Far Bank Dom Garnett’s weird baits
Hardly a season goes by without a weird bait or two hitting the headlines. But are these genuine Eureka moments, or will fish eat almost anything? Dom Garnett reckons they might...
WHAT is the strangest thing you’ve ever slipped on the hook to trick a fish?
Hempseed? Luncheon meat or corn, maybe, as if these were the most normal things in the world for fish to come across.
Even so, you have little on the serial carp angler, whose baits can be downright bizarre. I wondered whether it had gone too far with flavours like Lobster Thermidor or Chinese Takeaway boilies – until I went to America and found coffee and bacon-flavoured lures.
The old school might be shaking their heads at this point, but fish can and do find the most bizarre things not only edible, but damned near irresistible. And for every time we scoff at an odd ‘new’ bait, somebody will already be catching a lot of fish on it.
Perhaps we should be slower to write off the unusual, because it’s good fun experimenting and there’s always the chance you’ll be surprised. On one of my coaching sessions last summer, a young lad asked me: “Has anyone ever caught a fish on a Haribo?” I nearly told him not to be daft – instead I admitted: “I have absolutely no idea, why don’t you try it?” The next part of the story should be obvious – moments later he was hooked into a carp.
Perhaps the most consistent of odd baits in recent years is the supermarket prawn. The first articles I read left me total disbelief. I was still waiting for the instruction to dip the things in Marie Rose Sauce before casting out. But how wrong could I be?
They are absolutely terrific for big perch- and not just for the scavengers of ‘artificial’ waters. Why wild fish on rivers or large natural lakes would find them so irresistible is quite beyond me.
The more I think about my most memorable catches, the fewer seem to have been caught on anything strictly ‘natural’ at all. Do pike chase shoals of sardines on the local canal? Were the roach feeding on pellets all along? In the case of the latter, it’s a fact that human activity, angling-related or not, also plays a part. How else do you explain mullet caught on chips or fish caught on a cigarette butt or a piece of orange peel?
Perhaps I should invite our own Bait Doctor, Paul Garner, to have the last word on this fascinating topic. But suffice to say, had I wanted to compile a list of angling’s oddest baits I would have needed not just the back page but the whole magazine!
Carp on Haribos? My summer students were rewarded for their curiosity. Offerings like supermarket prawns are not strictly natural, but certainly deadly.