Watercraft and Feature Finding !
Watercraft and Feature Finding !
The most important (in my opinion) part of consistently catching big
carp is watercraft.
What is it you might ask ? Well you cant buy it! You have to learn it.
Getting to know the waters you fish is part of watercraft , you might see
some person who always catches the lions share of fish. Don't look at him
and think lucky person (or whatever ?!!?) . For if he is lucky he
will have to wait a long time for more luck.
Chances are this person has experience of the water. You might
ask yourself what advantage this person has over you ? After all
you are both casting a line into the water so you "must"
have an equal chance??????
The thing to remember in any given lake or river the fish are
NOT evenly spread throughout .
If you have ever looked in a fish aquarium you will see that
if there is any kind of feature , the fish will stay close
because they will feel safe .
Some features like fallen trees are obvious places to fish and
well worth a look but these places often become "fished-out"
due to fishing pressure .
Out in a lake there are hundreds of "features " where the
fish feel safe .
There are not many lakes or rivers that have a perfectly
uniform bottom or bank side.
So without using diving apparatus how do we look for these
The Plumbing Rod
Before i fish anywhere I always plumb the depth.
What do i mean by this?
I have a spare rod set with a 2-3 oz lead (sinker) attached to the
line by a free running barrel swivel .
I then put a bead on the line . At the end of the line i tie a
large buoyant float (bobber)
The lead is free running on the line until it comes to the end
where the bead and float is . (Click here for picture)
Therefore when i cast this out i wind in until i feel the float
hit the lead on the bottom.
So keeping a fairly tight line , i let out the line a foot at a time,
counting until the float comes up.
For every foot of line you let off the reel , the float will rise
a foot , so its just a simple case of keeping count of the feet .
On my plumbing rod i have a piece of tape near the first eye
which measures exactly one foot.
So its just a simple case of loosening the clutch and pulling off
the line to the tape .
If you have this set up correctly it is accurate to at least three
inches (if not more)
Features and Depth
The depth of water you are fishing in is very important. Fish will be at
various depths according to weather conditions.
By gaining experience you will be able to "follow" the fish as conditions
change , therefore making consistent catches .
The plumbing rod can tell you of sharp changes of depth out
in the lake.
Normally when gravel is extracted from lakes , the method used creates
long strips of gravel which are like banked seating at a football
These are called gravel bars . These are excellent places to fish as not
only do the fish feel safe but food tends to collect at the bottom of
The fish tend to use these bars to travel around a lake in the same way
we follow a motorway (interstate) .
Most of the time these bar`s are invisible (being underwater)
By finding the change in depth you are well on your way to finding
a "HOT SPOT" all of your own.
Then other people might start calling you lucky!
But you will know better!
The Bottom texture
The depth is not the only important thing the plumb rod can tell
With experience you tell what sort of bottom you are fishing in.
How is that important you might ask.
Well carp just like humans have favorite places to eat.
Sometimes the softer (silty) bottoms contain all sorts of goodies
for the fish to eat .
The technique of feeling along the bottom with rod and line is something
where practice is needed.
You have to use a heavy lead (sinker) of at least 2oz so keeping
a tight line between rod and lead.
You cast out the lead and pull it along the bottom with the rod at
right angles to the water.
You can "feel" the lead through the rod .
When you are over gravel , the tip will ping and stutter as if you
are dragging it over a jagged rock (which you are)
You will find the lead has lots of marks in it , this is a sure
sign of a gravel bottom.
Where as with a soft bottom the lead would have sunk in so takes a bit
of effort to get it out but you can feel its like pulling the lead
through sludge (which it is)
With a sandy type bottom you will find it will be harder than the silty
bottom so the lead wont sink in so far .
You will find it a smooth steady pull with a consistent resistance.
When fishing waters with lots of weed in them it pays to try and find
clear areas near the weed as there is a good chance(if they are the same
depth as the weed) that they are kept clear by moving and feeding fish .
I had one of my best catches ever by finding a small clear area next
to lots of weed .
Knowing the bottom also lets you plan what size of hook lengths
to use. I wouldn't feel very confident fishing short hook lengths
in a deep soft bottom like silt.
Feature Finding Conclusions
The plumbing rod is a useful tool to add to you armory of weapons.
It can tell you so much about the bottom (topography) of the water you are
Fish dong feed all the time but to learn more about the waters you fish
and consistently get your baits to where the fish are can only
improve your catch rate .
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