Plastic Baits – Any Questions Part 6
Artificial baits the subject of our popular ‘Any Questions’ slot this time around with Peg One’s Tony Gibson taking a look at rubber and plastic baits.
Q. Why are plastic baits so successful for so many species?
Tony Gibson answers:
I was initially cautious about the first plastic baits that became available commercially in this country, but as I’d read years before about carp in other countries being caught on plastic beads and suchlike, it didn’t take me long before I was experimenting with these baits myself.
Plenty of reports were soon coming in of good fish being caught on the plastics and as my confidence grew, and I began to incorporate the plastic offerings as part of my regular hookbaits, I was soon catching good fish on them myself.
Nowadays I’ll be carrying around some items of plastic hookbaits nearly every time I go fishing and I have caught a number of good fish of different species while using them.
Obviously there’s the question of why bother with plastic baits when the real thing catches plenty of fish, but plastic baits have a number of benefits over many of their natural equivalents, such as:
• Consistency of shape/size/colour
• Consistent density/buoyancy
• Resistance to the attention of small fish and other nuisance critters (such as crayfish and leeches)
• Ability to take on and retain liquid flavours/attractors
• Ease of storage
• Do not go off or go mouldy
• Variable hook/hair mounting options
• Do not fall apart on the hardest of casts
• Do not disintegrate after being immersed in water over a period of time
• Luminous options are available
• Can be used time and time again
• Can easily be reshaped with a sharp craft knife
With all of these potential benefits I’ve tried various ways of incorporating plastic hookbaits into my fish. Here are some examples:
• Long range bream fishing on large gravel pits – when casting any sort of distance, my standard hookbait under these circumstances has become a 10mm boilie tipped with a piece of plastic corn. This can be cast hard if required and will always stay on the hair. Even when dropping baits off from a boat I’ll still use a piece of plastic corn along with the real stuff, as leeches etc can often suck or chew away the natural bait within hours.
• Particle fishing for carp and other species (tench/bream) – The consistency of the plastic baits can really help with the fine tuning of a delicate presentation when presenting particle baits, especially when a buoyant or critically balanced bait is preferred. Can be used either in conjunction with examples of the real thing, or simply on its own.
• Maggot feeder fishing for roach and other species (tench/bream) – The plastic maggots can deter the smaller fish leaving the hookbait available for the specimens. Buoyant options can also be very useful to make the hookbait stand out from the mass of free offerings. Even a piece of plastic corn can be more effective than real maggots when used in this way, especially if critically balanced so that any fish hoovering up the loosefeed simply sucks in the plastic hookbait along with all the maggots (this also allows for a larger hook to be used if carp are the target species).
• Flavoured hookbaits – Getting natural baits to take on and retain liquid flavours and attractants can be a bit of a fiddly and time consuming business. However nothing could be simpler than simply putting a selection of plastic hookbaits into a glug pot and covering the lot with your favourite boilie dip or whatever. The plastic baits can be just left soaking in the glug and will be ready to use whenever they’re required.
• Eye-catching luminosity – Many species of coarse fish can be attracted to luminous items, especially predators. Whenever I’m fishing for catfish I always incorporate a luminous plastic bait to help draw attention to the hookbait. I’ve also had plenty of success with bream and carp on the luminous plastic, but I’ve stopped using it for these species on some waters with a good head of pike, as pike are obviously very attracted to the glow from these baits and can be something of a nuisance as they frequently pick up the hookbait, especially around dusk.
• Floating bait for carp and chub – A piece of crust or ‘mixers’ floating on the surface of a pond for carp, or drifting down the current of a river for chub are two classic methods that still have the potential to catch plenty of fish today. Standard bread and even mixers do tend to have a habit of coming adrift from the hook just at the crucial moment, especially when small fish are attracted to them and are constantly bothering the baits. The floating plastic alternatives overcome these problems nicely and have caught me some good fish when the issues with the real stuff were threatening to have me tearing my hair out in frustration.
I’ve heard from several people that there are some good plastic baits and some others that are not so good. I’ve only used the plastics available from Enterprise Tackle and Nash, but have been more than happy with the success that I’ve had on the products I’ve used from both companies.
If I want a luminous bait or floating bread or mixer imitation, then I use the ones available from Enterprise Tackle. If I want a plastic bait that takes on additional liquid flavours etc., then I’ll use the range from Nash (called “mutants”).
If you’ve not used plastic baits before, then I would suggest that you give them a serious try as soon as possible… or you could be missing out.
With carp and specialist anglers of the calibre of Paul Garner, Tony Gibson, Alan Storey, Steve Pope, Ted Bryan, Alan Blair, Mark Barrett, Lewis Baldwin and Bernard Anderson – to name but a few - the Nash Peg One team has a wealth of experience covering just about every species that swims and the expertise of the whole team is on tap for everyone at FishingMagic to take advantage of in these Q and A sessions.
If you have any questions that you would like the team at Nash Peg One to answer in the next instalment then please e-mail them through to firstname.lastname@example.org
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