Fishermen have been using corn as fish bait forever. It’s perfectly sized for small hooks and works wonders when other types of bait aren’t working or aren’t available. It’s astonishing how well it works for many different kinds of fish – kokanee, mullet, and all types of trout love corn. But which kind of corn is best to use as fish bait? And how many different kinds of corn are there?
We aim to answer those questions and more in our ultimate guide to using corn as fish bait! First, we’ll cover the most common types of fish that corn baits work with, then cover all the different types of corn you can use. We’ll even explain to make some of our favorite rigs for using corn as fish bait. By the end of the article, you’ll be a corn bait master fisherman! Let’s jump in.
Types of Fish That Like Corn as Bait
Even though no fish eat corn as food naturally, many species will bite it when presented with the opportunity. Some of the most common types of fish that will bite corn bait are common carp, all types of trout, catfish, white bass, white perch, bluegill, crappie, most other types of panfish, and kokanee. Some species prefer certain types of corn bait which we’ll get into below.
Types of Corn Fish Bait
When most people think of using corn as fish bait, they think of single kernel canned corn. But there are actually many different options for corn. Let’s dive into the types that we’ve found work best.
The tried and true, canned sweetcorn is the most common type of corn used as fish bait. You can buy cheap canned corn at almost every grocery store, or online from most retailers. Our favorites are white shoepeg corn and whole kernel sweet corn. Both have the correct size for smaller hooks and an intense flavor/smell that fish find irresistible.
Frozen corn is another great option for fish bait as it lasts longer than canned corn after you’ve opened the package. It also stays on some hooks better than canned corn, and will quickly dethaw once casted out in the water. Our favorites are yellow sweet corn and white shoepeg corn. Both work well for many types of small fish.
Feed corn is much larger than sweet corn or white shoepeg corn, which makes it a great choice when using larger hooks. It’s also the most affordable option – you can buy large bags of feed corn from your local feed store for much cheaper than corn meant for human consumption.
Most feed corn that you buy will be dried, so you’ll need to rehydrate it in water in order to get it on your hook. We recommend boiling the feed corn until it’s soft enough to apply to your hook before going fishing with it. You can also soak the corn for 12 hours before boiling to speed up the process. The bonus of buying dried is that the extra corn you don’t boil will last a very long time.
If you want to supercharge your corn bait presentation, you can also buy flavored corn bait. There are many brands that produce fish bait that’s corn flavored, like Powerbait and Berkley’s Gulp Fishbait. Both of these options tend to stay on the hook longer than actual corn and have a stronger smell. But these advantages come at a price; they’re much more expensive than natural corn options.
If you’d rather not waste food and reuse your corn bait, we recommend buying plastic imitation corn. There are options in all different colors, and as long as you cover them in a scent similar to other baits (like anise oil), they’ve been proven to work just as well as natural corn.
The Best Corn Fishing Rigs
There are several options for rigging your corn for fishing. Here are the two we’ve seen the most success with!
Simple Corn Rig
All you need to build a simple corn rig is an appropriate size hook for the type of fish you’re fishing for, a small split shot weight, a bobber, and an appropriate test fishing line.
- We like using a size 6 or 8 short shank hook for corn rigs. Tie this onto your fishing line (4 to 6lb test monofilament is our favorite for small fish).
- Add one to three corn kernels to your hook sliding them down to the round part of your hook. If you want to add more than three kernels, we recommend using a PVA bait mesh. The mesh will allow you to add a small bag with a bunch of kernels to your hook.
- Add your split shot weight one to two feet up the line from the hook.
- Loop your bobber onto the line four to six feet up the line. Depending on how deep the water is where you’re trying to fish, you made need to add length or subtract length from your bobber and the hook.
- That’s it! Cast it out to where you think the fish are hiding and keep an eye on that bobber…
Pop Up Corn Rig
For a more advanced corn rig that works especially well for carp and catfish, we recommend using the pop up corn rig. Along with the supplies for the simple corn rig, you’ll need a threading needle, coated hooklink line, a hair stop, rig ring, and silicone tubing. Follow the steps below, or buy the pre-made corn rig.
- Slide two or three kernels of floating corn onto your threading needle. We recommend using artificial corn bait for this rig so it will last longer.
- Thread the hooklink line through the two kernels and tie the hair stop to hold them in place.
- On the opposite side from the hair stop, tie your rig ring onto the line with an overhand knot.
- The put the hook tip through the rig ring and thread the eyelet of the hook through the end of the line.
- Tie your line to the shank of the hook with a knotless knot.
- Slide a small piece of silicone tubing over the eyelet and shank of your hook.
- Add your small split-shot weight an inch above the hook.
- Lastly, add your bobber four to six feet up the line depending on the depth you’re trying to fish.
- Hook a big one!
How to Chum with Corn
Corn can also be used as fishing chum depending on the region you’re fishing in. Using corn as chum for carp fishing can be especially effective. There are specific rules to using corn as chum depending on the water and state your fishing in. Be sure to check your local regulations before using corn as chum bait.
If you can use corn as chum bait, we like to throw half a can of sweetcorn near where we’re fishing to get the fish riled up.
Depending on how many weeds there are, you may need to use more corn to attract the fish. Wait a few minutes to see if any fish begin feeding. If you don’t see any action within 30 minutes, we recommend moving to a different location.
If the weeds are relatively short, you could use a floating corn presentation made from homemade foam corn pieces. This will put your presentation above the bottom debris or short vegetation, and allow carp or your target fish to easily spot it.
Regularly chumming the same area on a regular basis like daily or several times a week will have fish continuously visiting the area and won’t think twice about eating real or fake corn presentations.
Many carp anglers use PVA bags with the hooked presentation included in the bag, or spods to deliver large amounts of corn or other bait to fish for species like carp, and this can work well for other species, and isn’t a tactic you see employed much in North America, but it’s definitely something we could take note of from our angling cousins across the pond.
Spreading corn over a larger area will hold fish for longer as the have to work harder to eat it all, and putting corn in one pile will cause the fish to eat it up quickly before moving on.
A dense pile of corn is great if you are fishing the pile immediately after putting it in the water, and you should get your hooked corn presentation as close to the pile as possible.
Using corn as fish bait is one of the time tested options for many different types of fish. We hope after reading this article, you now know which corn to add to your arsenal as well as how to fish it. As with any fishing techniques, be sure to check your local regulations to make sure what you want to fish is legal. After that, it’s up to you to catch the big one!