Pre-Baiting Tactics to Catch Carp

There seem to be many carp anglers that habitually use the best tips and fishing tactics reported in the magazines and papers, or ideas that a friend may have had some minor success using. The difference between those and a successful big fish carp angler is that the latter guy tends to possess a habit of thinking up new strategies, or bringing back old ideas in order to continue fooling the big fish. 

Pre-baiting is one old fishing tactic that doesn't seem to be used so much these days. It is a angling strategy I have used before, and one I prefer to use especially on new waters, where it can be a guessing game as to the location of the carp. Although pre-baiting can involve lots of hard work, I believe it can yield some very rewarding catch results.

Photo of sixteen-ten Mirror CarpMedium Sized Mirror Caught Pre-baiting

With pre-baiting you get the chance to stick out tons of bait which helps the fish become accustomed to the specific boilies you’ve chosen, and because there’s no tackle in the area it also stops the carp becoming immediately cautious. The fish can get onto the bait quickly while you’re at home relaxing. The result can mean it’ll take less time for them to associate the bait as safe and be ready to jump onto that food source quickly when it’s introduced again at your next carp fishing session.

Pre-bait tactics often help to clear swim areas if small fish come onto the bait before any carp. If particles are used to pre-bait the swim then the silver fish can clear a nice patch ready for you to present your carp rigs and free boilies for when the large carp find the bait.

Starting a Pre-Baiting Campaign

There are some important points to think about before starting a pre-baiting campaign. For maximum effect, it may be best to find a good feature, or a clear spot in a swim where you know carp frequently visit. This would be much more effective rather than just throwing huge amounts of bait into an easy accessible or comfortable swim

If possible, it may also be better to pre-bait at night, especially if the lake is a busy one. You don’t want to pile in tons of bait only to find someone else in your prime spot when you turn up to fish at the lake. 

You can pre-bait once or a few separate times before actually fishing. Although, I do prefer to pre-bait 2 or 3 times, and to start the first pre-baiting session a week before I intend to go. This gives the carp a good week to find the food source, and get used to the bait. Visiting regularly also gives me the chance to actually see if the fish are present or if the bait has been eaten. It enables me to identify any fish movement around the areas where I put the bait, plus I get the chance to see if other anglers are fishing near my intended spot or if anything has been caught in the area. 

I do find that pre-baiting more often is always better than only doing it once. However, if you can only manage one visit then maybe introduce more bait and start your fishing session a good week before going. You want to give the fish time to move in on the bait, and let them feed on it without any pressure from anglers. It won’t matter if all your pre-bait has been eaten before you turn up to fish the swim. The point is to get the carp to associate your bait as a safe food source, as well as the area in general. The carp will remember the bait when you introduce it again during your carp fishing session.

Pre-baiting is a great angling technique to help catch many carp. I believe it’s always good carp angling to look back and introduce some of the old-style fishing tactics to many of the waters in the UK. Getting into the habit of presenting your chosen bait in a way not seen by the fish in your lake before can work wonders for your catch rate!  


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