The undisputed king of deadbaits
Amongst the most popular of all deadbaits, smelt have all of the key features that we look for in a pike bait and are a must-have for the modern pike angler. These small brackish water fish are the perfect size for pike and zander baits, and are normally available in several sizes ideal for a wide range of different tactics.
The tough skin of the smelt means that they are easy to hook and stay on well, even when fishing at long range. The body is cylindrical, and they are a dense bait packed with muscle. Smelt have accounted for a huge number of big pike for us and our customers, and it is rare that we do not have this bait on one of our rods.
Smelt have a unique cucumber-like smell, but we think it is the bright white colour which really makes them stand out to any passing pike. Especially when contrasted with the lake or river bed smelt really stand out and cannot be missed. At times a more subtle colour can be required, so we also sell large smelt in both red and gold colours.
Being a tough bait, smelt can be used under a float for trotting baits on rivers, or even for fishing sink-and-draw style. They really are a very versatile bait and account for huge numbers of pike each year.
We generally have smelt available in four sizes, ideally suited to using for different types of fishing. Here is a quick guide to our smelt range.
Maxi Smelt – 8-inch plus – 2 per pack
The go-to bait for many reservoir pike anglers in search of monster pike. These huge smelt are best used with size 4 hooks, because of their size and are ideal for use on leger or float-leger rigs.
We often have good supplies of Maxi Smelt in the autumn, but the huge demand means they often sell out fast. Please ensure you order them early from your local BaitBox stockists to avoid disappointment.
Large Smelt – 6.5 inch – 7.5 inch – 3-4 per pack
In our opinion, this is the most useful smelt size for the pike angler. They will catch pike of all sizes, but have an uncanny knack of turning up the bigger specimens. Ideal when mounted on a trace made with size 4 hooks. The ideal size for long-range fishing as they cast well. Use them on a wide range of different rigs. We especially like to use them fished under a float or drifter in midwater.
Our large smelt are also available in fantastic red or golden dyed options too for a really distinctive deadbait.
Medium Smelt – 5.5 inch – 6.5 inch – 5-6 per pack
A great value smelt, ideal for pike of all sizes, and especially useful when you are expecting lots of runs. The smaller size is often also useful on pressured waters where we have noticed the pike will often have a marked preference for smaller baits. Traces carrying size 6 hooks are the ideal complement for medium smelt. As well as pike, we have also caught some big zander on medium smelt, and they are a very useful bait for venues, such as the Anglian reservoirs, where coarse baits are banned, when fishing for zander.
Small Smelt – 4 inch – 5.5 inch – 10-12 per pack
Our best value smelts, with ten or more baits per pack. these small baits have many uses and make a great pike bait when the fish are preoccupied with feeding on small fry. Match this size of bait with traces carrying size 8 hooks. Alternatively, they also work great with a single treble trace too.
In Europe huge numbers of big zander are caught each year on small smelt baits, either legered or fished on a fireball jig. These small baits are the perfect size for zander
The unique cucumber smell of a smelt can become masked by the scent of weed or silt when a bait is left in the water for some time. You can revitalise your baits by very carefully stabbing the flanks with a needle or pair of scissors to let the body fluids out.