Picking the right swim
You have to take a lot of care in to choosing a swim that you want to pre-bait. Bait costs money and you don’t want to be wasting your hard earned for someone else’s benefit. I like to choose swims that don’t often get fished or even produce fish. Sometimes the swims either side of that one will catch, but the one in the middle wont. This is ideal, as the fish clearly visit the area but nobody seems to fish it.
The wind plays a bug role in where I am fishing. If I can get an area going with a warm wind coming in to it and a cold one off the back of it, I know I am on to a real winner.
Wrap it up and keep a note
Once you have found a spot that you are happy with, be sure to wrap it up around the sticks and make a note of it. Unless you are fishing right in the edge, this will help you out greatly in the future. It will mean that when you do come to fish it, just three single hook baits over the spot is all that is needed. The lack of disturbance will not only give you a better chance of catching one, it will also make it hard to the spy’s to see where you are fishing.
No matter what swim it is that I fish, I always make a note of the spots that I have found for future reference. If I arrive and the fish are bouncing around somewhere, I can look in my notebook, wrap the rods up and make a single cast to a good spot.
Boilie crumb and pellets
If I want to create my own spot, I tend to look for an area where the fish are visiting and try to find either a small hard spot or some light weed. Once I have located that, I start to introduce some particles, Bloodworm pellets and some boilie crumb. I don’t start off by putting in too much boilie, as I think the other species will be on to the spot before the carp.
However, I do want some of that lovely smelling Krill out there and with boilie crumb, it will stay out there for much longer than whole baits would do. After a couple of weeks of this, I have found that the fish absolutely destroy the spot, cleaning it right off.
That is the advantage of using a boat; you can see exactly what is going on. Recently I have dropping a bucket of bait over the area every week, even at night if I have to. I know the fish are getting right on it. Now that the spot is clean, I have been introducing the boilies in larger levels and began to see more carp over the area.
Watch from trees
A lot of the spots that I bait are in the edge, right under people’s rod tips. People ignore the margins, but after years of being able to climb obscene heights in trees, this is a costly mistake. Carp love the margins and I mean love them. Times I have seen carp showing out in the middle, yet half of the lakes stock is circling a weed bed not 15 yards from the bank. Unless you are up a tree, you would never be able to see that. I am a confident climber and if you are not, I would say be careful and never put yourself in danger. Always distribute your weight evenly, never putting it all on one branch.
I can keep an eye on the spots that I bait close in and watch as they grow in size. I have found that the trick is to try and fish the close in spots before they grow too big. If they do a demolition job on it, sometimes it can be tricky to get a bite from it. This is why I bait little and often close in to stop that from happening.
As I mentioned before, if the spot becomes too big it can almost work against you. It is so important to bait as accurately as you possibly can. I know I can use a boat for a lot of my fishing, but when I fish lakes that don’t allow boats, the guys that can bait accurately always out catch the rest.
I remember Kev Hewitt when we fished on Christchurch a few years ago. Boy that lad can spod tight and his catch rate reflected that. Since then I have always tried to get everything as tight as I can and believe it has caught me a lot more fish.
Even if the spomb lands half a metre either side of the float, you will still be baiting a large area once it spreads, so try and keep them as tight as possible.
Adding oils to the mix
Sometimes the fish don’t want to show and if you can’t use a boat, it is hard to see whether or not the fish are visiting your area or not. One trick, although it may give the game away, is to add oils to your mix. If a carp or any fish for that matter so much as touches your bait, if it is laced with oil, it will send a puff of slick to the surface.
If the fish are really having it, it will send off a huge flat spot across the lake. Although it may mean other anglers can see it, it does show you that the fish have eaten whatever it is you have put out there for them.
Rest the swim
If you have a few nights ahead of you, sometimes it can be beneficial to rest the swim. I have done this a few times now, get down late and get some bait on the spots, then not fish it until 24 hours have past. I know it sounds mad and it is not really maximising your time, but I have found that this catches the sneaky fish that don’t get caught that often.
I work shifts so generally get to fish three or even four nights on the trot sometimes. This helps me out massively as I can bait a few spots and watch them for 24-hours until I know where they are.
Single hookbait with confidence
If I arrive at the lake and the fish are clearly all over my spots or are in the area, I have always favoured a few single hook baits to work best. The fish have eaten the bait, by the time you fish it they would have had it for a few weeks and will be visiting it regularly.
If the fish are on you, there is no need to get them back to the spot with a load of bait. The fish will be actively looking for the bait you have given them, because if they like it they will be back for more. I like to put a couple of Krill Wafters on, which are small and subtle yet what the fish have been eating something that looks and tastes the same for weeks.
Only recently I arrived at the lake and saw that the fish were on me. I literally placed a couple of Wafters and a pop-up on the area and the next morning caught one of the rare ones for the lake. How often do you see people fish singles nowadays?
Keep the bait going in
Come rain or shine day or night, if you really want to get a spot rocking you need to keep baiting it. I don’t mean 10 kilos every other night; it could even be a couple of handfuls. The levels of bait are not as important as the regularity that the fish see it.
The more free meals the fish get, the more they will keep coming back for more. It is not very often in these times of carp fishing that fish get free food. The banks are generally quite busy and people find it hard to find the time to go and bait little spots without fishing them.
One thing I must mention is to be mindful of other anglers. It is not fair to be throwing bait everywhere when other people are fishing around where you are baiting. Sometimes you can get down to the lake and it is too busy to bait, which happens sometimes. Other times it can be quiet where your spot is, which means you can do it without affecting other anglers.
This is also why it is important to get a couple of areas going. If it is busy one end of the lake you can bait the other and visa versa.