Bread is a bait that has been in use for generations, it’s versatile, cheap and readily
Probably the commonest way to use bread is either as bread flake or crust. Bread
flake is very good bait for most species and will tempt good fish with a variety
of methods, the commonest being float fishing, trotted bread flake on rivers is a
great method for Chub and quality Roach, it can also be used with an open ended swim
feeder on rivers or lakes and will tempt Bream, Tench, Carp, Crucian Carp and Rudd,
in fact just about all the species have been taken on bread flake at some time or
The best bread to use for flake is ordinary white medium sliced; it tends to be softer
than un-sliced bread so is easier to form around the hook. To bait the hook just
tear a piece from the middle of the slice, size is not that critical as you will
probably be fishing for better size fish, a piece the size of a 50p piece is a good
starting point, then place the hook in the centre of it and fold it over, give the
bread a little squeeze around the eye or spade of the hook and that’s it done, no
need to worry about the hook point showing as the bread will soften up straight away
on contact with the water and as such won’t impede the hook on the strike when you
get a bite. You can get away with a large size hook too with bread flake, a size
8 is ok in a piece the size of a 50p piece and I would probably never go smaller
than a size 12 with flake, if this turns out to be too big to get bites then the
flake method is probably wrong and you should be using punched bread. If when you
retrieve your tackle the flake is still on the hook you have probably squeezed a
little too hard on the hook, it should come off on just about every cast.
Ground bait wise with flake you can use plain brown or white crumb, just dampened
down a little and introduce a small ball with each cast, or you can use mashed bread.
To make bread mash you just need a loaf or two of sliced or un-sliced white bread
that is starting to dry out a little, fresh soft bread is not much use for this,
save that for the hook. Break the bread up into large pieces and add water, it needs
a fair bit, and allow the bread to soak for a while so the water is fully absorbed,
it should appear soft and a little slushy at this point, then all you have to do
is break it all up into a fine mash and it’s ready for use, you can either do this
with your hands or use a potato masher. Some anglers add other ingredients at this
point either flavourings or simple additives such as sugar or custard powder or bran,
to vary the mash a bit you can use a percentage of wholemeal or granary bread in
the bucket to start with. The bread mash is then ready for use, either in an opened
feeder with flake on the hook or feeding a ball a cast with flake on the hook when
trotting, both methods are absolutely deadly for Chub and big Roach on the rivers.
Bread crust is very effective bait for fish of all species but is probably most well
known when used as floating bait on the surface for Carp, Chub and Rudd and to a
lesser extent fished sub surface for Chub, Carp and Roach.
The preparation is simplicity itself; all you need is a white un-sliced loaf and
then you can either tear or cut pieces from the crust itself to use on the hook.
Size of bait should be matched to the size of fish you are targeting, if you are
after Chub or Carp then you can use really big pieces if you wish, they have no bother
eating a piece the size of a matchbox, you can use big hooks with this too, a size
6 or 8 for Carp or Chub, all you have to do is pass the hook through on the crust
side of the bread. Free lining is a good method to employ if casting any great distance
is not important, it’s a very good method for Chub on small and medium rivers, introduce
a few pieces of crust into the swim and wait to see if the Chub start taking them,
then float your bit down, brilliant! You can cast large pieces of free lined crust
to feeding carp it they are close enough, if not you will have to use a controller
of some sort. Rudd will also take small pieces of crust from the surface and it’s
probably best to fish for them on light float tackle with all the weight needed for
the float fixed as locking shot at the base of the float, don’t have any shot down
the line and have about 20 to 30 inches of line from the float to the hook. Crust
can also be fished sub surface on a ledger or swimfeeder set up for most species
but it’s not a method used much these days.
Punched bread is great bait, in its most commonly used form it is used mainly for
getting bags of smallish Roach on canals and slow moving rivers using the pole. The
bread punch itself is a tool to ‘punch’ out a small pellet of bread to use as hook
bait; these vary in size from very small punches of about 4 mm up to 12 mm or so.
You can punch out the pellets from fresh sliced bread as it comes straight from the
packet, this produces softer fluffy pellets that come off the hook just about every
cast but some days the fish prefer these softer pellets. Another way to prepare the
bread for punching is the microwave method, this produces much denser pellets that
often stay on the hook for several casts and is my first choice method of preparation,
particularly if the fish are lining up to be caught!. Punched bread is usually fished
on light pole tackle with small fine wire hooks between size 18 and 24.
To prepare the bread for this denser type of pellet take a few slices of fresh white
bread and remove the crusts, then place it in a microwave for a few seconds, you
may have to experiment with a few slices to get the timing right but somewhere around
10 to 20 seconds should do it depending on the power of the oven, the next step is
to put the bread on a hard surface and roll it with a rolling pin, press quite hard
and get it down to about 1 mm thick or around the thickness of a CD make some a little
thicker (less compressed) too so you have some variety in your hook bait, wrap them
up in a plastic bag as soon as you have finished rolling to stop them drying out,
and only take out one at a time when you are fishing. Another way to soften the bread
slightly before rolling is to steam it, all you have to do is hold the slice of bread
over the steam from a kettle for a few seconds, be careful though, steam can burn
so always hold the bread with a fork or similar.
To hook the pellets you need to have the bread on a hard surface and then just push
the punch down through it, the pellet will still be stuck in the end of the punch,
nick the hook into the pellet and remove the pellet from the end of the punch, most
punches have a slot in the side to help with this.
Ground bait for punch fishing can be either plain brown or white crumb slightly dampened,
but a much better bet in my opinion is liquidised bread.
Liquidised bread is simple to make, just get a white sliced loaf that is not too
fresh and remove the crusts, cut the bread into large pieces and liquidise to a fine
crumb, that’s it, ready for use. Be careful when feeding liquidised bread when fishing
for small fish as it fills them up quickly and it’s easy to over feed the swim, you
also need to make sure it doesn’t dry out, if it does it usually floats, keep it
in a plastic bag and only take out a little at a time.
Liquidised bread and punched bread, usually in the larger sizes, can also be used
on the rivers in place of mash and flake if the fish are a little fussy; it also
seems to come into its own when the weather turns cold.
Another option for ground bait is punch crumb, this is a product that is available
from various ground bait companies and is freeze dried white bread that is ground
to a fine crumb, all you have to do with it is dampen it slightly and it comes up
very similar to liquidised bread.