How many boilies should you throw into a lake? Funny, isn 鈥檛 it? The most simple of things can be the most important. Put too little bait in and the fish might swim right past. Put too much in and you risk overfeeding the swim. So how much is too much? It 鈥檚 tricky really, different situations may warrant different amounts, and the time of day, time of year, prevailing weather conditions, fish stock, angling pressure and a whole host of other factors may all influence the amount I 鈥檒 l put in. The one thing you can be sure of is that you can always put more bait it, but you can never take it out, so it often pays to err on the side of caution, at least until you can suss out what 鈥檚 going on. The main thing that will influence the amount I put in will be the length of my stay. If I 鈥檓 only there for a few hours, I want to maximise the chances of the fish picking up my hookbait, so the more freebait I put in, the less the chance any passing fish will pick up my hookbait among the first. As such, on short sessions I 鈥檒 l often just put out a six bait PVA stringer, or cast out a bait and throw ten or twenty baits close to the hookbait. If it 鈥檚 a water I fish regularly, and I know the fish like a bit of bait, then obviously I 鈥檒 l put more in, and if it 鈥檚 a spot I know stands a good chance of producing, then again I might add more bait, and the longer my intended stay, the more bait I will introduce. So, for example, if I know I 鈥檓 on for 24 hours and baiting a spot in the summer which I know stands a very good chance of a fish or two, I might start off by introducing as much as half a kilo of bait. It 鈥檚 worth adding that others I know might add three times as much, it 鈥檚 all about having confidence in your own approach; some like a lot of bait, others prefer to start off small, but as I say, I 鈥檇 rather add more based on results, than put too much in right at the start and kill my chances. That said, there are times where I 鈥檒 l chuck it in by the bucket load! One of the best ways to increase your chances of catching is to pre-bait. By regularly introducing feed to an area you are fishing, say two or three times a week, then you will get the fish used to finding a regular supply of free food in that spot. Then, when you drop in and fish it, you can put less bait in but be confident the fish will visit the area regularly as they are used to finding food there, yet when fishing it you 鈥檝 e only had to put a small amount out. Whenever logistically possible, I 鈥檒 l pre bait waters I 鈥檓 campaigning on as you can literally add half as many fish again to your tally. Likewise, there are certain waters, at certain times, where based off previous experience you know they 鈥檙 e going to have it! There is one water I used to fish down in Kent which I only fished perhaps once a year, but when I did, I knew they really liked my bait. As my sessions were usually three or four nights, I 鈥檇 really pile it in at the start, with several kilos going in one each spot just to start, then as soon as the fish started coming to the bank I 鈥檇 keep topping up with more two or three times a day. This venue formed the basis if some of my carp fishing articles on Anglers' Net: http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/carp-fishing-articles/ If it 鈥檚 a tricky water where takes are few and far between, I 鈥檒 l reign back on the freebait, and in some cases may just put one single hookbait out, especially in cold weather, so it 鈥檚 all about trying to read the water, the conditions and the pressure at the time of your session. As a final thought, you should also give a thought to what may have just occurred before you arrived 鈥?is it possible somebody has piled a load of bait into the swim before you arrived? I 鈥檝 e fished waters in the past that used to get hammered with bait, so I 鈥檇 often drop in and fish singles, or small stringers to pick up the fish whilst all around sat with silent buzzers. At the end of the day there 鈥檚 never one perfect amount, but there 鈥檚 often a perfect starting point. My advice would be to keep it light and build as the fish come to the bank. Julian Grattidge Julian Grattidge is a regular carp fishing contributor to http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/. He lives in Staffordshire, UK, and although he fishes mainly for carp, also enjoys most freshwater fishing. Julian is also a major contributor to http://www.carpfishingsecrets.com/, where his no-nonsense approach to carp fishing goes down well with newcomers and seasoned carp anglers alike.