If you walk into your average tackle shop nowadays there are so many different baits to choose from it can be a little overwhelming. There seems to have been a bait made for every type of water, circumstance and weather known to man. However these baits can be expensive and you need a very big bag to be able to carry them all. But did you know that you can in fact get bait for free? All it takes is a little hunt in your back garden or on the towpath on the way to your peg.
This can also be great fun for kids, they can help you hunt for worms and slugs in the garden ready for fishing the next day, or why not take them out on your local towpath where there are lots of berries to be had. Blackberries (or brambles in my neck of the woods) are always the best to pick and the easiest to find, but make sure they watch out for the thorns.
Here are a few of the best baits you can find by just venturing outside:
These little berries are a great bait for roach, dace and chub, you will often find them on the sides of towpaths in the hedgerows and may even have a tree in your back garden. They are soft and best presented on a small hook just nicked in the skin. You will probably get juice on your hands when using them, but there aren’t many baits that don’t make a mess. If you can see overhanging bushes with these on then fish underneath them, the bushes will do your feeding for you and the fish will be eagerly awaiting the berries dropping off the bush.
If you have kids this can be a great opportunity to get them outside and having a little hunt for some blackberries, although if you are picking blackberries they may well eat as many as they pick! Also, if you get more than a day’s fishing worth they are great in a pie or a crumble, the perfect treat to come back to after a long days fishing. These work for a wide range of fish although, they may need to be cut down if you are going for smaller ones. Like with elderberries look for overhanging blackberry bushes as the fish will be used to the berries dropping off for an easy meal.
Not everyone will have these in their garden but fish love their strong sweet smell as much as us, just think of how many pellets and boilies are strawberry flavoured. The biggest challenge with these is resisting eating them yourself, but if you do manage to keep a few for fishing they work best as smaller chunks on the hook or bigger bits for larger fish, carp will happily swallow them whole.
This is one of the best baits you can find in your garden, or buy from the tackle shop if your hunt is unsuccessful. Worms can be fished on every possible method so there is no ideal rig for them, just make sure you suit your rig to the species you are targeting, but no matter what you will probably catch a perch.
Damp mornings or evenings are good times to find worms, and make sure to check under stones in your garden as this will often be the best place to find them. You could even make your own womery, so you always have a supply of bait, just don’t tell the kids you are putting the ones they have named on a hook for the fishes.
When you see them the first thing you think might not be “I could fish with that”, but slugs are a good bait for chub. Hook them straight on a big hook with a couple of swanshot leger style or freeline them. Slugs often fall in the water from the bank, so fish are used to eating them, making them a good bait.
Jake joined the Trust in July 2015 as part of the Marketing & Communications team. He first went fishing aged 11 and has been hooked ever since. Jake will be telling you some stories from the bank as well as some helpful hints to hopefully pass on some of what he has learned over the years.See more blogs from this author