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Naturally yellow (or occasionally red) in colour, sweetcorn's brightness and uniform size makes it easy for fish to identify on the dark bed of the water.

Sweetcorn bait

Sweetcorn is one of the top baits for carp, barbel, bream, tench and sometimes big roach, although most species would take it as a bait.

Tinned sweetcorn can be found ubiquitously in supermarkets and at your local tackle shop. You can keep a tin of sweetcorn stored for years in your box, ready for the day when a change of bait will bring those bigger fish. However, many fisheries do not permit the bringing of tins onto the site. Regrettably a minority of anglers have been known to discard their tins in the water or in the hedge rather than taking them home. Frozen sweetcorn is also readily available.

Sweetcorn is more typically used during the summer months but can sometimes produce bites during the winter too.

History of sweetcorn as a fishing bait

Sweetcorn originates from North America and was almost certainly brought back to Europe by the 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus. Quite when it first arrived on British soil is uncertain.

Its use as a fishing bait seems to have happened relatively recently though. It is not mentioned by Fletcher writing in the 1920s in his ‘Baits and Groundbaits for Match Fishing' nor does it appear in ‘Baits and Groundbaits' by Faddist (Edward Ensom) published in 1950, which lists more than 30 coarse fishing baits, excluding flies and lures.

It's mentioned in Fred J Taylor's writings in the 1970s as a good bait for tench, so we believe that it probably wasn't in common usage as a fishing bait until the 1970s.

Colourful sweetcorn

How to store sweetcorn between fishing sessions

An unopened tin of corn will remain usable for many years. They have a long sell-by date and the contents are unlikely to go off for some years. If you keep your sweetcorn in a plastic bait box when fishing then pop it into the fridge once you get home. It will last a few days before going sour.

Tips on how to get the best from sweetcorn

  • If using sweetcorn as a bait for roach, the feeding 'little and often' principle would apply, maybe feeding two or three grains of sweetcorn every couple of minutes or so. Try to avoid overfeeding though. You could consider feeding a mixture of sweetcorn and maggots or sweetcorn and caster.
  • When targeting carp, barbel, bream or tench, it pays to put a carpet of feed on the bed of the fishery. Once the shoal finds this carpet of food, they should stay in your swim long enough for you to catch a few.
  • Sweetcorn is available in a variety of colours and flavours these days, with anglers having their own favourites. A change of colour might work well at a venue where sweetcorn is a popular bait and the fish have become wary of the standard yellow variety.
  • Imitation sweetcorn is also available. It is buoyant and would make an excellent bait choice if fishing in heavily weeded pegs, as the bait will remain visible to the fish rather than getting buried out of sight in the weeds.

Last Edited: 14 December 2020

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