As the English weather gets colder, most anglers hang up their fishing rods because they would rather relax inside with the heating on than freeze outside by the bank where no carp is willing to take the bait.
However, there are ways with which you can improve your catch rate even in the winters by getting the carp feeding. Do we have your attention? Yes, you can get the carp feeding by pre-baiting your swim, which is an almost fool-proof way to get some bites, even in adverse weather conditions.
So, do you want to know everything about pre-baiting — techniques, suitable baits, and locations? Let’s dive in!
Pre-Baiting — Getting Carp To Feed!
So, what exactly do you mean by pre-baiting your swim? It’s an old favourite among experienced anglers but might have escaped the notice of newer anglers. It’s essentially the practice of throwing some bait to the carp some time before you actually fish in the water. Some anglers do it many days before they fish the waters, and some people do it some hours before.
Either way, the carp near that area get used to getting free food from that specific spot and keep coming back to it. In addition, this technique allows you to get around the carp’s naturally suspicious nature.
But how will the fish know you’ve baited the area? Well, if even a single fish finds your delicious baits, others will soon follow because carp have very sharp senses that let them find food sources in nearby water.
So, suppose you’ve pre-baited the swim before your fishing trip. When you actually cast a line on the spot, you’ll be surprised by the number of bites you’ll get because the carp will be in the habit of munching on some freebies in that area and won’t look closely at the hookbait. It’s a terrific method, isn’t it?
Luckily for you, pre-baiting doesn’t require much technique, but the payoff is excellent. With this technique, you can catch more carp than ever in shorter times than before. All you need to do is select the right swim, the right bait, and find some time in your schedule to pre-bait your selected locations.
So, what’s the first stop in our mini guide to pre-baiting? Let’s see!
Choosing The Right Location
It’s crucial that you pick a location that you’ll be able to catch fish from when you actually have a fishing trip. In addition, make sure that your swim is in a place that isn’t frequently fished by other anglers. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste when someone else fishes your pre-baited swim, right?
If you find an area where you can detect a hint of warm wind blowing in, you’ve found a winner. Make sure to pre-bait that area well because that’s where the fish will be when you cast your line.
However, like all things, choosing the right swim takes some trial and error. You’ll need to pre-bait multiple spots the first few times to learn where you’ll find the most fish. If you bait only one spot and it doesn’t yield any results, all your hard work and money will be wasted!
One way to do this is to observe. If you see dirt clouds or an occasional fin or any other signs of movement in any particular spot in the swim, you’ve probably found a place where the carp usually feed. You should also turn your attention to weeds or places with natural vegetation because carp tend to seek cover there. In addition, rocky outcroppings usually have a lot of carp swimming under their cover.
Another thing that we wish someone told us when we started out: Always note down the places where you get the most bites. With apps such as Google Maps and Apple Maps,
Marking these locations is easier than ever before. Before these apps, people had to rely on vague descriptions in their fishing journals!
Using The Right Bait
When it comes to bait, there’s no right or wrong bait to use. Which bait fetches the most bites depends entirely on the weather, what kind of bait anglers usually use there, and just random preferences the carp might have.
However, there are some favourites when it comes to pre-baiting an area. Let’s see what those are!
Before pre-baiting, there are two things to consider: bait for the smaller fish and bait for the carp.
Since there’s usually a larger population of smaller fish (nusiance fish) in the water, you’ll need something to distract them and clear the area. Micro pellets, groundbait, and other such mixes work best in these kinds of situations. When the smaller fish feed on these baits, they also end up clearing the area of any debris, such as aquatic vegetation, which will give plenty of visibility to the carp when it comes looking for the bait. That being said though carp also love these baits.
On the other hand, you should use something big for the carp that the small fish can’t devour. Boilies are traditionally one of the best options for baits when it comes to pre-baiting. Carp love their different flavours, and you can spice things up by adding some fragrant liquids or hemp seed oil.
However, boilies aren’t the only thing that you can pre-bait your swim with. You can also keep the carp feeding in the area by mixing and matching your baits.
Using The Right Method
There are so many methods to pre-bait a swim. Which one will you be choosing? If you’re confused, don’t worry! We’re going to explain the best methods to deliver your bait to the water.
If you’re planning on fishing at the margin, you can easily pre-bait your swim without much effort. However, if you plan on fishing over some distance, you’ll need to have some fool-proof methods to deliver your bait.
One of these methods is the PVA bag. PVA bags are water-soluble bags that hold your bait until it goes into the water. Once there, it slowly disintegrates, leaving a small pile of tasty bait for the carp to feast on. The great thing about this method is that it’s inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and effectively delivers your bait in the exact location casted to.
Other methods you can use include spodding and spombing. Spods and spombs are plastic containers that deliver your bait to a specific location, such as groundbait or pellets. The great thing about this method is that you can use chemical attractants to make your bait mix more fragrant. You couldn’t do this addition with PVA bag mixes because they break down upon getting wet.
However, you’ll need to be precise about casting your spods and spombs, or else your bait will be scattered over a vast area, defeating the purpose of pre-baiting the swim. One way to have accurate casting is to mark the distance of your last cast.
You can also use sticks to pre-bait your swim, but it’s pretty ineffective for wet mixes. All in all, you should choose between PVA bags and spods or spombs because they’re the most reliable options for delivering bait to whatever area you want to pre-bait.
Being regular about pre-baiting the swim is critical to your success. If you’re short on funds, don’t worry! You don’t have to introduce a huge amount of bait every day. Just make sure that you deliver bait every day because you’ll need regularity to build the carp’s habit of feeding in that area.
Just take some time out of your day and bait the area with your preferred method to make sure the carp get quite comfortable with their new feeding spot.
Well, that’s the lowdown on using pre-baits to get the carp feeding. We hope it helps you out in tricky swims!
Other Ways To Get More Bites
Anglers generally consider pre-baiting to be the gold standard of methods to make carp feed. There are some other methods that, while not improving carp feeding, do improve your chances of getting a bite. These methods require you to understand what a carp’s nature is like and what you need to do to get it to pick up your baits.
So, what are some ways in which you can increase your bites? Let’s find out.
Pay Attention To The Hook Bait
What’s the first thing you need to know about carp feeding habits? They are naturally suspicious of any food they encounter, which is why sometimes you don’t get any bites at all with a particular bait.
If you’re using more than one fishing rod, use different hookbaits on each of them. After that, observe which rod gets the most bites. This one is an effective way to quickly learn what kind of bait the carp like to munch on. You can also use that bait to pre-bait the swim if you find that it’s really popular among the carp population of a particular area.
Mix Up Your Baits
If a single bait isn’t working, maybe it’s time to change your recipe. If pellets or maggots alone aren’t working, you could have more luck if you mix these two up and fish them near the margins.
At first, the carp will get attracted by the smell of the pellets, which are usually loaded with chemical attractants. Once they reach there, they’ll munch on the maggots, giving them a unique bait experience that will make them come back for more. You can also try other combos to see what works best for your swim.
Create A Cloud
There are many products on the market today that will guarantee a bait cloud if you fish them. A bait cloud aims to bring the fish to a particular area by using chemical attracts combined with some solid bait.
If you want to create your cloud bait at home, try mixing breadcrumbs with groundbait with the help of a liquid attractant. This mixture will create an attractive cloud in the water that will fetch you all the carp in the vicinity!
If you’re having some unlucky days out on the water, maybe it’s time to switch up your strategy. Pre-baiting is a low-effort method to increase your bites that is guaranteed to succeed in every swim that there is fish or passing fish. We’ve also added some additional tips to help you increase the number of bites you get.
So, are you ready to try these tricks on your next trip? Let us know!
Very good tips
Thanks Ian, appreciate the feedback.