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How to use a Bait Boat

First of all, I’m sorry if you clicked onto this page hoping to find detailed instructions on how to load, steer and effectively bait up your swim with a baitboat. Each one is different and when you buy a baitboat, you should receive all the information you need specific to your model.

This article is about the general sensible use of a baitboat.

Why Are Baitboats Banned On Some Waters?
This is often a question that gets asked on internet forums and, as with bait bans, there are generally two different possible reasons:

1.The fishery owner does not understand baitboats, so bans them anyway.
2.There is a history of baitboat use being abused.

There’s not much we can do about reason 1, unless you fancy trying to appeal to their better nature and offer to demonstrate that baitboats are safe, effective fishing aids, but we can all do our best to stop situation 2 arising.

When Should I Use A Baitboat?
I suppose the best test is not so much when should you use a baitboat, but when is it beneficial to do so (we’ll also come on to when is it safe to do so later on).

One of the reasons people complain about baitboats (apart from jealousy!) is that they are often over-used. I don’t blame the owners, as such; if I’d just spent a few hundred of my hard-earned pounds on a baitboat, I’d want to use it, too! However, if you’re fishing 20 yards out in front of you, is it really necessary? I suppose the rule of thumb would be that if you can get a reasonably tight bed of bait down without making too much commotion, then a baitboat really isn’t necessary.

Also, how much bait are you planning to have as loosefeed in your swim? With a baitboat, you could be guilty of two ‘sins’; putting out too much bait and spoiling your carp fishing, or sending out a great big boat to stop above the carp feeding area with just a few boilies that could have been just as easily catapulted out there!

So, think; will you actually gain from using a boat to bait up on this specific occasion? Just because you own one, don’t feel obliged to use it. I own a spod rod, but it often stays in my rod bag.

That said, if the rules allow it and you really do see potential benefits, load those hoppers, flick those switches and launch that baitboat!

One ideal time to use a baitboat is when you’re fishing at range. Yes, you may be able to clip-up and cast to the spot every time, but if you want to get a significant amount of bait down, then a baitboat may be the best way to go. With a boat, you’re assured of accurate baiting, something that isn’t such a certainty with a spod, catapult or throwing stick, especially on a blustery day. Also, your one or two bait deployments with a boat will be the equivalent of umpteen ‘sploshes’ with a heavily-loaded spod!

When Shouldn’t I use A Baitboat?
As mentioned above, there are times when a boat just isn’t necessary, so leave it on the bank.

Also, fishery rules may say no to baitboats. If that’s the case, don’t use one. If a bailiff doesn’t catch you and throw you off, somebody’s bound to grass you up! If it bothers you that much that you’re not allowed to use your pride and joy, fish a different water!

So, now we come to the most important reason NOT to use a baitboat; when it isn’t safe to do so.

I’ve seen many an argument on this subject and can only give my own personal view on it. Yours may differ, as may the next man’s….

I would state, categorically, that it is irresponsible to use a baitboat to place a bait where it is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to cast. By this, I mean round corners, underneath submerged branches, etc. If somewhere is impossible to cast to, even if you were to have a hundred attempts, then the chances are that it’s dangerous to have a bait anywhere near it. I know of some pretty snaggy swims that would be GUARANTEED a fish if you put a bait in them. Trouble is, you’d have a 99% chance of losing that fish and a very good chance of leaving it tangled in the snags, safety rigs or not. Please, DON’T DO IT!

However, there are situations when I would use a boat. Some will argue differently, but as I said before, this is my own opinion.

My prime example is the overhanging branch scenario; we’ve all seen it. A willow overhangs a swim, giving shelter and an endless supply of natural food, creating a great fish-holding feature. We KNOW that a bait in there stands a good chance of catching a fish and that, as the tree is well clear of where our line would be, there’s no problem playing it. We also know that the cast is possible; we’ve made it before, or seen others make it. How many times do you see a swim like this and then cast your eye upwards a bit and catch sight of a rig or six dangling in the branches, tell-tale signs that not every cast makes it!

There are some that would say that you shouldn’t be casting here, and I’d agree that it is best to err on the side of caution if you are not CERTAIN of your ability to make the cast safely. One way you could do it is to clip-up your line well short and make a cast. Un-clip, release a bit more line, clip-up again and try another cast. Keep going until you’ve got exactly the right distance. This does work and I’ve seen people do it to great effect, but that’s one hell of a lot of splashing around when there’s a piece of technology sitting right next to you that will take away all the uncertainty. SO USE IT!

In summary, I’d say this:
Use your baitboat safely and efficiently and show respect for other anglers, even if it isn’t always returned. Don’t overdo the usage, more for the sake of the fishing than anything else. Just because you can suddenly deliver a kilo and a half of bait onto a 15cm square area, it doesn’t mean you have to do so every time! But most of all, I’d say enjoy your baitboat and use it to help you get more fish on the bank!

Tight Lines!