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By Jeff Vaughan

Canadian Carp ClubThere are more fish caught in Canada on Maize/Corn than every other bait put together, However you will rarely see Colin or I using it !!

MAIZE: As it is the most popular bait lets deal with it first. Good old fashioned Maize which is commonly called cow corn in Canada is the cheapest and simplest bait to use. It also catches loads of fish. For customers on holiday at our motel we supply unlimited amounts of prepared corn for feeding and hook baits. We also sell prepared corn for CAN$10.00 for a large bucket in the shop.

The very best way to prepare maize is to soak it for 24 hours and then boil it for 15 to 20 minutes until soft. At the motel when we are busy we are getting through 200 Kg a day !! (This is dry weight so you can more than double this when soaked) It is not physically possible for us to cook this quantity. Our corn is soaked in purpose made vats positioned to get the sun. We have three vats with corn in different stages of preparation. The correct time to soak the maize is dependant on the temperatures, but normally it is ready for use after 4 days at its best between 5 and 7 days. After a week it starts to stink. The carp still love it but the fishermen don’t.

When I first met Colin he was guiding for a competitor and I used to smell the bastard 50 yards before I saw him, his corn bucket stunk so bad. As we became friends and fished together I was always up wind of him, once I was paying his wages I stopped him using the really stinky stuff. It is interesting that before Colin worked for me he could not buy a shag in Long Sault now he is beating them away with bank sticks. (Enough said I think) Moderately smelly corn is better than fresh corn and I have no doubt the fish love the very smelly stuff, but frankly we catch enough on our bait and I can still enjoy my lunch. It is very important though to stress Fresh un-soaked or under soaked corn is BAD for the carp, it can swell up in their digestive system and kill them.

The maize is fished on a hair with normally between 4 and 6 grains at a time. Of course when it is tough a single or double grain may get extra bites and last year two of our customers murdered the place on strings of 10 or more grains. Personally when I am forced to use it, it is almost always 4 grains, normally two real and two plastic.

PLASTIC CORN; Probably 80 % of the baits I personally put into the water have one or two grains of plastic corn included on the end of the hair. If I do fish corn I ALWAYS have plastic on. I do this for several reasons. Firstly if I am using Maize the plastic on the end acts like a super Boilie stop. The name of the game out here is often speed, when a shoal of fish move in you will never hold them for very long, they wipe out your baits and move on (see section on feeding) so you need to hit them hard when you are there. Maize is good hook bait on its own, but with the added plastic it almost never comes off so you can get 10 or more fish without changing the bait.

The second reason I like plastic is as a visual stimulator. I use a lot of the bright yellow Fluro corn, especially on sunny days. (I also use the glow in the dark version for very deep water and night fishing) I also like the way 2 pcs of plastic “Tips” up the chain of bait a little on the bottom, I think again this is a visual target for the carp, but also is the third reason I use it. When carp are on the corn they simply hover above the bottom sucking like a vacuum cleaner, as most plastic corn is buoyant this helps offset the weight of the hook so the corn rises at the same rate as the free offerings. I do not believe this is as critical in Canada as it is on hard fished UK waters, The carp here are not rig shy, but you do get the runs a bit faster with critically balanced baits.

GIANT CARP CORN; For those in the know, this is a bit of a secret weapon in Canada, I never found it much good in the UK but here it is ALWAYS in my bag. I am also now shipping this mail order all over Canada as word leaks out. Two or three grains of giant corn often sorts out the bigger fish. As I said I rarely use maize because Boilies get the bigger fish, but on the days when they only want Maize the giant corn is often my bait. Incidentally, I still use one piece of plastic with the giant corn, mainly just to keep the bait on for more fish. You also will often see my regulars on the Big Mac rig (I will cover this more with photos under the rig section) but basically we cut a boilie in half and put one or two flat pieces of giant corm between them. It looks like a little burger. After all these are Canadian carp.

BOILIES; Before we bought the CCC it was almost impossible to buy boilies in Long Sault, my partner Bob and I used to ship 50 kilos out by DHL for our 2 weeks holiday., as well as use up any spare weight on our baggage allowance with more. I have changed a little and no longer feed as many boilies as I used too (although I still feed a reasonable amount) but probably 90% of the time they will be my choice of hook bait.

When I fish in the UK I am fanatical about the quality and type of boilie I use. Truthfully in Canada, most of the time I am feeding and using whatever is selling the least in the shop. We sell two types of boilies in the shop Mainline in 4 flavours and our own formulated SAP boilies in 4 flavours. Personally I usually use the Mainline boilies as my hook baits and feed the cheaper SAP baits. I do not think the SAP baits get less action but they break up faster so I can get more fish per boilie on the Mainline (it is all about speed as I have said)

In general, sweet baits work better than savoury or fish baits, and for some obscure reason almost EVERYBODY uses yellow boilies. The ratio of yellow boilies sold to any other colour in my shop is about 40:1 so much so I have reduced the prices of the non yellow boilies to get rid of them. There is no reason for this!!!! Look in my bucket you will see red, orange and dull brown boilies. Look on the site and see the photos of fish by Peter the Dutchman or Vali, these two are probably the most successful local anglers on the system, neither use yellow boilies (although both use boilies most of the time) But Hey why piss into the wind? Yellow boilies catch loads of fish so my shop is full of Yellow boilies.

Some tips when using boilies. I find two halves (butterflied) or one and a half boilies work better than just using a boilie whole. I also some times trim them off to be more square shaped.. I do this not because the fish are wising up on round boilies but because I believe the scent/flavour of the boilie is released more with the skin broken. I also often tip off my boilie baits with fluro corn, again only as a sight attractor. I have experimented with boilie size right up to 35 mm I find once the boilie goes beyond 22 mm the runs slow down and you just wait a little longer to catch another 20 lb carp. Big boilies have so far not sorted out the big carp for me. In the same way I see some guys with three boilies on a long hair. I do not see much point in this. One, one and a half or even two regular sized boilies seem to be the optimum baits.

POP UPS: Colin is the Pop up Queen of Long Sault, he carries with him to EVERY session at least 20 different pots of pop ups. I have three jars, White, Fluro Yellow and Bright Pink ( I do have mixed sizes in the jars) In the main we use pop ups in a similar way to the plastic corn, as sight attractors and to neutralize the hook weight rather than to actually pop baits up off the bottom. It is unusual for bait popped up off the bottom to out fish bottom baits although sometimes it happens.

Snowman rigs are very effective here, for all the reasons explained above. For those who do not know, a snow man rig is a regular boilie with a slightly smaller pop up boilie on the same hair. This looks like a snowman or in fact Linda who I bought the Motel from. The boilie stays on the bottom but the popup just lifts it slightly on the hair.

Truly popping up baits does sometimes provide bonus fish when it is quite, especially in the faster water swims where it moves around enticingly in the flow, but in the main the fish are not used to looking upward for food, so it is the inquisitive fish and not the hungry fish you are getting. Fishing well up with Zig Rigs or floating baits, for me has never worked, there is only certain times when baits zigged to sit on top of dense weed can produce, We have one area my customers named Zig Rig Bay and this is the only place we seem to bag up on mid water baits. OTHERS; I sell Tiger nuts in the shop and they work well, in fact the biggest fish ever to come out of Long Sault came on a Tiger. Colin uses them a fair bit, myself less. If I could by bulk sacks of tigers cheap enough to feed them in reasonable numbers I am sure we would bag up on them. The same applies to peanuts, and numerous other particle baits.

Sweet Corn (the good old Jolly Green Giant) will always catch carp, they absolutely love it. However it is relatively difficult to use, It is too light in weight to fire far with a catapult does not stay on a hair well etc. Also worth a try is the good old fashioned ear plug.. These are fished just like pop ups and often popped up straight off the hook. As these catch fish but taste and smell of nothing, this supports my assumption about popped up baits catching curious fish.

Live baits, worms muscles etc. All of these will work, and sometimes when nothing else does, but all attract nuisance fish, especially the dreaded Goby. I also spoke to a guy last year who told me he had all his biggest carp in Canada, including several over 40 lb, on dead fish baits. I have worked in tackle shops for 37 years so have a very acute bull shit sensor, but this guy impressed me that he was on the level. Unfortunately this discussion was held at a tackle show in the UK and I was too busy to really discuss it.. What he said was logical, at certain times of the year there are huge numbers of fry about and carp will eat anything. Colin caught a carp this year with a six inch Rapala plug cleanly in its mouth. If anyone has knowledge of catching Canadian carp on dead fish baits I would love to hear about it.

DIPS AND SPRAYS; I like a bit of dip or spray on my baits, Why not? Maybe it gives and edge? Fishing with my business partner Bob, who is a much better carp fisherman than me I found the days I used dips I got much closer to him or beat him. You just seem to get the run a little quicker than without it. I have four dips I used last year, Pineapple, Muscle, Cherry and a new experimental Mainline dip that I honestly don’t know what is in it. I think any sweet dip will work as long as it is not too concentrated. This year I am also going to try heavily oil based dips to try to het oil slicks leaking out of the bait.

Just a word of caution on dips, If the water is over 10 or 12 feet deep or fast running, you are pretty much wasting your time. Also be aware that some flavours are additives for bait mixes and not made to be used undiluted as dips and sprays. A flavour too concentrated can be the kiss of death !!!

ADVICE; You will most likely get more fish on Maize or Giant corn; you will get a better stamp of fish on the Boilies. (before people write in I know 100`s of big 30`s come out on corn, but the above is my experience based on watching and talking to anglers and Colin and my own fishing) SOMETIMES the fish want only Maize and some times only Boilies. Most people fish in pairs out here I always tell them one fish Boilie and one fish corn and then decide what is best.

Here are some great articles to get you started!

Casting   |   Feeding   |   Fish Location   |   Fishing the Method

Fishing With Corn   |   Flavouring Baits   |   Float Fishing for Carp

Float News   |   Getting an Edge   |   Hook Baits

Quiver Tipping for Carp   |   Spodding   |   Marker Floats and Feature Finding