fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


03/04/2014 - “Can Glugs Flavours and Sprays Improve Your Catch Rate”

The above title certainly has anglers arguing over this question as much as any other in angling, I’m one of those who firmly believes certain glugs flavours and sprays used correctly certainly do attract fish into an area and get them feeding. Let me take you back to Angling Times Walkers Pitch a weekly column written by Dick Walker. In one article Dick discussed lobworms as bait where he suggested packing a jam jar with lobworms, then seal the jar before putting it in the garden shed for about 6 months. He reckoned a small drop of the liquid worm would attract fish into the swim.


It was probably some eight months later when my dad asked “What was in the jar at the back of the shed”, after a few minutes I remembered the lobworms that Dick suggested we should store. The following Saturday I was on the bus going to Hunton to fish the River Beult with Brian Long and Bill Hall as we discussed the days fishing prospects Bill asked me what I was hoping to catch. I said £Perch and I have a secret” I then told Bill and Brian about the article Walker had written on stuffing worms in a jam jar. Taking the jar from my basket I said “This will get the perch going” holding up my jar like a prize trophy. Bill said “Let’s have a look” Giving him the jar he unscrewed the top. Within in seconds I kid you not we all gagged the smell was horrid, in fact the most evil smell we had known. Bill quickly put the lid on the jar and handed it back. I stuffed it in my basket. In those days we all smoked so we would sit at the back of the bus, looking towards the front I could see everyone turning round with a screwed up face asking of no one in particular “What’s that horrid smell or odour” We acted innocent, but couldn’t wait to get off the bus, the smell was thick in the air.


On the river bank we couldn’t wait to see the effect of the liquid lobworms, it was about a mile walk upstream to “Humphreys Hole” where a small stream flowed in at the top end a spot that always held perch, unscrewing the lid of the jar I poured some of the gooey liquid with bits of worm skin into the water. Once more we were gagging and retching with the horrid smell. Ten minutes later a few small perch appeared with the occasional fish around 12 ounces to a pound plus. We spent half an hour watching these fish swimming around looking for the source of the smell or attraction. The experiment worked but due to the horrid smell there was no way was I going to bottle any more lobworms. Dick Walker had proved a point fish can smell. I poured the rest of the stuff into the head of Humphreys Hole where it kept the fish hunting around all day. Sitting side by side we all caught perch on float fish lobworm.


Back in the late 1940’s granddad told me fish could smell and hear vibrations caused by footsteps on the bank or dropping things in the boat, from those days I’ve always been quiet around the water’s edge. For a short time when I was serious carp fishers some of us wore an old pair of army socks over our boots. When me and my mate Bill first started fishing the Norfolk Broads Dennis Pye the Broads bailiff befriended us giving lots of good advice, he told us if we dropped something in the boat it would frighten the fish. One day we were catching rudd at Martham when Pye stamped his foot, the rudd scattered. It was a good example of fish feeling vibrations or hearing noise. After that we tried to be quiet as mice using sacks in the bottom of the boat, today many anglers use carpeting.


In the 40’s and 50 I used honey in my bread paste when carp fishing, custard powder when roach fishing, Schillings pure anise extract when I could afford it often thanks to grannie was used in my ground bait. I suppose in those days it had a similar effect as the Lone Angler flavours today. Into half a loaf of finely mashed bread I would put a tea spoon full of Schillings, in the clear water I often watched roach and rudd being drawn into the area. Another attractant given to me by granddad was shredded liver made by putting through a hand mincer, from the local butcher I got buckets of blood which I mixed in my ground bait for tench. Did it work? All I can say is me and my mates often caught more fish than those who didn’t have blood in their ground bait. Liver is still used today in some of my sausage meat paste as I know it can work, sadly we are not allowed to get blood from the butcher.


Over the past twelve months Lone Angler Sausage sizzle spray and flavours have become very popular why? Because they are improving anglers catch rate. Many anglers think this is a new flavour not true. Sausage sizzle in powder form has been around for some years, those of us in the know using it with success. Today Lone Angler has given you the angler a liquid flavour and spray. Sausage Sizzle flavoured bread crust accounted for a lot of chub this winter from the flooded rivers, Wye, Ribble and Avon despite reading all the nonsense that rivers were not fishable. Most days apart from me and my guests we had the rivers to ourselves. Over the past year I have given away bags of sausage sizzle flavoured crust at the various talks I give. The feedback has told me that many anglers were catching on flavoured crust whereas before they struggled.


Glugs, Flavours and Sprays are not the be all and end all on the subject of catching fish, its only part of the puzzle. You can have the best baits field tested and tried over a long period of time. But you also have to know your water craft, understand how water temperatures, wind direction, water flow, light conditions all effect fish. Remember fish don’t feed 24 hours a day or even every day as many people think. Get a thermometer you will learn a lot, as the water temperature drops below 39.5 everything in the water slows down the viscosity of the water thickens. A good book to read is This Fishing or Angling Arts & Artifices L A Parker who discusses water temperatures in detail. Also fish digestion rate slows up, fish often seek the quieter water. I’ve witnessed fish on many occasions shoaled up like sardines in a can tucked tight to the bank under cover of tree roots. Most anglers would give themselves a big advantage if they spent more time understanding the fish and the stretch of water they plan to fish. Three books I recommend are Better Angling with Simple Science Mary M Pratt, Marvels of Fish-Life as revealed by the camera by Francis Ward, the other book is An Angler’s Entomology by J R Harris. I’m of the firm opinion we are dealing with science, the more we understand what happens under the water, on how fish feed, the natural food items and their habitat the more experience we become in catching fish.


Last May on my stretch of the River Ribble I watched a shoal of chub 3-4lbs swaying to and fro among the water crowfoot, just the chance I thought to see if they would move upstream to a sausage sizzle glug. Back at my cabin I grabbed a jar of glug then picked up half a dozen stones from the river bed. After glugging the stones I dropped them fifteen twenty feet upstream of the fish then sat back to watch events. I suppose it was an hour before the fish picked up the scent, I could see a few starting to get a bit agitated moving around not just staying in position, then two chub started to move to and fro with more movement as they moved slowly upstream. Ten minutes later the rest of the shoal started moving. I reckon it was getting on for another twenty minutes when the first chub appeared over one of the stones. Soon they were all milling around with the odd fish putting its mouth to a stone. I was ecstatic. Yes fish can be pulled upstream often from well downstream and yes we need a bit of luck to catch them, but luck of our own making. As mentioned you have to get the puzzle correct if you want pulled strings and bent sticks. Finally may I suggest you go to your local library and get Dick Walkers Still-Water Angling read and re-read the chapter Introduction On catching big fish



Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]