Bill Cottam

Home Town: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

This man needs no introduction, he has forgot more about bait that what many of us know. Still with so much more to offer in terms of pushing the boundaries of bait development and passing on wealth of experience on, Bill will be a great asset to RG Baits. Bill has an album full of huge fish from across Europe and you only have to read his book to see what the man has achieved.

What do you do for a living?

Supposedly retired, but doing nothing didn’t particularly suit me, so I now do a bit of consultancy work.

What was it like working in the trade?

Along with Tim Paisley, I formed Nutrabaits in 1986 and remained as MD until the September of 2015, when I sold the company. I had fully intended to remain involved on a consultancy type basis until I drew my last breath, but sadly my position became untenable in the late spring of 2017 and I was left with no alternative but to walk away.

Although I was desperately saddened by the way it ultimately ended, I have no regrets about my thirty plus years in the trade: like any industry my time at Nutrabaits had plenty of ups and downs, but on the whole, I loved every minute of it and met some terrific people along the way.

When did you start carp fishing and who were your earliest influences?

I caught my first carp in 1976: a monstrous common of just under 2lbs.

I have fished for carp ever since!

I have been enormously influenced by loads of people throughout my angling career, but in the early years, it was undoubtedly Rod Hutchinson, Kevin Maddocks and Richie McDonald.

What type of angler are you?

I have been asked this loads of times over the years and my answer is always the same…

A very average one!!

What are your strengths and when are you out of your comfort zone?

My undoubted strength is my willingness to wait for as long as it takes and to never let my head drop!

Session fishing is my thing and it has been for over thirty five years; as a consequence though I do feel severely out of my depth on waters that are dominated by anglers who spod the granny out of it ever twenty minutes and who continuously insist of casting them zig things out!

It’s just not cricket!

What are your personal bests and what is your most memorable capture?

Mirror 82lbs 2oz

Common 78lbs 6oz

Picking my most memorable capture is incredibly difficult, but if you pinned me down I would have to pick The Big Linear from Luke Moffatt’s Graviers fishery.

I have never wanted to catch any fish as much as I did that one and the fact that it was a very rare visitor to the bank, made the capture all the more special.

What is the best bit of advice you can offer?

Use bait they genuinely want to eat as opposed to something they might pick up occasionally through curiosity value…

And hope and pray you get lucky!

What is your go-to method when you start on new water?

A light scattering of a proven food bait and some hemp…

Presentation-wise, I would go for either an alternative hookbait pop up on an over-shotted Ronnie Rig or a critically balance snowman.

Why RG, what products do you use and why?

I have total confidence in The Formula with the addition of low level Arctic Crab.


Because it ticks all the boxes in terms of what I want from a bait and because – having searched high and low since leaving Nutrabaits – I can’t find anything better!

Three items you couldn’t be without when fishing?

Coffee, tinned mackerel in tomato spicy sauce and my collection of high attract hookbaits.

Give me a bait edge that has served you well over the years?

Keep ‘em guessing by mixing the shapes and sizes up.

Feed them and they will come!