THE BEST DEADBAITS AND WHEN TO USE ’EM

Angling Times (UK) - - TIPS & TACTICS -

TROUT

Brown trout are par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive, be­ing tough and quite buoy­ant. Ideal for sink and draw fish­ing, as well as us­ing un­der a float. The golden va­ri­ety is very bright and is worth search­ing out as a good change bait.

HER­RING

I like the small ‘jacks’ of about 8ins. If you can only ob­tain larger her­rings, try chop­ping them in half. A very oily bait, her­rings are ef­fec­tive on most venues. Their flat pro­file means that they will sit well over light weed and silt.

ROACH

A tough bait that on many venues makes up most of the pike’s diet. Try to buy roach that are in good con­di­tion. They will last sev­eral casts and are ideal for wob­bling or twitch­ing back. Make sure they sink by punc­tur­ing the swim blad­der and squeez­ing the air out.

MACK­EREL

Mack­erel have caught me a lot of pike over the years, in­clud­ing my per­sonal best. Get­ting hold of the right size and the fresh­est baits can be dif­fi­cult in win­ter, so stock up when you find some good ex­am­ples. I like ‘joey’ mack­erel that are about 8ins long.

LAUNCE

Gi­ant sandeels, these long thin fish on their day are up there with the best of baits. Ideal for lon­grange fish­ing, but pike find them a lit­tle tricky to pick up off the bot­tom so I al­ways take the head off to make a smaller bait and bal­ance them with a Bait Flip­per.

SMELT

My ‘go-to’ bait on most waters – the white colour stands out well and even a very large smelt is a per­fect pike bait. Smelts quite tough and will of­ten with­stand sev­eral casts. They can be dyed eas­ily and take a flavour well.

SAR­DINE

Much softer than her­rings, but of a sim­i­lar shape and smell. On some venues they out-fish even smelts. Best used whole and cast out frozen, be­cause of their soft flesh. Ex­pect to get just one cast from each bait.

POLLAN

This strange white­fish is very much hit-and-miss on many waters. I like to use them on rivers, where their nat­u­ral buoy­ancy makes them ideal for pop­ping up, and they will sway gen­tly in the cur­rent. A tough bait, and one that casts well.

LAMPREY

These pre­his­toric fish have a very che­quered track record in my book. They work best on rivers that get a lamprey run each year, such as the Wye, but I have also caught us­ing them on gravel pits. Ideal for long-range fish­ing, thanks to their shape.

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