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Features
14 Jul 2017
by Ben Gratwicke
How carp respond to bait
Having watched, tracked and caught the odd carp, Ben Gratwicke shares his experiences on how carp react to bait…

Lots of different parameters will affect the way a carp reacts to a given bait with some baits taking ages to get a reaction and others being readily excepted from the off. Quality bait that is applied to a lake over a period of time will get a far better reaction than 20kgs of tigers heaved in one spot. Carp will investigate areas of bait often many times if they are on guard before they decide to sample any but this caution is often lessened if they have seen the bait before.

Bait applied carefully to the same area will get a much better reaction and will condition the carp to often have them queuing up for their next feed. Different shapes and colours will get that extra bit of interest – just look at fluoros, they have made some fisheries look easy but everything has a shelf-life and times change. Big beds of bait set-up in the right conditions can be devastating with the lion’s share of fish falling to one angler at the right time. Often building fish up to accept bigger beds of bait can get a better reaction rather than shovelling in your whole quota in one hit.

Remember: on a busy lake everyone is putting something into the lake, be it a Stick mix or 5kg so always bear this in mind and try to be different, as this might get you the desired reaction. Always try to use the best bait you can afford on the busier lakes, as you are competing against not only the fish and the angler but also the bait on the lakebed from other fellow fisherman. If money is tight then use a bait they see very little or not at all such, as worms, cockles or a rarely used particle (chickpeas is a good one) and maybe fish it in a whole different area and manner where the carp will be more relaxed and accepting.

We chipped a carp!

CARPology, along with Ben Gratwicke (the author of this article) and Mr. William (Bill) Beaumont who works for Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, chipped a carp (we named him Billy) at Diggerlakes so we could study its movements and understand what affects its behaviour. Here’s the result…

1: Sluices; 2: 2nd Sluice; 3: 3; 4: Sedges; 5: Sedges; 6: Brambles; 7: Small Steps; 8: Inlet; 9: Back Bay; 10: Middle Bay; 11: Middle Bay 2; 12: Cut off; 13: Cut Through; 14: Cut Through 2; 15: Tyre Bay; 16: Big Steps; 17: Tyre Island; 18: Narrows; 19: Narrows; 20: Big Junction; 21: Behind Island; 22: Small Junction

How our chipped carp reacted to bait

Weather conditions
Pressure: 1020mb
Temperature: 13-15 degrees
Wind direction and strength: Strong, southwesterly winds which picked up late morning. Nice and warm
General: Cloudy with sunny intervals, occasional rain heavy at times

Angling pressure
Swims occupied: 20, from first thing with 20 being an overnight stay

7.30am: Billie started off the day in front of 2 and 3 (Movement 1) and just into Swim 4 (Movement 2) and after some thought and a little observation, it appeared that the spodding from the day before had left rich pickings as a number of fish were also present and where having a good feed on the free offerings. With no anglers in the area fish could be seen fizzing and occasionally rolling over the bait left from Sunday.

12 midday: Billie was left active and sat off the tree to the right of Swim 3 (MOVEMENT 3). The feeding activity had died right off and I would guess the fish present where digesting the morning’s feed.

3pm - late evening: Billie had moved down the channel and spent the afternoon from 3 onwards in front of Swims 7, 8 and 9 (Movements 4 AND 5). There were a number of fish present in the inlet bay which comprises of Swims 7, 8 and 9 and the water was chocolate in colour with probably half the lake’s population present.

Comments Half the lake’s stock ended up in front of 7, 8 and 9 after a day of the fish being fairly spread out. Billie moved down with the wind which was funnelled into this large shallow bay. With the remainder of bait in there, the fish were very active and by late evening a big show could be seen in there. I had fed the fish on the shallow plateau with 5kg of pellet in the morning too (I often feed the fish if no one is present). I know that one of the regular anglers had also put in a 12-egg mix of boilies and this was the main reason for the massive build up of fish in the bay.

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