Fishing Baits - Groundbaiting with bread
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For streamy waters a good summer groundbait can be made in a hurry on the bank. It's also useful at the end of the season for March chub and roach.
Take a few fresh, sliced, supermarket, white loaves. Tear off the crusts and put them aside. Put all the crumb into a deep landing net, fold over the top and plunge it into the river so that it is all submerged for a second or two. Lift it out and twist the net to form a pouch. Keep turning the soggy mass to force out most of the water. Untwist and tip the whole lot into a bucket. With your fingers spread wide like a crude comb lift and stir the mass until it has all broken into its component crumbs. If it is too sloppy push a few more slices of bread down the side of the bait to absorb the extra water and mix them in later.
This groundbait will break up easily and release a stream of particles into the current. It's ideal for long trotting in lighter water but it's too light for heavy Hampshire Avon type flows or for higher winter water. It can be made a little heavier by adding river sand to the mix or, at a pinch, by mixing in some stiff mud.
The crusts that you put aside can be mixed with stiff mud to make a fast sinking groundbait that will break up on the bottom releasing pieces that will lift into the current.
Stale bread makes a stiffer groundbait but it is too coherent for most purposes and is liable to feed the fish too well. For a stiff groundbait suitable for chub and bream take stale bread, bran and, if available, maize meal. Mix these with water at home the day before fishing and they'll form a solid sinking bait that will break up attractively on the bottom of the swim.
Stale bread can be dried in the oven to make an excellent base mix. Just spread stale bread over the oven racks after your lunch is taken out and let the residual heat dry it slowly. You don't want the bread to scorch: You are drying it, not cooking it.
When the bread is competely dry you can crush it with a rolling pin and bag the resulting sandy powder. (If the bread is not quite dry it will form iron-hard uncrushable lumps.)
The bread powder on its own makes a reasonable stillwater cloud groundbait. It can be used instead of maize meal to temper one of the mixes above. It can be mixed with crushed hemp or other exotic baits as a carrier.
Unless stated otherwise: Everything in this site refers to fishing in the British Isles and similar northern European waters.