As a seasoned angler, I can testify that the thrill of freshwater fishing is often influenced by the bait we use. From natural to artificial, live to the humble maggot, the world of angling baits is vast and variable, and each type serves a purpose, attracting different species under different conditions.

To diversify your angling experience, consider these alternative coarse fishing baits that have proven effective in various scenarios.

Broaden Your Baiting Horizon: Alternative Coarse Fishing Bait

1. Prawns

Great alternative bait for both freshwater and sea fishing. A quick tip to make prawns more effective: microwave them for about 30 seconds before use. This quick zap toughens the skin, helping to keep them on the hook longer.

Prawns are a good bait to use both for both freshwater and sea fishing. A tip for their use is to microwave them for a short period before use (usually 30 seconds is sufficient). This makes the skin a little tougher, helping to keep them on the hook.

2. Luncheon Meat

Whether you pick it up from the supermarket or your local angling store, luncheon meat cut into cubes and used on a hair rig is a brilliant way to hook carp. For a twist, try boiling the cut pieces in full-fat Pepsi Cola for about 5 minutes. Let it cool and get ready for the bites to roll in!

A note on hair rigs: these were designed for carp fishing, offering a method to present bait without the hook being masked. The hair rig can also be used with other species, such as barbel.

Here is an explanation and diagram of a hair rig


Popular in winter but effective year-round, sweetcorn kernels can be placed directly on the hook or easily used on a hair rig. For variety, angling stores offer flavored and even differently colored corn, which can entice a multitude of species.

Dog Biscuits

Dog biscuits make for perfect floating bait in summer months when carp are often seen lazing on the surface of still waters. These work well when used with a controller float and a few loose biscuits catapulted nearby. They also can be presented on a hair rig at the bottom of a lake, varying the color and size for diversity.


While worms and maggots are commonplace, slugs can prove irresistible, especially to chub. Easily found riverside, even the larger black slugs can be effective when presented on a larger hook.


Although its popularity has waned over time, the humble potato, parboiled and cut similarly to pellets or boilies, can be effectively used on hair rigs or directly on the hook. Flavor them with gravy granules, coffee, or curry powder, and you have a potentially deadly bait for many species.


Elderberries are an excellent choice for catching roach in autumn, especially if there’s an elderberry bush nearby, allowing loose berries to fall into the water and be eaten by fish.


This spiced sausage snack found in your supermarket is especially handy on waters where boilies are banned. Remove the skin for better results, as the meat oils’ scent quickly seeps into the water. Present it on the hook or a hair rig; it’s notably effective for carp.


While it’s only a selection of alternative coarse fishing baits, each choice is readily available and widely used by contemporary anglers. Remember, the secret to a successful catch often lies at the end of your line. It’s all about finding the right bait that tempts your finned target into biting.

So why not experiment with these alternatives and see what you can reel in?