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.
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.