The so called supermarket baits are simply called that because that is usually the
best place to obtain them, they also tend to be baits that are mostly intended for
human consumption. They are also some of the best baits available and the sheer amount
of possible bait available in the average supermarket is staggering, as a result
of this I will just include some of the most popular in this article but if you see
something on the shelf that takes your fancy and you think it might be suitable then
don’t be afraid to try it.
Possibly top of the list in the popularity stakes is sweetcorn, I would think there
can be hardly any coarse anglers that have not fished with sweetcorn at some point,
it is responsible for some huge catches including at one time the Carp record (Chris
Yates-Redmire Pool) sweetcorn can be bought either canned or frozen and the canned
type is probably more popular, it is convenient and cheap and now it comes in ring
pull cans you don’t even need a can opener, although some fisheries don’t allow cans
to be taken onto the venue because of the amount that get left behind so check first.
Just about all the species can be caught on corn although Perch, Pike and possibly
Eels are not caught too often on it. It is bait that can be fished with just about
any method too and is probably most effective at picking out better specimens of
the fish you are aiming to catch. Float fishing is probably the commonest fishing
method and corn is often fished this way, either using pole tackle or the waggler
on still waters, you can use it with the float on running waters but usually ledgering
or the feeder are a more popular approach on rivers with corn. Single grains are
a good way to start with corn, use as big a hook as you can get away with to get
bites, start with a size 12 or 14 and only go smaller if bites are hard to come by
or are a bit finicky, in any event I would be reluctant to go smaller than a size
18 with corn. Loose feed is usually just corn but don’t throw in too much as it fills
fish up quickly, little and often is the way forward, hemp is a good alternative
loose feed with just a few grains of corn added, or just add a few grains to your
Several of the big bait companies now also offer sweetcorn in their ranges; these
are often coloured and flavoured and can be extremely effective in the right circumstances.
Luncheon meat is another bait from the supermarket that like sweetcorn has legendary
fish catch abilities, there are loads of types available, luncheon meat, spam and
bacon grill to name just three, they all work and are all treated in the same way.
Generally considered to be a bait for specimen fish, meat is particularly good for
Carp, Tench, Bream, Barbel and Chub although in smaller pieces it will catch Roach
and Crucian Carp as well. Using it is simplicity itself, all you need do is remove
it from the tin and either cut or break a suitable size piece from the meat and bury
a hook in it, make sure the hook size is well matched to the size of the piece of
meat you are using though, don’t be afraid to use a big hook either, as big as the
piece of meat allows, luncheon meat was always traditionally cut into cubes for use
but there is a feeling among some specimen anglers that the fish have wised up to
the shape and Barbel anglers in particular don’t tend to cube it much any more preferring
to tear pieces from the meat to use on the hook, the thinking behind this is every
piece is a different size and shape and the fish are not alarmed by it as they sometimes
are with the angular sides of a cube, especially if they have been caught on a cube
several times before. Meat is not the best bait to cast long distances being soft
in nature, a way around this to some extent is to use a stop in the bend of the hook,
just pass the hook right through the meat and place a stop in the bend of the hook,
a short piece of dried spaghetti is good for this, it will soften once it is in the
water and will not generally impede the hook on the strike, you can also buy a spring
like attachment now that you attach to the hook hair rig style, this is then wound
into the meat like a screw and holds the meat surprisingly well and it can then be
cast a fair distance. Meat is generally fished as single hook baits when targeting
specimen fish or over a bed of loose feed such as hemp or small pellets.
Another popular meat fishing method now is using meat as a loose feed or as an addition
to ground bait, a very popular method with match anglers on the commercial carp ‘bag
It is quite simple to prepare, all you have to do is take the meat from the can and
cut it into slices, 5 to 10 mm is about right, these slices are then pushed through
a maggot riddle, or if you want it finer, through a pinkie riddle, what you then
get is like a fine dice and it can be fed as it is, either by hand or with a pole
cup attachment on the end of your pole or you can add it to ground bait to make a
meat rich mixture.
Like sweetcorn most of the big bait companies now offer their own versions of meat
Cheese is another good bait from the supermarket, probably not as popular as meat
and corn but a good bait all the same, particularly for Chub. You can use it as it
comes in the softer varieties like blue cheese, just mould a piece around a good
size hook leaving the point exposed, probably the most common way to use cheese though
is to make it into a paste.
The best stuff to make cheese paste with is frozen pastry, and I think this is what
most anglers use nowadays, I use the short crust variety, once thawed roll it out
into a thin sheet, this is the best time to add any colours or flavourings, just
smear a little flavour over the pastry or sprinkle a little powder dye over it, red
makes a killer colour for Chub. Then you just cover the pastry with grated cheese,
about the same quantity as the pastry, strong smelling types are probably best, then
just turn the corners of the pastry over to capture all the cheese and start kneading
until you have a smooth paste, it will be a bit multi coloured at first but keep
at it until it’s all one colour. Cheese paste freezes ok too and there is no need
to throw away leftovers as you can re-freeze it, in fact, some people say it gets
better with age.
There are many other types of bait available from the supermarket; you are only limited
by your imagination. Some that I know that have been successful include pepperami,
sausage meat, cat food, tuna, prawns and of course cat and dog biscuits.
By Chris Nicholls.
Spam is possibly the best known brand of luncheon meat