As with most syndicate waters nowadays, everyone seems to be fighting to get in the ‘going’ swims and having a full time job I always struggle to get into these swims when I arrive at the lake on a Friday evening. This year, the spring was very slow for me because I couldn’t compete with the early birds that would take up the hot swims before I could even get to the lake. It was a very frustrating start to the season because it’s one of the best times of the year to catch carp, but I just couldn’t seem to get on the fish and get a consistent run of bites!
This was really painful for me seeing other anglers catching, knowing that I just couldn’t work an instant plan in my favour. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing other anglers catch and I’ll always do my upmost to help them, but I still like to catch myself because that’s why we all go fishing, isn’t it?

Seeing as I could never seem to get on the fish, I had to re think my approach with the aim to get the carp visiting other areas of the lake, instead of holding up in one certain area. From my past experiences, I’ve found that pre-baiting unlikely looking areas of the lake can be a massive edge to get the carp visiting spots most anglers would ignore. My plan was relatively simple, I regularly started applying a highly nutritional bait to the lake, in various different areas with the idea that the carp will eventually start eating the bait. For me, Nutrabaits has the perfect balance of attraction and high nutritional value, with perseverance the carp always seem to recognise what is good for them. This keeps them coming back for more and more – well that’s the theory anyway!
I began baiting the lake with my favourite BFM (Big Fish Mix) from Nutrabaits at the start of the summer and kept to a consistent baiting pattern, trying to bait as many different areas around the lake as possible. Yes, I know you’re assuming that I’m applying 100’s of kilo’s of bait into the lake but I simply wasn’t, a kilo or two every couple of days was plenty, and then when I actually got round to fishing I would give them a larger amount of bait. The idea wasn’t to feed them massively, it was just to get them eating the BFM and recognise it as a good food source. Then once it came round to fishing, they’d hopefully recognise the nutritional food source and have no doubts when it comes to eating it! Once again, this was all a concocted theory from looking back at past experiences.

My current water of choice is by no means easy, and it’s quite within the norm to not see a carp on the bank for a few weeks – sometimes they’re just not interested and there’s nothing you can do about it. The first month or so after initiating my baiting assault passed fairly uneventful, and the lake wasn’t fishing too great either in the high temperatures we had this summer, but I managed to bank one fish in the height of summer for all my efforts. The first one is always the hardest so it was good to get off the mark! I continued my baiting plan and within the next two weeks, I managed three carp in 4 nights – all of them weighing in at low 20’s. Finally, the plan was coming together! I wasn’t fishing one specific area of the lake, I would just arrive as normal on a Friday evening and drop in an area that gave me a fair amount of water to control and hope that a group of carp would be hunting around for a bed of bait. They clearly liked the BFM I was putting in and as the season progressed my results just got better and better!

Another insight into my angling is that I would always fish a different coloured pop-up on each rod. After several weeks of persevering with this method it became clear that the carp would prefer different colours at different times, my first bite came to a White Spice and the as the weeks went on I couldn’t get a bite for love nor money on the white and when I had that small hit of fish two weeks later they all came on yellow Pineapple & N-Butyric Pop-Ups. It’s good practise to keep ringing the changes and always look to make a small change to your angling that might make a big difference to your catch rate! By now it was obvious that the carp had a taste for the bait I was putting in and it was just a question of if I could get enough hours on the bank to make all my efforts worthwhile.

Most recently, I managed to have a large hit of carp in a very short space of time using exactly the same tactics. I fished three rods to a bar at about 50 yards range, and ended up with five carp at the end of my weekend session, with them respectively spinning the scales round to 23lb, 25lb, 32lb 4oz, 39lb 6oz and 42lb on the nose! What a weekend that was and it was well and truly worth all of the hours I spent at the lake “prebaiting” over the past couple of months. As soon as I arrived home, I was itching to get back to the lake because I knew I had something good going, it was just a question of when I could get there! Luckily, I managed to free up one night in the week which allowed me enough time for a very short 11-hour overnight session in-between work. As I was only there for an overnighter, I didn’t apply as much bait as normal, instead I just fished a couple of handfuls over each rod – simply enough to get one bite. 2am and I wake up to a belting take on my left-hand rod! After a slow and steady battle with the carp plodding from left to right, I had another one of the A-Team in my net. This time, it managed to swing the scales round to 41lb, and it wasn’t quite the biggest one I’ve had, but two UK 40’s in the space of a couple of weeks is good going and one-million percent worth the effort! It just goes to show how the power of a high nutritional bait and perseverance can improve your catch rate!