The way you introduce bait when fishing can be absolutely key to success. Dom Garnett has 10 top tips and suggestions to boost your catches.
1. Keep it coming…
All too often, anglers dump a load of bait in, wait, and that’s it. Try feeding less but more often. The sight and smell of bait falling in regularly is attractive to fish. A steady supply gets them competing and entices new fish to come and explore.
2. Catapult happy
Catapults are very useful for pinging feed out, but do get the right one for the job. Try squeezing the pouch to concentrate your free offerings. Accuracy counts!
3. Pick a marker
Talking of accuracy, it’s no use throwing in bait everywhere. Pick a marker on the far bank, such as a tree or platform, to improve your aim.
4. Mix it right
Groundbait is a superb way to get bait in a concentrated area. Don’t do it slapdash though. Consistent feeding calls for consistent groundbait. Make it evenly and thoroughly so it can be formed into balls. Wetting your hands at the end to make a “skin” on each ball helps keep balls of bait together.
5. Feeders for accuracy
Rather than throw your bait willy nilly, a feeder offers great accuracy at distance and does the regular feeding for you. If you’re fishing a bomb or carp rig, you could always unclip the lead and attach a feeder to give them a few payloads. If the water is deep, you can also try taping up the holes of your feeders to release the bait right on the bottom (as shown below).
As a rule, fish have less trouble finding bait in clear water- and can even spook if you go OTT, so try dark groundbaits and simple offerings like bread. If it’s murky and muddy, you can try brighter groundbaits, such as red or orange.
7. Don’t scare them
Occasionally, it’s better not to feed! If you suddenly see fish in your swim, avoid smashing free offerings down on their heads. It’s often better to cast just one bait or add a small handful rather than charging in.
8. Top droppers
If you regularly fish running water, especially deep rivers, a bait dropper is excellent for getting the feed to the fish without being swept all over the shop. That said, if you fish a stillwater full of “bits”, you might use one to get small baits like hemp and maggots straight to the bottom without getting picked off!
9. Spombs away
Spods are great for launching loads of bait out quite accurately for carp, but are a bit big and unwieldy for other anglers. A spomb is the answer! These neat devices will cast on a regular barbel rod and are fantastic for fast, neat baiting. Also fun to use, they cost just a tenner from Fishtec.
Of course the ultimate way to feed accurately is to bend the rules a little. A pole cup is one excellent way to feed (even if you are not fishing the pole). PVA bags are another great shortcut to tight feeding (just see any carp magazine in the history of time). Heck, use a bait boat if you must!
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You can catch more from Dom Garnett in the Angling Times every week, or through his various books and regular blog at www.dgfishing.co.uk.