Best Fishing Bait For Coarse Fishing

by bencarper

28 Sep 18 16:45


best coarse fishing bait

Fishing has evolved massively over recent years with a huge range of new fishing tackle that has been developed. The bait market is no different with a plethora of natural and artificial baits now available. All of these options can be very overwhelming not to mention very confusing, so we have put together a list of the best coarse fishing baits that you must be fishing with. We want to get back to the basics and keep things as simple as possible so you can enjoy more time on the bank catching lots of fish. 

In this article, we are going to cover the best baits for coarse fishing along with the species of fish you can expect to catch. Many beginner coarse anglers will not be focused on targeting specific species, however, this may change knowing a simple adjustment in your tactics and bait could lure a big carp or monster chub. 


Where else could we start but with the humble maggot. This bait has been used for years and will always be a must have for any fishing trip. You can pick these up by the pint from your local tackle shop or even your local fishery depending on the facilities. Check what your local lake has to offer before you go fishing to avoid any disappointment and not having the bait you need.

You can catch almost any coarse fish using maggots. There are a number of ways to fish using maggots from a couple on a small size 14 hook or perhaps using multiple baits on a maggot ring to target big carp. Coarse fish go crazy for maggots especially if they are still wriggling when you attach them to your hook. 

Ensure you hook the maggots correctly for maximum effect. You will see a black dot at one end of the maggot, make sure you hook from the opposite end, this will keep the maggots alive for maximum attraction in the water. 

You will mainly find three varieties; white, yellow & red which are equally effective at catching coarse fish. I suggest you change varieties until you find what is catching best on that given day. Each lake will be different and so this will take a bit of adjustment until you find the best approach for that session. You will be amazed at a slight change in your bait, even just the colour of a maggot can dramatically increase your catch rate and for, me this is half the fun of fishing. Once you find a tactic that works it is a very rewarding feeling and will give you more experience for next time.

best coarse fishing bait


A cheap tin of sweetcorn from your local supermarket is something you must always carry in your tackle bag. It is another very versatile bait that can be attached to your hook or even added to a ground bait or spod mix. These mixes are basically a series of ingredients brought together to form a paste/sludge and offered as free bait to attract fish to your swim. 

The bright colour of the sweetcorn is highly attractive and will catch the eye of any fish. I particularly like using bright yellow baits when carp fishing and often use a piece of fake plastic sweetcorn combined with a boilie, a tactic that I have been very successful with and have caught many big carp using.

Sweetcorn can also take on other flavours to further enhance the bait. Many bait companies sell flavour glugs and dips to add extra attractors that coarse fish love.

Similar to fishing with maggots, if I find the fishing is slowing down I will switch to sweetcorn and often find this does the trick and I start getting bites again.

Luncheon meat

Luncheon meat or more specifically a tin of 'Spam' is another very cheap coarse fishing bait that should always be in your bait line up. I remember my Grandad giving me this stuff as a kid and it stills makes me shudder thinking about it! But enough about my lack of enjoyment eating spam, the fish love this stuff and you can expect to catch carp, chub and tench with this bait.

I tend to bring a small switch knife with me and cut the meat into different size cubes before I start fishing. You can easily attach this to any size hook and it is robust enough to last in the water. 

best carp bait


Boilies are a fishmeal type of bait that is egg-based and shaped in balls. Boilies are available in a wide range of flavours including squid, pineapple and coconut. There are also a number of sizes on offer from 10mm upwards. Boilies will attract carp and barbel. 

Carp anglers will primarily use boilies as the main type of bait to catch large fish over 50lbs. Boilies are attached to specialist rigs and not directly to the hook as many other coarse fishing baits. Have a look into simple carp rigs for an example of attaching a boilie using a hair rig.


Bread is a very cheap and simple bait that allows you to fish in a variety of different ways including surface fishing. Surface fishing is a very exciting way to fish as you can actually see the fish taking your bait. The crust is best for surface fishing as it will float. You will most probably catch carp using this approach. I would suggest you try this method on warmer days when you should see the carp and other fish patrolling on the surface, which is an indication the fish are in the upper layers of water and most probably not feeding on the bottom. The weather can play a large part in coarse fishing, check out my other article for more details regarding the weather affecting coarse fishing - How the weather affects fishing

beginner coarse bait

You can also fish with fresh bread in the same manner as with maggots or sweetcorn, simple wrap some bread around the hook and apply enough pressure that it is fixed in place. The hook point should just be protruding in order to catch the fishes mouth when they grab the bait. This will take some practice to get it right but a method that can catch roach and other smaller fish.


Worms are a more specialist bait and will attract coarse fish such as perch, bream and chub. You can buy worms in your local tackle shop. I always enjoy catching perch as I think they have a very aggressive looking appearance and are one of my personal favourite coarse fish. I would suggest you only fish using worms if you are targeting one of these species. As a beginner, I would stick to the other baits we have discussed until you gain more experience in catching all species of coarse fish. When you have this experience you can start to become a specialist at catching a particular species, know as specimen anglers.


I tend to purchase readily prepared hemp which saves having to spend the time boiling the bait in order to make it suitable for fishing. You will find a variety of flavours in your local tackle shop, including my personal favourite chilli hemp. I will add this to my spod mix and will expect to catch carp and tench. You can also attach small pieces of hemp to a hook and attach smaller fish such as roach.

plastic fishing bait

Plastic Baits

There are companies such as Enterprise Tackle that specialise in fake plastic baits. They have a huge range and you can purchase fake plastic versions of every single bait we have spoken about. I use these heavily when fishing for carp, barbel, bream and tench. I would only use these plastic baits when I am targeting specific fish. You will find these plastic baits will deter smaller fish which can be good but also a bad thing. It really does depend on what you are targeting. 

These plastic baits will never go off and can be enhanced using different flavours. I have several pots of all of my plastic baits soaking in a range of different flavours from pineapple to strawberry. Another approach that works very well is using the plastic fake baits on your hook or rig and the real things as free offerings. That way you will attract fish with the natural smell and scent of say sweetcorn and catch the fish using the plastic piece of corn on your hook.


As a beginner coarse angler, you want to always carry the following baits in your tackle bag.

  1. a pint of mixed maggots
  2. a tin of sweetcorn
  3. a tin of spam
  4. a fresh loaf of bread. 

These cheap and readily available baits are you go to options that will catch you almost any species of coarse fish. As a general rule to follow, make sure your hook bait and hook are roughly the same sizes. 

Look at buying some groundbait to add some further attraction to your swim and really get the fish feeding. Add some sweetcorn and maggots to really attract the fish.

Once you have more experience you can look at using some more unusual baits and perhaps targeting specific species such as perch or tench. 

You can also catch coarse fish with other types of bait such as cheese, castors and snails. I would suggest you try any bait you can think of and see if you can catch fish, never discount anything when coarse fishing.