As a sea fishing bait, bacon is not the quintessential choice of the normal fisherman. If I was a betting man I would say that 99% of anglers have never even thought about using this readily available meat from any corner shop or supermarket let alone heard of anyone using it. It is not always my choice of bait either, but at certain times with no other choice of bait available it can be a godsend.
Through my travels of the world it has caught many species of fish from moray eels to trigger fish and snapper. ‘Hold on’ I hear you say ‘we are not travelling the world fishing in exotic places’, and yes I know that but I have also caught many species around the south Devon coast on this strange bait – these include Bass, Mullet, Pollock and Smoothhound to name but a few, so there is some method in my madness.
The type of bacon – The type that you use doesn’t matter, but I tend to use a cheaper medium sliced rasher. I have tried many types but the ones with more meat than fat are better. The question then comes down to smoked or green / un-smoked bacon, and that is up to what you can lay your hands on. I have had success with both but I tend to go for green / un-smoked myself for reasons that will become apparent later.
Preparation – The first thing to do is to separate the bacon into its slices and then cut around the fat and remove it so that you are left with the meaty part. For some reason the fish don’t like the fat, although this fat doesn’t go to waste. Using a knife or pair of scissors cut the meat in long strips and put aside. As for the fat, this can be either shredded or cut up and then used as part of your ground bait. The size of the strips depends on the size of hook you are using. As far as preparation is concerned, that’s it .
Presentation– There are a few ways of presenting bacon, although I tend to concertina it up the hook until it is tightly packed. It may seem strange, but once the bacon hits the water it starts to soften up and it can easily be pulled off the hook. For this, I tend to use a hook with barbs going up the shaft that are designed to hold the bait in place better, although this is not essential. The other way of placing it on the hook is by skewering it twice on the hook and leaving a bit of a tail to let it flap and move around a bit more. Either way has had success with me, but I find the tightly packed version stands up better when casting long.
Spice it Up – There are other thing that you can try as well. 1 method is to add some scent to the bacon to make it a bit more appealing to the fish. This is a method I have used and I normally add the scent to the bacon at least and hour before to let the oil / scent soak through it to give maximum effect in the water. Another method it to make cocktails using the bacon like you do with other baits, mixing and matching to get the best results.
In fishing half of the fun is chopping and changing of baits to see what happens and what species take what. So, next time you go out fishing, why don’t you just try a little bit of bacon and see what happens? You never know, you might be surprised…