Age: 37 Favourite Venue: Car Park Lake - back in the day UK PB: Heather - 52lb
All the three old school baits mentioned are winners on their day and in the right situation, but, if I had to choose one, it’d have to be sweetcorn! It just seems the perfect carp bait for so many reasons, the main one for me is that it’s highly visual. Yellow has always been a great summer/winter colour. It is also high in carbs and highly soluble. Sweet, salty, crunchy and also highly digestible in all water temperatures.
It’s so versatile as well. Great as a freelined single in the edge, or for a mass carpet of food. It has been around for years and used in many types of fishing so, in a way, fish have grown up eating sweetcorn as food. Without wanting to sound like a Green Giant bait plug, there have been a good few times where I’ve used sweetcorn when other baits failed, yet the golden grains have prevailed!
A special sweetcorn capture that stands out in my mind is one from Sandhurst Lake, at Yateley, in May 2008. I’d been fishing the lake every week during that spring getting amongst a few of the 20s and the odd 30 here and there. I remember being on the second to last session of my Cemex gold card, during which time I’d only had Charlie from Frimley Pit 3 at 38lb 14oz to show for my efforts!
I managed to get into the swim known as The Pipe and had a few fish over the first 24-hours to upper 20s. During the second day it all kicked off though and the new-ish south-westerly wind really got up and blew right down the lake into my swim! I’d been using maggots mostly but started having a few problems with the nuisance fish as spring was turning to summer by this time. I also remembered that the big ’un seemed to like a yellow bait from past captures, so, on one of my rods which I was using to cast to showing fish, I’d got a piece of fake corn tipped with maggots. At around midday I’d seen two fish show on one particular area to my left, about 60 yards out, so I had an exploratory cast and it felt like hard silt in about seven feet of water.
Seeing those fish and remembering that the big ’un liked yellow, I quickly tied on some fresh maggots, adding a small PVA bag full of maggots, sweetcorn and krill powder. The krill giving the maggots an edge and also drying off the sweetcorn enough to get 12 or so loose grains in the bag.
Funnily enough, I was just starting to redo the rods for the night, with fresh maggots when my middle rod ripped off and, after a dogged battle, mostly under the rod tip, Nige’s was mine, at 40lb 4oz.
I was over the moon and maybe there was something in that particular carp’s preference for sweetcorn, or maybe the yellow bait stood out enough for its old eyes to home in on. I’ll never really know but I certainly don’t think I would have caught it without the help from those golden grains...
IMAGES1 - The largest carp in Sandhurst lake at Yateley. Yet another statistic in the long line of big fish tripped up using the most simple of baits 1