Expander pellets

rayner

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I'm with you, what you say is right, who knows how long the bait has been vac packed.
My thought of using pellets, groundbait and probably meat is a better bet than risky casters. Nothing worse than fishing with a bait you don't trust.
It seems I'm going to have to turn my own bait again. The shop in question says the casters are better packed this way and will last a week. That's not true.
 

markg

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Casters are still £3 a pint at Aston park tackle shop, I've noticed on their web site they are now vacuum packed.
If this is to minimise contact with customers I don't know, I can't see another reason. I'm a bit suspect of vacuum packed live baits, for me live bait packed this way is as bad as stored in water.
I expect to fish the beginning of August, I think I will be sticking to pellet and groundbaits to prevent me going into the tackle shop, the vacuum packing of casters will stop me using them so I can manage with what I have in the way of baits.
These are what I bought yesterday Rayner, the bloke got them out of the fridge and said they are vacuum packed, they cost £2.20 a half pint to me. I know little about casters but the first tackle shop I went to, the nearest one, said he never stocks for the reasons Whitty said above. These seemed OK to me apart from the size, they looked very small but I imagine they keep well in the fridge, the vacuum just more so. They did not smell and I got bites from them but, as said I am no expert on their use. I had half a packet left and half a tin of hemp left so I mixed them together and put them in the freezer compartment of my fridge for next time, hopefully they will keep.
100_0318.JPG
 
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whitty

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Those casters have not been vacuum packed long,otherwise they would go grey and drab looking(bit like myself),those look quite bright,if they darken after opening they are still alive,vac packed casters would go black where they are rotting...
 

rayner

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Casters if left in water, definitely smell. Even when the water as been changed washing the sour water from them doesn't prevent the caster from smelling. Hold a couple in your hand then squash them if they are dead for even an hour or two they pong. Vac packed casters are no different.
The packing of live maggot/caster baits in any state that removes air for more than overnight is a bad idea.
I use a pellet pump as I've said on numerous occasions, the main reason is to remove air, so long as the casters get a breath of air every day for ten minutes the casters stay in top condition for ages.
If the caster are packed in a morning to sell to customers that day they would be fine, but how many tackle shops you don't use on a regular basis would you trust.
Through the warmer months, I use between 3 to 8 pints of caster a week depending on how many times I fish, We all know casters are not a cheap bait, I insist on getting the best casters possible. Vacuum packed is not a good way to buy them.
Dead smelly casters still get enquiries from fish, the fish roach especially can eject a caster quicker than we can react to the lightning-fast bites. With fresh casters, the fish hold onto the caster a little longer giving us time to react.

Mr Calcott used to own a tackle shop in Sheffield, in the early seventies, I had a Saturday job when I was 15. Casters then were kept in a damp sack then put in the fridge, they would stay fresh until Monday morning, at that time Sunday trading was not allowed so the shop had no one there to see to the bait.
Tackle shops now take the easy option, that is to keep casters in water, by Monday the casters are on the verge of smelling bad. Now there's a propensity to vac pack, neither option is a good idea, just easy.

Sorry for the long post regarding caster, my saying it's a bad idea with no reason why would not be enough.
 

whitty

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No Gary,your right,fresh caster is best,if you could go to a shop and take them straight from the riddle to the waterside,that would be pukka as Danny Fairbrass would say...🤮
 

whitty

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No,he is the owner of Korda tackle who knows nothing about casters,knows a lot about spods though,lol...
 
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whitty

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Humph,really...
My post had lost two important words which my tablet thought were unnecessary,blimey I hate technology,i've corrected it now mate.
 
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bracket

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Not wanting to go too much off thread, but during my match fishing days on the Trent, my friend and I would regularly turn two to three gallons of caster a week. These were purely for our own use. I built a vertical stack of riddles and put the bait through four times a day. The bait taken off would be kept in plastic bags, initially, and then bait boxes, as the quantity built up, and kept in a fridge. The penultimate task, before use, was to "duck" them in water, skim off the floaters, then drain. The bait was then packed into bait boxes and covered with a top layer of damp newspaper, sealed with a lid and fridged ready to use. The damp newspaper ensures the bait goes that nice consistent red colour. During a session I would always keep the bait damp, but never submerged. Any unused bait would be put back in the fridge and was OK four up to four days. Be aware that although a caster is "static" it is alive and any process that denies it oxygen will kill it, causing the bait to begin putrefying, rendering it, in my opinion, poor quality bait. The only fish I know that will regularly take rancid casters are chub. I appreciate that my comments here are "old school thinking" and preservation techniques have vastly improved since the days I speak of. So if you are happy with vacuumed bait and get results, all well and good. For me, the best bait is fresh bait, casters in particular. Pete.
 

markg

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I know one thing, I couldn't get casters today and although I tried other baits I did not catch anything.
 

rayner

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So if you are happy with vacuumed bait and get results, all well and good. For me, the best bait is fresh bait, casters in particular. Pete.
My preferred choice of keeping caster is the pellet pump, I've said so on numerous occasions. The pumped casters need aa breath of fresh air otherwise they will snuff it, just a few minutes a day will be fine. Casters, in my opinion, stay fresher longer in a pellet pump.
 

wetthrough

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I'll chip in here for a bit of balance. I always keep casters in water, always have done ever since I started turning my own. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's the best way, I'd use fresh if it was practical. I only take 1/4 pint with me at most (stillwaters, I'd take a lot more if I fished rivers). I start turning 1/2 pint first thing Saturday morning and they're ready Monday night. Last thing the night before fishing I drain the water off and put them in the bait box in the fridge. Below left is what they looked like late Thursday, right is what they looked like Friday morning. The right hand one was taken with flash as it was dark so I've adjusted the colour closer to what I remember them looking like.

casters_before-after.jpg

I crushed one to smell it, no smell and they taste delicious. OK, I didn't go that far but the fish don't seem to mind. If you're wondering why no anaemic ones, I don't do anaemic caster. I manually sort them. Any anaemic ones go back in for turning. As I only use 1/4 pint it's quite practical.

They're kept in the bottom of the fridge which is at about 1.5:2 degrees. If you've had them going sour maybe they were already on their way when you got them or possibly the fridge isn't cold enough? I've fished with them much older than that. Just before @mikench went away we fished Dunham and I was pulling Rudd out one after the other with caster well over a week old.
 

rayner

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The way you do them is similar to how we all used to do them. Old casters are fine if they are kept alive and don't float. Water seems the preferred storing method for most anglers.
Even when I have casters in use I prefer not to keep them in water, it's just my way because I get more confidence fishing casters that have a crispy shell, of course, some would say the fish don't really care and they probably don't I hate when the shells are soft and can't be hooked without pushing the end of the bait in the caster. I'm sure some think I talk a load of rubbish.🤬
The temperature of bait fridges doesn't turn casters sour, preventing them from breathing does. The vacuum-packed baits can be nothing more than death camps, tackle shops using this method should be prosecuted for crimes against living creatures o_O we should start a movement for the care of baits. I nominate witty to be our figurehead :unsure: what do member think?
One more thing, how did an expander thread turn to casters.
 

rayner

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I'm expecting to fish expanders next week. Trying to avoid tackle shops my baits will be pellets or meat, I need to have a drive around this week to see where I fancy. I already have a couple of venues close to home which could be fine. Depends on how I intend fishing.
So baits will definitely be Pro expanders feeding micros or hard pellets, with meat as a change bait.
I've had all tackle prepared for months so don't need to prepare anything before I go.
 
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