Fruity baits

Fish are fussy at times but they do have very broad tastes – they will eat almost anything once they’re happy with it. The list of baits that have proved successful with carp, for instance, is long, although a small number of standard carp baits such as boilies, bread, potatoes and particles are well established as consistent fish catchers.

Now and again though, an unusual bait can nobble wary fish – such as an 18-pounder which was caught on a floating Osborne biscuit.

Fruit counts as one of the less usual baits that can produce results with carp and other species. Some, such as elderberries, are thought to do well because they can fall into the water and become part of the fish’s natural food supply.

Strange harvest

A number of other fruits – definitely not natural sources of food for fish — are worth a go, especially those which have a strong smell and taste. Tench, chub, carp and roach may all be tempted by these.

Fruit flavours such as banana, strawberry, peach and blackcurrant are very successful when added to bait or boilie mixes, which suggests that fish have a taste for fruitiness. The fruits themselves may therefore be worth a try. Yellow peril One of the earliest fruit baits, banana is a relatively cheap and effective bait for carp and chub.

Slices of banana are soft and quite difficult to use. You could try mounting them as you might luncheon meat – with a small piece of grass or silicone rubber tubing on the bend of the hook to prevent it pulling through the bait on the cast.

Alternatively, make a paste, mixing crushed bananas with a shop-bought groundbait, breadcrumbs or even sodium caseinate for a high protein fruit bait. A cube of apple or pear fished like a boilie and mounted on a hair-rig with a baiting needle has been known to catch carp. Dates could also be worth a try. Chinese whisper Quite a well kept secret among a few specialists fishing for big carp in hard waters is the lychee. These fragrant oriental fruits have caught some very big carp. They are fairly large and can be fished mounted on a hair-rig threaded with a bait- ing needle. Lychees have done well where the carp are wary of the usual baits. St. Clements Even oranges and pineapples might be worth a try. Put a piece on the hook and float fish it.

Tutti frutti Fruits which can be used as multiple or particle baits may have the best chance — these include sultanas, raisins, currants, blackcurrants and olives. Fish them like other multiples, putting plenty on the bottom to draw fish on to them as if they were a natural food supply.

Leger fruit multiples – on the hook in easy waters, or hair-rigged where the carp are harder to catch.

If you fancy a bigger bait, use several of them together. But as you are likely to pre-bait with single fruits, the carp sometimes start to refuse bunches of them when they have been caught a number of times. In this case you might have to revert to a single fruit on the hook to fox them.

However, carp often refuse these very light baits too, because they detect the extra weight of the hook. You might have to put a small piece of polystyrene on the bend of the hook to counteract the weight — creating a ‘critically balanced’ bait.