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, this one tip will make all the difference to your catch rate. This is how to catch more carp when you go fishing.

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.

Here is a method of getting the most out of your fishing when you are on the bank.

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

What is Pre-Baiting?

The idea behind it is to gain the fish’s confidence by giving them a consistent supply of food in a particular area of the lake or river. They will then learn it is safe over time since there is no end tackle nearby to spook them.

Bait is put in the lake to trick them into thinking the food is rig free. When you are ready to fish, you lower a rig onto the spot where you have been introducing the bait, by using the same bait as a hook bait, the fish will confidently feed on the bait thinking it is safe, and will then suck up your rig.

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 is to improve your fishing catch rate, pre-baiting will likely not be 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.

Pre-baiting will give the fish that confidence around your bait, increasing your catch rate tenfold.

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 DVDs 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 in 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. It will bring 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. Let’s go into more detail.

How to Pre-bait a Large Lake

Pre-baiting a large lake is not as straightforward 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.

You will need to make sure you are introducing your bait to a clear spot so that your bait isn’t being wasted by throwing it 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 efforts will go to waste.

Spend time watching the lake, looking 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. Try not to pre-bait a popular swim as it may be taken when you want 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 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. Try not to give your spot away by making it obvious what you are doing. If the angler sees you are pre-baiting, he may wait until you leave and fish your spot. This will ruin your efforts, so be quiet and subtle when putting the bait into the lake.

Why Pre-Baiting Works

The odds are stacked in your favor when it comes to pre-baiting. By focusing on a certain area, you can make the fish accustomed to finding a free meal. Feed while you are not fishing aggressively, and the fish will drop their guard. Unlike a PVA bag, the fish can still graze on the surface without any disturbance.

The confidence that you have in your abilities will only grow as time goes on. This will allow you to catch more fish, and it will also help you reach your goals much faster.

It’s widely believed that the sound of other fish eating can be heard underwater, which means that if a group of around three or four fish starts feeding at the beginning of your campaign, this could result in several large fish before you even wet a line. This method is a surefire way to increase the chances of getting those elusive, special fish.

When and Where Should you Pre-Bait

Although it’s not always the best time to start a pre-baiting campaign, it’s important to start early as the weather warms up and the fish start moving around more. This is because, as the weather warms up, the fish start eating more and moving around more.

By preparing a bait in advance, you can help keep the fish away from your area and prevent them from moving in. When it comes to choosing a location for your bait, you should consider the location close to your home or work. This will allow you to make regular trips and avoid having to spend a lot of time on it.

The choice of the right spot depends on the type of fish you want to target and the weather conditions. Usually, it’s best to target multiple areas, as even though the fish will be searching for food, the weather can affect where they will spend the majority of their time. If you prefer to have all of your eggs in one basket, then target a rarely-fished area.

What Bait is Best for Pre-Baiting

Depending on your budget, what you choose to use can be very different. For instance, a combination of small particles and pellets is best, as it can help improve the presentation of your rig. Using Active Mix can also help clean and polish your spot.

Before you start casting, make sure that all of the debris and leaves are out of the way so that you can get the best presentation. After that, you can start introducing boilies and tiger nuts. Although you can still use small particles such as pellets and hemp, you should always mix in large boilies to ensure that there’s still some left for the fish.

The spring season is when Krill Active comes into its own, and it can help end your baiting campaign. Getting your fish used to finding bigger items will increase their chances of success. You can also mix in large boilies and use a liquid such as Pure Calanus to ensure that your area will work for you.

If you have a tight budget, then use small particles and pellets as they are the best way to go. However, if you have nuisance fish, then using boilies is the only option. These fish will often polish off the small lures before they can get a look in.

Contrary to popular belief, pre-baiting doesn’t need to involve a lot of bait. For instance, half a kilogram of boilies can be spread over an area to encourage a group of hungry fish to feed. This can be done twice a week to help regulate the habits of the fish.

How to Choose an Area to Pre-Bait

When I’m planning on fishing, I usually look for several places to pre-bait. Having multiple locations will allow me to choose the best strategy for each area. For instance, if an angler is in the swim and the conditions are not ideal, he might not be able to find a good pre-baited area. On the other hand, if you only pre-bait a single area, your chances of success are much lower.

One of the first places that I usually look for is a low weed area that’s ideal for pre-baiting for carp. Usually, most people will use a marker rod to find a clear spot and load up with a lot of bait, which is a good approach, but we’re going to try something different.

When using pre-baiting techniques for carp over low weed, the fish will naturally move to the ideal location to retrieve food. This strategy will allow you to attract fish that are normally spooked easily.

Many people don’t consider pre-baiting in margins as a simple technique, but it’s very effective and I’m sure that the fish will be targeting these areas. Having a natural area that’s untouched will allow you to see if the fish are feeding on your pre-baited area.

If allowed, climb trees and get a better vantage point. This will allow you to see the lake from a different perspective and find areas that are ideal for pre-baiting. One of the most effective ways to find these areas is by wearing polarized sunglasses.

How Long Should I Pre-Bait A Swim For?

For me, when it comes to pre-baiting for carp, I like to get down to my local venue at least three or four times before my session. Doing so will allow me to feel confident that the fish will feed on my spots without any caution.

This can be done in a variety of ways, but it is important to remember that it is usually easier to get down to the venue a day before your session to rest and see what results you can expect. For instance, if you are planning on doing this multiple times, try and get down to the same location a couple of times each week to see what works best.

Be As Accurate As You Can

When it comes to pre-baiting for carp, I believe that you should be as accurate as possible. This is because scattering bait over large areas is not the best way to feed the fish.

Bait a tighter area, this method will allow you to know that the area is clear and that the fish are feeding without any caution.

Should You Pre-Bait In The Winter?

I like to use prebaiting all year round, especially in winter. It is important to have a good start to the season, as it can help you fight the cold.

If you have had fish feeding before winter, then keep the bait in and they will continue to feed. This will allow you to catch them right through the cold.

When the effort stops, the fish will move to a different area where they can rest. This will allow them to use less energy and eat less.


I have made a lot of mistakes during my fishing sessions and don’t want you to make the same mistakes. I’ve learned the hard way over 20 years of fishing most weekends, testing, tweaking, and testing again and now want to help you excel with your carp fishing.

If you need any help, you can reach me at Fishing Again’s Facebook page

Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by Shane