' Carp And Coarse Baits Victorian Style '
It seems these days that almost every week there is a new innovation in the fishing world,a new 'must have' piece of equipment or a 'super bait' that just cannot fail to catch.From the very basics of fishing in it's infancy to the tried and trusted methods of today 'What goes around' certainly comes around ! Variations of a theme is the name of the game much improved by today's modern materials and thinking.Here are a few baits which were effective in their day.
GROUNDBAIT
Winter chub and the premier number one bait -Bullock's pith [spinal cord] more so when used in conjunction with groundbait made from Scolded Bullock or Sheep Brains.Certainly not permissable in this day and age with the restrictions imposed on offal due to the risk of BSE.Geaves – This popular bait was derived from the fatty deposits in tallow [ rendered beef / mutton fat processed from suet ]. Flavours were introduced to enhance the greasy bait,rotted Cheshire cheese banana,onion,hemp,beer,honey,scented aniseed and sponge cake.Boiled greaves mixed with bran and clay then rolled into balls were commonly used for groundbaiting barbel .The fore runner of todays 'cloud bait / attractant ' as the clay washed out the dirty water carried downstream carrying selected flavours and morsels of food.Hence attracting and enticing the barbel to feed.A mix of clay and bran on their own was preferable for fishing,roach,bleak and dace.
BREAD
White bread mix consisting of ..white bread soaked in water then mixed with pollard [ bran/flour mix], an effective groundbait for fishing Carp,Roach,Dace and Chub.Cloudy particle bait that attracts fish into the swim from some distance downstream.As an alternative – for all still water fish's simply knead white bread until it be comes moist and a little sticky.Tear off little pieces at a time and feed directly where you are fishing the bread will sink to the bottom and keep the free offerings will keep any fish in the vicinity close at hand.A handful of bran can also be introduced into the bread 'dough' which is then wrapped around a small pebble for distance fishing and thrown several yards out into the water.'Carrion Gentles [ magotts ] ' were often added too or loose fed upstream in rivers or under the rod tip in stillwaters.
' BARLEY AND WHEAT '
Paste is a great bait in still waters combine with a small hook and light hook for roach,bleak,gudgeon,dace and other coarse fishes.Do not leave dirty fingerprints or other detritus on the paste for if it is not clean the fish will refuse to bite.Greaves as a paste is simply white bread dipped into the liquid residue in which greaves [ tallow ]has been boiled.This paste was particularly attractive to barbel.Wheat paste / pearl barley too was a firm favourite..Free the husks from the grains by soaking in water for ten to twelve hours followed by a short period of par-boiling.The grains of wheat,malt and pearl barley will soak up water and swell to twice their original size.The grains can then be crushed into a paste,mixed with clay or bread as groundbait or single grains impaled on a hook and fished in the same manner as a maggot.
FRUITS
Some of the most popular fruits used as fishing bait for targeting chub and carp included currants,currant hemp cocktails,hemp,cherries,strawberries,snowberries and elderberries.Other species of coarse fishes had a liking for fruit too.
NATURAL LIVE BAITS
Anything and everything was fair game all manners of larvae and that which crawled or slithered,maggots,worms and wasp grubs probably were top of the list and most popular simply because they were readily available.However wood lice were highly sought after especially by London anglers fishing the Thames many ships unloaded their cargoes of wood here and thousands of wood lice fell into the river as the loads were swung ashore.Great shoals of fish congregated around the ships at this time to feast upon the free offerings.
TO PRESERVE WORMS
The regular method of keeping worms fresh in Victorian days was to shred a small amount of mutton suet.Dissolve the suet in boiling water.Dip a small hessian cloth or other wrapper into the liquid and soak.Allow to cool .When cold mix leaf mould with worms.Place all including greasy cloth into a tub.Cover the top of the tub with a linen clothThe worms will cleanse and feed for many months.
' LINE BITES '
To further entice fish to strike at the bait a flavoursome concoction of greasy ingredients were mixed together and the resulting fatty residue rubbed into the first 6-8 inches of line directly above the hook.MIX:Half ounce man's fat [ obtained from London's Victorian Surgeries]Half ounce cat's fat3 Drams of finely powdered mummy [ natural mixture of pitch and asphalt] asociated with Egyptian mummies in the twelfth century1 Dram Cummin seed6 Drops of each -Distilled oil of Aniseed and spike [Spikes-maggots]4 Grains of Camphor2 Grains of Civit [ exotic wild cat glands and other body parts dried and powdered]
John