June 28, 2011
One of the most effective and cheapest still water bait is sweetcorn. The bait is so versatile that it is at home catching various species from carp to roach. It is an excellent holding bait and you don't have to feed much to keep the fish interested. Once fish get a taste for corn the action can be frantic. It is also a bait that will entice big fish, so if you are being pestered by smaller bits but know the bigger stuff is there, then corn could be the answer.

There are numerous types of corn on the market, both in tackle shops and supermarkets. Making the right choice is very important. I believe that quality corn will get you better results over the cheaper variety. There are two brands that I prefer. Jolly Green Giant is excellent and you can get a variety of sizes to try, and the Sensas corn range. This comes in different colours and flavours and can work wonders when the fishing is hard. As I've said, quality is important because some brands are too big or too hard, some are salty and some too soft.

Contrary to popular belief, I actually wash my corn prior to use to remove the sticky liquid. This in turn keeps my pole and kit clean, which would otherwise end up messy. That is the only reason. Some anglers believe that the milky liquid that comes from the corn entices fish. I personally don't believe that this makes a difference.

Feeding corn is another important issue, and an area I believe many anglers get wrong. Cupping in seems to be the favoured method for most anglers, but I will feed by hand or catapult regularly but sparingly. I like to feed casters alongside because corn is a filling bait. Casters will also attract small fish, which will in turn attract the larger specimens. Fish react to the splash of the food entering the water and once fish are in your swim it then becomes a case of picking off the better stamp using corn on the hook.

The way I hook my corn depends on whether the fish are having it or not. If they are then pass the point of the hook through the narrow side of the rounded end, keep on pushing the hook through then twist the kernel round so that the point of the hook protrudes out on the larger flat side. If the fishing is hard, I will push the hook in as before but will bury the hook by pushing it all the way in using my nail. That is why quality is so important because the corn needs to be soft enough to pull through on the strike.

Another area where I think anglers go wrong is the type of rig they use. The first thing to remember is to fish with a short line between pole tip and float. It can take some getting used to at first and a few tangles you will have, but keep practising because the shorter the line the more bites you will hit and on occasions the fish will even hook themselves. Shotting of the rig is also important. Dot the bristle right down. I like to fish corn just touching bottom, but remember to compensate for the weight of the corn. Generally a small grain of corn is equivalent to a number nine shot.

When fishing on the bottom I like to use a Preston Innovations Chianti float as they incorporate a buoyant cane bristle. Up in the water I prefer a Preston PB2. Weight of the corn is not so important here and to help me hit more bites, I will use a bulk of shot which acts as a bolt rig, setting the hook immediately the fish feels resistance.

The hooks I prefer are the Preston PR 21 size 16 for the harder days and 14 if they are having it. The hook has a wide gape and is strong.

If the fishing is hard, squeeze out the middle of the corn just leaving the shell. This will make the bait sink much slower and it may just induce a bite on the way down.

Grant Albutt