Weird fishing baits that are well worth a cast

Give the fish something different to think about (and eat) this summer by hooking up with one of these underrated offerings

Weird fishing baits that are well worth a cast

by Angling Times |

WHEN it comes to what to put on the hook, we anglers can be a predictable bunch.

If it’s not a maggot or a worm, it’s normally a boilie or a pellet of some description. But this week Angling Times reader Ricardas Aleksandrovicius proved the spoils that are on offer to those who are prepared to throw away the textbook.

He took a huge barbel, along with a raft of chub, by trotting with a bait found in the seafood aisle of your local supermarket.

Mussels are just one of a huge number of hookbait alternatives that coarse fish find irresistible, all of them cheap and readily available. So, this summer, while the fish’s appetites are at their keenest, why not break with tradition and reach for something a little different for the hook? You’ll be surprised at the results!

Steak strips

IF YOU want a really tough hookbait that’s deadly for big chub, give small slivers of steak a try. We’re talking frying steak here, not fillet, so don’t go crazy at the checkout – £3 worth of bait should last you several sessions.

Try fishing a small strip, hooked twice on a wide gape hook as shown here, alongside a small cage feeder packed with a combination of groundbait and cheap steak mince.

Did you know?

The most expensive steaks in the world come from Kobe beef cows, which are fed beer and receive daily massages in their Japanese homeland! A 12oz steak from one of these typically costs around £200.

Steak strips
Steak strips

Yorkshire pudding

THE tough and slightly rubbery outer of a Yorkshire pud makes a superb, robust surface bait for big summer carp, and each piece will stay on the hook for several casts.

It’s also a great substitute for breadcrust or slow-sinking breadflake when fishing for chub and rudd in the upper water layers on hot summer days. Homemade recipes are best, and allow you tweak the ingredients.

Did you know?

The first recorded Yorkshire pudding recipe appeared in a book called The Whole Duty of a Woman in 1737 and was listed as “A Dripping Pudding.” Mmmmm...

Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire pudding ©Shutterstock

Cockles

THIS popular summer seaside snack makes a fabulous floatfished hookbait for tench, but big carp are also partial to a cockle or two!

Cheap to buy in bulk and long-lasting on the hook, cockles are a great pick if you’re being hassled by small nuisance fish.

As with mussels, they’re also a pretty good change bait for chub and barbel, especially on busy day-ticket stretches where the fish have seen a lot of pellets and boilies.

Did you know?

Cockles are a rich source of Vitamin B12, which is good for the brain and nervous system. So, if you’re fishing with them and struggling to concentrate on the float tip, maybe you should snaffle a few?

Cockles
Cockles

Chickpeas

Well-known as a carp bait, chickpeas (and similar other pulses, for that matter) will be readily taken by many coarse species, including tench, chub and even roach.

They’re very easy to prepare and store (or can be used straight from the tin), are ridiculously cheap, and will take on flavours and colours really well. They’re often best fished on a hair rig, rather than being side-hooked.

Did you know?

India produces around 70 per cent of the world’s chickpeas. They are also one of the earliest cultivated legumes, with 9,500 year-old remains having been found in the Middle East.

Chickpeas
Chickpeas

Mussels

IN any lake or river, freshwater mussels and snails form a significant part of the natural diet of many of our most popular species, so it’s not really suprising that their marine cousins (common or blue mussels) make such fantastic hookbaits, whether presented on the float or a leger set-up.

Each one will last for ages on the hook, without losing its effectiveness. On rivers, they’re best fished as a moving bait, either under a large float or being trundled along the bottom, as you would do when rolling meat for barbel. In lakes, carp and tench are also partial to a margin-fished mussel, as this is often where they come across freshwater molluscs.

Did you know?

There are six species of freshwater mussel in Britain. Five live in lowland rivers, the biggest being swan mussels, while one – the endangered pearl mussel – lives in just a handful of upland waters.

Mussels
Mussels

Macaroni Cheese

A FAVOURITE among tench anglers, due to their softness these little cheesy morsels work best fished at close range under a float.

They’ll also be readily taken by smaller species such as roach and rudd, and don’t be surprised if you latch into a big margin-marauding carp when using them either.

One thing’s for sure, nobody else fishing the lake will be using macaroni cheese, so it can give you a real ‘edge’ in the summer months.

Did you know?

Opinion on the origin of macaroni cheese remains divided, with Italy, Britain and Switzerland all laying claim to its invention. However, it’s Canadians that eat the most ‘Mac and Cheese’ per capita!

Macaroni Cheese
Macaroni Cheese ©Shutterstock

Slugs

THERE’S one species which loves slugs more than any other and that’s chub! The black variety work the best, and they can be collected for free on damp evenings and mornings when there’s dew on the grass. Fish them either freelined, with their weight aiding the cast, or on a light link leger. They’re quite a tough bait, so nick them lightly, as shown above.

Did you know?

The UK’s 40-odd species of slug play a vital role in breaking down decomposing vegetation. They do this using their teeth… which number 27,000 in some varieties of slug.

Slugs
Slugs

Cocktail Sausages

COMING perfectly-formed in the packet, and not too expensive either, bite-size sausages have secretly accounted for many big barbel down the years, and chub will also snap them up without a moment’s hesitation. Fish them on a hair rig, alongside a feeder containing chopped hookbait samples and groundbait and/or mini pellets. They also take on added flavour, such as curry powder, really well.

Did you know?

Sausages are one of the oldest forms of processed food, with ancient Greek author and poet Homer making reference to them in his epic poem The Odyssey in the late 8th Century BC!

Cocktail Sausages
Cocktail Sausages ©Shutterstock

Mini Marshmallows

IF THE carp in your lake have seen it all, then in summer try using these mini confections as surface-fished baits. Simply side-hook and cast them out, using floating pellets or dog biscuits as loosefeed.

One of the main advantages of using marshmallows on the hook is their high visibility – you won’t miss a take, as can sometimes be the case when using mixers and feeding the same. They’re also pretty durable and highly buoyant, and they won’t break the bank.

Did you know?

Marshmallows originated in Egypt around 4,000 years ago, where honey was blended with the sap of the marsh-mallow plant. They were considered a delicacy, fit only for royalty.

Mini Marshmallows
Mini Marshmallows ©Shutterstock

Prawns

THE MOST widely-used of all the supermarket seafood specials, and for good reason, as there isn’t a fish that swims that will turn their nose up at a fat, juicy prawn. In fact, it was one of these, fished under a waggler, that accounted for the current joint British record perch of 6lb 3oz!

Aside from perch, prawns are also brilliant baits for big tench and carp, and can easily be coloured.

Feed chopped hookbait samples around the float and watch it sail away in no time!

Did you know?

The world’s largest species of prawn, the jumbo tiger prawn, is found in South East Asia and can grow to over 30cm long, with the females sometimes reaching close to a pound in weight!

Prawns
Prawns
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