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Well as stated im fishing a mark which is thick with lug and rags in part my question is am i wasting my time throwing crab baits in there i checked it at low tide and there was a dead flounder so they are there and at high there was a seal but no fish on the crab or mack :cry:
 

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can't help with the area you fish but personally unless the crab are naturally in glut i don't find them a brilliant bait. to be honest. i'm sure they used to be more effective many years ago all year round.

just because there aren't any crabs visible at low tide, there's prob plenty burried in the sand that will come out when the sand is covered by water.

if you can see any sort of gullies at low tide i would try to fish into them. if there's plenty of space you could also try using a watch type lead, cast uptide and let it roll down with the tide. if the lead rolls over the deepest part of the gully it will slow down and hopefully stop before passing over it. this will also work as it passes over mud patches.

i would say it has little to do with bait and more to do with finding the fish holding features.
 

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The only way to know what is the most effective bait at any place or time is to try all the baits available and let the fish pick what they want. No amount of theorising will give you the answer. It is extremely common to catch fish on baits that are not found in the area.

How are fish supposed to get hold of lugworm anyway, dig them up?
 

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:laugh:If you were in a Pizza shop and they gave you pie and chips instead would you turn it down if you were hungry ?
More a case of going into a pizza shop cos you want a pizza, so yes, I would turn down a pie and chips...

IMO you need to offer the fish what you think they are there expecting to find.

Mart.
 

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regardless of what ground you catch fish on the stomach contents are usually made up of one or more of a few things. small fish/ sandeels, shrimp/ prawns and crabs. how many times (with a possible exception of being a week or so after a blow) do you find worms in the stomach of the fish catch.

i can't see how a fish would sense the presence of worms that are healthy and not cut or split or decaying.
 

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regardless of what ground you catch fish on the stomach contents are usually made up of one or more of a few things. small fish/ sandeels, shrimp/ prawns and crabs. how many times (with a possible exception of being a week or so after a blow) do you find worms in the stomach of the fish catch.
I agree big guy. I've caught and gutted hundreds of cod and the food most commonly found inside them is shrimp, crab and fish - in that order.

And what bait were the vast majority of the cod caught on - lugworm.
 

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it is true that the fish have come to the worm beds to feed on worm as some worm will show themselves when covered by the tide some will even leave their burrow altogether and go with the tide to new ground,and in more lumpy sea they will get washed out,bait wise crab would not be a prob over lug beds as i have dug up hundreds of crab that are buried in the sand on worm beds, fish are opportunists and would not pass a peeler while on worm beds or for that fact any meal found on worm beds such as young flats,sand eel,shrimp,prawn and of course worm,if in doubt why not lug and crab cocktail
 

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what looks like a flat expanse of sand or mud, doesnt just contain worms. theres a whole miriad of things that live in and on that sand or mud.

fish dont just pass over it looking for one particular bait, they will take anything they can get.

at times though fish can become pre occupied with one type of food source, when the crab are in full moult, rag spawning, whitebait in the area or after a good storm.
 

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what looks like a flat expanse of sand or mud, doesnt just contain worms. theres a whole miriad of things that live in and on that sand or mud.
Absolutely! Estuarine mud usually has huge numbers of harbour rag Hediste diversicolor and the shellfish Macoma balthica, commonly called the Baltic tellins both of which live just below the surface. You can often see little piles of the crushed shells of tellins on the mudflats in calm weather when flatfish are about and you can sometimes feel them inside the fishes stomachs when you catch them. Then there's all the free swimming stuff such as gobies and shrimp.

The only time I've found lugworm in fish is after a storm and they where all black lug not blow lug which live in more sheltered areas.
 

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What evidence have you got to support these statements?
What evidence have you got to support these statements?
my advice i offer to people comes from my fish related careers family 5 generations of fishermen,fishmongers and bait collectors,6 generations including me. fishing when i was strong enough to hold a rod and i'm a bait collector for a living and fishing up to 4 times a week every week, countless stomachs being squeezed out over many years ,my earliest memory of this was 24years ago ,used to find it very interesting in my granddads fishmongers at around 9 years old ,so with the vast detailed knowledge that i was lucky enough to be passed down and trust me dad and grandad made sure i learnt all they knew ,they would drum info in to me day in day out. always investigate the food chain ,the gut of fish has very high acid levels an break down meals quickly worm wont be noticed often as it gets broken to a brown sludge very quick even small fish become hard to identify very fast, harder meals such as hardback crab ,squat lobster and shellfish take more time.There are rare times when meals cant be digested but fish have a safety mechanism by coughing up there gut contents...i was talking to a commercial fisherman once and when aboard a cod trawling vessel in the 80s off scotland he encountered many strange things in side very large cod including a litre bottle of vodka and a whole hare .I even read about a human head found in a 50lb fish,my guess some one got the concrete boots treatment and rotten flesh allowed the fish to suck the head from the body,Grim thought. Any way as someone said fish will be preoccupied by a certain food source at times but thats because instinct locks them in to one feeding mode making the most of the bonanza,just like we would at a eat all you want feast,if one of your favorite foods was there by the dish full, you'd make a b line for it, but if you spotted another of your favorite foods on route you would grab that on the way passed .... for example ;bass feeding hard over rocky ground for peeler will not miss the chance to snap up a goby,blenny, butter fish,shrimp or prawn that leave there hiding places as the bass rifle through the nooks and crannies ..... If you still need evidence i would be happy to take some pics of the mixed content meal in the gut of my next dinner table fish.
 

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Absolutely! Estuarine mud usually has huge numbers of harbour rag Hediste diversicolor and the shellfish Macoma balthica, commonly called the Baltic tellins both of which live just below the surface. You can often see little piles of the crushed shells of tellins on the mudflats in calm weather when flatfish are about and you can sometimes feel them inside the fishes stomachs when you catch them. Then there's all the free swimming stuff such as gobies and shrimp.

The only time I've found lugworm in fish is after a storm and they where all black lug not blow lug which live in more sheltered areas.
is there a common name for the shellfish macoma balthica? ive caught plaice with shells of what look like mussels in there stomach
 

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the gut of fish has very high acid levels an break down meals quickly worm wont be noticed often as it gets broken to a brown sludge very quick even small fish become hard to identify very fast
Just to taking the above statement. I visited a local bass netter and to quote him he said to me "I'll show you something interesting here Phil". He was preparing some bass for a local restaurant and was gutting and filleting them after they had been frozen with the guts in. All the bass had ragworm in there stomachs - plain to see and not digested.

I have also caught many cod, after a recent storm, with black lug in their stomachs which was not digested. In fact I remember one day a friend asking if he could squeeze the black lug from the stomach of a cod I had just caught which he then used on the hook to catch a cod himself!

Both of these FACTS would indicate that if fish caught over worm beds which had been recently feeding on worm would indeed have worms show up in their guts. I've never experienced this in over forty years of sea fishing.
 

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baltic clam ,not common in our waters. seed mussels are often found in side fish,the best shell fish bait by far is razor clam mussel being a close second,best fished after a rough up,
The Baltic tellin/clam Marcoma balthica is very common to quote -

"In the tidal stretches along the coasts of the North Sea, there are densities of up to two thousand per square metre. Unlike most other species in this family it lies on its side in the sand with its long siphons protruding. Able to tolerate water with a very low salt content, it is common in estuaries. Occurs from the White Sea to Iberian Peninsula and is common around Britain."

I have often found them in the stomachs of flounder feeding over worm beds.
 
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