Bread is not only an oldfashioned bait but also a very successful one. In recent years, and on many waters, it has been neglected, perhaps because its uses are not fully understood. Four different baits can be made from a white loaf— flake, crust, balanced crust and paste. The first two of these come from a new loaf, the fourth from an old loaf, the third from both.
Paste must be made from an old loaf, four days old at least. The loaf is prepared by removing the crusts then cutting it into slices an inch thick. Take one slice and dip it into a bowl of water, removing it almost immediately. Placing it into the palm of one hand, knead it into a paste with the other hand. Keep kneading until all the lumps have disappeared and it is soft.
Place a piece on the hook, cast and retrieve. If it remains on the hook during the retrieve it is too hard; if it flies off during casting it is too soft. Adjust it accordingly.
Hook sizes suitable for breadpaste range from 420 depending on the fish sought. For roach, bream, dace and grayling, 1420 are right; chub, bream, tench and sometimes large roach need size 10; 8 for chub and barbel; 4 or 6 for carp.
Casting with paste
Because paste is a very soft bait if properly mixed, great care must be taken when casting. While overhead casts can be made without paste and hook parting company, in most situations a sideways cast is preferable. To ensure that the paste remains on the hook, the cast must be a smooth one: the least jerk and the bait will either fly off or dislodge itself from the hook.
Crust must come from a newish loaf, not more than two or three days old. The loaf should be kept in the shade, because once hardened the crust is useless. Depending upon the species being sought, sliced and unsliced loaves can be used. For roach, dace and grayling, a cut loaf is best: where larger pieces are required for such species as chub and carp, an uncut loaf is necessary.
The best way to cut the crust from an unsliced loaf is to insert the point of a sharp knife into the side of the crust.
Cut through the crust in the shape of a square. When you pull the square of crust away from the loaf, a chunk of the soft flake beneath it will also come away. Opionions differ as to which side up the crust should lie. To make the bait hang crust side down take the crust and the hook, push the hook into the crumb side, out of the crust, then back through the crumb until both bend and part of the shank of the hook protrude. The opposite actions will make the bait hang with the crust up. About half the shank with the point and barb should always protrude from the crust. A hook slightly larger than the thickness of the crust must be used. If the hook is completely buried, the wet crust is liable to fall or cast off.
Flake is the name given to the crumb of new bread. The crumb of a twodayold loaf is difficult, if not impossible, to place on the hook. When removing the crumb from the loaf a light touch is essential. Take hold of the crumb and lightly pull it from the loaf: it should be like a sponge with one edge sealed between thumb and forefinger. With the other hand take the hook, push the shank into the ‘sponge’ and gently pinch the crumb over it. Both the bend —or part of it—and the point of the hook will be exposed. The two sides of the crumb must be joined together with the minimum of pressure.