When you set out for the water early in the morning, chances are your pack is filled with baits, lures, lines, tackles, etc. Your bait will likely range from small plastic worms to a bucket filled with live bait fish. You’re filled to the brim with equipment and you think you’re ready for a day on the water, returning with a vast haul. However, you may be forgetting a small but useful addition to your pre-show tools: corn.
Many anglers reading this will find the idea of corn as bait to be outlandish and weird. In reality, corn is quite the popular addition to your bait library and one that is rather simple to bring along. Corn has been a popular bait option for years and has proven to be quite useful for certain species of fish. It’s popularity probably comes from how affordable and easy to get your hands on it is. You can purchase a whole can or kernels for under $1.
The quick answer to the question, “Can you use corn as bait?” is yes. Certain species love corn and will flock to the line with the corn kernel present. Other species prefer when the corn is prepared and mixed in a certain way but will still choose your line first. Many species have no specific enjoyment of corn but do not turn away when it’s presented.
Here are a few useful tips to make the most out of your corn fishing experience.
What Fish Love Corn the Most
When you’re bringing along a container of corn or your best corn gelatin mixture, you could be in for a big day if you’re fishing any of the following fish. These will be your happiest customers and you’ll find yourself meeting the local daily limit pretty quickly with corn as your bait. Each of the following fish love corn as bait and are common catches with this setup.
Something about the carp is drawn to any corn mixture you provide. They seem to love the golden kernel and will choose it over almost any other bait. Even store bought rigs will become a second choice to any present corn in the water. If you’re looking for an almost guaranteed success with carp, you should consider a corn-based pack bait as your bait of choice. They go wild over this and will almost certainly interact with your line.
The trick with catching trout is knowing the origins of the fish. Trout that were born and raised as a stock fish for man-made ponds will likely already have corn as a part of their diet and will recognize the kernel as a quality source of food. Head to an area where you know hatchery fish are released and do some quality trout corn fishing. Wild trout will be less likely to go for your corn bait as it’s not part of their regular diet.
Stick to the small ones when fishing for catfish. The issue with corn fishing for catfish is that you’ll be limited to the smaller species as the larger ones will only go for live bait like shiners or carp. If you’re going to use corn as your bait, then targeting the smaller species will be your best bet. They’re still too small or young to go after most live bait options that catfish tend to favor and so artificial bait can be quite appealing to younger catfish.
Remember, if you have the chance, use live bait over corn and you’ll find more success in most cases. However, corn will work wonders on panfish as it’s something that they can physically eat. Many species of panfish have smaller mouths and find most live bait options to be difficult to get a grasp on. Even if they do, it might just be a nibble at the side, not on the hook. With corn, they can get their mouth around the bait and the hook making for an easy catch.
How to Make the Most Out of Corn as Bait
The amount of work you’ll have to do to make corn effective will vary based on what species of fish you’re targeting. If you’re going after most of the above mentioned fish, then corn will work fine and you’ll find an average amount of success. You might have to employ some interesting tactics to make the corn come to life and bring interest to the potential customers, but eventually they’ll come for the bait. If you’re working with hatchery trout, then corn is king.
Most other species of fish won’t be bothered to even look towards your corn. No amount of bottom bouncing, trolling, or drifting will make your corn appealing to a species of fish who isn’t accustomed to eating corn bait. If you’re going into a region where there are no carp, trout, panfish, or catfish, it likely won’t pay to bring corn along as a bait option unless you’re tying it to another form of live bait.
Understanding the Legality of Corn Fishing
This might sound surprising but some areas have made corn bait fishing illegal. This is due to the grain’s inability to break down quickly and the worry that introducing long-lasting corn kernels to the area could be damaging to the local ecosystem. To avoid this issue, some states and counties have banned corn fishing for anglers so check your local laws before heading out to the water.
How to Properly Prepare Your Corn
There are many different recipes that anglers use to make corn effective on the end of your line. The most effective method of preparing your corn is presenting it in a corn-based pack-bait. Preparing your corn as a pack-bait is one of the best ways to grab the attention of carp as it dissolves in the area and quickly grabs the attention of any present species of fish. Some pack-bait recipes are designed to slowly dissolve and last longer in the water whereas others go fast and pull a large crowd.