In this blog I would like to talk about yet another controversial issue. Baitboats! You either love them or hate them.
I am sure that this short piece could offend some anglers, but I will put my thoughts out there and leave it up to the reader to decide. There will be three kinds of anglers that this topic will effect; the baitboat user, the modern traditionalist angler and those that simply sit on the fence.
Technology has come on leaps and bounds during my journey into carp fishing. In my early days there were not many lakes that contained carp of any size, in fact, for years I was fishing for 10lb plus carp. There were no lakes that I had access which contained anything like a twenty pound specimen.
From 1952 the British Carp Record was held by Dick Walker, with his famous capture of Clarrisa, weighing at 44lb from Redmire. Clarrisa, was placed in London Zoo where it spent the remainder of its life. This carp record remained until June of 1980 when Chris Yates hit the headlines with a 51lb 8oz carp from the same famous lake.
Take a look at the lakes throughout the British Isles now, there are numerous lakes with 40lb specimens. Carp weights, along with technology to catch them have improved tremendously.
So where has this technology taken us?
Electronic bite alarms, wireless receivers and transmitters, indicators that light up on a run, depth and fish finders, lots of gadgets, which of course includes baitboats.
All these aids are there to make our stay on the bank more relaxing and comfortable to say the least. There would be no long night sessions if you were listening for a coin to drop on a tin plate, or listening for a bell to rattle on your rod tip. We have all moved on with technology, so what is wrong with the baitboat?
Baitboats have been around for years now and even they are developing; with fish finders, GPS, and under water cameras. But do they work. Of course they do, what a perfect way to present a bait. Or is it?
If you approach a water that has constant pressure from baitboats, then surely wouldn’t it be a better method to spread your bait, instead of small dumps of goodies with a hook bait sitting in the middle. On the other hand, baitboats can reach places where you haven’t got a chance of casting too. Now does this come into the realm of not playing ball and in fact cheating. Surely the carp need some places of refuge to escape the angler. The bait boat reduces these drastically.
Some anglers may feel that they are disadvantaged by their lack of experience or they may have a disability and feel the need to use the best technology going. I cannot see a problem with that. Now we come down to experience. If you are or think you are an experienced angler then why not put your own natural ability up against the carp and cast your bait. The trouble is we all like it too easy and want to get the edge. A baitboat certainly evens up the playing field when it comes to carp fishing experience. As long as you can get the gist of using a handheld remote control you can accurately place a hook bait along with kilo’s of your choice of bait, anywhere within 300 yards on any given lake.
When using a bait boat it is not as important to balance your rods and reels. They are only tools to hold and feed out line to take out the hook bait and place the bait. As long as the rods are strong and subtle enough to play in a fish you can use as thick a line as you feel safe with.
Casting is a different kettle of fish. Well balanced reels, rods, main line and end tackle all matter. What matters the most is angling ability, accuracy and experience, and of course water craft. However, angling experience and good watercraft would give a baitboat user a distinct advantage over every other angler. But if you have good watercraft and experience why do you need a baitboat?
Should an angler who claim’s to be ‘a traditionalist’, and is totally against baitboats also be against all technological advances and remain fishing with split cane rods and centre pin reels? I don’t think so. I think that it is fair to say that what is actually meant as a ‘modern traditionalist’ is an angler that likes to use his own experience to outwit the carp and not a machine.
When you look at most of the top syndicates in England, baitboats are banned. Why? Because anglers have abused the privilege of their use by fishing at extreme distances and in or too close to snags. I have seen boats taken well out of what you could call the users swim, into either out of bounds water or other persons swims.
A lot of anglers keep their opinions to themselves and do not appear to be concerned how other anglers decide to fish. I fall into this category on most occasions.
Now I run a small syndicate on a 5 acre lake and not one of my anglers would dream of using a baitboat on it. Boats are banned anyway. Why? All my anglers are handpicked for their fishing experience and if boats were allowed I am sure that I would loose at least half of my membership. Their is simply no need for them as bait can be introduced easily to any part of the lake with catapult, throwing stick, by hand, spodding or by spomb.
I am not totally against them, I own one myself. Do I use it? No, not anymore. It has been tucked away out of sight for a few years now, and the only time that I used to use it was for my occasional French trip.
Why did I use it? Lack of confidence in my own ability to catch on fairer terms perhaps? Laziness to present a hook bait and freebies accurately? Fishing at distance that I could not reasonably create a bed of bait? Probably all of these.
My attitude has now changed, and I cannot envisage using one again. If I fall short on my fish tally, so be it. But I will know that I have caught my carp by using my own skills and ability as an angler.