Groceries from supermarkets and grocery stores make excellent affordable fishing baits. The shelves and refrigerators have an abundance of cheap and easy options to catch various fish. My choices are a more practical list of what’s on offer for the fisherman. I have personally fished with all the baits on this list with great success.
When the fishing bait stores close early, the supermarket has some great alternatives.
The choices recommended in this article are proven baits, even though some may seem rather strange. As anglers, we need to be aware of the alternative baits to try from your local store which can make the difference when the traditional ones just don’t work some days.
If you are a saltwater angler, then check out my article for the best sea fishing supermarket bait options, which are affordable and easily available for sea fishing.
An old favorite for so many anglers and my personal number one choice. It’s easily available and the tinned version needs no special storage or preparation. It can also be bought in larger more cost-effective frozen packs.
If you don’t use it for fishing, it can be taken home and eaten!
Sweetcorn’s attractive sweet and strong smell brings some awesome catches of fish. Its bright yellow color makes it very visible. It can be easily used on the hook and also be added to groundbait or loose-fed a few grains at a time.
Sweetcorn is a superb bait for carp, tench, bream, and roach. In fact, it can catch a wide variety of fish.
Bread is another all-time favorite and also one of the oldest. Like sweetcorn, it is available everywhere and can be bought in sliced form or as a whole loaf. However, it does require storage to prevent it from getting stale and dried out. Choose white bread rather than wholemeal as it is more pliable.
Bread takes a little skill to pinch it on the hook. Alternatively, a small piece of crust is easier to hook and stays on the hook better when you are casting. It can be fished at various depths including as a floating bait.
There are four ways of fishing with bread, which makes it very versatile – flake, crust, punched, or paste form. Also, any leftover old bread can be ground up and used as a groundbait.
Almost every freshwater fish species around the world can be caught with bread, particularly carp, bass, chub, and roach.
Cheese is a little more expensive than bread or sweetcorn. Any type of cheddar cheese works well, it does not have to be an expensive brand. In fact, the more rubbery the cheese makes it easier to fish with. Cheese that crumbles easily does not work so well.
Cheese does however need cold storage and will not last long as an effective bait during those hot days.
Cheese with its bright yellow color and aroma makes it very attractive. It can be fished as cubes of different sizes or rolled up into a paste form.
Leger fishing with cheese is a great method. I prefer to use it for float fishing trotting down on the far bank of a river. Another great productive option is to freeline a piece of cheese under an overhanging tree, where fish tend to hold for protection against predators.
Cheese is a very good bait for river species such as chub, barbel, and carp.
When using hot dogs as fishing bait, I have had a few stares from non-anglers!
Hot dogs are easily available from all supermarkets. They are cheap and come in a soft vacuumed pack or a tin. No preparation is needed, just cut them into pieces of the size you want to use.
Hot dogs are made from beef, chicken, or pork. I prefer to choose the chicken version as I have had the most success with them.
Simply cut them into cubes between 15mm to 30mm with a sharp quality fishing knife. Due to their softness, a hair rig is sometimes needed to keep them on the hook. As with most other meat-based baits they are best ledgered. They can also be freelined as bait with great success.
Carp, chub, barbel, and catfish are particularly fond of meat-based bait such as hot dogs.
Using potatoes has gone out of style over the past 30 years. My father would always take some wherever he went fishing. Whilst they are inexpensive bait they do need to be parboiled prior to use. If you prefer, you can buy the tinned variety for convenience. They are easy to find in any supermarket whether tinned or loose.
I use any kind of white Potatoes for fishing. Purple-colored potatoes tend to be more expensive but will definitely work and attract fish as well. Sweet potatoes or yams are other options to try.
One alternative to par-boiling is by cutting the raw potato into a square or rectangle and putting it on the hook. The potato in this shape resembles a fishmeal or trout pellet, which can be a very productive bait, especially during the warmer months.
Potatoes are ideal for ledgering, and hold up well on the hook if they are not too soft. Using the pellet version is best used in conjunction with a bobber or float fishing rig.
Potatoes are not as versatile as the other options on my recommended list, and fewer species will be attracted to them. All types of carp will eat potatoes in any of the forms I have mentioned.
Note: Please ensure that you discard any rubbish properly. Tins and Lids are a danger to wildlife and should be thrown away in proper bins or taken home with you.
Grabbing a few dog biscuits out of “Rover’s” box is really a superb option, assuming he doesn’t mind! you can also take your dog fishing with you. Alternatively, they are easily available everywhere and inexpensive to buy. Another great plus point is that there is no preparation or storage required. Just keep them dry at all times.
Dog biscuits come in various shapes, sizes and flavors. It really does not matter which ones you use. If you buy a mixed-size bag it gives you some options on the hook for large or small fish. You can also add color additives to them to entice more bites.
From the bag, they are dry and tough. If you prefer to use softer biscuits, then just soak them in water for 30 minutes. They work better on the hook when you use them banded or a hair rig.
Dog biscuits are only used as a floating bait. Carp are the main target species, especially in the hot summer months, when fish are basking near the surface and often feed on anything floating.
If you don’t have a dog, then maybe take some Cat biscuits from “Tiddles” stash! Use them exactly the same way as the dog biscuits. The main difference is that they come in smaller sizes and in more fishy varieties. The bag sizes can be quite large, which means you get plenty of bait for the price you pay.
Macaroni is not as popular as some of the other baits from supermarkets. They also tend to be a little more expensive, and very difficult to use on the hook. If you buy the pre-cooked packet or canned version (with Cheese) then no preparation is necessary but the dried version is cheaper. When you cook the macaroni ensure you boil it at least a couple of minutes less than you would if you are eating it, so they remain a little firmer. It’s not necessary to buy the cheese variety, as you can substitute it with any type of spice or multiple other additives.
Due to their softness, macaroni is best used at short range with gentle casts. Hooking the pasta tubes is simple, the best way to hook them is to pass the hook through the tube, following the elbow of the bait.
Macaroni works well for smaller species especially roach, tench, and bream.
Fishing with raw prawns has given me some remarkable success on many occasions. Ensure you select the fresh or frozen prawn type. The one major downside of using prawns is the price.
Out of the baits on my list prawns are the most expensive and are also somewhat troublesome to store. Try to always buy the cheapest you can find, the price won’t make any difference on whether you catch fish or not! Preparation however is easy, as they can be used straight from the package. One tip is to buy the smaller size prawns in larger size bags, which makes them more affordable to use.
They are easy to put on the hook and can be used in various sizes – cut into small pieces or used whole.
They are best used when float-fishing and have neutral buoyancy. This means they will rest on top of any weed growth in the margin areas for a very natural-looking bait.
Crappies, panfish, tench, and carp are very fond of them, especially in the warmer spring and summer months.
Chicken Livers are very cheap to buy. Easily available at all Supermarkets. However, they require cold storage and are very messy to handle.
Always try to buy fresh livers, as frozen ones do not stay on the hook very well.
The chicken liver pieces can be cut with a sharp knife of various sizes. If possible select a whole one that does not need to be cut. The smell and juice oozing from them definitely draw in the fish.
Due to their very soft slimy nature, chicken livers are best fished in the margins. Casting any distance is likely to have occasions where the bait will easily come off from the hook.
Chicken livers are the best grocery store catfish bait you can buy. Trout have also been known also to have a liking to them.
Luncheon meat has been a popular bait for many years and still is today. It is purchased in a can and is easily available in all stores at a low price. An unopened can last a long time.
Different brands carry various flavors. The standard spam version works well for me but you will find some brands are softer than others.
Hooking it is easy but due to its soft nature, a hair rig is better to keep it on the hook when casting long distances. To ensure consistent size and shape, meat cutters are available to match the can size. These can save time and help to keep your hands clean!
It can be used in most fishing methods. Personally, I find ledgering works best, as does free-lined under the far bank.
Bass, crappies, barbel, carp, catfish, and chub particularly love luncheon meat and various other fish are partial to the meat.
Today anglers are no longer just taking a pint of maggots and a tub of worms fishing. The bait choices today are endless. It’s so convenient to have a grocery store or supermarket open 24 hours to get a vast range of cheap baits. Tinned and pre-prepared ready baits have opened multiple new options for anglers worldwide.
However, there is no one bait that fits all situations. So arm yourself with whatever is available and at a good price, and go and try some of these cheap and easily accessible fishing baits.