Fishing with bottom baits is a widely used and highly effective way of catching carp. But in waters that contain a population of crayfish, it can be a real challenge.
Who hasn’t fished for carp all night and waited for that run until the early hours of the morning, only to reel in your rig and discover that your hookbait has been stolen crayfish?
I certainly have, which is why I wanted to share my best tips on how to keep crayfish from eating your bait.
1) Use Artificial Baits
Crayfish have a much harder time cutting through and eating artificial baits, which is why using fake corn, fake boilies, or fake dumbbells can sometimes be a very good idea if the crays just won’t leave your natural hookbait alone.
These baits can soak up a lot of flavors and keep them over a long period of time. So, not only can they last much longer, but you also skip having to having to re-bait with freshly flavored baits, which can be regarded as a nice bonus.
2) Place a Fishy Tin Can Next to Your Swim
This is a rather unusual, but highly effective tip, which is underrated by many anglers.
Simply buy canned fish or a can of cat food with a fishy flavour, make a few small holes in the can, attach it to a long piece of twine or your carp fishing line and then throw it out in the water.
Don’t place it too close to your fishing spot, as you want to draw the crays away from that area.
Also, make sure to place the can 20-30 min before you start fishing so that the crayfish will already be busy with the can and ignore your hookbaits when you start to fish.
3) Use Extenda Stops
No matter if you are fishing with natural or artificial baits, you should definitely use extenda stops for them. These are a longer type of boilie stops that will go all the way through your bait, rather than just topping it, the way a normal boilie stop would.
Crayfish are highly crafty creatures and very often, they actually manage to pull the stop off the hair and then snatch away your hookbait.
The innovative extenda stops can prevent the crays from stealing your bait and hence will improve your chances of catching carp in a crayfish-crowded area.
4) Fish Deeper
As crayfish often like the shallower areas of lakes and rivers more, one way of avoiding them is to fish deeper.
I have often found that fishing right at the bottom of a slope can keep the crays away from my hookbaits. On the other hand, if I would place my rods on the top of the slope, the crays would be all over it.
This has perhaps to do with the fact that there is much less vegetation and food for them to find at such depths. This depth limit, in my experience, starts at about 12 to 15 feet.
5) Use Hard Boilies And Pop-Ups
While the crays will certainly still try their luck with hardened baits, they most likely won’t be able to damage or steal them.
Air-drying your fresh boilies until they become rather dry and hard can make a lot of f difference underwater! The carp won’t mind, but the crayfish surely will!
If you have old boilies or dried-out pop-ups stashed away somewhere in your garage, you should definitely try them out in a cray-invested swim.
Do not shy away from using them! They can save your trip and you actually used up some old and long-forgotten baits; it’s a win-win situation!
Soak them in a boilie dip for a few days or weeks if they have lost their flavor, in order to give them a little boost.
Insider tip: Use rather strong and spicy dips and flavors, such as chili, to soak your baits in, crays can’t stand them!
6) Fish in Venues With a Lot of Cray Eaters
Virtually all fish love crayfish; be it pike, perch, zander, tench, bream, or carp, they all love to feats on them. This is something you can use to your advantage.
A venue with a lot of crayfish predation naturally means that the population of crayfish will be low and that crays will think twice before they show up unprotected in your swim.
If you take this school of thought one step further, logic would suggest that if you manage to get a lot of carp into your swim, then they would not only start to feed on your offering,s but also on the gathering crayfish!
So, not only will you get more takes, but the increasing number of carp in your swim would also naturally take care of your crayfish issue.
7) Use Super Wrap
The super wrap is another one of Korda’s innovative crayfish solutions. It is a plastic shrink wrap that protects tour boilie or pop-up from the claws of the crays.
All you have to do is to slide your bait into a piece of shrink wrap tube and shrink it down with the help of some steaming water.
Thanks to the small holes in the wrap, the boilie can still extract its flavors, but the crayfish will have a harder time damaging it.
8) Fish During The Day
This final tip is one that perhaps challenges your usual carp fishing behavior, but it is also one that has the power to improve your fishing.
Most commonly, carp fishing is done at night, or in the early hours of the morning. And in some venues, these will be the only times to catch carp.
On the contrary, other venues can offer brilliant daytime fishing. All you have to do is try it out. If the carp are biting during the day, fishing for them in daylight can drastically decrease your problems with the crays.
Not only are they more active in the dark, but they also tend to hide more during the day, as predators can spot them much better in broad daylight.
Imagine not having to deal with night-time bait thieves and having to re-bait and re-cast in the dark! Fishing during the day can be very rewarding and if you have crays in your venue, it’s definitely something you should try.
Essential Tackle Tips
If you’re looking for solid and reliable carp fishing equipment, these tips might be useful for you.
The following tackle is of top quality and sells at a very decent price on Amazon.
I have been using this setup myself for many years and have caught plenty of big carp with it.
Rod: Daiwa Black Widow
A very strong and beautifully made 12ft 3lb carp rod with a ton of backbone and a great bend. Casts anything up to 5 oz extremely well and lets you navigate and control your fish smoothly and effectively. Fits both open and snaggy waters.
A reliable standard-sized baitrunner reel that works great for short to medium-distance carp fishing. Loads around 200 yards of 15-18lb monofilament mainline. Handles any wild run very smoothly! Fits the Black Widow rod perfectly.
Mainline: Daiwa Sensor 15lb
One of the strongest and most durable monofilament lines out there! Sells at a very good price and will last you for many fishing trips. Has just the right amount of stretch to perfectly hook and fight every fish.
- What Types of Carp Are There (A Species Guide)
- The Helicopter Rig (How And When to Fish It)
- How to Tie a Pop-Up Rig (Simple Step-By-Step Guide)
Featured image courtesy of Paul Oxenham