Gone Fishing!…with a Piece of Bread: A Versatile White Loaf

It is, indeed, highly unlikely that people living with a baker would ever complain about one’s obsession with baking bread. There is a whole life-worth of additional values to this activity than the simple (though priceless) pleasure of eating the baked good. Being together when it is made, sharing recipes, quality time whilst waiting for the bread to rise, smelling it emerging from a piece of dough to the most sustainable food of the world, and so on…

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Bread, however, has other uses, that are appreciated by many, all over the planet. I am still not sure, that when ‘Food for All’ is mentioned as an approach, people mean fish as well. But bread is one of the most useful fishing baits. It’s well worth learning how to use it – not just in freshwater as mullet, bass, smelt and several other saltwater fish will take it too. Cheap, easy to get hold of and a multitude of purposes, bread is one of angling’s most underused baits, but one that has caught some of the biggest fish in history! It also has the underrated, very contemporary value of  being environmentally friendly for both humans and fish. Using home-made artisan bread as bait instead of feeding artificial, foreign ingredients to fish will emphasize the basic trust and core respect with what one should always turn towards the nature and living beings in it…

“Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.” – Ted Hughes

Ingredients (makes a small loaf, enough for a day’s fishing as bait)
240 g unbleached white flour, 130 g lukewarm water, 20 g good quality pure butter, a pinch of salt, 10 g fresh yeast

Preparation
In a bowl combine half of flour with all of the water and yeast, and mix until thoroughly blended. Cover tightly (plastic wrap works well) and let sit for 30 minutes. After this resting add remaining flour, salt and melted butter to the yeast mixture and combine with hands to form a cohesive dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead in as much of the remaining flour as needed until the dough is smooth and doesn’t stick to hands. Shape into a loaf of choice, place on a baking tray and place on the middle rack in a cold oven for 15 minutes. Turn on oven to 220°C and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a rack.

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 The next step…

Floated crust is used when a little buoyancy in the bait is required. Usually this is because of an uneven bottom or a layer of very soft weed or silt that would bury denser baits. Use a round-bend hook and follow the curve as  pushing the point in the crust side and leave it so that it rests in the soft crumb.
Flake is a piece of breadcrumb folded around the hook-shank and pinched just firmly enough that it grips the shank of the hook. The hook-point should be in the fluffy, uncompressed edge of the flake so that it is unobstructed. Flake is about right when it sinks, slowly, under the weight of the hook.
Punch is a pellet of compressed bread pressed out of a slice with a tool called, a punch. Punch is usually made in sizes that would generally attract smaller fish.

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Paste is stale breadcrumb kneaded into a soft dough with a little water. It has no advantage over flake and requires a stock of week-old bread, which can only rarely be found in a house where artisan bread is made.

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Sir Chub most definitely liked my bread…and Mister Perch came along to watch…

2 thoughts on “Gone Fishing!…with a Piece of Bread: A Versatile White Loaf

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