PETER LIL­LIE

Carpworld - - THINK TANK -

Cap­tor of one of the most soughtAFTER fish IN THE NORTH WEST LAST YEAR, PAW PRINT, FOL­LOW­ING A THREE-YEAR CAM­PAIGN, PETER HAS LEARNED HOW GET­TING YOUR BAIT­ING RIGHT CAN OF­TEN BE THE DIF­FER­ENCE BE­TWEEN SUC­CESS­FUL AND FAIL­URE.

Ithink the an­swer here partly lies in the ques­tion and that is – how ac­tive have the fish be­come? At this time of year, the weather plays a huge part in how much the fish are will­ing to feed and what ar­eas they favour most, so I try to base my bait­ing strat­egy around these two fac­tors.

This win­ter we ex­pe­ri­enced some truly Arc­tic con­di­tions. Even in the first few days of March, my tar­get wa­ter looked more like a scene from Walt Dis­ney’s Frozen than any­thing else, and I’m sure it will have no doubt fur­ther de­layed our quarry into wak­ing up from their win­ter slum­ber. There­fore, I will cer­tainly be ap­ply­ing a more re­served ap­proach with my bait­ing this com­ing spring, that is un­til I see signs the fish are be­com­ing more ac­tive.

Un­til then I will keep bait­ing to a min­i­mum, choos­ing to fish PVA bags and small quan­ti­ties of loose feed, such as corn and boilie crumb – fish­ing for a bite at a time. On count­less oc­ca­sions I’ve wit­nessed an­glers turn up and pile bait in when the fish are still very much dor­mant.

Gen­er­ally, I won’t up the quan­ti­ties un­til the fish start group­ing up into shoals. Once the fish be­come more ac­tive and start to move more fre­quently, the chances of them pass­ing over a baited area and drop­ping down for the odd feed are much higher. When this hap­pens, my usual tac­tic is to bait in reg­u­lar in­ter­vals with small food items heav­ily soaked in liq­uid at­trac­tants, such as mi­cro pel­lets, groats and boilie crumb, and let the fish dic­tate to me how much and how of­ten I should feed.

My cho­sen hook­bait is al­ways a hi-vis pop-up when fish­ing this way and it has been most ef­fec­tive in open wa­ter over low-ly­ing weed. In April last year, I ap­plied such tac­tics on the Carp So­ci­ety’s Horse­shoe Lake to great suc­cess.

How­ever, if we have re­ceived mild weather con­di­tions lead­ing up to spring, then I have found a heavy bait­ing ap­proach can be very suc­cess­ful, although I pre­fer to bait reg­u­larly a few days prior lead­ing up to the ses­sion, then fish sin­gle hook­baits or bags on the day. Un­for­tu­nately, this isn’t al­ways pos­si­ble de­pend­ing on the venue, so it does have its lim­i­ta­tions.

The deeper, more silty ar­eas of the lake are my first port of call here; not only do birds find it dif­fi­cult to eat bait here, but I also find the fish feed a lot more con­fi­dently and bite times are more wide­spread. When bait­ing like this, I use a boilie-only ap­proach, but pre­fer to stick to milk-protein/ bird-food-type baits – DNA Baits’ Nut­tas be­ing a favourite of mine.

In con­clu­sion, I be­lieve at this time of year it’s the en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors which should dic­tate the quan­ti­ties of feed we use, namely the weather, venue and fish stock, etc. Find­ing the bal­ance and what works best for you is all part of the chal­lenge.

CAPTIONS 1 - Like a scene out of Walt Dis­ney’s Frozen! My tar­get wa­ter on the 2nd of March 2018 2 - Reg­u­lar bait­ing of small food items pro­duced this typ­i­cal Horse­shoe mir­ror 3 - Fish­ing for a bite at a time un­til THE fish BE­COME more AC­TIVE 2

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