Dead baits are fish used on the hook to attract and catch predatory species such as eels, pike & zander. They work on the principle that all predatory fish will at some point scavenge for an easy meal on a dead fish. They can be purchased at most tackle shops and fish counters in your local supermarket.

Below are the most commonly used deadbaits & how to hook them.

Freshwater Deadbaits

Eels have a very tough skin which makes them ideal for long distance casting.

Perch are a great bait to use when wobbling due to their tough skin being able to withstand repeated casts and retrievals.

Pollan are a white freshwater fish which are found in deep water lakes in Alaska, Canada & Ireland. They are neutrally buoyant and make ideal baits for pop up rigs.

Roach & Rudd are a very natural food source for predators due to their natural abundance, they can be bought frozen from most tackle shops.

Saltwater Deadbaits

Mackerel are probably the most commonly used sea water fish for dead baiting. They can be purchased at any large supermarket, have a high oil content, and perhaps most importantly of all have very tough skin. This toughness allows hooks to hold in place during distance casting.

Lamprey are a jawless parasitic fish which have a tubular funnel mouth which is packed with teeth. It's with these teeth that the fish latches onto its prey and sucks its blood ! Lamprey are a great bait to use due to their amazing scent, they ooze fishy flavours into the water as a result of their diet.

Herring are a very oily fish and it's this oil which helps to create a fantastic fishy scent trail for predators to home in on, their attraction can be increased by piercing the flanks prior to casting to release more oil. Unfortunately they aren't as tough as mackerel and it can be difficult to cast them any great distance.

Sardines are another great sea fish packed with predator attracting oil and are best used at short range due to their fragility. They can however be used for medium to long distance casts if they are hooked whilst frozen. Hooking when frozen gives a far stronger hook hold, the disadvantage of this is the bait will rarely stay on the hook when retrieved from any great distance.

Smelt are a costal dwelling fish which travel up rivers in order to spawn. They are pale in colour & have a smell very much like cucumber.

Sprats are a very small sea fish, they can be quite difficult to cast any real distance due to their fragile nature, although they can be used effectively as chopped loose feed or when pre baiting.

How To Hook

Tail mounting is best employed when fishing a static bait on the bottom. Pike tend to eat their prey head first, which means the alignments of hooks help to prevent deep hooking when a pike bites.

The first hook is attached through the tail of the bait & the second is placed half way down the flank of the bait - try not to have your second hook further than half way down the flank of the bait, the further down you have your second hook, the higher the risk of deep hooking occurs.

A head up mounted fish is an ideal hook hold to use whilst wobbling a deadbait due to the bait moving in its natural direction when reeled in. This is also a great way of securing a deadbait whilst fishing in running water as the alignment of hooks ensures the bait will flutter in the current.

The first hook is placed in the head & the second hook is attached half way down the flank.

Dorsal mounted dead baits are often used when fishing off the bottom with the aid of a drifter float.

The first hook is placed in the base of the dorsal fin & the second hook is attached to the pectoral fin - this arrangement of hooks allows the dead bait to sit in a more natural position when in the water.