Lun­cheon meat is a great bait, and used in mod­er­a­tion it will cause no prob­lem what­so­ever in any fish­ery.

Anglers Mail - - Mk18 D25 -

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.

Fish deaths

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.

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