There can be very few anglers who haven’t tried luncheon meat on the hook. Barbel, tench, carp and chub love the pink, meaty bait. But you can actually increase its fish pulling power. Even in places where meat is regarded with suspicion by canny, often-caught fish, you can revitalize it with spectacular results. So what do you do? You fry it.
How to cook it
Chop the meat into cubes – 12mm cubes are usually about right but you can try various sizes.
Heat a little cooking oil in a non-stick frying pan. Keep the heat low so that you don’t fill the kitchen with smoke. Using a wooden spoon – so that you don’t damage the frying pan – stir in a good teaspoonful of Bisto and a teaspoonful of turmeric as flavouring.
Now add the meat and, using a plastic fish slice, turn the cubes over so that all sides are well coated with the mixture. The meat should begin to sizzle softly.
Fry the cubes gently, turning each one on to a new side after about a minute -you can do this in rotation. The fried side should have a crusty coating. Keep turning the cubes until they are done on all sides.
Open out a piece of newspaper on a fiat surface and, using the fish slice, spread the meat cubes over the paper. Leave to cool for an hour before transferring them to a bait box. Fried meat freezes well — so you can cook up a good batch in one go and have it to hand whenever you want.
In the water that crispy coat of fried Bisto and spicy turmeric dissolves, slowly send- ing out a slick of scent that is irresistible to the fish. Particularly where fish have grown wary of meat ‘in the pink’, the combination of a new colour, smell, taste and texture gives it a new lease of life.
It is an adaptable bait that works well in summer or winter. But it’s best used on the hook among a scattering of loose offerings. For barbel and carp try fishing two cubes on a size 4 or 6 hook; use one cube on a size 8 for chub and tench.