Fishermen use all sorts of weird and wonderful baits for catching trout, and cheese is one of the more peculiar ones. Cheese is actually a decent bait for catching trout, and it can be moulded or slice in various sharps for different presentations. In this article, I am going to explain not only how to trout fish with cheese, but why it is also a good idea.
Why do trout eat cheese?
Only trout truly know why they eat cheese, but it is easy to speculate several reasons why they are might be attracted to it. Firstly cheese is high in fat and protein, both essential parts of a trout diet. Due to the high fat content, trout might even enjoy the taste. So cheese is a nutrient and energy dense food.
Now, I doubt trout are able to recognise cheese as cheese, they are obviously confusing it for something else. It is not hard to imagine, that a blob of cheese could be mistaken for a fat, bulbous larvae or caterpillar. While a ball of cheese certainly looks like a round fish egg. Lastly, a thin section of grated cheese does an excellent job imitating a slender worm.
Why use cheese as a trout bait?
Cheese has several advantages over other baits, it is readily available and easily to thread onto a hook. It also stays on the hook much better than bread, or even a worm.
Cheese also smells better, and less dirty to handle than the likes of worms, maggots and even dead minnows.
Finally, if you get hungry. Cheese makes for a pleasant snack on the riverbank.
How to present cheese as a bait?
I like to present cheese in three main shapes, to try and represent different types of prey.
Firstly, I massage the cheese into a rough ball sharp, about the size of a pencil eraser. This round sharp looks quite a bit like a fish egg. I then thread it onto a hook. I like to fish the cheese ball beneath a float, I gently cast upstream and allow it to drift back towards me. I find a ball of cheese works better in rivers than in a lake.
I also like to fish cheese in long thin slices, to represent a worm. Grated cheese is perfect. I thread the cheese onto the hook, then gently cast it out, I retrieve it very slowly. To gain weight for casting, I use a couple of split shots, or again fish it beneath a float. Cheese worms work well in both lakes and streams.
Finally, I use an oval blob of cheese. This represents both a chubby insect, but also a fish pellet. Again, this can be fish cast out with the assistance of some split shot or a float.
Can I catch wild trout on cheese?
Cheese works best when targeting stock trout, they are more familiar with human food. In saying that, with the correct presentation and a degree of luck wild trout can be caught on cheese.
What is the best cheese to use for bait?
I like to use a medium firm cheese with quite a bit of natural fat. A normal cheddar or colby seems to work well. Mozzarella is also okay but seems to be slightly less fatty.
When the weather is very cold, Velveeta cheese is a good choice. Velveeta is very malleable making it easy to mould around onto the hook. I often find Velveeta a bit too soft meaning it is difficult to get it to the stay on the hook. One trick, is to put the Velveeta in the freezer for half hour or so to firm it up a bit.
Other soft cheeses like cottage or even feta, trend to fall off the hook too quickly, and hard cheese can be a bit brittle.
What hooks to use with cheese?
I like to use a single baitholder hook, the extra barbs help prevent the cheese from falling off.
Treble hooks also work well with the multiple points helping to hold the bait in place. Although treble hooks are more difficult to remove if the trout swallows them.
With regards to hook size. I trend to fish anywhere between a size #12 and #16 when targeting stock fish.
If you need to buy some hooks, I recommend getting this pack from Mustad. It is great value and offers a useful selection of sizes and styles. If you need some splitshot, to increase casting weight the Water Gremlin Removable Split Shot pack is good value for money.
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