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Baitfishing Basics

Updated on May 26, 2011

Bait fishing is simply presenting something edible on a hook in an area of water where fish are feeding. There are many hundreds of different bait types, and they are attractive to all sorts of fish around the world. In europe, tench, carp, roach, barbel, bream and chub are among the favourite species of bait fishers. Prized fish in the states include pan fish such as blue gills, sunfish and small mouth bass. 

A Feeders

A fine barbel comes towards the bank, caught on a swim feeder rig. Swim feeders are good at getting samples of the hook bait down to the river bottom where the fish are feeding. This can be difficult otherwise in a quick current.

You can start bait fishing by buying a quite cheap 11 foot (3.5m) rod, a fixed spool reel, 4 or 5 pound (1.8—2.2kg) line, floats, split shot, a few lead weights, hooks, a loaf of bread or a pint of maggots, and a ticket to your local water. With this modest skeletal kit, you can begin to catch your fish for a relatively small monetary outlay. Taking it just a little further though, what you choose to buy in the first instance rather depends on the sort of water you will be fishing, and the type of fish you hope to catch. 

There are three basic rods that you should think about looking at for your introduction to bait fishing. 

The first rod to consider is a float rod, designed to cast a light bait with a float on the line to indicate a bite. This rod will be between 12 and 13 feet (3.6-4m) long, and will weigh perhaps 6 or 7 ounces (170—200g). 

You might also want to use a swim feeder, especially if you're fishing for any bottom feeders. For this technique you'll need a rod between 10# and 12 feet (3.2-3.6m) long. Go for an average-strength feeder rod that's capable of taking lines between 3 and 8 pounds (1.4- 3.6kg) breaking strain - this way you can fish for anything from roach right through to the bigger species.

A Specialist Choice

Thirdly, you might decide you need some sort of specialist rod in case you want to do a certain amount of lightish carp fishing, pike fishing, or perhaps even some heavier river work. In this case, a rod of about 12 feet (3.6m) in length, with a test curve of around about a l 1/2 pound to a 1 3/4 pound (70O-800g), is ideal. Test curve is the term used to indicate the strength of the rod. It means that a 1 3/4 pound (800g) force will bend the rod tip to something like 90 degrees. 

With these three rods, you should be able to tackle the vast majority of situations, and it's only really the mega stuff that would be out of reach. 

You should always buy a known brand. This need not be expensive, but it should mean reliability and good back-up service. Don't rush into a decision. Hold as many rods as possible and, if you can, actually try them at the riverbank. The rod should feel balanced so that it doesn't tire you, but feels more like an extension to your arm.


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  • SLDW profile image

    SLDW 6 years ago

    I really thought this was very informative and interesting to read!