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 / Fishing Tales

Baiting: when, how, why

1° and 2° parts

15 April 2024

Hello everyone!
Today we will be discussing an interesting topic for many novice anglers: 'baiting'. For several years now, this fishing setup has been shelved by a number of anglers due to time constraints or insufficient bait availability.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, long baiting campaigns were routine and old-school fishermen were all about 'food conditioning'.
Yes, but what is this all about? Well, simply achieving, at least in part, a change in the carp's eating habits by getting them to feed on our bait. This type of approach was and still is essential if we want to bring home certain results from the places where we decide to fish consistently.

To achieve this, it is not enough to regularly throw a good amount of bait into a body of water, but it is necessary to know the place where we intend to concentrate our baiting campaign. Here are our tips:

  1. Have a good knowledge of the fishing area, the conformation of the seabed and possible staging and feeding areas. It can also help us if it is present, to research the type of natural food. It seems a triviality, but depending on the fauna and the type of still or running water course, the dosage and type of natural food can vary and cause us to change the quality and quantity of bait to be introduced. The presence of disturbing fauna such as shrimps, turtles and whitefish will certainly direct us to use a different type of bait or even change spots.

2. Have an idea of the amount of fish present. Gathering information from local anglers or with a couple of quick preventive sessions we can guess from the number of carp caught and their size whether we are dealing with a place rich in natural food or not. Sessions with many wade catches of small or undernourished fish will give us the safe input to realise that we are in a place that is populated but with little food available. Conversely, a session with only one wadeable fish, even if small, but of significant size will give us the opposite input.

4. Water Ph measurements. Analysing water samples can complete the information available for christening a type of bait to be used. Once we are aware of the situation and have outlined the profile of our waterway, we are ready to set up a baiting campaign.

5. Which baits to use according to quantity. If we are dealing with a stretch of water rich in fish and with little natural nourishment, we will certainly aim for a baiting campaign with copious amounts of bait (not necessarily expensive, although baits with a good protein level would help us better achieve our goal). On the other hand, a stretch of water with few fish, but of a larger size, will direct us to a baiting campaign with smaller quantities but with baits of a higher quality.

On the basis of the information gathered, we can prepare a baiting campaign based exclusively on grains. For example, if the watercourse is home to virgin carp, a good quantity of grains will certainly help us to overcome the mistrust of the fish present. Another possible case is that of a body of water, for example a canal that is home to a good amount of amur, carp and several shrimps. In this case we could organise ourselves with tiger mixed with corn and hemp. In this way we easily direct the crustaceans onto the maize while the much harder tigers will be left for last, allowing the carp to reach the bait bed in time.

6. Determine the quantity of bait to be distributed during the week. Here, quantities may vary according to the characteristics of the fishing site. A strategy that always works when talking about still water in the busy season is based on a campaign of 3 baits per week. Each consists of a 10/15 litre bucket of grain mix and accompanied by 2/3 kg of boilies. Another setup could be based on a baiting campaign in the same basin but in the winter season, where in the campaign of 3 weekly baitings we would only throw in 500 g of cold-water-specific boilies, perhaps accompanied by a few pellets per baiting. This is just an example of how a baiting can be set up depending on the body of water and the current season.

7. What tools to use for baiting. Based on the choices made earlier, we should organise ourselves to make the baiting on the water as fast as possible. (Also because it is necessary to take moments during the week, time which is generally always short). 

If we are dealing with a canal or a small river, with a good spoon and a sling we should be able to complete the baiting in an instant. On the other hand, in good-sized quarries we would need a cobra (better the new generation carbon and lighter ones) and a 5lb spod rod with a fast recovery ratio reel to reduce the time. In addition, for these places where it would be possible to distribute all the bait with just a few turns, a radio-controlled rod could also help.

On the other hand, in large lakes, things are more complicated and it will probably be necessary to have a boat in order to be able to do the baiting, without forgetting to bring a good life jacket... Safety first!

8. When to fish? Here it all depends on our free time available. Normally early in the morning would be a good choice, but late afternoon or evening would also be fine. Bearing in mind, however, that in autumn and winter there are few hours of daylight, pasturing in the dark will complicate things quite a bit, obliging us to equip ourselves with a head lamp.

Everything organised then, now all that remains for us to do is to start feeding and to decide when to start reaping the fruits of our labour. So to fishing...

Normally a 2-3 week baiting campaign can already be considered medium to long and give us the opportunity to organise a fishing session. Afterwards we can decide whether to change the baiting slightly or to continue. Inevitably, baiting campaigns that are too long require more or less prolonged stops and/or changes in the bait used in order not to stress the fish too much.
Nowadays, long baiting campaigns are less in vogue than they used to be, but they are undoubtedly able to give us great satisfaction in terms of catches (even if they obviously imply a major commitment in terms of both money and time).

All that remains is for me to wish you all fruitful fishing. Until next time!
Daniele Annovi

Team Molino Zombini

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