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What Is a Bait Boat? (And How to Use it)

What Is a Bait Boat? (And How to Use it)

Carp fishing today is both extremely popular and very much focused on technology, with a lot of modern gear that has entered the market and found its way to the banks. Bait boats are a perfect example of the recent wave of technology in carp fishing and many anglers want to know more about this type of gear.

Bait boats are small remote-controlled boats that carry your particles, as well as your end tackle and hookbait to a specific point on a carp venue. Their destination is usually an either hard to approach or distant fishing spot, which hence can be reached from land, thanks to this device.

Continue to read this article and find out all the answers surrounding the commonly asked question: What is a bait boat?

What Is a Bait Boat Used for?

a bait boat on the bank next to a rod pod with three carp fishing rods
Courtesy of Sim Ba

As the name so aptly suggests, a bait boat is used for carrying and delivering your bait to a specific point on your venue.

Bait, in this regard, implies anything from groundbait, loosefeed, particles and boilies, to the hookbait itself.

So, you can either use it for pure baiting purposes and/or to deliver both a load of freebies and your terminal tackle with your hookbait to a precise spot anywhere on the lake.

While many anglers use a bait boat for mere pre-baiting purposes, simply because it is a more convenient and faster way to get a large quantity of feed out into your intended swim, there are also plenty of carp fishermen who send out their rigs on a bait boat.

The latter makes the most sense on really big lakes where long-distance fishing is your only option.

Even the most skilled of carp anglers can only cast out their rigs so far! And so, if the distance to your intended fishing spot is greater than you can cast to, a bait boat can be of immense help to you.

Here are 5 helpful bait boating tips from Strike&Catch’s carp expert Jay White for you:

  1. Keep a tight line when dropping rigs. Ideally, do it with an open arm rather than clutch as this can cause line twists.
  2. Take care not to catch your line on propellers if the boat has no propeller guards. Keep a more or less straight line and avoid sudden turns.
  3. Avoid the temptation of boating to too excessive distances or to areas unsafe to fish (severe snags).
  4. Keep an eye on battery life, have spare batteries and have a rescue line attached to the boat.
  5. Make sure you know your swim boundaries to avoid upsetting other anglers and disturbing their fishing.

Follow these simple guidelines, and you will be sure to get the most out of your bait boat!

Pro Tip: Only use a bait boat where it really makes sense! Avoid using bait boats for short distance fishing or when there are a lot of other anglers fishing on your venue. It’s really not necessary in such cases and you avoid both angry, annoyed neighbours, as well as possible tangles with other anglers’ lines (which usually causes even more annoyance).

How Does a Bait Boat Work?

an empty bait boat on a carp venue
Courtesy of Jay White

Bait boats use rather sophisticated technology that, however, has become both widely available and fairly affordable on today’s market.

Essentially, the bait boat is navigated via the use of a handheld radio remote control, giving you the ability to send the loaded boat practically anywhere on any given venue. Of course, different models will have different signal ranges.

Most bait boats will either have one main, or two hoppers with opening and closing doors beneath them. The hoppers, depending on the model, can sometimes even be opened individually.

The hoppers’ loading capacity will also vary between different models. Some boats can only carry a smaller amount of feed, while others can carry out a few kilos at a time.

And lastly, some bait boats will have external rig droppers, allowing you to safely attach your end tackle to your bait boat.

Pro Tip: If the rig dropper feature is missing, you can simply open one of the hoppers’ doors before loading your bait boat, pass your rig through the door and close it up again, trapping the mainline and keeping your rig securely in place.

When you’ve loaded up your bait boat with both feed and rig, you simply put it in the water and steer it to the intended fishing location using the remote.

How Far Can Bait Boats Go?

The remote range of most bait boats is between 300 and 500m, depending on the signal strength, battery power, and possible obstacles between the boat and the remote.

But as mentioned above, such distances should really be avoided, and so the maximum range of the remote signal isn’t all that important.

Should You Use a Bait Boat on a Windy Day?

a bait boat in front of a carp lake
Courtesy of Fenton Trewick

As most bait boat models are pretty lightweight, you shouldn’t use them in wind and wave performances above a level 3 or 4.

Not only could you lose your precious cargo on the way out, but the boat could literally sink and be lost to the depths of the venue you’re fishing on.

How Much Do Bait Boats Cost?

As there is such a wide variety of bait boats with different sizes and all sorts of features, their prices vary a lot as well.

Most boat models of decent quality will cost anything between £150 and £400, but there are high-end bait boats out there that go for as much as £1500, and more!

What Type of Battery Is Needed for a Bait Boat?

Most modern bait boats are powered by either 5-10Ah lead batteries or 10-20Ah lithium-ion batteries and, rather conveniently, many models come with their own chargers.

On average, the lead batteries will be able to power the bait boat for 2-3 hours, while the more advanced lithium-ion batteries will last 5-6 hours before needing to be recharged.

What Are the Best Bait Boats on the Market?

WWSHIP Intelligent Fishing Bait Boat

One of the best budget bait boats is the WWSHIP Intelligent Fishing Bait Boat. This is a model that is perfectly suited for smaller quantities of feed and shorter fishing sessions.

Here are its main features:

  • loading capacity: 1.2-1.5kg
  • built-in 5200 mAh battery, lasts for 2-3 hours
  • efficient and smooth movement on the water
  • 5 speed levels
  • dual motor
  • upgraded and improved three-bladed propeller
  • Sensitive control
  • powerful ejection type
  • night light design: 2 headlights, designed for night fishing
  • remote range 400-500m

You can purchase the WWSHIP Bait Boat on Amazon here

Angling Technics Technicat MkII

the Angling Technics Technicat MkII bait boat for carp fishing
Source Angling Direct

For the carp angler who wants a more advanced type of bait boat, the Technicat MkII is the perfect pick. This boat has it all!

This size fits the angler who wants to bait up his or her swim with a lot of feed and who plans to fish longer sessions on really big venues.

Here are some of the Technicat’s most important features:

  • 7.0 Standard Batteries
  • 1 large hopper
  • bait capacity: 3kgs
  • propulsion: propellers
  • radio frequency: 2.4 Ghz FM
  • continuous running: 90 minutes
  • very durable ABS plastic hull
  • comes with a “standard” boat bag

Find out more about the Technicat MkII at Angling Direct here

Can You Use Bait Boats on All Venues?

Many venues and fisheries actually ban the use of bait boats, most likely due to a small minority of anglers who must have used them inappropriately on said venues.

That’s why it’s of the utmost importance that you always check you check your venues’ rules and regulations concerning the use of bait boats prior to your session.

Below, I have listed some of the UK’s most popular carp fisheries and their rules concerning bait boats.

Do Linear Fisheries Allow Bait Boats?

UK’s popular Linear Fisheries does not allow the use of bait boats on any of their venues.

For more information, please visit the Linear Fisheries’ Rules section.

Are Bait Boats Allowed at Bluebell Lakes?

The popular fishery Blue Bell Lakes allows the use of bait boats on their venues, as long as this is done in a controlled and reasonable manner.

Please check the Bluebell Lakes’ FAQ section for more detailed information.

Can You Use a Bait Boat on Horseshoe Lake?

The use of bait boats is not permitted on Horseshoe Lake.

For more detailed information, please check the Carp Society’s Horseshoe Lake Rules section.

Are Bait Boats Allowed on Farlows Lake?

It is allowed to use a bait boat on Farlows lake.

Please check the Farlows Lake’s Rules section for more detailed information.

Can You Use Bait Boats on Cherry Lakes?

The use of bait boats is permitted and encouraged on Cherry Lakes. They even rent out bait boats to visiting anglers.

Please check the Cherry Lakes homepage for more information.

Featured image courtesy of Fenton Trewick of DT Bait Developments