It seems baffling that any fish in its right mind would ever be caught on a fake plastic bait, but the fact of the matter is they do, and many thousands of huge fish are caught each year on artificial fishing baits.
For hundreds of years pike anglers have been catching their quarry using fake baits, either spinners, spoons or lures, with fantastic results. So why shouldn’t other non-predatory coarse fish suck up a fake bait?
It stands to reason that they should, after all a fish is a fish regardless of its species and where it lives.
The only reason that pike anglers catch fish using artificial baits is because they cast out their baits to the right place at the right time. Some say they catch the pike because they have made the pike angry, but that’s incidental – the bait still has to be in the right place at the right time.
And that’s all there is to catching coarse fish using plastic baits – they have to be cast and presented correctly in the right place at the right time – just like any other bait.
ADVANTAGES OF USING FAKE BAITS
The number one reason why anglers use imitation fishing baits is because they are trying to target specific species such as carp, bream, tench or barbel and they do not want there bait to be chewed and ruined by smaller fish such as rudd, roach, gudgeon or skimmer bream. And one way to prevent that happening is to use a tough, fake bait that cannot be chewed and destroyed.
Other reasons include the ability to easily present a popped-up bait off the bottom where the fish can easily see it, and there’s also the advantage that imitation baits can’t be knocked off the hook or break down like bread, dog biscuits or pellets do.
Finally, you try casting a piece of side-hooked bread crust 50 yards to surface feeding carp. It’s impossible – but not when you use fake bread.
WHY TO FISH TAKE THEM?
There’s no scientific reason why fish take fake baits – the answer is quite simple and not mysterious in any way. They simply fool the fish into thinking that the bait is just the same as natural baits like corn or man-made baits such as pellets.
So long as you are fishing in the right place at the right time and your bait looks natural in the water a fish will come along and take it.
ADDING SCENT TO FAKE BAITS
Most fake baits are simply look-alikes. They don’t smell like the real thing. So in order to attract the fish into your swim out of visual range you’ll have to introduce some scent or face waiting a while for a fish to pass and spot the bait.
This can be done to two ways: you can either flavour the fake bait or you can introduce real items of scented attractants or feed baits.
Flavouring your fake bait isn’t the best option as sooner or later the smell will have fully dispersed. To flavour the baits simply store them in a small canister (a camera film pot is ideal) floating in a liquid additive that suits the bait.
The second method is the most successful though where you feed the real thing around your fake bait – like real grains of corn over the top of your fake corn bait. Or try using a groundbait, a bed or hemp, a bed of pellets or a PVA bag filled with good attractors known to tempt the fish you are targeting.