Succulent sweetcorn as fishing bait

Sweetcorn is a superb bait. It’s relatively cheap, requires little preparation and you can use it on a wide range of waters, both running and still, for a variety of fish. Roach, bream, tench, carp, chub and barbel are especially fond of it. They home in on its bright yellow colour and sweet smell and find its equally sweet taste very much to their liking.

Brightest and best

Tinned com is more effective than the frozen or dried corn that you can buy in bulk – it’s a much brighter yellow and comes ready-soaked in sugary juice.

Sticky fingers

Sweetcorn is ready to use straight from the tin and indeed it’s a simple enough matter to open a tin and tip the contents into a bait box. The drawback is that on the bank your fingers, rod and reel soon get covered in sticky juice, which in summer also attracts gnats and midges.

The way round this is to drain off the juice, then rinse the corn in a sieve under a cold tap before putting it in the bait box. Before putting on the lid, cover the box with clingfilm to seal in the moisture and flavour of the now nonstick corn.

There’s no reason, however, why you can’t store a spare tin of corn in your tackle box, in case you forget to take some or run out one time. And all is not lost if you don’t remember the tin opener – simply punch a hole in the tin with a large bank stick then shake out the contents. But be sure to take the tin home with you at the end of the day. Don’t discard it at the waterside – any litter is unsightly, and the jagged edges of a rusting tin are a danger to birds and animals.

Catching with corn

Small baits such as maggots attract all sizes of fish. Sweetcorn is large by comparison and small fish find it difficult to get their mouths round even a single grain. It’s therefore a selective bait, very good for when you’re looking to pick out the bigger fish in a swim.

Rivers Loosefeeding a few grains of corn every cast and trotting or legering one or more grains is an excellent way of catching roach, chub and barbel. It pays to vary the depth when trotting because you often find that chub take the corn in mid-water while barbel and roach usually want it near the bottom.

Still waters Laying-on close-in over a bed of corn, especially alongside weed beds, can be deadly for roach, bream and tench. If the fish are farther out, use an open-end feeder: pack it with corn and plug it with ground-bait. There’s nothing to stop you adding other baits such as hemp and casters to the groundbait, or trying cocktail hookbaits such as corn and breadflake. Stalking Sweetcorn is a first class bait for stalking fish in clear, shallow water. Many a huge carp and chub has fallen for this method, but when feeding it’s essential not to land the corn right on the noses of these wary fish.

Place it in their path or wait until they temporarily leave the swim. Being bright yellow, the grains shine like miniature underwater beacons, not only attracting the fish but making it easy for you to watch the bait being taken.