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A cold session just before Christmas

I blanked at Beechwood this month on my only session on 19 December. Just a short session of a few hours in the afternoon, the water was really high, the pond I was on is fed from the Trent, it was also very cold. Merry Christmas one and all!

As I haven’t got much to report on this months blog, I thought I would include some information I found about various baits. Here is a list of the main types of bait used for Coarse fish and have been used for many years, so ideal for vintage fishing.

Maggots: Maggots are fly larvae and depending on which type of fly has laid the eggs, will depend on the type of maggot; however the most common type comes from the Bluebottle. Other maggot types are Pinkies (Greenbottle) and Squats (common House Fly); these are smaller than normal maggots but are just as effective. Most types of Coarse fish can be caught on maggots which are why they are so popular, they can be bought from most tackle shops and come in various colours including white, red, yellow and bronze. Dyes can also be purchased so you can colour maggots yourself as well as numerous flavourings which can help entice the fish. Make sure the hook is placed through the small fleshy tab on the end of the maggot which gives great presentation and the maggot is able to wiggle, thus attracting passing fish. Maggots are also excellent for loose feed and can also be used alive or dead as an ideal addition to your groundbait.

Worms: Either collected from the garden or bought from a tackle shop, Lob worms or Dendroboenas are excellent for catching larger fish including Perch, Bream or Eels and just a small piece of worm works just as well, especially for smaller fish and chopped worm like the maggots is a great additive to groundbait. Blood worms are another ideal bait and now very popular once more after a prolonged ban.

Sweetcorn: A great bait for catching big Bream and Tench, now available in plastic form so it can be flavoured and reused. It is also available in different colours and flavours as with most baits, it is also a great addition to your groundbait and can be used on the hook or with a hair rig for better presentation.

Casters: Casters are the chrysalis stage of Flies, after the maggot stage and you will see casters when you leave maggots somewhere warm for a while. Casters are a very good hook bait for Roach and Bream, hooking is through the flat end by placing the point straight down and then turning the hook so the point then pierces through the side. Casters are best when fresh and can be tested by filling your bait box with water, the ones that sink are good to use whereas those that float are passed their best.

Bread: Bread is great bait and can be used in numerous ways, including pressing a small piece around the hook or hooking through a cube of crust, most fish will go for a nice piece of bread. It can also be blended in a mixer to make crumb, an ideal addition to groundbait or used on its own as groundbait with some flavouring and colouring.

Luncheon Meat: Fantastic for Barbel and Tench, used in small cubes on the hook, although the hook can split the meat. As with hooking a caster you can place the point through and around or the hook can be pushed completely through and a stopper, blade of grass or small twig placed between the bend and the meat as you pull the hook back up.

Hemp/Tares: Not used much as a hook bait but still very effective as loose fed or mixed in with groundbait and very good for catching Roach and Chub.

Groundbait: There are so many different options when trying to find the right groundbait and tackle shops are full with all different types for different types of fish and waters. The best thing is to try them out. In the summer months can be better to go for a brown crumb based groundbait, you will not need to feed as much as there is plenty of natural feed at this time and you don’t want to overfeed the fish. In the winter, more feed is needed to keep the fish interested, add chopped worm or sweetcorn and a very dark groundbait seems to work well with strong flavours.

Also this month I thought I’d include the original ‘Aerborn’ advert from where I developed The Retro Angler’s logo. It’s a bit of a nod and a tip of the trilby to Mr Crabtree, albeit a little more casual in attire! The old Aerborn advert, seen here next to an advert for a Mitchell reel, states that you can "fish in comfort in stringlet and mesh wear, the latest scientific development in underwear. The all-cotton deep mesh provides the body with perfect air-conditioning which gives protection against chills after exercise, disperses perspiration and offers complete insulation against cold or heat, extra warmth in winter, cooler in summer, in fact all-year round underwear for both men and boys". Interestingly for me, these were made by Robert Shaw & Co Ltd which was based not for from me in Nottingham.

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