Plastic Fantastic - Danny Fairbrass

Plastic corn has a multitude of uses and in the right hands can be fantastic. Ever heard the phrase: “plastic fantastic”? Well it’s true!

The thing about standard corn out of the tin is that it’s soft. This doesn’t make it particularly user friendly and when nuisance species or crayfish are in abundance you might be left with a baitless hair rig, which means only one thing…no bites! Not only that, it can even come off on the cast. This is the first major advantage of a plastic hook bait.

Carp don’t eat this little imitation bait, they eat the offerings around it and you fool them into believing that it’s real. Fake Food corn is absolutely identical to a normal grain of corn and is best fished over a particle mix that does of course contain real corn samples. The aim is to create a scenario whereby the carp are competing for your mix only for them to slip up on your subtle little hook bait that matches the rest of the offerings.

A number of anglers these days fish a boilie hook bait over spod mix. Sure, this will work, but how blatant must it look if there aren’t any boilies in the spod mix? It’s like raising the alarm bells for no reason. Consequently, why not try something that mimics those appealing little grains, in the form of imitation corn? A carp is going to take this much more readily than a big old donkey choker!

Colour is a major factor in the liking of corn. Its striking appearance often catches the carp’s eye, so whether it be on its own, popped up, or placed on top of a bottom bait, corn is always appealing. Not only that, if it’s flavoured too, it’s deadly…carp don’t know that it’s plastic!

The Fake Food plastic corn comes in an array of colours – white, green, yellow and a pink; suiting a range of anglers needs, and each has its day. Some anglers believe that its down to light levels; when one day pink will be best, white may be the next. Chop and change and see which works on the day.

Buoyant plastic corn is also a fantastic way to balance out a hook bait and give it that extra boost of colour. By adding a single grain of pop-up corn to a boilie you’re actually taking some of the weight out of the hook bait. This is called balancing. The reason for this is to make it appear more like a freebie which is lightweight, without the weight of a hook. It definitely creates more bites and we also identified on the underwater films that smaller baits certainly get more pick ups making corn ideal.

Some of the best anglers employ plastic corn and Danny Fairbrass is a very keen advocate. It’s not a small fish tactic either. Danny has caught numerous carp to over 40lb on pop-up corn and it’s no wonder you often see him threading one or two bits onto the hair.

A few years back on Brasenose Two, I watched him catch no end of carp on single grains of pink plastic corn fished over a PVA stick. The fishy stick would be just enough to attract them to the hook bait and due to its subtle colour and smell, it was enough to get that valuable coldwater bite. Although not the hardest of waters, it was fishing very slow at the time, but with a little thought Danny recorded a fantastic days angling…single bits of pop-up corn and a PVA stick, that was it and not a boilie in sight. In warmer weather, it would be worth spodding over the top!

Rigs wise, it’s definitely best to keep things simple. If fishing two grains of buoyant corn, tie up a simple blowback rig to a size 8 or 10 Wide Gape. Keep the ring fairly high on the shank so that the hair is kept short. Ensure that a little bit of coating on the N-Trap is stripped for movement and simply pinch the correct split shot onto the braid, or roll on some Dark Matter putty. To finish, shrink a little shrink tubing over the eye and you’re ready to go.