Natural wildlife baits, what works?

markg

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I am starting this thread because as I was just talking about worms on another thread something occurred to me, I have never tried those centipedes, I was digging over one of my indoor pots the other day and one popped up. I used to see loads of these in the garden or under any bit of turned over log but never thought of trying them as bait, red and very wiggly and probably occur in the water now and then if they fall in, they must be good especially for roach, anyone tried them?
And whilst on the subject, apart from worms anyone use any other natural bait and what do you think of their use generally? I remember trying wood lice once or twice and the roach were mad for them in one water I fished. Do we ignore them too much? Spending money and time preparing all manner of things when ample ready made free baits are there. Is it just laziness, convenience and conditioning that stops us; I am sure that's where I am.
Or is it handling them because I acquired a few very thin light disposable sort of Polythene gloves the other day for viral protection but just thought these could be ideal for handling creepy crawlies or just to protect from biting, staining, smelling or rat disease. just another thought.
 
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Keith M

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Like you Mark I tried wood lice once after I ran out of maggots and they were eagerly taken by the roach and skimmers even though there was very little meat on them, I’ve also tried those grubs you can find in cow pats and caught fish on them.
I also caught fish on the grubs you can sometimes find burrowing inside reed stems, but not being an entomologist I don’t know their names.

But Ive not tried centipedes.

Keith
 
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David Rogers 3

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Apart from a few chub on big black slugs, I've never managed to get a single bite on woodlice, beetles, grasshoppers, etc. Countless times I've watched insects struggling on the surface and they've been completely ignored by cruising fish (usually carp). I can't think why any fish would ignore such an easy meal, but they seem to!
 

nottskev

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It isn't laziness, convenience or conditioning that makes maggots or casters more popular than woodlice and earwigs. If I were involved in some kind of Bear Grylls or Huckleberry Finn scenario, I might decide to spend an hour turning over stones and rotten wood. But I'm probably aiming to get hundreds of bites and catch dozens of fish, and the key to assembling a group of fish in front of you is feeding, and a pint or so of maggots or casters - estimated 2500, but who has counted?- will let me trickle in bait non-stop for a session. These stay in the tub, don't bite or sting you, and can be thrown or catapulted a fair way. I've nothing against trying natural baits for the fun of it, but there's logic to what's most commonly used, rather than a lack of imagination.
 

rayner

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When I was a kid, funds were short. I tried all manner of crawlies on the hook. best were leaches that fastened themselves to greaseproof bread bags that we left submerged in the edge of ponds. They were a prime bait for perch. Almost every other we tried failed. Ant eggs were a good hook bait but impossible to feed and the hook size was limited.
Nottskev hit the nail on the head. The way to better catches is feeding. It took a while for a young lad to realise this, I did get there eventually.
If you are prepared to sit a while waiting for bites satisfied with just a few fish then go for it, try the crawlies from the grass or under stones.
 

markg

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Good point about the ground baiting, not really a viable preposition with natural baits, or only sparingly in some cases maybe. For me it would just be try out occasional bait more than likely' as I have done once or twice before like with woodlice. I suppose it's all part of looking for the holy grail in fishing, we know it doesn't exist but we keep looking, at least I do; not sure why though. Maybe it's just part of what makes it interesting.
It's funny David mentioning struggling insects on top and being ignored, I have often noticed this, a big juicy moth or something causing plenty of rings and distress signals and thinking why doesn't a fish notice and take it. Maybe they really do not feed some days whatever is going on or, they just won't come to the surface.
Anyway, I will try those wriggly centipedes once I get going again, It will be an itch that needs scratching now.
 

barbelboi

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Like you Mark I tried wood lice once
I've use woodlice quite often for roach and they can be very effective - I believe it may be due to their resemblance to the small black snails (that they love) attached to the streamer weed ( and far easier to collect:))

Also I often use whatever natural 'baits' (mostly larvae or berries) that inhabit the river or surrounding proximity - most work and provide an inexpensive few hours fishing.....
 

ian g

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I used to free line those big black slugs quite a lot in the river Dane . They were pretty effective , though not pleasant to handle , worse thing was at the end of the session when you had one left on the hook , never liked taking them off.
 

markg

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I used to free line those big black slugs quite a lot in the river Dane . They were pretty effective , though not pleasant to handle , worse thing was at the end of the session when you had one left on the hook , never liked taking them off.
I have caught quite a few chub on those big black slugs but nothing else.
I have also tried those little grey ones but from memory have caught nothing on them but, the big black ones, definitely a good chub bait. I don't like handling them either though, usually push the hook in when I spot one travelling over the ground holding the shank.
 

Keith M

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Yep Wasp Grubs and Wasp Cake were used quite a lot in days past.

Ive still got a spray can in my bait fridge with sweet Wasp cake flavouring in it which I used to spray onto my maggots and my bread.

Keith
 

markg

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I have heard of and used berries although not with much success, Mark Wintle knows a lot about elder berries but I find they are hard to get the fish going on. I have tried strawberries without much success, but oddly tiny bits of apple bought me quite a lot of bites on a canal once.
Banana I have had little fish on as well although some banana paste that went moldy, the black stage; found me hauling up eels.
Currents and sultanas, I have tried as well. I think I may have had the odd fish on these but nothing that made them stand out. Dried meal worms turned out to be pretty useless as well.
I tried honey, not a lot of difference to baits really, fermented yeast was excellent on maggots, I proved to myself that makes a big difference but don't like maggots much, too many small fish. Not had much luck with swan mussel either on the odd occasion I tried it.
Out of it all, worms, possibly apple, wood lice for roach, slugs for chub are the only real successes I have had. But there must be some I have not tried, centipedes for example. beetles, wasp grubs/cake, various other fruits, a bit of soft juicy pear maybe. centipedes are on my list as the next try.
 

Mark Wintle

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Elderberries are a useful change bait and the one time I used them last season when I fished the Thames they seemed to be slightly better than tares but conditions weren't that good with the river up a few inches and with a bit of colour. I've had success before on the Thames and Stour with them and ought to try them more often on the Stour.

As a kid caddis grubs were abundant in the river Piddle and I caught good roach, dace and trout on them. Hard to find in the places they were so abundant 50 years ago but I did see some in a pond a few weeks ago. When I was 12 or 13 I could rarely afford maggots so baits like bread paste, worms and caddis weere useful free alternatives.
 

flightliner

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Washed down with Tetley tea no doubt Mick.....Quote by Jerry.
Thought you'd like it Jerry, I've never. Known a Bream being taken on the stuff
Aknib- yes , remember it well, great days and great bags of chub.
It seems a bait that's long forgotten by many chub anglers today.
 

steve2

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We do seem to have forgotten how to use anything that we can't buy off the self.
 

David Rogers 3

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I'm sure you remember the days when wasp grub and cake were catching the big Chub bags on the Trent Mick, 1980's?
I remember that lethal pesticide (now banned, I believe) they used to use on the wasp nests - Cymag.
 
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