Pick the right baits to take on your session – Steve Ringer

by Angling Times |

Thankfully, those cold winter days are long behind us and we can all now look forward to warmer weather and summer evenings on the bank stretching out before us!

That said, early May can still give us a bit of a shock to the system with cold snaps and even frosts, and these are changes that can put the skids under the fishing if you go in a little too positively with baits and feeding.

It’s true that things like paste or bunches of worms will catch well, but I’d much prefer to err on the side of caution and take baits that I know will give me the best chance of catching, regardless of how the weather has affected the fish.

My favourite four are listed below.

You may notice that I’ve not got maggots on my list. We all know they will catch everything, but I think that’s also their problem - they’re not selective enough, and small fish love them! Things are warm enough to begin targeting bigger fish with bigger baits and different feeds – you just need to give it a little thought before you head out the door for your session!

Chopped worm

When the fish are thinking about spawning, they love chopped worm. It coincides with them moving into shallower water, which is where I’d use choppie and casters with groundbait or the soil the worms came in, and a worm head hookbait.

Luncheon Meat

Meat’s effectiveness is down to water temperature. Too high, and it’s poor, but while it’s warming up, meat is brilliant. An indication of whether it will work is if you’re getting bitted out by small fish. This tells me the bigger fish aren’t interested.


A superb year-round bait and feed, but one that’s best in spring for the margins and the 5m line. Its size and visibility make it a winner, but I’d feed corn in larger quantities, using a big pot on the pole and equally big baits like two grains of corn.

Hard pellets

Hard pellets are small fish-proof and versatile, and the main decision to make is which size to use. If I was after F1s, it’d be a 4mm pellet, but for big carp that changes to a 6mm for pole work and an 8mm for bomb or pellet waggler fishing.

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