Birds diving on carp bait – what can I do?

Question: I am fishing a 3 acre lake which I have caught plenty of fish from with a good stock of doubles and 20’s.  It is shallow with most areas being 3-4ft or less. The bottom is mainly silty with some harder areas in places. There is a large island in the middle of the lake.

On recent sessions I have been having terrible problems with birdlife picking up the bait. It is mainly tufties. This problem even persists during darkness. I never had it quite so bad before, admittedly this is worse in winter time. Do you have any suggestions how to combat this?

Many Thanks, Cliff

Hi Cliff,

I have faced this situation myself on one or two waters. It is always worse in the winter when there is not so much natural food about for the tufties & coots so they are obviously looking for something else to eat. Also in the winter the water tends to be much clearer (unless it’s overstocked) thus making it easier for the tufties to find your bait.

There are a couple of things you can do which may help you:

1. Bait up when you are not fishing and in different parts of the lake. The water you are fishing sounds reasonably small and so by baiting up different area’s the carp will still find plenty of the bait and soon get a taste for it. I have found that the Quest baits are pretty instant anyway.

2. When you are fishing don’t put out any freebies. This time of year I much prefer to fish single hook baits or small stringers / p.v.a stockings. Try small 3 bait stringers, crushed up baits or the fast dissolving Maximum Action Pellets. I will regularly recast with at least 1 rod, every hour or so until I find the carp. By not introducing any freebies the tufties will be less inclined to search for the bait.

3. One dodge you can use here is to dye the baits black thus making them less visible to the tufties. The carp will still find them through their terrific sense of smell.

It can be very frustrating with the birdlife at this time of year but keep at it and the results will come.

Cheers, Pat Gillett
Quest Baits


One thought on “Birds diving on carp bait – what can I do?

  1. Shaun Harrison says:

    Remember that Tufties share a very similar diet to the carp, so where Tufties find natural food the carp do too. It amazes me when I see anglers spooking tufties because they are usually spooking carp at the same time. I couldn’t count the amount of times I have had tufties diving on my baits only to get a take, curse, but find a carp attached.

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