The most common question we are asked is why should I use an imitation or plastic bait, when surely a natural bait must be more attractive to fish? There are several key points as to why they work so well, and often prove more successful than a natural bait.
1) Durability – Perhaps the key factor is their durability. The plastics we use to produce our baits is very tough, even the really soft compound we use for our imitation maggots. This makes it almost impossible for a fish to remove it from a hook or hair rig, ensuring the angler always has a bait intact. Not so with a natural bait such as maggots, casters, sweetcorn etc that are easily attacked by small fish long before a larger specimen finds them.
Even hard baits such as pellets will soften when in water and can easily come off a hair rig, or be whittled away by small fish. Crayfish are now a huge problem on many lakes and rivers, often attacking any natural bait within minutes of casting out. Our baits are resistant to attack from crayfish, and although they may attempt to eat them at first, they soon leave them alone when they realise they are not food. On many waters now an imitation bait is the only bait guaranteed to remain intact and visible to fish.
Frank Warwick has written about this in his article: ‘Plastic Fantastic‘ in which recounts his experiences with imitation baits!
2) Buoyancy – The added weight of a hook attached to a real bait will prevent it from behaving naturally, which is why the hook bait is often ignored when fish are feeding over a bed of bait. The hair rig goes a long way to solving this but does not completely solve the problem.
Many fish particularly carp feed by sucking up hook baits, so a hair rigged bait despite having natural movement, is still anchored by the weight of the hook. By using a buoyant imitation bait the weight of the hook can be completely counterbalanced by the buoyancy of the bait. Often the weight of the hook will be enough to achieve this, or you may need a small shot or blob of rig putty, to create the desired critically balanced effect. The result is the same , a hook bait that behaves like a free offering that is sucked up without suspicion.
Sometimes the angler may want to fish a hook bait popped up off the bottom, when fishing over bottom weed for example or fishing a Zig rig, here again an imitation bait allows the angler to fish a durable bait, that remains at a constant buoyancy and is highly visible to fish.
3) Colour – With plastic baits we are not restricted by colour, and our range includes many vivid and fluorescent colours, even of natural baits like maggots and sweetcorn. These colours really make our baits stand out, particularly in deep or coloured water. A good example is our imitation casters which have proved a top bait for tench. We purposely enhance the colour of them, compared to that of the natural bait that appear quite drab. This makes them stand out when fished over s bed of real casters, giving the fish something to home in on.
Another advantage with an imitation bait is that the colour will remain unchanged, no matter how many times or how long they remain immersed in water. A real bait such as a boilie will soon start to fade, not ideal if you want your hook bait to remain highly visible.
4) Flavours & Attractors – Why are fish attracted to our imitation baits? Well apart from the obvious visual aspect, mistaking them for an item of loose feed because they look so similar, fish are also very inquisitive and are attracted by bright colours, a single fluoro popup for example. But for a bait to be really successful it needs more than just colour to attract fish to it.
The soft plastics we use contain fish oils added to them during manufacturing, to help ensure they stay soft and flexible. As well as this oil contained in the raw material, we add our own special attractor during production of the baits, so even our ‘unflavoured’ baits give off a signal that fish can detect. This helps to explain why our baits catch at night time, often without any loose feed around them. To some baits we also add flavours both during and after production, to further boost their attraction. Our Classic Flavour and Food Source ranges includes our corn, pellets, maize and maggots, actually soaking in small bottles of flavour from some of the top bait companies. These baits continue to release flavour even after being immersed for hours.
Frank Warwick has written about this in his article: ‘Flavoured Plastic‘ in which he extols the value of this in ‘deceiving’ his quarry!