Deadbaits are almost used exclusively for Pike and Zander fishing, other fish can
be caught on them, notably Eels and Catfish and to a lesser extent Chub, there have
been reports of Carp being caught on Deadbaits too, almost always by accident though.
The most popular are probably mackerel and smelt, which strangely smells of cucumber,
you can also use sardines, (which I rate as high as mackerel and smelt) herrings,
sprats and small trout, all of which are usually available from fishmongers. Some
good tackle shops are selling frozen deadbaits now including coarse fish deadbaits
which usually come from fish farmers or fishery management companies that are clearing
waters prior to re-stocking, these include Roach, Rudd and skimmer Bream. These are
a very good option to live baiting and are usually acceptable to fishery owners who
do not like live fish bought onto their fishery, in fact it is illegal under Environment
Agency bye laws to transport live fish from one fishery to another without their
permission. Other good coarse fish deadbaits are Eel sections and lamprey which are
gaining in popularity in recent years as they are extremely effective for Pike and
Zander, try it for Chub too. The reason for the effectiveness and popularity of lamprey
is because of the amount of blood and juices it contains, it literally oozes from
it and the predators find that hard to resist.
Keeping deadbaits is simplicity itself, all you need do is freeze them, the baits
available from the tackle shops are already frozen but some of the stuff available
from fishmongers may not be. If the bait you have bought from a fishmonger is not
frozen all you have to do is freeze it as soon as you get it home, just make sure
that the fish themselves are not touching each other or you will end up with a frozen
block, next to useless to you once on the bank, so freeze them individually.
The best way to transport them to the bank is in a cool box or bag, this way any
unused bait can be taken home after the session, still frozen, and used the next
time you go out. You can use the baits still frozen, the fish don't seem to mind
and in any case it will thaw pretty quick once it’s cast in and if you need to fish
at long range the head end of a frozen mackerel is hard to beat.
By Chris Nicholls.
The choice of deadbaits is pretty big and you can use almost any coarse or sea fish
of a suitable size, all will be taken by predatory fish although the Zander show
a distinct preference for fresh water deads.