Initially I aim to introduce a fair bit of bait in areas where I can see if it is going or not. On this particular lake there are no problems with birds as it is very deep in the margins, but obviously on your own venue you have to bear in mind that ducks and other bird life might eat the bait while you are away so in a perfect world you want a lake with deep clear margins and no bird life to speak off!
On this particular lake there is an out-of-bounds area of snags which is sectioned off and protected by a rope floating on the surface. This area naturally draws carp like a magnet. It is also a good spot to introduce bait. I can already hear you asking, why put bait into an area you cannot fish? Well it is more a question of establishing both the carp’s and your own confidence in the bait. Even the craftiest carp knows that it will eventually have to move out from the sanctuary provided by the rope in order to feed in the main part of the lake and if that carp has also come across, sampled and enjoyed the same bait he will encounter out in the lake in the safety of the snags, there is more chance he will recognise it and feed on it. It’s a confidence thing and it really gives it a boost when you see carp feed on you bait, albeit within the safety zone.
Of course, not every water features such a safe area. That being the case you need to find areas where they are more likely to feel safe. This can be either because the swim is little fished or perhaps due to an area of snags. On every lake you will find an unpopular or lightly fished swim or swims. There may be a good reason why this is so, but often it is simply the case that the swims are unpopular for other reasons (to tight, too shallow, too deep, no apparent features, etc.). Frankly I am drawn to these swims, as I know they represent safer areas as far as the carp are concerned. For instance, there is a swim on Treesmill which was never fished by until I began went onto the water. In just a few short visits I landed two of the three biggest carp in the water along with plenty of back up fish, proof indeed that, though the swim was not popular with the anglers, the carp loved it!
One of the most exciting sights in carp fishing is actually watching carp eat your bait in snags or in a sanctuary! This will tell you if you have got the attractor levels right and that they are quite happy to eat it in quantity. This in turn should give you confidence when it comes to fishing outside the sanctuary or well away from the snags. With every day that passes without disturbance so the carps’ confidence in the bait grows.
Of course, I cannot go on putting bait into my chosen areas for ever without fishing so after putting the bait in for at least two or three days, and (hopefully) seen that it is being eaten, my confidence is sky high and it is time to start fishing.
On the other side of the coin there is the more commonly experienced situation where you arrive at a lake to explore and prebait to find it stitched up like a kipper! Now a totally different set of tactics is needed. However, the general plan of attack remains basically the same, namely, try to get them feeding in an area where they feel safe and protected, or in one that is comparatively unpressured. If you can get them used to your bait in these areas, then you can usually persuade them to do so on the pressure spots. That is why I suggest beginning to bait up in unpopular areas. If you did the same in one of the hot swims, putting bait in for a day or two, you will probably find you your chosen area will be occupied when you come to fish it. That’s not to say you should neglect the hotter spots but it as well to bear the above in mind.
On a busy lake I try to put bait into several areas (without, of course, upsetting other anglers on the water). This not only makes the carp look more actively for the bait, but also gives me a wider choice of swims when it comes to actually fishing. A good time to bait up (especially if you are sneaky like me!) is well after dark when, hopefully, the bivvy doors will be down and the anglers tucked up the bag. That way you can steal something of a march over other anglers. It might not be much of an edge but it’s a start.
My own preference is for small waters with a relative lack of angling pressure this is just such a venue close to my home in Cornwall.
An out of bounds area draws fish to it like a magnet and is a perfect place to experiment with bait – in this case with floaters!
A bright shiny ‘dinner plate’ where the lakebed has been scrubbed clean of silt by feeding carp.
Try to find areas where the carp are most likely to feel safe such as along this treeline.
Robin Red forms one of the cornerstones of my baiting philosophy.
SuperRed groundbait is the most versatile and complex all-purpose carp bait you will ever use!.
Red Band or hempseed can really boost any groundbait.
Fish sauce is very salty and it should be added to cooked particles or seed blends after soaking but before boiling.
A SuperRed-based groundbait with added mini-maize, Red band and hempseed. This carpy feast that should more or less guarantee a positive response.
Another version of the amazing SuperRed groundbait, this time mixed up all wet and sloppy and blended with tiger nuts and boilies.
Up she goes…how much…?
27lb 2oz! Lovely!