Fishing is a talent that requires a multitude of skills and attributes, high on that list is the need for patience, persistence and most of all, knowledge. As you’ll likely know by now, sticking just any old bait on the end of a line and casting into a river isn’t going to get you anywhere fast, so what are the best baits for river fishing? Well, we did some research and asked around, and whilst fishing is generally quite a personal thing, it seems that there were at least three top baits that kept coming back to us, and we want to share them with you.
To start with, we’re talking about river fishing, so in general we’re not going to talk about float fishing and we advise against it unless you’ve located yourself a particularly peaceful river. Most rivers will be free-flowing and will require the use of a bait dropper and your own choice of bait. Here are the three that we’d recommend.
Groundbait obviously covers quite a large range of bait options, but with every fisher having their preferred mix, we decided that it was the method rather than the ingredients that made this a must for the seasoned fisherman.
The versatility of groundbait is what makes it an exceptional choice – depending on how you prepare your own bait, you can make the most of various river conditions, from fast-flowing to flooded and still, there are a number of different choices to make.
Go on as many fishing blogs and magazines as you’d like and I assure you that the vast majority of them will suggest fishing with hempseed. The seed is small and quite fine but should still be pretty effective even in faster flowing rivers. The best thing about it? Hempseed often attracts smaller fish, which doesn’t sound immediately great, but where there are small fish, big fish often follow.
As with most baits you’ll find that it is often most effective when combined with another type of bait. In this case we’d go for something like halibut pellets or, in a particularly strong current, something heavier like boilies, this will add some weight to your bait and help your bait settle.
With hempseed you have the option of buying it pre-made, which is handy because it often comes with all its oil intact, or you can buy the raw ingredients and do it your own way.
Despite its simplicity, live bait is still a favourite. It works pretty well and it is a great place for beginners to start with. Of course there is a significant amount of controversy surrounding live-bait in general, so if you are going to use live-bait at a certain fishing hole, we always advise that you catch your live bait from the local fishery to prevent any disagreements or future problems.
Live-bait seems to be the go-to option for catching larger fish, especially pike, and although many different options for live-bait are available we’ve ascertained that it really depends on the size of fish you’re fishing for. If you’re going for a standard-sized pike, you’d use a minnow, but if you’re hunting down something bigger, you might want to upgrade to a perch or something similar – the taste doesn’t seem to be important, but the size does.
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John Penn runs JP Tackle, an online fishing tackle supplier based in Essex. John prides himself on his fast and excellent customer service, which makes JP Tackle one of most popular online fishing tackle shops around.