How to Make and Prepare Your Own Baits
Making your own fishing baits can be easy, save you some money and give you a bigger sense of achievement, knowing that the fish you caught went for the bait that you picked and prepared for them, rather than something easily bought at a store.
The key to a good fishing bait is something that smells and tastes good to the fish, is brightly colored to get their attention and won’t go soggy or crumble in the water, resulting in it floating away and creating mess and wastage.
Cat and Dog Food as Bait
Cat and dog biscuits can make really good floaters, especially for carp. Large breed dog biscuits will be bigger, making them more attractive to fish. They can also be hooked onto your fishing rod easily, especially if you leave the box open for a few days so that they go soft.
Fish love them and will be more likely to eat them before they sink.The best way to prepare it is to open it when you’re ready to use it, take a hook-sized amount and mold it into shape, then dip it into boiling water so that a glaze forms over it which will help it to keep its shape and integrity.
Cat and Dog Food as Bait
- There are hundreds of cereals out there, so it can be difficult to know which will be best for fishing bait.All cereal is brittle, lightweight and will float in water, which is why it makes a good bait, but some do work better than others.
- Cereals that are covered in sugar, like Sugar Puffs, are protected by the sugar or honey coating, so they take a long time to absorb. Corn Flakes, Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, Frosties and similar cereals have long been used as a bait for roach, as well as other fish. This makes them great as floaters or pop-ups.
- The majority of cereals will need soaking in water before you’re able to put them on a hook, if not you’ll find that they’ll just break. Soaking for just a few minutes is usually enough, causing the cereal to swell and soften, meaning they also add a little casting weight. Alternatively, use them on the bottom as a pop-up.
- The problem with soaking something like Corn Flakes is how quickly they turn into a soggy mess that won’t stay on a hook. Similarly to pet biscuits, leave the packet open for a few days for them to go soft, without going soggy.
- However, if you don’t want to wait that long you can put some Corn Flakes into a plastic food bag, add two teaspoons of water and shake. Leave them overnight and they should have a similar texture to the ones left open for a few days.
- Due to how quickly they absorb liquid, flakes of corn don’t make very good floating bait, but you can try trotting a few flakes on a size 14 hook as bait for roach. They’ll go soggy once they’re in the water but if you cast gently and don’t jerk the tackle while you’re waiting then they should stay on the hook for the most part.
So, what about toasted cereals?
- You can use cereals like Rice Krispies and Coco Pops [US Based cereals please]the same way as corn cereals, but use less water as they soften quickly, However, due to being toasted, once softened they’ll stay on the hook really well. You can get one grain on a size 14 hook or up to three on a size 12, so they work well as a floater, a pop-up and a trotted bait.
- Shaped cereals, like Honey Nut Loops[Same comment as above], are difficult to hook, but they make an ideal bait for carp as they’re bigger and won’t absorb water quickly. The best way to use them is to glue them to the hook or use them as a floater.
Super Sweetcorn Bait
Sweetcorn makes a good bait for many reasons; including being cheap, needing little preparation and it can be used in various types of water for different fish. Roach, bream, tench, carp, chub and barbel all like sweetcorn.
The bright color makes it easy to see for both fish and yourself, so you can tell when a fish has gone for it. Canned sweetcorn works best as it’s a brighter yellow and often comes in a sugary juice, making it even easier to use on a hook.
Be mindful though, because sweetcorn is bigger, small fish will struggle to get their mouths around it, making it a better bait for larger fish. It’s a good idea to vary the depth when trotting with sweetcorn as chub will take it mid-water, whereas barbel and roach want it closer to the bottom.
How to Prepare and Hook Meats as Bait
- Meats are a fairly common bait, but they can present many problems that deter a lot of people from using them, such as cost, hooking and spoilage. However, barbel, roach, bream, chub, tench and carp can all be caught with meat throughout the year.
- Luncheon meat is the most commonly used meat for bait as it’s easy to transport and can be cut to size. Pick one that isn’t very high in fat as it will be softer and break away from the hook after a few minutes, particularly in fast water.
- Getting cubes of meat onto a hook can be tricky. A hook that is slightly too big is better than one that is too small. Push the point of the hook slowly into the middle of the meat and then thread it through. A small amount of green leaf or clear polythene pushed over the point and barb can act as a platform to stop the meat from jerking free, which will avoid wasting it.
- Avoid meats that have a lot of seasoning as fish won’t go for this so much. Corned beef is a good option, especially if you fry the cubes beforehand to help keep them in shape once they’re in the water. Sausage meat is a good bait, particularly when mixed with sausage rusk to stiffen it, some soft cheese and a little plain flour. The mixture can be rolled into bait-sized pieces that fish will love.
- Using meat on its own as a groundbait will be expensive but mix it with cereal to bulk it up and it will go a long way. Raw mince is generally a cheaper option that mixes well with pulped bread, sausage rusk or bran.
- Corned beef can be flaked and mixed with cereal to make it go further. Ideally, mix it up on the day you’re going to use it to keep it as fresh as possible. Fish that go for meat baits will be quick, so be prepared for them.
Time for a Cocktail
It remains a mystery why cocktail bait works so well. Perhaps it’s the extra smell and color of an additional bait that lures them in. Regardless of the reason, they work, so it’s time to experiment with cocktail baits. For the best cocktail baits combine baits that are different colors, smells, sizes and textures. Experiment to see what works best for where you’re fishing and what you’re trying to catch.
Make Your Own Boilies
Fishing lures can be easy, cheap and fun to make, as well as enhancing your fishing experience. An easy lure to start with is a cigar-shaped topwater lure made from wood.
Create your desired shape by cutting and sanding it and choose what you want to decorate it to look like. Adding an eyelet in the end can make a functional nose and it’s a good idea to paint your lure in bright colors to attract fish to it.
Metallic paints will reflect the light, making them even more attractive. Tie some spare fishing line onto the eyelet and dip your lure in some polycrylic to make it waterproof. Two to three coats is best. Finally, add an eyelet to the underside and back of the lure and attach hooks, and you’re ready to go fishing.
Pick a bait depending on what you’re fishing for and what type of water you’re fishing in. Some of these are really quick and easy, like using sweetcorn, while others take a bit more patience and time, such as boilies and meat baits.