust and all, in a blender and whizz until fine crumbs. Feed as small balls, which will break up quickly making it great for shallow water while for feeder fishing, simply cram a cage feeder with the crumbs and fish a piece of flake or large piece of punch on the hook.