Bang! The tip arched over violently and a roach was hooked. Again — whack — another. I don't remember ever having such bites. They were unmissable! The humble grub transformed my fortunes, bread was abandoned, and to my relief I found that feeding wasn't necessary — on the day maggot was king.
Maggots were their staple diet!
|Simon pulls a bulging net of roach caught by feeding a bucket of maggots|
|Marsh Farm: a bucket full of various baits but only the prawns worked|
Remembering that episode and the following spring when Marsh Farm crucians & tench both took prawn baits with gusto but ignored every other I'd taken along, it occurred to me that I really should experiment more than I do. Like I used to in fact before I got entrenched in what have been good, but might now be stale habits.
I decided to make a chart of my bait usage down the years with estimates in shades of blue of the quantities of fish caught on those I've used including a few that I've tried once or twice but never persisted with — shellfish for instance, or the fly. It makes it plain that certain baits reign supreme even though I use them far less than others, maggots of course catching the most species and the most fish. Conversely, bread, because I use it so very often, has caught more species than it probably should have considering I use it only for roach and silver bream, everything else being a by-catch, including pike!
Would small pieces of fish catch roach? I don't know. Would hemp catch Silver bream? Haven't a clue. Can I catch pike on sweetcorn? If it catches trout and salmon, then why ever not?
There's everything to gain by it and nothing to lose. I think I might even discover something new. So for the season ahead I'm going to break the mould, try out different baits and attempt to turn the whole chart blue!