Baiting Towards Success - Dave Levy

I haven’t done a blog in quite some time, and it’s not because I’ve not been catching, it's down to share laziness! With that in mind, I thought I’d give you a quick update on what I’ve been up to. Just recently I’ve been fishing the Top Lake at Cleverley. I’ve done the last few winters on there, hoping to catch the elusive carp known as Geezer’s.
When I’m looking to fish a water during the winter, I always make sure I pre-bait from at least October. I want the carp to keep looking for food, and more to the point, my bait. I’ve not gone mad with the amounts I’ve been putting in, maybe half a kilo per week. I started baiting in the first week of October, and have kept the bait going in consistently since then. On my first session I slipped the net under a cracking 30lb fully-scaled mirror, only to catch the same friendly carp again less than a week later! I braced it with a lovely 33lb 12oz mirror, and packed up feeling not only happy with the captures, but also confident that the amount of bait I was putting in was right.

The amount of bait used is where anglers can mess up with baiting. Some of my best winter spots have been ones, which I have baited regularly with only 60 to 80 baits. The consistency with which you bait these spots with is key to keeping the fish feeding on them.

Don’t think that simply spraying bait all over the place is the answer – I’ve seen this done and it shut the lake down. Control your amounts and areas. If we come into a really cold snap like we just have, keep your spots baited but go light with the amount of bait you are putting it in – understanding how much bait carp are prepared to eat as the temperatures change is the key to keeping them looking for food, and therefore catchable.

So, after the first few sessions I was keen to get back to the lake for more. The next session was looking like a blank when, at 7am the next morning, I received a take, which resulted in a 32lb mirror on the bank. I’d just slipped that one back when the other rod rattled off, and I was soon holding a 31lb mirror up for the cameras.

By the time the end of November came, I had fished a total of seven nights and caught eight thirties, six big twenties and three low twenties. When you feed spots regularly, carp will visit them regularly and start to recognise your bait as a food source. I make sure this happens by making the effort to drive to the lake once or twice a week, just to bait up. Sometimes another angler will be in my chosen swim, so I’ll put the same amount in another area, but the food source won’t have changed and the carp in the lake will more likely recognise it in any area. The pre-baiting will just lead them where you want to condition them to feed.

Well, this blog has really turned in to a few of my views on the power of effort and prebaiting, but there’s more for you to think about here than just another blog.

Until next time…