Big pike and catfish are suckers for vodka-flavoured baits

Many anglers use dips and flavourings to give them an edge in their predator fishing, but one man has taken it a step further, revealing that the secret behind a string of 30lb pike catches is neat vodka.

Irish fishing guide Dave Mason has been injecting the spirit into his deadbaits with unbelievable results, the alcoholic edge being responsible for the capture of pike to 39lb 10oz and countless others over 30lb.

The Belfast-based specimen-hunter, who owns the popular angling holiday and guiding service Monster Tours, believes it’s the slick of alcohol slowly oozing from the bait that is responsible for producing takes when all other offerings fail.

His own experiments fishing with vodka on many of Ireland’s premier pike waters have seen the boozy baits more than double the catch-rate of standard sea deadbaits, while sessions on Spain’s River Ebro, where he targets the waterway’s catfish population with halibut pellets soaked in vodka, have delivered similar results.

“Every 30lb pike I’ve caught has been on a sprat or seabait injected with vodka,” Dave told AT. “People wouldn’t believe how much difference it makes to your catch-rate.

“When the fish has been injected with alcohol it practically explodes in a cloud of juices as it hits the bottom. I’ve seen slicks appear on the surface when the pike takes the bait.

“Both myself and my customers have lost pike that we wouldn’t even dare put a weight on while fishing with vodka baits, and in Spain we ditched our usual fish baits and tried vodka-soaked pellets against standard offerings.

In a week the ‘special’ bait produced 26 fish, with the standard offering tempting only two. Need I say more?” Fisheries scientist and well-known specimen angler Dr Mark Everard is not surprised at the fish-catching qualities behind vodka-enhanced baits.

“The injection of alcohol into a seabait such as a sprat or herring will help release the oils and juices that predators love and home in on,” he explained.

“Dave also mentioned that he likes to mix a little fish oil with the vodka, which can only help to further boost the attraction of the hookbait.” Predator guru and Angling Times columnist Neville Fickling is one of the sport’s most respected pike anglers and, despite admitting that he wouldn’t inject his baits with vodka, he applauds those anglers who are constantly searching for an edge with their baits.

“Fishing is full of wacky and experimental ideas, which is always great to see,” he told AT. “It’s important to try new things in order for new tactics and baits to evolve.

At the end of the day, fishing is all about confidence.

So if trying something like this gives you a boost within yourself, then that can only be a good thing.”