Luncheon meat is a great bait, and used in moderation it will cause no problem whatsoever in any fishery.
Les Cross, Boston, Lincolnshire.
AI believe my old friend
Roy Marlow was one of the first fishery managers to ban luncheon meat when he applied the rule to anglers visiting his Mallory Lake complex. The meat ban has since become far more widespread, being outlawed on many high-profile commercial pools.
Bait bans of any sort always cause controversy. With luncheon meat, the issue is the amount of fat it contains, with Spam, for instance, containing up to 25 g per 100 g. Fats are, of course, not all bad. They are an essential dietary requirement, used for nerve cell and brain development. It is also an energy source, being essential for a range of other functions, including utilisation of food and vitamins.
Baits high in oils are fine for coarse fish in modest amounts, especially when alternative food sources are available, but it is when these baits are used in excess that they can lead to fish health problems, and possibly death.
Concerns regarding the harm that oily baits can cause brought about widespread bans on high-fat pellets, but despite numerous claims and counter claims, there is no scientific evidence to support the argument that a high-fat diet causes disease or damage to fish, provided
(and it’s an important proviso) that the fish also have access to a diet containing sufficient protein, carbohydrate and micro-nutrients, in the form of vitamins and minerals, to grow and develop normally.
In a balanced, natural environment, omnivorous fish fulfil their nutritional requirements through eating a range of invertebrate and plant material, but in those fisheries where the fish biomass is such that they are entirely dependent upon anglers’ baits for 100 per cent of their diet, some degree of bait management may be required to prevent the accumulation of toxins and increased likelihood of disease, and this is where luncheon meat – and indeed pellet – bans become more relevant.
My colleague, the fishery troubleshooter Dr Bruno Broughton, once told me about a three-acre lake that he had been called to following a spate of fish deaths. After discussing bait use with the fishery owner, he calculated that about 20,000 cans of meat had been introduced in six months, adding several tons of fat to the water!
Bruno told me that the extent of the problem was so bad that whenever a fish disturbed the silt, oil globules rose to the surface, covering the lake with an oily sheen.
With nothing else in the way of food to browse upon, it was little surprise that the immune system of the fish was severely compromised, and that they were exhibiting signs of extensive bacterial damage.
Luncheon meat in all its various forms is indeed a great bait, and used in moderation it will cause no problem whatsoever in any fishery. However, when used to excess it can lead to problems, but so can any bait if it is used excessively, especially when the wider aquatic environment is poor.
Can you throw some light on why a local fishery has a ban on all meat baits? I understand why cat and dog food is banned, but can’t understand luncheon meat, as it’s a top bait for barbel and carp.