Are you the type of angler that spends weeks on end next to the lake, or are you like 99% of anglers that get a very limited amount of time on the bank?

It’s likely you are the latter, and if that’s the case, this one tip will make all the difference to your catch rate.

If you are anything like me, you have a limited amount of time when you go fishing. Some of my fishing sessions can be as short as 2 to 4 hours. This is due to having a young family and a 9 to 5 job during the week.

So here is a method of getting the most out of your fishing session when you get the chance to go fishing.

The method is pre-baiting. Pre-baiting can be even more effective if you live near to the lake as you will be able to visit the lake more often and more consistently, introducing bait each time you visit.

What is Pre-Baiting?

The idea behind it is to gain the fish’s confidence by giving them a consistent supply of food, which they learn is safe over time since there are no end tackle nearby to spook them.

Bait is put in a particular part of the lake, teaching them where the safe food is, then when you are ready to fish, you lower a rig on to the spot where you have been introducing the bait.

When the time comes to fish the area, by using the same bait as a hook bait, the fish will confidently feed on the bait thinking it is safe and will then find your hook.

Pre-baiting becomes more effective the more you do it, but if you can start introducing bait a few weeks in advance of your fishing session, the better the response will be from the fish.

Pre-Baiting is A Hugely Underused Avantage in Carp Fishing

When you ask any angler what the biggest tip they could give you to improve your fishing catch rate, pre-baiting will likely not being their first answer.

You are more likely to hear them say sharp hooks or a certain type of rig. But these tips rely on the fish taking your bait, and the thing is, if the fish aren’t confident around your rig, they won’t pick the rig up at all, whereas, pre-baiting will give the fish that confidence around your bait, increasing your catch rate ten-fold.

The beauty of pre-baiting is, not only will it give one fish confidence, it will give LOTS of fish confidence. Pre-baiting is a technique that the huge bait companies and the top anglers have used for many years, especially when filming DVD’s where they need the interest of a lot of fish, it’s not a tip many new anglers will try due to the lack of patience, or not being able to visit the lake before their session.

Pre-baiting can seem like an expensive method to try at first glance, you are putting kilos of bait into the lake over a period of time and having to visit the lake many times without actually fishing, but when you get it right, it is one of the best investments you can make.

To prove how effective this is, some of the top anglers will travel over 3 hours to pre-bait a swim a few weeks in advance of actually fishing the lake. Sometimes they will pre-bait for months before getting the rods out of the van when the stock levels are low. So it must work, else why would they bother?

Pre-baiting on Large Lakes

When you are fishing huge lakes, pre-baiting can be a blessing in disguise. Finding fish on huge waters can be very difficult at times. But if you are starting a new campaign on a big lake, pre-baiting will give you a huge advantage, almost bringing the fish to you, rather than having to go out and hunt for them.

Putting out lots of bait, over a period of time, without any end tackle in sight, will help the fish be confident when feeding.

The approach of pre-baiting a large lake is different from how you would pre-bait a smaller sized lake, so, let’s go into more detail.

How to Pre-bait a Large Lake

Pre-baiting a large lake is not as straight forward as pre-bating a smaller lake. When it comes to larger lakes, you will need to practice your watercraft skills first before you find a part of the lake to pre-bait.

Pre-baiting larger waters require prebaiting a larger area than you would on a small lake.

If you are able to find an area where the fish are confident feeding, then introduce a consistent, steady flow of bait into that area, you will be much more successful than just throwing bait into an area closest to the car park because you don’t feel like making the effort.

Further to that, you will need to make sure you are introducing your bait on to a clear spot so that your bait isn’t being wasted by throwing into thick weed, for example.

Locating An Area to Pre-bait on Larger Waters

Just like when you are fishing large waters, finding an area to pre-bait takes patience and lots of watercraft skills. If you need to learn more about watercraft, I have an article here that goes into more detail.

You need to pick your spot carefully or all of your effort will go to waste.

Spend time watching the lake, look for showing fish, bubblers, and areas where the fish are basking in the sun.

You need to pick an area where you will be able to actually fish. For example, try not to pre-bait a popular swim as it may be unlikely that you will be able to fish that swim.

Equally, if the area is so overgrown that you can’t get your fishing net into the water to get the fish out, you may want to reconsider where you introduce the bait.

You need to find a clear spot to put the bait, but failing this, you could also create a clear spot by raking the area clear of any debris. Using a weed rake such as this one will help you create a suitable area to put your bait.

Pre-Baiting on Smaller Lakes

Pre-baiting smaller lakes is a less intensive task, and also a much more intimate task.

When it comes to smaller lakes, finding hard to fish areas are where you will likely find a few fish.

In this article here, I mentioned a guy called Dave, he had done exactly what I am talking about.

Find a private area in the lake, such as an overhanging tree that is hard to get a rod on the spot, and build the confidence of the fish by offering free bait.

You will find that other anglers will be watching you when you are on smaller lakes, so try and not give your spot away by making it obvious what you are doing. If the angler see’s you are pre-baiting, he may wait until you leave and fish your spot, ruining your efforts, so be quiet and subtle when putting the bait into the lake.