|Try a mixed buffet|
The use of high-quality groundbaits to attract fish into your swim and stimulate their feeding urges is a successful tactic on many, well-stocked stillwaters. With plenty of competition for food, fish will investigate anything that suggests a square meal might be in the offing.
On many non-commercial venues, however, where natural food items may be quite abundant, it is often necessary to introduce some actual food as well to keep fish in the area. Most anglers merely use free samples of the hookbait, a perfectly logical choice, although there are some well-known, classic combinations of baits – mixed coloured maggots or hemp and sweetcorn, for example.
Most coarse fish have catholic diets and will, naturally, eat a wide range of food items. There is huge scope to exploit this, and the mixed buffet approach offers several advantages. Baits in a variety of colour ensures that some will be immediately noticeable whereas fish will have to work harder to pick out others; baits with a range of flavours and tastes will provide fish with more choices; an array of bait shapes will reduce the chances that the free offerings will all sink into weed or silt; and the different weights of the foods in the buffet will mean that fish will have to vary their rate of suction when picking them up. The additional weight of the hook and the resistance caused by the hook length will therefore be less noticeable than would be the case if the freebies and hookbait were the same.
There is huge scope for experimentation here, the only limits being your imagination and your confidence to try something novel. Simple starter options include: pellets of mixed sizes and types; home-made or proprietary particle mixes, such as pigeon conditioning food (‘Partiblend’) or similar; and a mixture of different sized, coloured and flavoured boilies. Don’t forget, too, that there is no reason why you shouldn’t include a mix of textures – hard, soft, rubbery and crunchy.
Most of these mixed buffet free baits can be enhanced with natural food additives. A splash of any of the Marukyu Special Formula Additives (SFAs) and/or a dusting with krill or Sanagi powder will increase their potency and pulling power.