Prebait plan snares target linear - Jimmy Hibbard

I arrived back down my Lincolnshire syndicate lake on Sunday evening, jumping straight into the swim I've been trickling bait into for the past two weeks.

This area I had been pre baiting was chosen because of depth change, where the deep water begins to shallow right up, and another reason is that at this time of year the fish are needing to warm up, seeking the warmer water to warm themselves from the cold winter months.

It is also located near the centre of the lake, so at some stage the fish would pass by, either going up towards the shallows or on their return to deeper water. The spot itself is sandy clean and surrounded by a bed weed, which also gives you natural food to keep the fish in the area.

The lake had been fishing very hard so I decided to bait this spot over the course of a few weeks. I began with chops and whole boilies covered in hemp oil - the oil plumes up into the layers, attracting fish as they pass. It’s also a good indicator of when fish are present as disturbing the bait gives off a slick. I began by putting small amounts in after fishing the swim on over nighter, starting with the boilies and then switching over to particles a week before the session.

The mix itself is a combination of seeds, tigers and boilies. When I mix it up I over fill the mix with hemp oil and warm water - this then soaks into the mix, especially the boilies, making it look washed out. I use the particle as I believe it keeps fish in the area for longer periods of time, and that's why I do it just a couple of days before; hoping maybe I'll drop on a quick bite when I begin fishing, or they will come in whilst I’m there.

I'd booked the Tuesday off so I could extend my fishing time as the weather was set to be good and I had a good feeling that it was going to begin to fish well. With the area primed, I was in with a good shout.

I marked up the rod with some marker elastic using the distances I’d written down in my book. I give it ‘till it began to get dark and Spombed In half a bucket of the particle mix. I placed two rods on the area tight together fishing on the bottom with rigs tied up with 20lb N-Trap Semi Stiff and a size 4 Krank tied with a nine turn knotless knot with an inch of the coating striped back and around 8 inches long – all very simple .The third was fished just off the spot over the lower laying weed with a chod rig.

The action began at first light the following morning, resulting in two fish; a mid-double mirror and an upper double common. After that the swim went quiet as the fish moved off into the shallows. I knew they would come back around in the evening so come mid-afternoon I Spombed another half a bucket of mix out to top up the swim, reeled in and left the rods out to rest the swim before putting them out in the evening.

The rods had only been out an hour and whilst I sat eating my tea the middle rod burst into life, striping line from the spool. Lifting into the rod I knew straight away this was a better fish. It was a long, hard battle but it finally slipping over the net cord and I could see it was a good fish. The result: a very chunky mirror. On the scales it went 31lb - a fish known as the Tall Boy Linear.

I was over the moon with this. The hard work paid off and things where starting to fall into place. The following morning the rod went again, this time one of the lake’s best looking fish was sat in the net - this one went 22lb. A great end to a good session.

Remember: pre-baiting does pay off, even early on in the year. Just don't overdo it with too much bait - use it the right way and success will follow…