Top Summer Fishing baits

Check out the best fishing baits around that will guarantee you success on the banks! Bait expert Dr Paul Garner talks us through what his top fishing baits to use this summer will be and what thinking outside the box can deliver. 


scale down your cubes

Scale down cubes.jpg

Luncheon meat is an incredibly effective bait, and lends itself to being used in many different ways. Over the past couple of years I have been fishing tiny cubes or punched cylinders of meat for all manner of different species, and it seems it’s often hard to beat. 

To produce plenty of hookbaits and feed, simply use an MAP meat cutter to chop up a full tin into 4mm baits. These tiny cubes will catch just about every fish that swims. 

fish a classic combo

Maggots and casters

My go-to baits for summer barbel are hemp and caster. This classic combo of very small baits encourages the fish to feed even with the sun on their backs. 

I normally use a bait dropper to introduce a 4:1 mix of hemp and caster, three loads every 15 minutes for a minimum of an hour.Then superglue three real casters or two fake casters on to the hair and hold on to your rod

mix tougher paste

There is a real skill in fishing super-soft paste down the edge for carp. With practice you can use a paste that literally melts off the hook, but for us mere mortals this can be a frustrating game. 

Fortunately, right through the summer much firmer baits work well. These can be moulded around the hook and swung out without using a pole cup. Fibre pastes work especially well. Its stringy texture adheres to the hook, only falling away when you lift the rig out. 

blitz some corn

Messy, maybe, but liquidised sweetcorn gives you a fantastic edge when fishing for big carp, match-sized fish, tench or bream. 

Cheap and nutritious, you can use it in spod mixes, to create a cloud when fishing zigs, cupped into the margins, or mixed with groundbait.This salty-sweet, pungent bait will drive the fish wild.

feed while trotting

Running a big Avon float down a pacey glide is just about as good as summer fishing gets, but you go through a lot of bait. Each run through will see a good pinch of bait introduced before the float is released. 

To keep the cost down I use hemp and 6mm Halibut pellets as my feed, with a 6mm or 8mm pellet on the hook. Don’t mix the hemp and pellets together as they sink at different speeds – the pellets need to be introduced further upstream than the hemp so that they reach the bottom at the same point down the peg.

beat weed with bags

Presenting baits properly in weed can be a nightmare. I use a small solid PVA bag with the entire rig inside. To ensure that the bag packs down really tightly, fill it with micro pellets or damp groundbait – this will ensure that the bag flies straight on the cast. A small trimmed-down wafter boilie is the ideal hookbait inside a solid bag. 

Flavour your meat

A lot of polony and luncheon meat goes into commercials in summer, so try colouring and flavouring your chopped meat to give it a new lease of life. Add a teaspoonful of flavour per tin, shake well and leave overnight.

Don’t be afraid to try some unusual flavour combinations. Scopex meat works just great, especially when you add a dash of super-sweet Betalin to it.

Use your loaf

As a hookbait for surface-feeding carp bread takes some beating, especially on urban venues where the local birdlife waxes fat on the stuff. 

On the river, too, bread can be an excellent way of targeting chub, both on the surface and trundled downstream under a heavy chubber float. And if big rudd are your chosen target a loaf of fresh bread should be an essential in your bait bag. 

Spice up barbel baits

Once the river season is a few weeks old I will soak pellet and meat hookbaits in a spicy concoction that appeals to barbel. 

To a bottle of hemp oil add a teaspoonful of chilli powder and the same of garlic powder. Shake well and you have enough bait soak to last all season. The three ingredients combine in a manner barbel find hard to resist.

switch to pellets for big roach

Summer hemp and tare fishing will catch roach even when the water is gin-clear. The only problem is that bites can be lightning-fast and easy to miss. I think this is because roach don’t particularly like the hard texture of hemp and tare hookbaits. 

Instead of using seeds on the hook, try a 4mm hooker pellet instead. The softer the pellet, the more bites you will hit. 

get bream feeding on the method

The flat Method feeder has revolutionised carp fishing since its inception, and the same is rapidly happening to bream fishing too. 

Loaded with mini-halibut pellets or a fishmeal-rich groundbait, the flat Method is the ideal way of delivering a mouthful of bait right where you want it – next to the hookbait. Try using a 10mm boilie or a similar sized pellet on the hair and ring the changes to bring more bites. 

Go stalking with slugs

When the rivers are ‘on their bones’ in summer go stalking for chub with minimal gear. Chub have great eyesight and can be very wary of many baits, but a big lobworm or slug cast upstream of them is often gobbled up in an instant. If you’re squeamish, try a big lump of luncheon meat, although don’t expect the reaction to be quite so explosive. 

try Wafters on the Wag

A pellet waggler gives carp more time to intercept the bait on the fall, while it is imitating the free offerings being fired in regularly. 

A slow-sinking mini-boilie wafter is the ideal hookbait. I like to carry a range of different colours, as this can be an important element to success on some days. 

Use a ‘sighter’

A simple way of increasing the number of bites you get is to use a bait that stands out from the free offerings. 

This could be a combination of red and white maggots on the hook while feeding just red, or a brightly coloured pop-up fished over a bed of dark boilies. Often I will use a grain of plastic corn in a contrasting colour (pink and white are best) on top of a dark boilie or pellet, to make the hookbait stand out from the crowd. 

Wrap up your lead

Here’s a simple, but very effective tip – dampen a few handfuls of pellets until they become sticky, and every time you cast out, squeeze a palmful around your lead. 

The pellets will fall away in a matter of minutes, leaving a lovely pile of super-attractive feed, ideal for carp and bream.