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Pre Baiting Tips: My guide to getting the best results

I’m a big believer that pre baiting gets results on the right waters. It is something I’ve been doing for years on the quiet waters that I fish and it always produces carp from the spots. Where ever I fish I will always have a number of spots on the go depending on the size of the lake. 

My tactic change from a military style operation on unfished lakes to just dropping baits on certain spots when I’m down on quiet waters. This can be done to get the fish feeding but is also a great way to keep my spots clear to target at a later date. 

Here’s what you’ll find on this guide. 

Whats on this guide?

Top 5 tips for carp pre baiting

1- Have a plan and stick to it!

I’m going to kick off with a planning tip rather than anything about baits and areas. For me, the most important thing is to have a clear plan and to keep it up. Make sure your plan is realistic and achievable. If it’s a 2 hour round trip to the lake then you planning to go every day probably isn’t realistic.

Formulating a plan at this point is the best way to start. If it’s a big job then double up with a mate or 2 and cover multiple spots on the same lake.  Once the plan is clear and in place then you can start with the baiting. 

Here are some things I consider when planning to pre-bait a lake. 

  • What time of day am I going to be fishing? If I can get the bait going in around the time I’d be arriving to fish this will help get them feeding at the right times for me.
  • How busy is the lake? Most lakes are busiest on the weekends so having a plan for weekdays is usually best.
  • How much bait can I afford to put in? Pre-baiting can get expensive, especially if you are using boilies in the warmer months as putting 5KG on a spot 3 times a week is pricey!

2 - Start with particles

In my opinion, particles are the ultimate bait for pre-baiting swims. The fact they are cheap really helps when you are pre-baiting spots regularly. They are also a great bait to get the fish feeding and grubbing around.

If you start your pre-baiting mission with something like the parti-mix from Cheshire particles (shown below) you’ll be able to get fish with their heads down grubbing around on the spot for the food. 

Parti mix - perfect to get them grubbing on the spots

If your spots are in the margins then you can see the effect of this approach. I have seen spots triple in size from feeding particles on them, this really helps to get them feeding as well as giving you a big clear spot to go at when fishing. 

If they are feeding well on the particles then you can add in boilies or pellets as well or just keep it to particles. A couple of scoops of parti mix on a clear spot with a nice yellow hook bait, like artificial corn will usually produce you a bite or two. 

3 - Target multiple spots

When pre-baiting I’m always thinking about where I can fish when the time comes. I like to make sure that if the peg I’m taking has been taken then I have other options to pick from.

I like to target the more unpopular areas with pre-baiting as it increases the chances of getting that peg when I get down to the lake. Look for the small bays that go unfished and start there. Or in a lot of cases, just target the furthest spot from the car park! 

These are usually the areas where the fish are found less often but they will visit. If you can get a nice quiet spot and get them feeding you’ll stand a much better chance of catching the, when the time comes. 

4 - Ask the owner

For this, you need to know the owner and trust them! 

If you have a good relationship with them then you may find that they’ll bait some spots for you. Afterall more feed going in will mean bigger carp in the lake. 

This does carry risks as they may tell other players but is a way to get the spots fed without having to visit the lakes as regularly. I would only suggest this where you feel it’s worth doing and you really can’t do it yourself. I usualyl find that pre baiting is a better option on syndicate lakes rather than commercials. 

5 - Mix up what you are feeding them

This again comes down to planning your approach. Here I don’t mean keep swapping the feed, although you could mix it up, I don’t.

Think about what you’re feeding them and how other people fish in the lake. If everyone fishes boilies then you’re not gaining as much as an advantage as you could. If you feed them something they only see from you then your work can help to get them feeding confidently on what you are putting in. 

Here are some ideas – 

  • Chopped boilies – Get your ridge monkey chopper out and get breaking those boilies up. This takes some work if you’re putting a lot of bait in but the benefit of them feeding safely will pay off. 
  • Washed out boilies – This is a real killer of an edge in well-fished waters and one that is underutilised. Wash your boilies out in the water for a couple of days, dry them out and then rehydrate them with liquids. They’ll have the full scent of a boilie but will look like they’ve been in the lake for days.  

Un fished lakes

For a few years, I had a private fishery that was run with just myself and a friend fishing it. We had a small stock pool that was tucked out of the way and was run on a natural spring so it had pristine water and lots of naturals and weeds. 

After adding some stock we started fishing it after a couple of years. Even though it was a small lake it is still the hardest water I have ever fished! 

I did two pre-baiting campaigns and both brought results.

Strategy 1- This was in the summer. I’d go down 3 times a week on warm days and pile in nash riser pellets on the surface. If I had the time I’d stand and watch and see if they started taking. After 12 trips I still had not seen one single pellet get eaten, but if I went after a few hours they had all gone. 

When I went down for a session the fish started taking after around 2 1/2 hours and the big one was hovering them up. I flicked a dog biscuit in it’s path and landed the first carp to be caught in the lake for years – 

Strategy 2 – This was in the autumn. It was clear there was plenty of food in the lake naturally so a pre-baiting campaign was required at this time of year. I set about adding chopped boilies and pellets on 3 spots in the lake to see if they’d start taking. After 2 months of pre-baiting twice a week I found them on it with my under water camera – 

This spot taught me a lot about carp and their movements. I filmed the same spot with the same bait the next day and no carp visited in 4 hours. Shows that some days it’s just not your fault! 

Season by season

I tweak my approach depending on the time of year – 


In the spring I judge the amount of bait going in by the weather following trends. When it warms up I start to increase the amount of bait going in, usually a day or so behind the weather. If there has been a hard frost overnight I will vastly reduce the amount going in unless I’m going latest in the day. 


In the summer I mainly use particles as I’m happy to pile the bait in and get them feeding hard on the spots.


As the weather cools down the amount of bait I use follows the trend. If you want to keep catching them when it gets colder then keeping them feeding in the autumn. The carp will stay on the feed longer if there is a regular supply going in, in my opinion. 


In the winter I’m happy to drop down to just a couple of handfuls ar a time. I move may approach to where I’ve seen the carp as they are not moving as much. Pre baiting in winter can give you a real edge over other people on the lake if you feed tight spots and keep them to yourself! 


Got a question? Drop  me a mesage on socials below and I’ll do my best to answer. 

I think that particles are the best for a pre-baiting mission. They are cheap to use and get for getting the carp to clear and widen spots for you.

Yes, from my experience pre-baiting is one of the best ways to improve your catch rates when carp fishing.

Pre-baiting is a good way to help target carp on the canals. Finding the right spot to target is key so you will need some knowledge for the stretch before you start. 

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Spring Carp Fishing Tips: Where to locate them and what baits to use

Spring carp fishing tips

Spring is one of my favourite times to fish. The weather starts to warm up and there’s always a point where the carp seem to wake up and get moving after the slowness of the winter. Finding the right spots and approach in the spring can lead to some amazing results, even in short sessions. Here I’m going to share my best spring tips with you! 

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Top 5 Spring Carp Fishing Tips

1-  Find the shallow waters

When the sun is out the difference in water temperates at this time of year can be stark. The shallower waters warm up faster, especially in clear lakes and the fish prefer to head to the warmer waters and stay there.

In April time, at the lakes I fish, you can often find a number of carp in a shallow bay that’s only a couple of feet deep. Identifying these areas when the carp move will help increase your catch rates. If you know the depths in a lake or have access to a depth chart, I’d always try and book the shallower areas all spring if possible. 

I often find targeting these areas later in the afternoon can be really productive too as that is when the water will be at it’s warmest if it is sunny all day. 

2 – Locate them every time you go! 

It is easy to think as it’s getting warmer they will be on the move as this isn’t always the case – especially in early Spring. At these times of the year, there can still be hard frosts overnight which sends the fish back down in the water and makes them more dormant. It is really important to pay attention to the overnight temperatures and try and locate the fish every time you visit the lake (although this could be a tip all year long)

3 – Move when you see them

I do think a lot of the spring tips carry on from the winter tips. If the lakes are quiet in early spring then moving to showing fish can reap dividends in sessions. If you are ready to move at all times then you’ll find getting on the carp easier than sitting in the same place all day.

Where possible, I like to trickle bait into a couple of spots on the lake and then revisit them a few hours later to see if there has been any activity. I do this in the shallower waters on the warmer days to see if the fish are moving into these areas. I like to feed the sorts with pellets of particles to get them grubbing around. This will stir up the bottom in the clear waters and show you if they have been active. If you have not got the time to fish then prebaiting spots when you get the chance can help with this approach too. 

4 – Surface on warmer days 

At the start of the year, the carp are less wary on the surface than in the middle of the summer as it is a while since they’ve been caught out on the top. On a warm day carry a bag of floating pellets, like Nash risers and put some in on the back of the warm wind. 

A lot of carpers seem to wait for the summer to start surface fishing but a late spring day can be just as good, if not better, in my opinion. 

5 – Follow warm winds & south facing banks

As you can probably tell from these tips the warmer water is the place to fish! On the bottom of warm winds is always a good place to start as this will be the warmer water plus the natural food being pushed down the lake. Bait these areas lightly and fish a bright hook bait for the best results. 

South-facing banks get the sun first in the morning and keep the majority of the sun throughout the day. These will be the warmest areas on the lake and they are good to target for this reason. 

Best Rigs For Spring

In spring, I still like to stick with small hook patterns in the early months. I will then increase the size when the feeding picks up. Here are my go-to rigs –

Slip D

I fish D-Rigs and wafters for 80% of my fishing. It’s a pattern I’m confident with and it presents the bait well. 

Small PVA bag with German rig

When the feeding is light a small bag of pellets, particles or broken boilies can be the perfect way to get a bit when it’s tough going. For me, the German rig is ideal for solid bags along with a solid bag stem. 

Spring Baiting Up Tips

Early Spring:

In early spring I like to use little and often baiting techniques. Keeping small amounts of chopped boilies and particles going into my spots. On heavily fished waters spodding lots of baits will still work but I prefer to fish in quieter waters. Little and often works best for me in order to get them feeding and coming back to the spots where I’m fishing. 

If I have 2 rods out then I’m usually feeding 4 spots and looking to move at any signs of feeding on any of them. I like to always feed one in a close margin where I can keep an eye on it for anything getting its head down for a munch. 

Late Spring:

There’s always a turning point in the spring where the fish really get on the feed. Keep an eye on local catch reports to see when this is. I personally find it after a period of between 2 and 4 days of warm weather with mild nights. At this point, I really step up the amount of bait going into the spots and try and get them heads down and steaming through the bait. 

Pre baiting? 

Pre baiting spots is something I’m doing all year round! If the lakes I’m fishing are quiet I’m always trickling bait in to clear spots that I’ve found, usually as I’m leaving the lake. On the lake I fish currently, I’ve got 5 spots on the go, meaning when It’s busier I know I’ve always got a spot to fish to with at least 1 rod where they are used to seeing bait. 


For me, the best bait to use in Spring is broken and glugged boilies along with particles. The boilies have a high level of scent to attract the fish and the particles are excellent to get them grubbing around for food. 

My rig of choice is a D-Rig with a hand-sharpened hook in the spring, usually with a size 6 or 8 hooks depending on where I am fishing. 

I usually find they switch on to feed in April in the UK when the weather has warmed up. This can happen in late march if there is a long mild period of warmer nights. 

Some other tips you may like to read
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Micro Jig/ lure Fishing Tips

Micro jig fishing

When the colder water comes I turn my attention, at times, to jig and lure fishing – mainly for pike and perch. You can fish like this all year round but it’s better for the pike to catch them in the winter. Fishing with micro jigs and lures is great fun especially if you can only get out for short sessions. Carp fishing can be tricky in the winter months if you only have limited time. If I only have a couple of hours space I’ll grab my spinning rod and head to a quiet lake or take a stroll down a stretch of canal where I have a winter ticket. Find the right spots and the fish will keep coming.

Getting started – what you’ll need

If you are new to micro jig fishing then it is relatively easy to get a setup. If you have another smaller fishing rod or reel this could be converted to jig fishing if suitable.

Here’s a list of what I personally use for jig fishing –

  • Rod: Korum 7′ 6″ spin rod (micro jog rods are available too, I just prefer a spin rod)
  • Reel: SPRO freestyle smoke screen front drag
  • Line: Berkley fireline – A mono, braid mix that is a personal choice of mine, the braid is the standard line for jig and lure fishing.
  • Jigheads: 1 gram size 6 are ideal for this size of micro lure
  • Rubber landing net – With this mobile type of fishing a folding net is a good option.
  • Lures: A 38mm lure is a good place to start (I use these ones in the sliver and green mainly) Shown below

If you are looking for an entry-level rod then Angling Direct have an Advanta 7 foot spin rood and reel combo for around £18. You’ll need to swap the mono that comes on the reel for a braid.

Other things you may need

If there is pike in the water

  • Forceps
  • Wire trace
  • Predator gloves

Micro Lure Fishing Tips

I’ve done a lot of micro jog fishing over the years and it as a tactic I go to for short sessions, mainly when the weather gets colder. If I don’t have long enough for a carp session I’ll grab my spin rod and go off for a roving session round a local still water or down a stretch of canal, I have a ticket for. This type of mobile fishing is great fun and with tiny lures, you can usually catch plenty of fish and a good range of sizes and variety, even more so on a good stretch of river.

1 – Keep mobile

Don’t weigh yourself down with gear! I have one rucksack that has a side pocket for rods and I keep my small lures and setups in it. If I want to go I can just grab it and go. Keeping moving helps you find more fish. If you’ve fished a feature or area for 10 minutes and not found anything move on to the next spots. Some times you’ll find the best looking spot hasn’t got the fish in it at that time.

On one of the still waters I fish for perch some spots work on some days and other days there’s no fish there. Keep moving until you find some spots. If a spot looks good but has no fish then either come back to it later or note it down to revisit on another day and have another try.

2 – Use decent polaroids

This should be a given for predator fishing. With a decent pair, you can often see the fish in the margins and in clear water. I’ve caught may fish that I’ve seen with my glasses but would not have seen with the naked eye. This includes standing watching perch take my bait and watching pike waiting in the margins too.

I use these (Fortis Eyeware overwraps). They are designed for glasses wearers but can be worn by anyone, the side panels really help block out the light making them more effective. The only downside is, as I’ve been told, they’re a bit, Lady Gaga, lol!

3 – Look at the local match results – canals and rivers

If you are lure fishing for predators you want to know where the fish are. Find the shoals of slivers and you’ll find the larger perch and pike. This is especially important when targeting canals and rivers in the winter. Check the local clubs and forums for the match reports and see which pegs had the biggest weights caught. These are likely to be the areas that are holding the fish. Head for these areas to start with and keep moving around them looking for signs of fish. This can make a big difference between a good session and a bad session.

4 – Ask around!

This seems to be overlooked

Best micro lures

Best Rods

On canals

Challenge ideas?


Species to target


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Winter carp fishing tips

Winter fishing tips

It’s cold, it may be snowing, but does that stop us catching carp? NO!

Here are my top winter carp tips and tactics to get more fish on the bank this year. Read on to find out how to catch carp in winter.

On this guide, you will find

  • Winter carp – Top 7 tips!

    1 – Use smaller baits

    As a general rule size down on the tackle and baits – especially the free offerings. There’s no need in winter to spod out a load of bait, try smaller baits – boilies of 10mm and 12mm work well even for the bigger carp.
    In winter I like a small strongly scented hook bait like these – Nash citrus wafters. These are an airball wafter and drop nicely through the water on the cast. The light pink colour works well for me at this time of year along with white baits.

  • These work well fished with just a couple of freebies and some crumb in a PVA bag – I’d add a glug of something stinky just to improve the attraction.

    You can read my guide to the best small boilies here.

    2 – Find the rubbing spots!

    Every lake will have spots that the carp like to rub themselves against. These can be very hard to find – have a look at my Youtube video below where I show you a spot I’ve found underwater that has all the trademarks of a rubbing spot!

    Here you can see the type of spot I’m talking about on from my YouTube channel

    3 – Glug, Glug and more Glug

    I’ve mentioned this a couple of times already but a top tip is to make sure you keep glugging your baits on every cast and mix the flavours up. In winter you can’t just nail a load of spod mix in to attract the fish so adding extra attractants like boilie glug to your baits is essential.

    This is essential to getting the maximum attraction into the water. You need to avoid oils at this time of year too as they do not absorb into the water as well. Getting more scent into the water can help produce extra fish in your sessions.

    You can read my guide on boilie glug here.

    4 – Watch the water

    It’s tempting to download the latest game of thrones and just watch that on your tablet while fishing but watching the water can have good long term results. As soon as you see any sign of a carp then get some bait over in that direction.  A tough winter session can be very quickly changed by spotting a showing fish and either casting a hook bait too it or moving to that area of the lake. From the video above they may even show you where their rubbing spot is from this.

    5 – Start late

    On the colder days, the carp are more active in the later parts of the afternoon until a couple of hours after dark. It’s best not to rush off out to catch them at 7 am as you’ll be hitting the wrong time and freezing by the peak time. Again this goes back to planning your sessions to get more carp.

    6 – Keep going

    This is one of the best winter carp tips I can give. Keep the rods going in and out of the water to try and find the fish. They don’t move as much in the winter so take a view of your swim and keep moving your hook bait around to find some fish.

    You may even find a few holed up together and after a fish, it’s worth probing the same spot again. I’d say cast in every 30-45 minutes moving slowly around the swim looking for bites. A zig rig can work well in winter too, I personally only use these as a back up on really tough days but they can entice the odd fish out.

    7 – Zig it up!

    Some people seem obsessed with the idea that in the winter carp just sit on the bottom in the same place, but I don’t find that to be the care. Ignoring the zig rig is a big mistake in winter carp fishing in my opinion. It’s not the first method I’d try on arrival at a lake but is one I’ll use throughout the day. Get a glugged popup on and try and different levels in the water and see if it gets any bits.

    8 – Be prepared

    As the boy scouts motto goes you need to get yourself prepared for winter fishing. Whether it’s nice commercial water you are going to or a lake in the middle of nowhere make sure you get ready before you go. In the summer I’m all for chucking it all in the back of the car and sorting it when I get there, but not the winter.

    Preparation is the key to success and not freezing your you know whats off!

    Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing, hot drinks and if you’re going for a winter night session a decent warm sleeping bag!

    That’s the end of my 7 best winter carp tips. Good luck if you’re our fishing and send me a tweet of what you catch to @casual_carper or find me on Instagram “@CasualCarper“.

    Winter carp bait tactics

    As well as my top 5 tips I’m sharing my favourites tactics for winter carp too. These are ways that I’ve caught in difficult sessions. I do find winter fishing tough and I’ve had a few blanks over the years but it’s best to persevere and not get downhearted by the odd blank!

    Tactic 1 – 12mm Pineapple, Butyric & Black Pepper Boilies, PVA string, matching glug

    As mentioned above this is all about keeping it small scale and these 12mm boilies on a PVA string do the trick perfectly. I’ll only string 2-3 extra boilies and then give them a good glug of flavouring. This really helps to enhance the bait and get those all-important bites.

    Here’s what you need –

    High-quality pineapple boilies

    Korda total dissolve – PVA braid here

    Matching Glug, or alternative glug

    Tactic 2 – Dead maggots

    A massively overlooked tactic in winter in my opinion. Depending on the range I’ll either fish a clump of these on a size 12 hook or use a maggot ring. Pour boiling water over the maggots or freeze them overnight to kill them. If you’ve never fished this way to get ready for a smell sensation! (not in a good way!)

    Tactic 3 – Popup over PVA bag

    I’d again go for a popup of 12mm or 10mm in this and often use a white or light pink popup which is great visual bait. These are fished with a really small PVA bag of low oil pellets along with some glug again. If the bites are quiet this is the method I’ll turn to try and get some bites. You can mix this up and use a stick mix or some crumbed matching boilies in the bag along with some glug. All I’m looking for in the winter is a mouthful of bait for the carp, just enough to tempt them to take it.

    New for this season – I’ve been enjoying using bait sprays to give my hook baits an extra edge. It’s one that helps make the hook bait stand out more and can get you quicker bites in the summer. I’ll be testing it our more over the winter and will update you on how it goes. It is PVA friendly so you can spray your free offerings and bags in it.

    Tactic 4 – Small boilies, spod mix and maggots

    This is one that I’ve seen some good catches on Instagram (like my page – @CasualCarper) and is a good one for the winter – obviously, your bait could get obliterated in the summer on these tactics.  You scale down the bait to a 12mm boilie fished over a very small amount of bait including (or a mix of) spod mix, corn, pellets and maggots. You can then fish the small boilie on the hook with a corn stopper – or with a fake corn popup for a critical balance.

    Tips – A good tip for catching carp on this method I’d to use a popup over the bed of bait. Then add a small amount of tungsten putty and just let it popup about 1-2 inches rather than a full hook length worth.

    Tactic 5 – Ground bait

    In winter getting the smell of attractants into the water can be tricky, as you don’t want to pile in masses of bait. A good trick is to use a bread crumb ground bait mixed purely with liquid additives and not many if any, free offerings. The smell will do the job of attracting the carp to and an area where they find your hook bait. As its winter the smaller fish won’t pick off the ground bait like they would in the summer.

    Best winter rigs

    In winter everyone knows to scale down as mentioned above, smaller baits and smaller hooks work but being flexible with your rigs will really help you catch more carp too.

    Rig 1  – Micro chod mk2

    This one comes from renowned angler Adam Penning and was featured in Carpology recently. This is a rig I’m a big fan of in winter. The hinging of the hair keeps the bait presented nicely away from the lead core and works well with small popups and wafters. Here’s how the rig looks –

    Winter chod rig

    You can read how to tie this rig here. This is one well worth checking out and playing around with to see how to get it set up to suit your fishing. I like to mix it up with a slightly longer hook link to sit it more prominently in the water depending on where I’m fishing and what the bottom is like.

    Rig 2 – Single maggot on the hook

    Whilst this isn’t specifically a different rig it just gives you another option. Take a hook link without a hair and a hook size or 10 or 12 and feed the maggot into the straight of the hook. Fish with a PVA bag of dead maggots on a standard ledger rig for great effect.

    In winter you won’t have the problem of smaller silverfish and perch taking the maggot-like you would in spring/ summer if you do try a maggot clip to use a bunch of maggots on a hair rig instead.

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Glamping Pods and Lodges with private fishing pegs

I’m a big fan of Glamping and lodges for a short break with my family so I’ve compiled a list of all the places across the UK where you can stay right on the bank!

These are not the places where there’s a fishing lake on-site or nearby, these are the places with private pegs where you can fish straight from your lodge!

Please be aware – I have not visited all these places, the information comes from their own websites. Stock is what they report and not confirmed by me!

Areas covered

North West

North East


South East

South West

East of England

North Wales

South Wales


I’ll start with a couple of recommended places!

Name: Tattershall Lakes, Lincoln – Family Friendly + Hot Tubs!!

Pod/ Lodge: More a log cabin with all mod cons than true glamping.

Number: Lots

Lake size: There are a few lakes on-site with the largest being 15 acres.

Reported stock: Carp to 28lb and mixed carp and coarse fishing all round at the lakes


Info: This looks a great place for staying while fishing. You’ll need to check out the lakes and properties with private pegs to find the better spots! This is a spot that has everything for family entertainment as well as fishing and a hot tub – what more could you ask for?

Photos –

Tatershall Lakes fishing with a hot tub

Name: Blackthorn Fisheries, Oswestry – Best for serious carpers & luxury accommodation

Note: This place is very popular if you are looking to go you need to book well in advance. Their website will show you the latest availability.

Pod/ Lodge: Lodges

Number: 4 lodges

Lake size: 3.5 acres

Reported stock: Lake record of 44lb – one of two 40s, 16 x 30, most over 25lb – Not a runs water! Stock from VS Fisheries. You can see some of the stock here.


Info: A serious carp lake! No under 12s on site. Slings, cradles and net all supplied by the fisheries. One of the best lodges with big carp that you will find! The fish were all stocked by VS fisheries and hand-picked for the lake.

Photos –

Specialist carp fishing - private lodge -Shropshire

North West

Name: Chester Lakes – Great for social trips

Pod/ Lodge: BBQ pods alongside match waters only (not carp waters)

Number: 3

Lake size: Various

Reported Stock: Mixed coarse and carp, nothing big in these specific lakes, specimen carp fishing lakes are also on site.


Info: The BBQ pods are located around the pleasure lakes rather than the carp lakes. They sleep 4 on the wooden sides around the outside, camping mat required.

Photos –

Chester lakes - BBQ pods and pleasure fishing

North East

Name: Westfield Country Park, Hull

Pod/ Lodge: Scandinavian style log cabins around lake 1

Number: 4

Lake size: 1 acre

Reported stock: Carp to 27lb in lake 1 (unconfirmed)


Info: The site has 3 lakes in total with Scandi style cabins around the main lake.

Photos –

Westfield Country Park log cabins and carp fishing

Name: Stonebridge Fishing Lakes, Northallerton (Trout fishing)

Pod/ Lodge: Lakeside bell tents with glamping pods coming soon

Number: Unknown

Lake size: Unkown

Reported stock: Trout fishery


Info: Trout fishery with bell tents around the lakes

Photo –

East Midlands

Name: Bainside Coarse Fishery, Kirby on Bain

Pod/ Lodge: Basic glamping pods, sleeps 2.

Number: Unsure

Lake size: 1.75 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 20s, bream to 12s,  Grass carp to 20s (unverified).


Info: Glamping pods for 2 with direct lake fishing. Looks a good place fo bagging up on fish rather than specimen carp fishing. Nice for getting back to nature in pleasant surroundings.

Photos –

Glamping pod at Bainside

Name: Brookmeadow, Market Harborough

Pod/ Lodge: Log cabins, set back from the lakes

Number: 3

Lake size: 5 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 23lb, tench to 7lb, mixed coarse. On the site, there are some nice looking carp.


Info: This looks to me to be more of a family place with the cabins well set back from the lake. You cannot fish directly from them but it’s not far a all to get the rods in. The stock looks decent and there is also a syndicate on the water which is £195 per year so shows a good level of fish.


Name: Mill Farm Leisure, Boston – For couples and not families

Pod/ Lodge: Lakeside lodges, with hot tubs!

Number: 5

Lake size: 0.6 Acres

Reported stock: Looks to be mainly coarse and small carp


Info: 5 Lakeside lodges all with a private terrace, with hot tub, directly on the lake. Fishing is from a private platform in front of the lodge. They all sleep 2 with a double bed only.


West Midlands

Name: Stretton Lakes, Oakham

Pod/ Lodge: Lodges/ Log cabins -with hot tubs!

Number: 7 cabins, 4 x 5* & 3 x 4*, some with direct lake access

Lake size: 6 match lakes on a  day ticket, lodge guests can book for free (rod license required)

Reported stock: Carp (mainly pasties) plus a range of match fish – looks a good spot for some family fishing rather than serious carping.


Info: Some nice looking lodges with fishing off the decking in front.

Photos –

Name: Eye Kettlby Lakes

Pod/ Lodge: Various lodges, sleeps 2-4

Number: 5+

Lake size: 1 acre – Kingfisher lakes for lodges.

Reported stock: Mixed coarse in the lodge lake. 11 other lakes on-site including a specimen carp lake.


Info: Larger fisheries with one coarse lake dedicated to lodging guests

Photos –

Name: Springwood Fisheries, Derby

Pod/ Lodge: Pods

Number: Approximately 6 by the lake

Lake size:

Reported stock: Commins, Mirrors, Ghosties and slivers in the top lake.


Info: Lodges are on the top lake that provides mixed coarse and match size carp fishing. The pods sleep 2 adults with 2 children on camp beds. They have a shower room & kitchenlle, campers seem to be on the opposite bank so not one if you are looking for privacy.

Photos –

Name: Henlow Bridge Lakes, Henlow

Pod/ Lodge: They have both glamping pods and lodges on site. None are directly on the main fishing lakes.

Number: Numerous

Lake size: 2 lakes, the largest (Jordan’s) is 4.5 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 25lb to 30lb (not verified with photos)


Info: A camping and glamping site with 2 day ticket fishing lakes and a small stretch of the River Hiz.

Photos –

Glamping pod with fishing nearby

South East

Name: Wildmoor Waters/ Cherry Lakes

Pod/ Lodge: Luxury lodges on excellent carp fishing lakes (see details for which lakes to book for carp fishing)

Number: 6

Lake size: 5 different lakes to go at

Reported stock: Carp to 44lb in Cherry lake, carp to 32lb and heavier stocking in Cherry Spring and Cherry Mere.


Info: Only a handful of lodges but one of few places where you can stay and still have a chance of catching 30s and 40s.

Photos –

Lake side lodge at cherry lakes

Name: Chigborough Farm

Pod/ Lodge: Various lodges and glamping, including some awesome floating lodges and pods!

Number: Lots

Lake size: 4 different lakes

Reported stock: Unknown, although the site does have a picture of a large catfish


Info: See the website for more details, for a specific lodge or lake request it looks like it would be easier to ring them.

Photo – The raft lodge

Name: Lakeland Fisheries, Chelmsford

Pod/ Lodge: Luxury Yurts, some with hot tubs

Number: 3

Lake size: Three lakes, two pleasure lakes and one carp lake.

Reported stock: Looks a good mix of pleasure fishing from all lakes with the 5 acre Swan lake holding the larger carp, to 34lb. (No pictures seen to confirm)


Info: Looks an idilic setting with 36 acres of country side and three lakes nestled in. The Yurts scream luxury and look a step up from the standard yurt glamping experience.

Photos –

Yurt tents on the lakes

Name: Olivemead Lakes, Chippenham

Pod/ Lodge: Lodges

Number: 3 with one more opening in 2021

Lake size: 3 arces

Reported stock: Taken from their website – 100 x 20+, 37 30s and 4 know 40s. Described as


Info: If you are looking for a specimen carp holiday/ glamping then the main lodge is the one to book. It has a swim directly on the lake, which looks an excellent spot

Photos –

The bungalow cabin at Olivemead lake

Name: Swanborough Lakes

Pod/ Lodge:


Lake size:

Reported stock:



Photos –

Name: Sumners Pond, Horsham

Pod/ Lodge:


Lake size:

Reported stock:



Photos –

South West

Name: Folly Foot fisheries, Sommerset

Pod/ Lodge: More a carp hut for 2 than actual glamping here.

Number: 6

Lake size: Aprrox 2.2 acres

Reported stock: Carp fishing only, sizes unknown


Info: The website is rather basic and the fishing photos section does not work. This is just a basic empty hut to replace a bivvy, with a wooden jetty in front to fish from.

Photos –

Lodge on the lake at folly foot fishery

Name: Milemead Fisheries, Tavistock, Devon

Pod/ Lodge: Info coming soon.


Lake size:

Reported stock:



Photos –

East of England

Name: WoodLakes Park, Norfolk

Pod/ Lodge: Hand crafted wooden lodges by the lake, 2 to 8 people

Number: Various, some with lake side views & fishing, some with woodland views.

Lake size: 5 lakes, various sizes up to 10 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 40 in cabin lake, pike to 26lb, good sizes of carp in some of the other lakes. Cabin lake would be the one to book for more serious carpers.


Info: They describe themselves as “laid back lakes and lodges” which sounds perfect to me! This place looks absolutely perfect for a trip for couples or families. The lodges look excellent and there’s an on site restaurant you can go to, or get a take away from. They server everything from breakfast to pizzas, this is the perfect spot for a relaxing fishing holiday.

Photos –

Woodlakes Park Norfolk - great familiy fishing holidays in log cabins

Name: Rum Bridge, Sudbury

Pod/ Lodge: Pods & bell tents

Number: Various

Lake size: 3 lakes on-site, back lake looking the best for an experienced carper

Reported Stock: Back lake record is a 42lb carp, the road lake is 32lb & the moat lake has tench to 8lb and crucians to 3lb.


Info: This looks to be one of the best places on the list! Although the back lake looks a real challenge, I’d describe it as a serious carpers lake. Its base stock starts at 22lb so if you do hit one you can be sure it is a decent fish. The glamping pods are mixed from basic pods with just 2 beds and bell tents.

Photos – the current lake record

The pods

North Wales

Name: Lake of tranquillity, Mold

Pod/ Lodge: BBQ pods with sleeping area – very cool!

Number: Unsure, call to book

Lake size: 3 acre

Reported stock: Mixed carp and coarse fishing


Info: A BBQ pod, a little basic/ rustic.

Photos – None available.

South Wales

Name: Cefn Mably lakes, Cardiff

Pod/ Lodge: They have fishing pods on the lakes and log cabins, all cabins are for couples excluding the Pochard which sleeps 4. All log cabins have hot tubs!

Number: 9 pods around the lakes and 9 cabins.

Lake size: 7 lakes in total, lodge lake is the one to book for carp anglers!

Reported stock: Lodge lake has 7 known 30s with a lake record of 37lb, also 60 know 20s



Photos –

One of the lodges

Fishing lodge on the lake with hot tub and specimen carp fishing

One of the pods

Pod on the lake



Pod/ Lodge:


Lake size:

Reported stock:



Photos –

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Supermarket Pike Baits

The supermarket fish counter has a range of fish that can be used for dead baiting for pike. Fortunately, pike will eat almost anything fishy so there is a good choice of dead baits available regardless of what’s on offer. Here I’ll cover my top 3 dead baits for pike from the supermarket!

*Even though I’m the casual carper I do fish for pike & perch as well as carp. There are some underwater pike videos and tips that you’ll find on my YouTube channel here.

Top 3 pike dead baits from supermarkets

1 – Sprats! Best for short-range

Sprats are a small oily silverfish that make an awesome pike dead bait – Mainly because they look like a small roach. These are really cheap to buy from any supermarket fish counter and they usually come pre-packed for around £2 which will get you 15+ sprats. You can freeze them and then get them out when needed so you do not always have to have fresh fish out. I usually have a couple of packs in the freezer for whenever I am going.

Super Market Sprats

They can be fish as bait on a standard running rig and they are also suitable for wobbling tactics.

I have rated them as the best for short-range fishing as they are a bit of a pain to hook and cast. Their skin is not as tough as, for example, mackerel and they can fly off if you give them a real launch. I find it best to hook them through the lip and then the by the tail and try and cast lightly if possible rather than flying them over a long distance.

Here is how they look underwater – These are some free offerings on a clear spot that I took while filming some pike – video on YouTube here)

If you are looking to add some attraction to the water sprats can be sliced open to let more oils out or chopped and mushed to really let a strong scent out in the water. Chop them up widthways and then mash them up. You only need to do this with  2 or 3 to get a great aroma around your spot.

2 – Mackerel fillet – Best for long-range

Mackerel in the supermarket comes in a variety of formats from the whole fish, to the whole body to the fillets. My choice from these is the fillets, they are really easy to use and I have no problems with casting them a decent distance. They have produced numbers of pike for me and are my go-to bait for casting. Again, I usually have a couple of packs of these in the freezer.

You can fish with them from frozen as they will defrost in the water but I prefer to defrost them in the fridge overnight before a session. When on the bank I trim them down to a triangle shape that is roughly 5cm bigger than my treble and cast that out. I find the triangle shape gets me more bites than others, I guess as it more represents a fish shape. If you are going for bigger pike then you can use bigger treble and match that size where needed.

You can buy them fresh from the fish counter or frozen in the freezer isle –

This means you can just grab how many you need before a session.

Here’s a recent catch on the mackerel fillets, not a big one but this day brought me 9 runs in 4 hours on the legered dead bait. I picked up the mackerel from Tesco on the way for this session. I have seen some pike forums a question mark over the quality of supermarket fish v that from the tackle shop. From my experience, there isn’t any different and I have no issues using supermarket baits.

Pike on a sunny autumn day caught on mackerel from the local supermarket

3 – Sardines

Sardines are more of a backup bait for me. Again, like sprats theses are a softer bait and not suitable for constant casting and retrieving. They are also not the best for wobbling dead baits but do have some days when they will get me bites and nothing else will. Here we are looking to buy fresh fish from the fish counter and not the tinned versions!

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Bait Sprays : How to maximise your catch rates

Bait sprays are a great way to boost your hook baits. My spray is made to be an intense flavour to match the hook bait range and make the all-important hook bait stand out. They can also be used to boost any of your baits, from surface baits to spraying your PVA bags before casting.

Lighter in density than a glug, bait sprays won’t add too much weight to your popups or overbalance your wafters. They are a quality tool to have in your tackle box to help get more bites, especially on tricky waters. The spray helps to give an extra zing to your hook bait without effecting the rig.

How to use Bait Sprays

There are a few uses for bait sprays aside from the simple – spray before you cast. This is the most common usage for them and how I personally use them before every cast. This is especially important in winter fishing where you may be fishing singles – the more potent the hook bait the better.

Solid bags

I’m a fan of fishing solid bags and use the spray in the top of the bag once it’s filled. This gives another level of flavour to hit out as soon as the bag melts and can be used in conjunction with other liquids, such as glugs.

Zig Fishing

Bait sprays can be used to boost up hook baits or foam on a zig rig. They are an excellent way to add an extra zing if you are fishing foam on a zig rig.

Spraying hook baits

If you have the time to prepare then you can use my sprays as a soak for your hook baits if you need to keep the lightness of the popup. This is a different method to glugging them and increases the flavour without adding the weight that glug does.

In my experience, the best way to do this is to have a few in a pot, 1 layer of baits so you can spry them all. Give them a couple of sprays, then a shake and then a couple more sprays. Repeat this every couple of days for a week and you’ll have a really potent hook bait that has an extra level of scent. You can also mix up the scents by using a none matching spray – I often use my garlic, tiger nut and peanut spray on my pineapple wafters to give my hook bait a twist and make it stand out more.

Artificial Baits

My bait sprays can also be used on artificial baits such as fake corn or fake tiger nuts. These are usually unflavoured so using a bait spray can give you a real edge underwater.

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Best carp fishing boilies, wafters & popups

Best boilies header

Let’s all agree from the start, boilies are the ultimate carp bait. Fished correctly nothing catches more carp around the UK and Europe than boilies and hook baits.

But with so many available how can you know which are the best boilies on the market?

Here’s my guide to my bait and how to best fish it, it’s broken down as follows (Scroll through to what you are looking for)


  • Best small boilies (12mm and under)
  • Mid to large size (14mm+)
  • Best freezer boilies
  • Best popups
  • Best wafters
  • FAQs

Best boilie guide

Small boilies

As a day session angler, I’m really keen on smaller boilies and have used loads of different ones. Smaller boilies are a killer bait for winter carping. I always carry some 12mm boilies and hook baits on day sessions – they can be good for getting a bite if it’s a quiet day. My choice for the best small boilies is – Nash – Scopex Squid. These are an awesome smelling bait that and the 12mms are nice and soft. They come with a full range of matching liquids and hook baits too.

Small boilies - Nash scopex squid 12mm

A bag will last me a few sessions in winter and I generally fish them in a stiff bag or small bed of broken boilies. When fishing the bottom baits I’ll occasionally use them in a method or pellet feeder as a hook bait (See my guide to the best feeder pellets here). I always get great results at the lakes I fish with these boilies and they are my go-to bait.

Best full-size boilies

I’m saying full size for anything 14mm+ as I class anything under that as a small boilie. This section is basically what I think is the absolute ultimate must buy boilie.

And the winner is…

CC Moore Live system

It’s fair to say CC Moores Live System boilies are my favourite boilie and these have accounted for some big carp around the world. They are a unique bait with an incredible smell and excellent consistency.

These are part of an incredible range of baits from CC Moore in this flavour with the stick mix being one of my favourite products to use. Here’s the full range –

  1. Shelf life boilies in various sizes (15mm – 18mm – 24mm)
  2. Matching Popups
  3. Balanced wafters
  4. Bag mix
  5. Base mix for rolling your own
  6. Freezer bait paste
  7. Hardened hook baits
  8. Pellets
  9. Pre glugged hookbaits
  10. Dumbell boilies

CC moore live system - the ultimate boilie range

The bag mix is fantastic for your PVA bags and it creates a good area of attraction around your bait to create a cloud or attraction.  There are not many others on the market that combine these flavours and the difference gives you a good edge on harder waters rather than fishing the same baits everyone else is using.

If you want the best bait to catch more carp then I’d say you cannot go wrong with these – in summer, winter, autumn or spring!

Best popups

I could have done a whole separate page on pop-ups with the amount of weird and wonderful baits there is no the market. I’ve tried fishing with the odd fluro mixed colour ones but just find they don’t work, well they didn’t for me anyway. Ones like this are not making the list!

What are the best popup boilies?

I’m sure someone out their loves these baits but it’s not me.

My favourite pop-ups are – CC Moore diary supreme pop-ups, washed-out pink colour. What I love about these are the colour and strength. The elite range can stay in the water for up to 24 hours and work really well with the matching glug. The 12mm is a great bait for the cooler months and is my preferredhook bait bait all winter. I’ll then switch to the larger sizes in the summer months.

The best popups in the UK

These can be fished effectively on their own or over a bed of bait and work best with an added glug or bait spray booster. The 12mm version make great baits for a snowman rigs over a size 18mm/ 20mm boilie. These are excellent as a hook bait on a solid bag.

Best Cheap boilies

Important – when I say cheap I mean ways to find good value quality boilies, I do not mean the £3 a kilo crap off eBay.

1 – Starmer baits – Starmer baits have a good range of quality boilies but with a bit of searching you can find 5KG bags of their offcuts and overruns at a great price – Check for stock here.    With offcuts, you’ll never really know what you’re getting until they arrive and from experience, you’ll get some odd shapes and the occasional sausage in there. These are great boilies for feeding and mixing up how you fish. I’ve had some decent sessions on these.

2 – Premier baits – Randoms – Premier baits are one of my favourite frozen boilies manufactures and for the best value freezer boilies you will not beat these at £17.50 per 5KG* (*Price correct at time of writing this blog, shipping is extra). These are again overruns from their mainline and are excellent boilies. Find them here.

Again you don’t know what you’re fishing with and will have a mix of boilies on the lake bed but at this price for the quality, you cannot go wrong. If available you’ll find them in the left-hand menu of the premier baits website.

Best freezer boilies

For big carp fishing and long sessions you simply cannot beat freezer baits. The quality of the baits are instantly noticeable and with a little prep and an air-dry bag (I use this one) then you’ll soon see the benefit of these baits.

1 – Premier Baits – Matrix Plus

What a bait the matrix is, I’ve caught loads of fish using these baits and were allowed I’ve some mates who take them to France every time they go. The Matrix plus is an advanced version of the original Matrix which is even more potent and too 2 years of testing before launch to make sure it was perfect.

The smallest amount you can buy is 5kg which comes in at a very reasonable £40 (Correct at time of writing and subject to change). Sizes go from 14mm up to 24mm and if you order 20kg or more then you’ll be able to split sizes. At a maximum, you can order 50KG for £290 which works out at just £5.80  a kilo – which is a great value.


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Boilie Glug: The ultimate guide!

Boilie glug guide

For me, boilie glugs are an essential part of my carp fishing. I use them to boost spod mixes, particles and to glug hook baits. They’re an essential part of my awesome winter mix (crushed and crumbed boilies that are heavily glugged) and I hone the mix in the summer to keep the effectiveness but add more food sources and visual stimulants to it.

How to Glug boilies

Here’s how I glug my shelf life boilies for added attraction. This is something I do all year round to give them an added attraction. In the summer months, they will all get a light coat of glug and in the winter I’ll use a heavier coat or dip to boost boilies and hook baits. (scroll down for my dip tips).

This mix should be prepared roughly 24 to 48 hours before your trip. In the winter I have a bucket of crumbed boilies on the go for months and just keep topping it up when needed.

Step 1 – What you’ll need

Grab your boilies! The example below shows Pineapple boilies with a matching glug. This is a potent combination when mixed together and has bagged me loads of carp using this exact mix.

  • Shelf Life boilies
  • Matching boilie glug
  • A large mixing bowl and spatula

I’d recommend starting with 1kg of bait and seeing how you get on with the mix, you’ll want the bait to roughly half fill the bowl. You don’t need to use a matching glug if you’d prefer to mix it up you can vary it, or use 2 different flavours.

To give an extra edge in summer I often add around 10% of the boilies which have a different colour to make it more visual. For the mix the better quality the boilies the better. This is all about maximising the flavour from both the bait and the glug.

Step 2 – The base mix

To start with we’re looking to just get a nice coating on all the bait so start with a small amount of glug, around 50ml – roughly 10% of the bottle. Then mix them around the bowl using the spatula to make sure the liquid doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl too much. Lightly mix them around until you can see they all have the liquid coating the baits.

If you just want an extra boost to your boilies then you are done now. Put them in a tub or bag and leave them until you are ready to go to the bank, or read on for extra additives. If you are leaving them for a while give them a regular shake to keep the distribution of the glug around the baits.

Step 3 – Additives

If you want an extra boost there are a few other options available to you, that I like to use to mix it up at times.

  • Use boilie crumb in the mix – This is one of my favourite mixes. You need to use a smaller amount of boilies and a higher concentration of glug. For this, you need to get the boilies really well coated in the liquid and then leave them for around 24 hours. Then get some boilies in the grinder (I use this one from NGT – here)and grind them down to a fine crumb. Add this to your glugged boilies and the crumb will stick to the outside giving you a coated boilie that’s packed with attraction and will stand out against other people fishing with standard baits.

For the above mix a 1KG bag of boilies and split them roughly in 3. Break on third of the boilies in half, roughly break up another third of the boilies and then fine crumb the other third.

Take all the halved and roughly broken boilies and half of the crumb and heavily glug it so it’s sticky. Then leave it overnight.

The next day when you head to the bank add the rest of the crumb to absorb any of the extra liquid. This is a great mix for the winter months. For the warmer months reduce the amount of crumb if there are coarse fish in the lake.

  • Use additional liquids – You can easily add other liquids to the mix for variety and oils work very well in the summer months. I also do similar mixes and dips using the awesome Beta Stim Liquid which is a really good additive to get the carp feeding.
  • Add other feeding stimulates – Mix in a few other boilies from a different flavour and colour to visually stimulate the carp. As the weather gets towards spring start adding more boilies and possibly some sweet corn to the mix.
  • Mix with particles – If you are using a crumb and broken boilie mix then add in some particles for a feast of colours, flavours and attractants.

Glugged boilie crumb also makes an excellent addition to solid bags. Rather than filling them with pellet, you can crump your boilies down to almost powder and then fill your bags with them. Make sure you make around what you need is it does take a considerable amount of glug to soak into the crumb. This then creates a cloud of attraction around your hook bait to attract the fish in with.

How to make coated boilies

This is a way to use glug for a real edge to your fishing and it’s not a tactic that is used by many. To start with glug your boilies or hook baits for a couple of days and make sure to keep shaking them to get them fully covered in glug. Then drain the liquid off them and leave them for a couple of days in an airtight container.

When they have a sticky outer coat add some finely crumbed boilies to the mix and give them a good shake to get the boilies coated. Then leave them for a further couple of days for the crumb to stick up to the outside. This gives a very quick attraction to your baits as soon as they go in the water.

How to glug hook baits

I’m also a fan of adding glug too my hook baits such as popups and balanced wafters. You’ll need to take into account any liquids they take on will reduce their buoyancy.

To start with, take a pot of your hook baits and cover them in the glug.

I’d generally leave them like this for a few days and then drain the liquid off which overtime will leave them sticky with an added attraction. Again you can add a crumb coating at this point. If you are not fishing with them for long periods of time and don’t mind a loss of buoyancy then you can leave them in the liquid indefinitely. If you are doing this then it is advisable to give them a shake every now and again to keep re-coating them to avoid them drying out on top if they are out of the liquid.

This is what I do with my wafters to give them a real kick but allow them to stay light enough to fly up into the carps mouth when eaten.

How to use a boilie dip

Boilie dips are a great way to boost your baits just before the cast and my range of glugs can be used for just this. Take a smaller container, I usually use an old lid for single hook baits, and fill it with glug. the just drop your hook bait in before you cast for a quickly added boost to your hook bait. I usually have my next rig tied up and ready to go on the bank so just leave the bait in the dip until I’m ready to use it.

I really like this sweetcorn one from Ourons – See it here. In the summer it can work well fishing a trimmed yellow wafter alongside sweetcorn with the hook baits dipped like this.

Again you can do this with oils in the summer months or the beta stim liquid. These can also be used to add potent flavour to bread when you are surface fishing too.


How long do glugged boilies last?

If they are shelf-life boilies in a sealed container they should easily last a month or more, it’s best to just keep an eye on them. Store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. Give them a shake regularly to keep them covered in glug.

If they are hook baits in a sealed pot then they will last for months without a problem as long as you store them in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight (as you should even if they’re not glugged).

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Margin Fishing Tips

Margin fishing is an excellent way to catch carp and you can improve your chances greatly by learning to understand the margins better and the areas to target. Margin fishing is something I’ve been focusing on for years and I have been prolific in these areas. The important thing to remember is that not all margins are created equal, learning to understand them and find the betters spots will help you land more fish long term.

My top 5 margin tips

Here are my top 5 tips

1 – Find the clear hard spots

This is exactly the same as if you have a marker rod out in the middle. The margins are made up of a very similar consistency and depending on the lake you may find a lot more debris, twigs & breaking down leaves, in the margins. There will, however, be some very hard clear spots where the fish will have been feeding and keeping clear.

To find these spots I get a braded marker rod and add a 2.5oz lead and just bounce it around on the bottom going up and down the margin. I’m feeling for clear areas where the lead almost bounces on the bottom – these are the spots I want to find. Once I have found an area I’ll move the lead around and judge the size of the spot. If I think its a good spot I’ll get some bait on it at this point and carry on. Over time I’ll make up a picture of the margin on either side of me and where to target.

Once a spot has been identified I’ll try and drop my rod straight on it and walk my rod back to ensure I’m on the exact spot I’ve found. Once I have a rig on I like to drag it across the spot just to check for any debris and make sure the bait will present perfectly on it. If the spot is not that clear I sometimes use a boilie crumb mix on the spot a couple of times to see if the carp will feed and clear it.

Depending on where I’m fishing I like to have two or three margin spots that every time I’m at the lake I can drop some bait on and keep them feeding on the spots – as long as I’m not impacting anyone else who is fishing there. On a syndicate water, I’ll sometimes do this even when I don’t have time to fish if its a quiet lake. I continue this throughout the winter and have found winter spots that work really well even though they are shallow and close to the bank (You can see all my winter fishing tips here)

2 – Washed out baits & small amounts

Most places you fish have bait being knocked in and dropped in the margins, but not in large amounts. Most places say to take unused home with you but a lot of it ends up in the water. To stop the carp bing wary fish small amounts of bait – a small handful of boilies will do (8-12 boilies).

To wash them out place them in some water mixed with a matching glug for a couple of days fist. This will take the colour out of them but leave the attraction in. This will make the bait look like it has been in the water for a long time and make the carp less wary. Fish a washed out hook bait in with it for an amazing presentation.

3 – Get in the lake (If allowed)

If you are allowed in the lake in waders, get in and have a feel around with your feet. I’ve learnt a vast amount about margins and features from walking around in waders. If you are not allowed in, in general, then make sure you are there for any work parties. Alternatively, especially on club waters, offer to tidy up the margins and remove the debris, this will give you a chance to clear the area you fish and find some spots at the same time – win win!

Again, make sure you consider your own safety before getting in the lake. Check the depth with a landing net pole to make sure it is safe. It is always a good idea to have a mate on the bank incase you start sinking, get snagged or drop into a deeper spot!

4 – Lay a trail

When you’ve found your spot then start thinking about where the carp will be coming in from. The basic idea is that its preferable having them coming from the other direction to your line. This does depend on a lot of factors and knowing how the fish move around the lake.

With margin fishing I always think that the carp are more patrolling looking for food than going for big beds of bait. I like to lay a small trail of bait coming to my hook bait. I’ll go an extra 5 to 10 meters down the bank and drop the odd boilie in and build them up to the spot. This gets them taking bait without being spooked as they work their way around to your bait. It also increase the trail of scent for them to follow.

5 – Hand place your rigs

This is one of my ultimate fishing tips – as long as it is SAFE to do so – don’t go falling in a deep margin trying to be clever!

If you are really tight in the shallow then leaning over and placing your rig means you know it is presented absolutely perfectly. You can even hand place your free offering around it if its a really tight spot. If it is safe to do so have a feel around of the spot for any debit or hook snags and clear them out first. Then place your rig exactly where you want it to be, you can try and find a lump or bump to hide your lead behind.

I hope my tips were helpful. If you have any questions about this or carp fishing in general please get in touch on social media –

Insta: @casualcarper

Facebook: /casualcarper

Twitter: @Casual_Carper