Mussels as bait

This is the place to discuss the fishing baits.
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Phil Arnott
Perch
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Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Phil Arnott » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:17 pm

Dave Burr wrote:Fred Crouch once dissected a barbel and found it full of minute snails. He hypothesized that they were eat when the fish mistook them for small gravel and that they were intended as a digestive aid in the way that birds do. Then Matt Hayes stated that barbel eat hemp because they believe they are eating a bed of small snails. Two respected anglers, both, in my opinion, talking bunkum.
I totally agree Dave. I'm sure barbel eat snails because they're snails. I know they eat pea mussels because I've had them cough them up in the days when I've kept them in a net.

I'm sure a fish with a great sense of smell and magnificent feelers can easily distinguish between hemp and snails. My sense of smell is not so good as it once was but I'd bet I could tell the difference blindfolded!

Stuart Whiting

Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Stuart Whiting » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:37 pm

Dave Burr wrote:Excellent post Phil. My standard comment when somebody puts a catch down to bait is, "Did you catch it because or in spite of that bait?" We've all done it - been convinced that the bait made the difference - and occasionally, it is doubtless true. But fish explore and examine countless items they come across and some are edible. They do seem to have a memory and, at times, a preference for some food but they won't pass a free meal to go and search for a preferred worm, boilie or sliced loaf. Unless, of course, they have learned to fear said bait of it's presentation.

Fred Crouch once dissected a barbel and found it full of minute snails. He hypothesized that they were eat when the fish mistook them for small gravel and that they were intended as a digestive aid in the way that birds do. Then Matt Hayes stated that barbel eat hemp because they believe they are eating a bed of small snails. Two respected anglers, both, in my opinion, talking bunkum.

Bigger roach do tend to favour certain baits and anything that helps shorten the odds in our favour is worth experimentation. But I strongly believe that the way to single out big roach is to find a bait that has not been hammered by all and sundry. For big roach, I would never choose maggots.

Pass the mussels please.
Yea Dave I totally agree there about not using maggots for big roach, you mention about selecting a bait that hasn't been hammered but I have to say that I've probably had more big roach on bread than any other bait and this is probably renowned as the main no 1 big roach bait that the majority of big roach anglers tend to use especially serious old school roach anglers :Hat:
However I do also like to use carefully selected casters ( extremely slow sinking to create nutrial buoyancy ) :Thumb:

Stuart Whiting

Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Stuart Whiting » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:15 am

Phil Arnott wrote:Stuart,

I think it's natural for anglers to speculate why a fish takes a bait but I gave up quite a while ago as I wrote about it in Angling Times a while back See below.

Having watched tadpoles, shore crabs and a sand lizard feeding on bread nothing surprises me.

Regards,

Phil


Copyright © Philip Arnott 2002
No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without prior permission of the author.

Reproduced by Kind permission of Angling Times

Bait Myths

It is a commonly held view that baits fish well where they are found naturally. For instance it is often stated that lugworm fishes well over a lug bed and crab fishes well over rocks. While this is often the case, the logic behind the thinking is flawed. The trouble is that nobody told the fish. For much of the time fish, like most other wild creatures, are opportunists when it comes to food. If an easy meal comes along which is acceptable in terms of the diet of the fish then it will be eaten irrespective of whether it is normally found in the area.
When fishing in rocky areas with crab, it might normally be expected to take wrasse, coalfish and cod but these species will also take lugworm well. In truth crab probably has the edge because the fish prefer it but the fact that lug may not be found within miles of the spot does not have any bearing on the results.
A couple of years ago I took some king ragworm over to the Kerry in the west coast of Ireland. When I used them in the surf at Stradbally in Brandon bay I caught five bass for over 20lb. The bass just loved them despite the fact that king rag are not found on the west coast of Ireland.
It may well be found that in some cases that the bait natural to the area is the optimum bait. Bass for instance can become preoccupied with sandeel where sandeel are found in numbers. Within a few miles of Brandon bay in Kerry is a mark where sand eel is king and six days after taking the catch on ragworm, I took another five bass on sandeel from this mark.
Another bait myth has grown over the use of white ragworm. Some anglers firmly believe that white ragworm fishes well in clear water because the fish can easily spot it. One angler I knew was looking at the possibility of dying king ragworm white. As an angler who carries out much of my fishing in very turbid water I was amazed at this view as I found white rag was a superb bait in water where the visibility is virtually zero. Visibility is rarely more than a few metres around the British coastline and fish are probably detecting bait by scent at more than 100metres!
Fish like white ragworm because it smells and tastes good; its colour is most likely irrelevant. Comparing white ragworm with king ragworm just because they both have legs and they are both called ragworm is a mistake. From the fishes point of view they may well be as different as chalk and cheese.
We can’t possible know how fish think or work out what they prefer to eat by some logical process. Applying our way of thinking to that of the fish has lead to many of the fishing myths. The only sure way of knowing the effectiveness of a particular bait for a particular species of fish, at a particular fishing mark, at any particular time, is by trial and error. This way the fish will let us into the secret.
Very interesting write up Phil,

Funny how you mention about bass fishing with various baits that are not indigenous to the specific areas,

If you've ever been on WSF Phil you'll no doubt realise that I'm a very experienced Thames estuary bass angler for around the last 20 years and have used a whole host of various baits to catch bass,

The no: 1 bait by far is squid, most of the time I'd use whole unwashed squid on a 5/0 pennel rigs on very light inline free running rigs, not yer standard conventional paternoster or pulley rigs as I feel that there's absolutely no need for em in the river,

Anyhow it was once mentioned to me from somebody from Thamesmead, Woolwhich that squid was no good in the river because it wasn't natural :laugh: :laugh1:
My response was well that is very strange considering I've caught literally hundreds of bass within about the last 18 odd years and all caught on squid except for the odd handful caught on ragworm.

All fish were caught going downstream from Woolwhich, Thamesmead, Belverdeare, Erith, Dartford, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet ( my home town ) Gravesend and Cliffe.

Whilst I'd agree that the uk does obviously have a very healthy squid population around the shoreline the Thames itself doesn't exactly have squid go many miles up the estuary but yet I can still catch bass on it some 25 miles upriver right up as far as Woolwhich :Ok:

Sometimes I suppose it's nice to know that we can at times use natural baits that are found within a fishes habitat but at the same time many of us over the years have now come to realise that this isn't always necessary.

Another way to look at it is yes we all know that we can all drive chub into a complete feeding frenzy with sometimes upto a gallon of maggots or so but is this really a natural bait to the fish in this mass proportion :eyebrow:

How many natural incidents do we see of animal carcasses up a tree drip feeding large amounts of maggots :whistle:

The answer is that we don't..... but fish learn and tune into with what is being offered by us coarse anglers :Thumb:

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Dave Burr
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Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Dave Burr » Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:54 am

Baits - what works and why - is a subject worthy of a library of books let alone a thread on a forum. The lure of bread is worth a shelf all of it's own. Quite why sea fish eat it is amazing when their diet includes nothing remotely similar. All we need to understand is that fish eat food - we just need to identify what 'food' for a fish might be.

Stuart Whiting

Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Stuart Whiting » Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:08 pm

Dave Burr wrote:Baits - what works and why - is a subject worthy of a library of books let alone a thread on a forum. The lure of bread is worth a shelf all of it's own. Quite why sea fish eat it is amazing when their diet includes nothing remotely similar. All we need to understand is that fish eat food - we just need to identify what 'food' for a fish might be.
Absolutely, well said Dave :Hat:

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Match Aerial
Brown Trout
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Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Match Aerial » Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:02 pm

Vole wrote:I've never had a stillwater chub, MA; nearly all my mussel fishing has been on rivers. Most of the mussels I take get snaffled by chub; forget them if you object to catching (often small) chub while you wait for the bearded wonders to turn up.
I use the frozen "mussel meat" which is just mussels with the shells off.
Thanks mate I will give that one a go

Cheers

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Vole
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Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Vole » Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:54 pm

Good luck!
Tying them onto the shank or banding them (in addition to hooking them through the white disk) helps reduce the number that are snatched off the hook as freebies, by the way.
"Write drunk, edit sober" - Hemingway.
Hemingway didn't have to worry about accidentally hitting "submit" before he edited.

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Fisherman1947
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Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Fisherman1947 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:48 pm

I will be trying mussels next year for tench and I might try cockles for other fish .
Old fishermen never die they only smell that way.

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Plumtart
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Re: Mussels as bait

Post by Plumtart » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:53 pm

Very interesting thread. Last season, during one session I swapped between mussels (Waitrose - disgracefully expensive) and flake. Flake almost invariably took roach, and mussels took rudd - from the same swim. There are clues there.
What Great Ones do, the Less will prattle on. Wm. Shakespeare. Twelfth Night.

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