Bait Application – Big Public Waters

Bait application on a 'big' lake can be a very different process to bait application on small lakes!

Simon Palmer

Published: June 11, 2021

Following on from my previous article, Tackling Big Public Waters I Look at how I approach applying bait and baiting campaigns on big public lakes

When I know that carp visit a particular area and readily feed there, I’m confident that it’s a reasonable spot to introduce bait over a long period of time in the hope that the carp get to know that the area is a reliable spot for a meal. On these big lakes, I don’t go mad with the bait by piling in kilos and kilos at a time, instead, I try and keep to a maximum of 3 kilos each baiting trip. The reason being that these carp tend to be very nomadic and the chances are, they may not find your bait before the nuisance fish do.
Over the course of a season, I make baiting trips twice or three times a week, usually on a Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, although this can be scuppered depending on weather conditions (being blown about the lake in 40mph plus winds in a dinghy isn’t particularly safe!).

Why introduce bait over a long period of time?

As I mentioned above, the carp in these waters tend to be very nomadic and can get their main source of food from anywhere in the lake, my thinking behind introducing bait for a long period of time is that I want the carp to recognise a particular area as a reliable source of food, and this takes time.

The type of bait you use is important

I think it’s worth mentioning that the type of bait used in long baiting campaigns is very important. A high-attract bait that doesn’t provide the carp with their nutritional needs won’t work over a period of time, simply, the carp will go elsewhere for their food source. The bait(s) I use have to contain the required vitamins, minerals, amino’s as well as attractants that meet the carp’s dietary needs.






Depending on the time of year my go-to baits is Recept B+, a great all-year bait, low in oils and rich in essential amino acids. And from late spring until around the middle of November, I also introduce a fishmeal based bait with a higher oil content to disperse the bait’s food signals through the water. Nine times out of ten, the bait of choice is Rascal, a fantastic big fish bait that has caught me many carp over many years.

Applying bait throughout the session

I generally fish 24 hour or 48-hour sessions so it’s important to maximise the time I have on the bank and the way I apply my bait in this time plays an important role in that. Rather than piling a lot of bait in at the start of the session, I opt for the little and often approach. Usually starting with about 50 free offerings around each hookbait and topping it up with another handful every couple of hours. I need to be confident that there’s bait in my swim all the time so that when the carp do turn up they have a store of bait ready to feed on. Because there can be a lot of nuisance fish and crayfish in these public lakes, if I pile the bait in at the start and sit back on my rods, that bait could be gone within a couple of hours whereas the little and often approach ensures I always have bait on my spots. My hookbaits are almost always hard hooker bottom baits.

Pre-baiting campaigns are by far the biggest edge within my fishing, in effect your fishing even when you’re not there, which gives you a head start when fishing big public lakes where the stock is unknown, it’s something I have always done and something that I probably always will.