One of my favourite tactics is to bait an area with literally everything I have left over in the bait cupboard. This is usually a mixture of groundbait, broken boilies and seeds and beans. This is a cracking method to use on lakes which are full of weed. What I try to do is find a spot that the fish will visit regularly anyway and then plonk some bait on it every few days. After a few weeks the fish and local bird life will have opened up a hole in the weed large enough to present a bait on the firm lake bed underneath. Not only does this method catch you loads of fish, but it does make me laugh when people wonder how I manage to have confidence fishing in the weediest part of the lake!

Whether it is the fish or the birds which disturb the lake bed is immaterial, the result is the same. Generally though I will bait up after dark and then check the spot occasionally in the morning to see if there is any bait left over which the birds are diving for. Obviously, with the local feathered fiends knowing the location of your baited spot, this method can make fishing in daylight difficult. Not a problem though, as if you bait up frequently enough and for long enough the fish will tend to become accustomed to feeding on your spot during the evening and early morning before the birds awake.

The mass baiting described above is also a great method to try out on our larger rivers. I used to fish the Thames quite a bit and without fail, you could hold fish passing along the river to a post by baiting it regularly. Again, the composition of the bait was much less of a consideration than that it was introduced regularly. After all, on many stretches of river the fish are used to finding large amounts of bait left over from matches. When using this form of groundbaiting I will normally fish a method rig with mini-boilies over the top as you don't know what fish you may have attracted to the bait. In lakes it is likely to bring in carp, bream and tench, whilst on rivers, carp, bream and chub are likely to be the main visitors. Whilst I might be more interested in just one of these species at the time, I am not going to turn my nose up at a big chub or bream if one should show up and I want a shot at catching them.

The mass baiting approach doesn't always work though. Although I have found it effective on most venues containing a reasonable head of fish, on the really difficult lakes with only a small head of fish it has proven ineffective. I think there are several reasons for this. Firstly, the fish may not recognise some of the morsels in the food parcels, and so they will be ignored. This can in turn lead to bait being left to rot on the lake bed. As there is so much natural food around, the bird life is less likely to feed on left-overs and so can lead to bait being left to rot. I have known extreme examples of this where the bait is simply left untouched for days or even weeks on end, even though fish are in the area. In this case a more refined approach is required.

The key to the second approach is finding a bait that the fish will pick up without fear. This is very often much more difficult than it sounds, but as a good general starting point I would go for particle baits, and in particular maggots. It is virtually impossible for fish to get tired of these baits and, in my experience, na´ve fish have no problem in recognising them as food. A few pints of maggots, or another particle bait introduced regularly to your chosen swim will certainly help you catch, but because of the difficulty of the water you are fishing, is much less likely to have the dramatic effect that it can have on easier fisheries.

So, a little extra effort is very rarely wasted. Whether it be a bit of bait introduced the night before your next session, or a prolonged baiting campaign, giving the fish a little of what they fancy does your chances no harm at all.