Pre-baiting can without doubt be a massive edge when targeting large carp especially in lightly stocked venues. But there are a few things to take in to consideration before embarking on a pre-baiting campaign.
Bait selection is very important and there are several factors that need to be considered, these include boilie choice. Which boilies has the lake seen before and do you capitalise on what’s already been introduced or do you try and establish your own bait, time and access to bait will determine which one of these options to take.
Bait size is often determined by the ease of application, short range with a catapult 12mm to 15mm, long range with a catapult or throwing stick then 15mm to 18mm size baits are needed. If the lake is weedy then baiting with a particle and boilie approach may be needed in order to clear spots but still establish your boilie of choice, this will need to be done using a spod/spomb or if allowed bait boats.
Areas of lake
Where you decide to target also needs consideration, if you choose a popular area of the lake are you likely to get back in that swim or are you just pre-baiting for someone else to capitalise on. Known feeding spots and past observations should be considered when highlighting areas and as already mentioned ease of baiting is very important especially when looking to bait little and often.
Often an un favoured swim can be made very productive as long as carp are visiting it, however do not fall into the trap of baiting an area just because it is un fished and may look fishy.
Time of year and amounts
When to begin pre-baiting will be weather dependant, usually I start pre baiting towards the end of February but over the last couple of years this has been later around mid to late March. During this time I keep my amounts relatively small may be only a kilo or two a week to begin with but this is increased as the weather improves too up to five or six kilos a week. However once these spots are established and I begin to fish them which is not usually before early to mid-April bait is only introduced on leaving.
When pre-baiting came good
I would just like to take you through a recent capture that highlights the areas we have covered. Bait selection for this venue was the awesome Live System, I have been an avid XXX user but chose to go with the Live System because I knew that the Cell had been used to some success on there and I wanted a bait with the same colour but with its own lovely creamy profile. Because of the short range I was baiting at ( 20yds ) 15mm boilies were used, I could even halves these baits and still bait accurately with a catapult even in the windy weather we experienced this spring.
The area of the lake that I was targeting was a small bay that I knew carp visited on a regular basis and a good climbing tree enabled me to observe them. The Live System had been introduced regularly into this bay from mid-March onwards on two spots, one a lightly covered gravel spot the other silty.
I had already done a 24hr session in the swim without a fish but the weather was against me on that trip but I knew if the wind changed and the weather warmed then I would be in with a good chance. The spots were baited on leaving and once during the week before returning for an overnighter, on this occasion the weather was spot on.
On one of the spots I decided to give them something a little bit different so I mixed up some mixed particle with the lovely smelling Milk ‘n’ Nut Crush and to this I just added some crushed, halved and whole Live System boilies with some of the bait dip to produce a wonderful creamy mix.
Both rigs were fished helicopter style and baited with a 15mm Live System wafter tipped off with a tiny piece of red Northern special to produce a critically balanced bait fished blow back style on a size 7 fang twister and 25lb jel E wyre. The night passed quietly but on first light I could see fish in the swim and knew it was only a matter of time.
Because I was fishing flurocarbon and slack lines the actual take was only a couple of beeps on the delkim and line lifting in the water. Once attached I knew it was a good fish and apart from a few scary moments on some close in snags she was soon in the net. On the scales she went 39lb 4oz and was sacked for a short time before the photos were done and she was soon back in the lake.
It had fallen to the Milk n Nuts spot and could clearly be seen coming out of her on to the mat. No other fish followed that morning but I baited on leaving and returned the following night with the same tactics employed. I received a take off the other spot almost the same time as the previous morning, this was a big scaley mirror of about the same size as the common.
This was a very angry fish and gave me the run a round but gradually I got it under control and with the net poised I thought it was mine WRONG on its next run a small snag was found and it was gone. Two mornings and two pickups from a water where anglers have gone all season for just a few fish, so I am confident of a few more to follow so will continue to bait these spot and see what the rest of the summer brings.
Getting the carp to feed in areas without being pressured with a good quality bait such as Live System or XXX will often single out the bigger fish and fish that rarely visit the bank can be made to make a mistake.
Phil the fish Court
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