How much bait for rivers?

Zerkalo

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Ok so I know it's going to vary depending on various variables so might be a moot question, but just some thoughts from yesterday trotting on the Severn for discussion....

When I went to the tackle shop my mate I see at the weir near me was in there, always with a can of beer in his hand and either hanging around in the tackle shop or doing work on the banks. I told him I was fishing the Severn and was buying 4 pints of maggots and a pint of casters, as I had yesterday when my dad went in for me. He told me what I've heard quite a bit, that they used to get a lot of customers asking for a gallon of maggots of 5 hour match.

Yesterday when fishing, I fed a few maggots every run through and 4 pints of maggots lasted me 4 hours at the most, so I can easily see how you can get through a lot of bait, especially when trying to get the fish upstream and into your zone, or trying to provoke bigger Chub into feeding. I had 4 pints + of hemp ready to feed as well.

So how much bait do you take to rivers, either pleasure fishing or matches, because I can see my bait bill rising if I'm having to buy a gallon of maggots for a days fishing. I can probably get away with 4 pints of maggots for an evening session though, and when I feeder fish for Chub on the Stour I can get away with a lot less with 4 pints lasting nearly all day.
 

Reuben

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When I used to match fish the Trent 3 pints of maggots & maybe some casters as a change was plenty even when on the maggot feeder all match. Used to half fill the feeder with hemp then maggots. I never felt any more was required & won my fair share. Match men from other areas used to pile it in & didn’t seem to make much distance. I was lucky enough to fish with Jan Porter a few times & he didn’t use much if any more.
Maybe different elsewhere on bigger rivers but can’t say I remember taking much more.
 

Zerkalo

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You're lucky to have fished alongside Jan Porter.

Yesterday, anecdotally, I had a fast and short trot due to someone being just downstream of me, and so feeding 20 maggots each run through I got through loads. Seem to get through less when I have a slower or longer trot. Using hemp is a good way of keeping the bill down. I have got through 10kg in a few months which ain't bad!
 

carphauler

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When I was match fishing the bait bill wasn't as important as you could obviously win some money to cover it, now I'm pleasure fishing I do it as cheaply as I can which means bread for float fishing and meat for ledgering with the occasional bag of non branded halibut pellets.
 

Zerkalo

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Yeh bread is good for the budget and seems pretty effective for you too! I'm thinking around 4 loaves for mash and 1 for the hook is about right and at 40p a loaf can't really go wrong!
 

carphauler

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Yeh bread is good for the budget and seems pretty effective for you too! I'm thinking around 4 loaves for mash and 1 for the hook is about right and at 40p a loaf can't really go wrong!
At the end of the day if you can afford and like to take casters, maggots, groundbait etc then do so if you can catch more on them, I'm just a bit tight ???
 

Zerkalo

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I'm just waiting for a spot of rain this week and I'll be back out on the weir, hopefully the (small) fish are back close to the bank again so I can catch them on the float and bread.
 

Reuben

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With winter coming along bread punch & hemp will come into their own so cheaper still. Going to really have a go at the River Forth with these baits in a couple months. Hopefully will avoid the plague of tiny dace that rule the roost here now that most of the pike have been taken for the table. We’ll see.....
 

NoCarpPlease

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IMHO there are a lot more decent river swims ruined by overfeeding than those transformed by putting lots in, particularly on smaller rivers.

Similar to Reuben's point ...
As a generalisation I tend to feed heavier with maggots than I do with casters, so for a 5 hour match I'd be feeding up to 2 pints of casters or 4 pints of maggots, along with a pint or two of hemp. I'd only expect to use the upper limit if I was feeding for chub. In the summer I take both maggot and caster but usually bring the maggot home with me. In the winter I only take the maggots.

The only exception for me is the Wye - where I take more for the chub & barbel stretches (4 pints casters AND 6 pints of maggots). You really don't want to be caught short when there is a chance of drawing a hundred pound peg (not that I have yet).

These days, pegs are usually long enough that you don't have to worry about upstream drawing fish from you!
 

Zerkalo

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Interesting to hear it from a match anglers perspective. When I had 4 Chub from the Severn the other evening I took 4 pints and only fed 2 in 4 hours but I put that down to having a longer peg, just feeding once every run through.
 

Silverfisher

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Lots of variables but standard fair for me is 1-2 pints of maggots 1-2 pints of hemp, a pot of hooker pellets, a bag of groundbait and sometimes half a pint of casters and or a couple dozen worms. How much I use of it is led by how the session pans out really.
 

Northantslad

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For me too. Take it, but ease it in and see how it goes.
Always wondered about the factors involved in this aspect and feeding that much bait, talking here about needing pints and pints of maggots etc to get Barbel to switch on for example....
I tend to sit up the bank a bit and a re-load from retrieval to re-cast is perhaps 3-4 minutes, obviously being sat down there, bait on a side tray, this time is reduced and although i can appreciate how it would then be possible to physically feed those amounts (feeder wise i mean, float i get), is there a threshold reached where chances of takes are affected/reduced as the rig may be spending more time out of the water than in it? In a 'must cast every 5 minutes' situation/when the 'feeder'has emptied.

Are you trying to encourage an instant fish response with such feeding (which is needed if the rig is in/out so much?) That worries me a bit and could it only work on days where they are waiting eagerly for the next drop? Sometimes there aren't those volumes of fish present, sometimes does such heavy feeding result in the fish getting away with it?

Really why i feel the way into it. Instant taps and rattles, then easily gauged, short hooklength comes out. Experienced that once in about 3 years Barbel wise.
 
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Zerkalo

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Are you trying to encourage an instant fish response with such feeding (which is needed if the rig is in/out so much?) That worries me a bit and could it only work on days where they are waiting eagerly for the next drop? Sometimes there aren't those volumes of fish present, sometimes does such heavy feeding result in the fish getting away with it?

I'm feeding every run through on the stick float, not massive amounts, 20 or so maggots, could feed a lot more. Also putting a bit of a bit of hemp in. I was catching quite well on the day I got through 4 pints, mostly small Dace, and mostly down the end of the peg. Feeding more seemed to bring the fish closer to me, but I could see how it could have the opposite effect of sending them downstream. Main reason for feeding was that I was catching most runs through, and I wanted to catch some bigger Chub if they were about.
 

Northantslad

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Feeding the Chub on is good if they are showing signs of having it. Float fishing gets you thinking eh, most of my thoughts were feeder based, which i do try and think on too.
 

Sam Vimes

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Quite often, half a pint of maggots is enough on my local rivers, especially in winter. A couple of pints is normally ample in summer. If I take a trip to the Trent in summer, I'm likely to have a gallon of hemp/stewed wheat and at least four pints of maggots with me. If I get through the lot, it's been a good day.
 

Fugley-fisher

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Most times I hit the river it will be 2pts maggots 4pt hemp small tub tears 1/2pt pinky 1/4 kg dendra 1pt casters and couple kg groundbait will only make 1kg up most times, I've never even come close to using it all yet, that amount of bait will do 2-4 sessions depending on how well it's fished and how long the maggots last but as they turn I riddle and have fresh casters.
 

Silverfisher

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I'd say float fishing this summer on 6-7 hour sessions I've generally used comfortably under 2 pints a session with the vast majority of that hemp with just a few maggots. I've always got more just in case but genuinely use a little over 2 pints tops with a little over 1 pint sometimes enough so naturally the average falls somewhere in between around the pint and a half mark I'd have thought but bit hard to tell tbh. Sometimes I've put a little ground bait in as well others I've not.

It's basically just a result of not needing that much bait when you've got fish switched onto hemp combined with the Thames around here tending to be 5-6ft deep with a steady flow (Ouse and Avon about the same) so the bait quite easily ends up in the right place rather blown all over the place. Plus the good pegs have quite a lot of fish with decent numbers in most pegs. By contrast I've booked a few days on the lower stour next month and I'll probably use more bait there as I know from my previous experience of it that it's deeper and quicker with less evenly distributed fish.
 
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Zerkalo

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I use less bait on slower rivers as I think it's simply a case of however much I get through feeding once each run through.

Groundbait I'm still getting used to on rivers, did feed 1 kilo of Dynamite Silver Bream X in a short 4 hour session when I caught a few Chub, that consisted of 4 big balls as I was setting up (bad I know, I should at least plumb up or have a few runs through first but I had an idea where I was going to be fishing), 4 big balls when I started fishing, and about 6 balls as I was fishing, so quite big balls being put in lol.
 

NoCarpPlease

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Just to show - when the fish are there and you don't have to draw them from downstream or spark them in to feeding (or prevent upstream from nicking them) you don't have to feed enormous quantities, even on a big powerful river like the Wye. I finally drew one of those dream pegs yesterday (refer to previous post) and fed 4 pints caster and 2 pints of hemp in 5 hours ... ended up with about 30 "dog" chub (i did lose count) on the Joe Burrows charity match. :)
 
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