What is watercraft?
Often over looked but
absolutely essential on most waters. Watercraft breaks down into several
categories, each equally important.
For this technique you
will need a spare rod, with either a shop bought marker float, or a large float,
such as pike float.
First slide a heavy lead
on to your line, next a soft bead (to avoid knot damage) and finally tie the
float using a swivel.
Make sure that the set-up works by dropping it into the margins. You should be able to freely raise and lower the float, while the line is anchored to the bottom by the weight.
Cast the set-up into your
swim, just further than you intend to fish. Take up the slack line until you see
the float start to sink. Keep winding until you eventually feel the float stop
at the lead. Now point your rod at the spot were the float landed, taking up any
more slack on the way. Disengage the bait runner or drag and pull out 12"
(300mm) of line at a time until you see the float again. You can now estimate
the depth of water at that particular point.
Repeat this process in
several different places and build a mental picture of the depths you find. You
can even draw a map and record the depths for future reference. Using this
method will help you find raised gravel bars, plateaus, shelves, basins and
other features that carp visit to feed.
Determining the lake bed:
This technique is fairly
simple to learn. When you are set up ready to fish cast a few times without bait
into the swim that you are fishing, feather, (gently slow the line coming from
the spool with a finger) just before contact with the water. Now tighten up the
line until you feel the resistance of the lead. Raise the rod tip to about 45
degrees and slowly move the rod in an arc to your side, dragging the lead along
the bottom. When the rod is at a right angle to your line point it back at the
water, reel in slack and repeat process. You can also use your spare marker rod
to do this if you have one.
Silt or soft mud: Lead
takes a lot of force to move initially if in deep silt Lead glides along
smoothly like silk.
Gravel: Lead feels jerky,
bumps along and you can feel the rod tremble.
Weed: Lead feels very heavy or sometimes snags up.
Finding the Depth
Once you have cast the
marker out, you simply reel in the slack line, and then feed out the line one
foot at a time. Counting the depth as you go
After you have found the
various depths and features in your swim decide which you think will be the most
productive and leave the marker float out at that point. Fire out enough bait
for the conditions, making sure that they land near or around the marker,
depending on whether you are adopting a tight or loose feeding pattern.
Finally cast out your
baited rig to the marker. If you are not as close as you would like to be then
try again, make sure that you are satisfied with the cast and retrieve the
Repeat the process for any
second or third rod you are using.
While at the water's edge
take time to examine your surroundings, make mental notes of likely feeding
spots like islands, large over-hanging trees, snags and in-lets. These sort of
features account for a great deal of the carp's natural diet. Take time to
consider the insects, fruit, seeds and nuts that must fall in beneath and around
Don't be afraid to climb
the tallest tree around and spend a few hours peering into the waters below.
With a bird's eye view you can see fish moving around that you would never see
from the level of the bank. Try to find regular routes taken by fish around the
Lastly, but no less importantly, don't be afraid to talk to other anglers. Unfortunately, there are still some serious carp fishermen who are very secretive about their approach and results, but in my own experience most are only too happy to share their knowledge with you.
Unfortunately there is no
magical secret when it comes to catching carp. No single product that money can
buy will put carp on the bank every time, although some do help a lot. The real
"killer secret" is us.
We need to adopt a
different approach to other types of anglers. Take match fishing for example, it
is almost like a mathematical formula: Method + Bait + feeding pattern = fish.
But carp are not as obliging as all other freshwater species. If we adopted this
approach our carp would merely sneer at our efforts. Instead we need to put a
stealthier plan into action. We have to take the fight to the carp, not wait for
him to find us. If nobody else is catching, be different. Try not to follow what
others are doing, carp fishing does not work like that. I have tried all sorts
of methods, baits and rigs. They all catch on their day but not the next. We
have to ask ourselves why.
Be diverse, resourceful
and never give up.
Most importantly, be confident. If your bait isn't up to scratch don't use it. If that rig tends to tangle, strip it down and make a new one. If you are not happy with that cast, try again until you are. Confidence and the right approach will make you a killer, but you have to open your eyes and co-ordinate your attack with military precision. Good luck.