Prebaiting advice please

Robbie C

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Hi,
I am a new member, returning to fishing after nearly 30 years.
I have access to a gravel pit and planning on fishing it exclusively this year, and improving my fishing.
It’s about 20 acres, and my initial plans are to float fish for the Tench,Roach , Bream and maybe the odd carp.
It’s a lightly fished water,not easy but I think it has enough fish to keep me amused.
I know carp have been caught on boilies and pellets have been used, but I plan on using old fashioned baits.
So I can prebait quite frequently. I plan on buying 20 kg bags of brown crumb, layers mash ,maize and wheat. Maybe liquid molasses too.
Baits will be maize,wheat ,worms to start.
Then if not much success introducing bread,hemp, casters,Prawns etc.
I will fish at dawn,close range for mainly tench, maybe switching to a Waggler further out later on.
So my questions:

1. Is it worth using maize and wheat as hookbait changes and for prebait and if just using one of those which would you use.

2.A week before fishing I can go every morning around 7am to prebait. Will mix layers mash and crumb. Say I plan on using maize initially, would you bail out 15-20 tennis size balls liberally laced with maize?

3. Before my first dawn session, should I prebait 7am the day before, or the night before.

These are my initial questions thanks,and this is my first proper post apart from in newbies.
 

steve2

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First thing I would ask is prebaiting allowed worth checking because many don't allow it.
Then what fish to target, where to bait up, are the fish in the area you want to fish, have you walked the water and plumbed the depth.
 

mikench

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I would try fishing without prebaiting and just throw some gb in on arrival to suit the swim and species sought. It will be trial and error initially and remember you can stop putting gb in but you can't take it out. I would go float fishing with maggots and just loose feed a few each cast to see what happens. You can vary the depth and cover a large area. If the fish are shy then try the feeder with micros and your chosen hook bait. If two rods are allowed fish the margins and a little further out to a feature if there is one such as lily pads or a overhanging branch.
 

nottskev

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That's some menu you have in mind, and carting that lot about, mixing it up and getting up early to throw it in should all keep you fit!

I've not got big experience of pre-baiting big waters - although it was the norm for us to do so on Irish holidays - but since we're all sat here with nothing to do I won't let that stop me.

Before investing heavily in feed and starting a campaign, I'd be inclined to find out as much as I could about the pit, what's in it, and who catches what, where and how.

You mention roach, bream and tench, but they tend to behave differently and respond to different kinds of feeding and fishing. Bream might well find and then stop to hang around over feed, but often patrol well out from the bank. Tench are likely to be closer to the bank, often feed along the nearside shelves and - some may say differently - seem more attracted to small amounts of feed rather than bream-shoal size carpets. Roach are a mobile fish, swimming and feeding at all depths as they choose, and seem to be best caught with light-ish feeding in real time, although I'm sure some pre-bait or bait heavily in particular circumstances.

But you never know. I once came back from a holiday with half a sack of cheap groundbait. To use it up (throw it away, just as likely) I mixed a load up and catapulted it out into a big canal feeder res nearby, which the locals said not to bother with - too hard/ too deep/ nobody fishes there etc. The results were a pleasant surprise, and I had some great fishing that summer based around heavy feeding. But it might just as easily have been a complete flop.
 

steve2

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Like as been said prebaiting doesn't mean big catches of fish.
We did a lot of heavy prebaiting back in the day and one thing we always did was to make sure we got to the swims first. We camped out for days before the season started.
Sometime we caught big bags of fish other times it didn't work but that is all part of fishing. Best bag I remember was around 150lbs of tench.
A couple of years ago without prebaiting I caught 110lbs of bream and tench and fed less than 2 pints pellets during the day.

Enjoy your fishing what ever method you decide to do.
 

john step

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Near Barnet? I wont ask obviously but it must be a little way distant which requires some time back and forth. I used to fish a large Lea Valley gravel pit that was seldom fished. When pre baiting I found to save the hassle I would visit a about 3 times a week before the old close season ended and used wheat and rice. Wheat is very cost effective.
My reasoning was that the fish would not clear the lot in one go b ut there would b e particles left in the weed to keep them active until my next visit.
Seemed to work as I caught tench and bream.
Time your visits when no one sees you!!!
 
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sam vimes

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There are no definitive answers. Different waters respond to different baits, amounts and times of pre-baiting in different ways. All you can really do is try different things and see how the fish respond.
 

Philip

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Hello and welcome back to Angling & Fishing Magic.
I do a fair bit of prebaiting its no guarantee but it can make a big difference.

Under the assumption you have done a bit of investigation and are happy with the water & swim I would go with a mix of items of different sizes in the prebait to avoid the fish becoming too preoccupied on just one. Make sure your chosen hookbait makes up a fair proportion of it. I also see cloud type baits being more as a binder for something else or for short term attraction on the day rather than long term so I dont prebait with any sort of neat "groundbait" as such much pre-ferring just straight baits / particles etc. This keeps the fish rooting around and coming back to the swim.

Although I am a big fan of hemp I try and avoid very small particles like it on longer baiting campaigns, again to avoid preoccupation. Also maybe not so much in your case but I have also been recently trying to avoid Wheat as well which is often included in particle mixes like Pigeon mix which I use allot but thats for my specific situation.

Prebait at the time you intend to fish and stick to that. If that’s 7am then stick to 7am. Don’t change things at the last moment & prebait the night before you intend to fish as well.

A few additional tips :

If you can keep the baiting at hand throwing range it will save you allot of time as you wont need to use any additional tools…catapult …spod ..stick etc.

If you can bait more than 1 swim, do so, and fish them in rotation over a few sessions if you can

Most important of all …don’t let anyone see you baiting for obvious reasons.
Hope that helps.
 

peterjg

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Yes, prebaiting can and does work but not if too many other anglers are also prebaiting - it defeats the purpose. Wheat is a great bait but to work it is essential that it is cooked properly!!! I personally don't use maize. Molasses is a good flavour but it attracts too many bream, if you put it in groundbait it darkens it but soon leaks out in the lake leaving the ground bait stark white on the bottom. Only prebait say three swims on different sides of the lake to suit conditions, ensure the swims are at least 41/2 foot deep so swans can't reach your bait! Prebait with wheat, sweetcorn and hard pellets. Keep your prebaited swims secret! Good luck. Your biggest problem is coots and tufties - they will/can eat all your bait and show other anglers where you have baited. Make sure there is no spillage of bait left on the bank! The best time to prebait is at night.
 
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Robbie C

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Hi Guys,
Thanks for all your replies. You have been helpful and informative and I am a massive fan of this forum.
I was a competent angler 30 years ago,and having been reborn I have spent hours on this forum trolling the archives and I feel I have learned a lot.
Anyway back to the original intention.The pit used to belong to a club, but about 2 years ago the lease was up and it was bought by a small consortium. I am good friends with some of them, and can fish for free when I want. Only 5-6 people fish there, and not intensively either. So I’m sure I can prebait 1 or 2 swims and virtually ‘reserve’ them.
My idea to prebait was to try and get the fish used to a variety of baits,I will use maggots, worms,bread etc , but maybe get the fish used to wheat or maize, there’s a good chance they haven’t seen these for a long time, especially the past few years.
One of the members has caught carp on boilies, but I’m not interested in exclusive carp fishing,would like to catch a 10 lber on my Avon though!
In some of the swims I can fish close in the margins, but able to also switch to fishing a waggler near a feature(an island or where it narrows to a “point”). So I will spread a bit of feed around in the likely swims.
It’s frustrating, the weather is glorious,and I can’t even go and walk round the pit!
 

mikench

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Use the HDYGO thread and don't forget a summary of what you did and post pics of the end result or the swim at least. Good luck and what a wonderful problem to have.:)
 

Robbie C

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Yes, prebaiting can and does work but not if too many other anglers are also prebaiting - it
defeats the purpose. Wheat is a great bait but to work it is essential that it is cooked properly!!! I personally don't use maize. Molasses is a good flavour but it attracts too many bream, if you put it in groundbait it darkens it but soon leaks out in the lake leaving the ground bait stark white on the bottom. Only prebait say three swims on different sides of the lake to suit conditions, ensure the swims are at least 41/2 foot deep so swans can't reach your bait! Prebait with wheat, sweetcorn and hard pellets. Keep your prebaited swims secret! Good luck. Your biggest problem is coots and tufties - they will/can eat all your bait and show other anglers where you have baited. Make sure there is no spillage of bait left on the bank! The best time to prebait is at night.
Thanks Peter,
Most of the swims are 5-10 feet deep, though some may be 3-5 feet deep providing the dry spell continues.
I haven’t seen any swans, but there are coots,mallards and tufted ducks.Will these eat my prebait in the shallower swims ?
 

Robbie C

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Use the HDYGO thread and don't forget a summary of what you did and post pics of the end result or the swim at least. Good luck and what a wonderful problem to have.:)
Ok Mike. Can you tell me when fishing resumes? It will be ironic if it’s June 16th ! Will bring back memories of the old widespread close season !Hope it’s way before though ??????
 

sam vimes

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Thanks Peter,
Most of the swims are 5-10 feet deep, though some may be 3-5 feet deep providing the dry spell continues.
I haven’t seen any swans, but there are coots,mallards and tufted ducks.Will these eat my prebait in the shallower swims ?
Mallards will dive, but they tend not to dive too deep. Much more than three feet or so tends to be their limit. Coots will dive a little deeper. Tufties will not be put off by diving ten feet. I've caught them on double maggot in the better part of twenty feet.

Don't let that put you off prebaiting though. Their activity in baited areas can actually attract fish. Another fortunate by product is that they can help keep a chosen spot free of weed. Just keep in mind that a percentage of your bait will not get through to the fish.
 

peter crabtree

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Without wishing to dampen your spirits and enthusiasm, don’t forget your bait will probably attract the signal crayfish which inhabit most southern waters.
 

Robbie C

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Without wishing to dampen your spirits and enthusiasm, don’t forget your bait will probably attract the signal crayfish which inhabit most southern waters.

Apparently it’s full of them ??????I will look through the archives,key in crayfish and try and find the do’s and don’ts.
Thanks Peter, I may need a rethink.
 

Robbie C

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I couldn’t find much information, seems carp anglers have problems with leaving bait in too long.So any tips on how to deal with them regards prebaiting and when general fishing ?
 

peterjg

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PC raised a good point about crayfish - they are an absolute pain! They will likely spoil any plans of prebaiting!? They seem to eat anything and everything!

Maybe bait up a particular area to try to lure the crayfish away from your swims? In summer when the crayfish are most active I use large bits of choritzo sausage either side of my swims to try to get the crayfish away from my baited area - this ploy works to a certain extent but does not totally solve the problem.

Yes, coots can easily dive 10 foot down, tufties even more and they sometimes feed at night as well!

Just to repeat, wheat really is a great bait but the fish do need time to get used to it.
 
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