There are few cheaper and more effective baits for commercial fishery carp at this time of year than sweetcorn. A large tin from the supermarket will set you back less than a pound, but it can provide enough bait to last the best part of a session. Corn is highly effective for a number of reasons, and high on that list is its bright colour and softness, especially when compared to a 6mm pellet or a cube of meat.
The colour makes corn stand out when fished on its own or over a bed of another feed, while its softness is much loved by all fish. It’s also not particularly filling, as a grain of corn boasts a high water content so carp can trough away for hours without getting full. It’s also brilliant for other species, with bream, tench and even quality roach all loving the yellow stuff!
TRY SWEETCORN ON DIFFERENT COLOURS
In its natural form, corn is bright yellow, and that’s perhaps the main reason for its effectiveness. Even in coloured water, fish can easily pick out a grain, and if the lake is slightly clear, this ‘high-viz’ quality comes even more to the fore. However, you can buy corn in different colours and flavours, and on some waters red corn will outfish yellow. If you’re not sure which colour to use, arm yourself with a variety and keep changing on every cast until you catch – even green corn can have its day!
Compared to a maggot or a pellet, corn is a big bait, so you need to match the size of the hook accordingly. On the strike, the hook will pull through a soft piece of corn but you’ll need to be able to mount the bait properly so it stays on during the cast. Pick a hook with a wide gape as this will allow the bait to sit comfortably on the bend, while leaving a decent amount of the hookpoint on show. This will aid hooking when the float goes under. In terms of hook size, a 14 or 16 will be just about perfect.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT FLOATS
Corn is quite a heavy bait, so this means you have to think big when it comes to floats, especially when fishing in open water. If your float is too light then the presentation will be unbalanced, and the fish will sense this. On the pole, pick a float with quite a big body, such as a rugby ball or diamond shaped one of 0.5g to 0.7g, dependent on the depth. When fishing the margins this can be smaller, but certainly no finer than a 4x12 pattern. Shot this with a bulk and one dropper shot and set the rig so that the corn is just resting on the bottom.
COMBINE IT WITH OTHER BAITS
Fished on its own, corn is deadly, but it can be improved by feeding it with other baits. Hemp is brilliant when fed to create a bed on the bottom, over which corn hookbaits are fished to really stand out. Cubed 6mm meat is another winner at this time of year, mixed 50/50 with corn as feed. You can also pop a few grains into chopped worm and caster feed and this will give you the option of changing from a worm hookbait to a piece of corn if small fish are a problem.
There is a right way to hook corn, and although you can simply nick the hook through the side, it will eventually work loose and be hanging on by a thread. The best way to mount a grain of corn is to pierce it through the rounded end and work the hook down the grain so it comes out of the flattened bottom end. This ensures that all of the shank and most of the bend is inside the grain, leaving just the hookpoint on show. Using double corn also adopts the same principle.
GIVE IT A GO IN SHALLOW WATER
Should you be faced with fishing the far side of a snake lake or a shallow margin, corn can be transformed into a superb shallow-water feed. All it needs is a food blender to whizz the corn about for a few seconds to chop it into smaller pieces. When fed, it’ll create a lingering cloud, while the larger pieces will sink that bit slower. You can even go the whole hog and blend the corn into a sloppy soup that’ll put a bigger cloud into the swim. This works particularly well if the fish are feeding off the bottom.