Are Bait Boats Cheating? - Why Use a Bait Boat?

Should bait boats be considered cheating? This one can and has started an endless debate across the whole of the carp angling fraternity.

As you may have guessed from the title, I am a massive fan of the bait boat and I will use my boat at any opportunity I get. The point of this article is to explain some of the reasons why I feel you may want to consider using a bait boat as well.

bait boat pic

The image above shows my own bait boat, theWaverunner Atom. It isn't a huge boat but will easily carry 1.5 kg of bait and my rig. It will also achieve a distance of 500 meters in good conditions. 

Before diving into my view on the use of bait boats, I'll get the main drawback of buying good bait boat out of way: it is going to set you back at least a few hundred quid! For many the job they do isn't worth that money, which is fine.

Bait boats are definitely considered a "luxury" for your angling but, love 'em or hate 'em, they are here and here to stay. A number of carp fisheries do not allow them to be used but an equal number now do.

If used correctly, safely and considerately, the bait boat can prove a deadly piece of equipment in a carp angler's arsenal when it comes to catching carp.

Unfortunately, there are some anglers who cannot seem to grasp the concept of proper and considered use of a bait boat so it is clear to see why some anglers become annoyed by them.

As stated above, if used in a safe manner they can prove to be very effective. A big argument from many anglers is that the boats are a form of cheating and take away from an authentic angling experience.

I can empathise with that argument to a degree, which is why I use mine by one golden rule: I will never put my boat where I could not cast to.

For example, around the back of an island or some well-overhanging trees or bang in the middle of a heavy snag.

I feel the boats should be used as a means of getting a lot of bait into your swim efficiently and with minimal disturbance.

They can also deliver your bait and hook bait at the same time, meaning your hook bait will sit right in the middle of the free offerings. So, when Mr carp is on the feed, there's a better chance he will pick up your bait.

Many anglers see the bait boat as a nuisance and often accuse users of relying on a bait boat since they cannot cast properly or accurately. I for one spent decades casting a line before bait boats cam about and can cast as well as any other carper I have met on the bank.

I often still do cast my bait out.

In my opinion, bait boats are like many things in this world: a technological advancement there purely to improve upon what is already available. They aren't meant to completely replace the need for casting.

When you frame the argument for using bait boats in this manner, I’m not really sure why some people remain so against them. Perhaps it is because they truly are old school or maybe, as a lot of boat users will say, it is indeed a hint of envy.

All I know is that I go fishing to catch carp and if a bait boat can aid in that without harming the carp or other anglers, then I am all for it. However, I am still happy to fish at waters where boats are banned so I have to and do quite enjoy casting still.

With all that being said, the use of bait boats is obviously a "yes" from me. Do you agree? What are your thoughts on their use? Let me know in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Are Bait Boats Cheating? – Why Use a Bait Boat?”

  1. Hello,

    I live in Milton Keynes and bait boats are banned. I want to buy one. Do you know of any waters near me that they are allowed?
    Kind Regards,

    • Hi Greg. Thanks for commenting, I apologise for the delayed reply. Unfortunately, I have never fished the area and know nothing about any fisheries around Milton Keynes so I’m not going to be able to help you out there.

      Your best option would be a quick Google search for some UK carp fishery directories, look for some waters in your area and give them a call or email to ask.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of any assistance. I hope you’re able to find somewhere that allows bait boats near you.

      All the best,

      Lee @CarpBase

  2. I have been using bait boats for the last 20 years, never encroached on any other Angler’s space or upset any other person fishing.
    Bait boats, cheating, I don’t think so.
    I honestly believe with the majority against the boats is jealousy. Just like cars, people that don’t like expensive cars are normally just jealous and convince themselves not like them, because they can’t afford them.
    Carp fishing today can be very expensive and you buy what you can afford, unfortunately that’s life. Bait boats are probably one of the most expensive bit of kit out there and if you can afford one, then buy it, there’s nothing wrong enjoying its use, and if there’s some sort of advantage, so what.
    You can buy the best rods and reels available, that can be an advantage over cheaper ones !
    I paid £6000.00 for my boat, don’t regret 1 penny of it and every time I use it, I smile and think lucky sod.


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