10 brilliant bait tricks from Steve Ringer

Looking for an edge on commercials? Match ace Steve Ringer shows how to boost your baits.


1. Margins – big baits means more bites

When fishing in the edge, one of the hardest things is getting a carp to pick up your hookbait, especially when a lot of them are feeding, .

I would go as far as to say there is nothing more frustrating than being able to see carp in the edge and then not be able to catch them.

This is where a big ‘target bait’ such as 10-12 dead red maggots really comes into its own.

If you think about it there are going to be lots of maggots on the bottom so if I fish just two or three on the hook it’s going to take a while for a carp to find them. Fish a bunch, however, and bites can be instant! That’s how much of a difference it can make.

2. Blow up your pellets

A few years back I was doing a lot of straight lead and pellet fishing but always felt I was missing an edge over other anglers who were fishing the same tactic.

Then one day when I was packing up I noticed a few pellets had fallen under my seatbox. What struck me was the size of the pellets – they had taken on water and were almost twice the size.

This got me thinking as the same thing had to be happening in the water once the pellets had been on the bottom a while. I therefore decided to pump some hard 8mm pellets and leave them in water so that they ‘blew up’ into massive, soft pellets.

Once I got the process of prepping the pellets rightthe results were staggering and I was getting more bites than ever before on my ‘new’ blown pellets!

I had found the edge I had been looking for and ever since that day when lead and pellet fishing I always have a few ‘blown’ pellets with me. 

3. Hard pellets - noise is the key

When the fishing is hard and there isn’t a lot happening I am big believer in trying to draw a few fish into the swim and the best way to do so is to make a noise with hard pellets.

I pick up my catapult and ping just 3-4 pellets on top of the float every 20 seconds.

The reason this works is that carp home in on the noise of the pellets hitting the water but at the same time I’m not putting lots of bait on the bottom and risking killing the swim.

Size-wise this tactic works best with either 6mm or 8mm pellets because anything smaller doesn’t make enough noise to help pull a fish or two into the swim. 

4. Coloured water equals red meat

I love fishing meat but it loses its effectiveness when the water is extremely coloured.

When this is the case I will take a handful of my 6mm cubes and dye them red. The reason being when the water is very coloured red offers a strong silhouette and gives the carp a bait they can really home in on.

I was always sceptical about red meat in the past but I’ve had good results using it too many times in coloured water conditions for it to be coincidence.

I use Ringers Red Liquid to dye my cubes and will only dye my hookbait meat and not the cubes used for feeding.

5. Foul-hooking? Hemp is the answer

I’m often asked how to prevent foul-hooking carp when fishing meat close in?

My answer is to use hemp. But, and it’s a big but, it has to be used in the right way. If you feed it little and often along with the meat then there is a danger the carp can get preoccupied on it and you won’t be able to catch them.

It’s much better to use hemp purely as settling bait. So at the start I will pot in two thirds of a large 250ml Drennan pot of just hemp to form a bed. Then if I start to catch a few and then start to suffer from foul hooking, I will simply introduce another big pot of hemp to settle them back down again.

6. Feed heavy close in to get out of jail

Every now and again in a match you need a get- out-of-jail card and, while most people use the margins for this, I prefer to fish short on a top kit straight in front of me.

I mix hemp, corn and meat and simply lash it in to create the impression of someone packing up and throwing all their bait in.

I normally kick the swim off with three big handfuls of bait and go straight in over the top because quite often I will get a quick response from a fish within seconds. 

From that point on I will keep lashing the bait.It’s an approach that doesn’t always work but it has paid off on many occasions for it to be my ‘go to’ line when things aren’t going to plan. 

7. Pack in the particles for bream

The secret to building a big weight of bream is particles particles – casters, pellets, worms etc.

I pile in the particles in the first hour to put a bed of bait on the bottom. To do thisuse a bigger feeder and cast more often.

Then when the bream turn up, perhaps 90 minutes in, I have a lot more bait on the bottom to hold the bream for longer. 

8. Corn – two grains are better than one

Sweetcorn is a fantastic bait all year round but it’s particularly effective at this time of year.

The interesting part about corn is that when it comes to fishing it on the hook then I always tend to find that two grains are without doubt better than one.

Loads of times I have caught on corn and alternated between single and double on the hook only to find two grains constantly produced quicker bites and bigger fish.

There are two possible reasons for this, firstly the bigger bait stands out more over the loose offerings so the carp spot it that bit quicker, or it could be that everyone tends to fish a single grain of corn so two grains gets treated with less suspicion.

9. Stand out or blend in?

When fishing the Method or Hybrid feeder there are loads of different hookbaits you can use but I like to simplify things by dividing them into two camps, blend-in and stand-out.

Blend-in baits are those such as hard pellets that match the pellets on the feeder. When the fishing is hard this type of bait takes some beating.

The reason for this is that when the fishing is hard there aren’t many fish in the swim so those that are there can afford to be picky about what they pick up. Hence a blend-in bait works well as it can trick even the wariest of carp.

If, however, there are loads of fish in the swim then stand-out baits such as mini fluoro boilies or bread really come into their own. These work because they are highly visible and give the carp something they can really home in on.  

10. Give your meat a double cut

A couple of years back I spent a lot of time at Tunnel Barn Farm fishing meat into the shallow water across to far banks and islands. The problem was I struggled to hold the fish in the swim for long periods when feeding 6mm cubes.

What I needed, of course, was to create a cloud to firstly draw the fish in and then hold them in the swim once they arrived. To achieve this I decided to create a meaty mush by passing around a third of my 6mm meat cubes back through the cutter again, giving myself a feed made up of different sizes which almost exploded on the surface of the water.

This was added to 8-10 6mm cubes in my pot so when it was fed the cloudy mush pulled the fish into the swim and once they arrived they followed the 6mm cubes down to the bottom so I could catch them!