When you first start up fishing you will realise that there are plenty of baits to choose from. One of the said baits is the small and mighty caster. These little beauties might be small but they certainly attract fish of all sizes. Even the freshwater giants such as carp and barbel are very partial to dining on a caster or two. The problem you may come across though is that they don’t stay fresh for too long. This is the main reason you will need to learn how to freeze casters.
What Is A Caster?
A caster is basically the pupa stage of a bluebottle fly. So the bluebottle starts its life as a very small egg, usually laid on substances such as rotten meat. Once the egg hatches a maggot materialises. The maggot will then fatten itself up for a few weeks before turning into a caster. When the maggot is at this stage a soft thin shell forms around its body so the transformation can take place. After a few days, the shell is left behind and a bluebottle will emerge.
Why Freeze Casters?
Sometimes when you are out on the bank you will have a fair few casters leftover. Ok, you could just throw the casters in the water when you leave, but why do that when you can freeze them? Casters cost money, and throwing them in is very wasteful if you ask me.
Freezing casters will basically keep them fresh enough to use on your next fishing trip. Just be sure not to leave them in the freezer too long, They will turn out to be not so good to use. I usually freeze mine for no longer than a month.
How To Freeze Casters
Freezing casters is a good way of using bait that would have otherwise been thrown away. Although casters are freezable they are never quite as good as shop-bought fresh casters from your local tackle shop. Below is the easiest way of freezing unused casters.
Step 1 – Sort Out And Clean The Casters
Before you bag up your casters, give them a good rinse in a bait tub full of water. While you are doing this you may come across some casters that will float. These are bad ones and need throwing away. Just keep the remaining casters that sink to the bottom of the water.
Step 2 – Dry The Casters
The next stage is to dry your casters. If you have an old sieve gently pour the casters into it and let all the water drain out. Next, lay the casters on a flat surface and gently give them a quick dab with some kitchen roll. Be careful not to press too hard. Casters are quite fragile and will squash quite easily if too much pressure is applied.
Step 3 – Buy Some Sandwich Bags
When I freeze casters I find the best way to store them is in sandwich bags. All major supermarkets sell them and they literally cost a few pence. These are more than adequate for keeping the casters in.
Step 4 – Put The Casters In A Bag
When I bag up the casters ready for freezing I put about half a pint worth in each bag. This works out about right for your average-sized sandwich bag. Now you will need to gently squeeze the bag to get as much air out as possible, and either tie the top of the bag up in a knot or use a bag tie that comes with the bags.
The bag ties are usually a lot easier than trying to tie a knot in the bag itself.
Step 5 – Place The Casters In A Freezer
Now you have your casters securely tied up you can place them in a freezer. Be sure to place them somewhere out the way so nothing can be placed on them. Even though the casters are frozen they are still pretty fragile and will squash fairly easily.
When you are ready to use them the chances are they will be thawed out by the time you get to the water’s edge. If they are not thawed out then place them in a bait tub full of water.
Are Frozen Casters Better Than Fresh Ones?
To be honest, frozen casters are not going to be as good as fresh ones. They will quite often end up a little softer than fresh ones, which can make them harder for getting on the hook. That being said, they are perfectly good for putting in groundbait when they are like that or used as loose feed. So it is still worthwhile freezing your casters.
What Fish Will Eat Casters?
When using casters for the first time whether they are fresh or frozen you may be wondering what fish you might catch on them. Well, here in the UK pretty much all the freshwater fish are partial to feeding on casters. Casters are a lot like maggots as in they are a very versatile bait to use. Whether you are after catching a mighty barbel or fishing for tiny sticklebacks, casters can prove to be a deadly bait.
How To Hook Casters
When placing casters on a hook be careful not to burst them. As I mentioned earlier casters are quite delicate and need a gentle touch. It is important that your hook is nice and sharp as well. This lessens the chances of the caster bursting upon hooking it. A perfect size hook for casters in my experience is an 18 or 20.
To hook a caster you want to hook it similar to how you would hook a maggot. Bury the point of the hook straight through the flatter end of the caster and gently pierce it through the side of the shell. This will ensure that most of the hook cannot be seen but the point is visible. This will make hooking a fish a lot more likely.
Learning how to freeze casters can be a good way of reusing leftover bait. If nothing else it will certainly be saving yourself a few quid everytime you freeze them. I probably wouldn’t freeze them for much longer than 4 weeks though. They do tend to get freezer burn and turn a bit bad.
Tight lines and enjoy your fishing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I freeze casters more than once?
Freezing casters more than once really isnt advisable. They will certainly turn black, smelly and mushy. Making them pretty unusable.
Can casters hatch in a freezer?
Casters definitely will not hatch while they are in your freezer. Do not fear you definitely will not end up with a freezer full of bluebottles.
Can pre-frozen casters be used as hookbait?
If the casters that you have frozen can be hooked without falling apart then they will be fine to use as hookbait. If they do tend to fall apart or are a bit soft then just use them as loosebait or add them to your groundbait.