Get the best from your fake bait set - Dr Paul Garner shows you how
Brilliant free gift opens up so many options
IKNOW many anglers are still wary of using artificial baits, but believe me, they can be more effective than the real thing, and they come in useful in so many different situations that I would never be without them.
This week’s fantastic free Angling Times gift is a brilliant introduction to the world of ‘fake baits’.
To give you some pointers, here are my top 10 ways of using these seven baits that will definitely catch you more fish.
1 TIP PELLETS AND BOILIES WITH FAKE CORN
Tipping bottom baits like boilies and pellets with a piece of buoyant fake corn has several benefits.
First, the brightly-coloured corn helps the hookbait stand out from the crowd, meaning that you get bites faster as the fish home in on the hookbait. Equally importantly, using buoyant corn will counterbalance the weight of the hook and bait, so when a fish sucks up the hookbait it will travel further back in the mouth, securing a better hookhold.
3 FISH A BALANCED CORN STACK
Combining floating and sinking fake baits allows you to adjust their buoyancy and make a wafter-style hookbait that is very easy for the fish to pick up. The stack of corn sits upright off the bottom with the hook beneath – very visible but with the metal hidden.
Using micro corn at the top gives a more streamlined presentation.
4 POP-UP FAKE BREAD
Whether targeting carp or chub, popped-up bread can be very effective, but it takes confidence to cast out such a fragile bait.
Why not replace the real thing with a chunk of fake bread? Use a short hair rig and also hook the bread on, so that it sits really tight to the hook. This way you will definitely hit more chub bites on the river.
5 HAIR-RIG A FAKE MAGGOT ON THE METHOD FEEDER
Most of the record-rocking crucians caught over the last few seasons have fallen to fake baits, normally maggots or casters, fished with a small Method feeder loaded with either micro pellets or groundbait.
For best results use a size 14 or 16 hook and trim the maggot down so that the hook only just sinks.
6 MAKE A SURFACE-SIGHTER
Spotting your mixer in a flotilla of other floating baits can be a nightmare, and many’s the time I have struck when the wrong bait has been taken, ruining my chances of catching a big carp!
Now, I always use a ‘sighter’ – a small piece of coloured foam or a pop-up boilie above the mixer – so that I can identify the hookbait amid the feed. A small piece of fake bread is the ideal sighter, proving to be very visible as well as adding to the buoyancy of the hookbait.
8 BEAT SMALL FISH WITH FAKE MAGGOTS
Barbel love maggots, but small chub and dace can make using them on the hook a nightmare, especially at this time of the year on the river.
My solution is to replace the real thing with fake maggots on the hair. While small fish will leave the hookbait alone, the barbel are unable to distinguish them from the real thing and will hoover the whole lot up in one go.
Fill a large oval blockend feeder with red maggots, and remember to keep recasting regularly to get that trail of maggots going downstream.
9 DOB BREAD ON THE SURFACE
Carp are suckers for surface baits at this time of year, but birdlife can make feeding floating baits a real pain in the backside. Instead, I will often rely on the pulling power of a boosted hookbait to attract the carp’s attention. The spongy nature of fake bread is ideal for dipping in liquid additives, and it can then be sprinkled with powdered attractors that will stick to the outside, giving off even more attraction. Dunk the hookbait close to a carp and watch it search out the source of the smell.
10 MAKE A MAG-ALIGNER
This clever rig was originally developed for winter carp fishing, when maggots are the number one bait on many venues.
Since then it has proved supereffective for chub and barbel in the cold and tench in the summer too. With a sewing needle, carefully thread a sinking bronze maggot on to a soft braided hooklength. Now tie on a size 10 hook and pull the fake maggot on to the shank. The fake bait helps to disguise the hook and also acts as a line-aligner, helping the hook to turn in the mouth and prick the fish. With a couple of real maggots on the hook the rig is all set.
“Believe me, fake baits can be even more effective than the real thing”
A fake corn stack gives a wafter effect.
Bread can be dipped in liquid and then powdered additives.
A sighter on top of a mixer hookbait.