Carp Fishig Tactics:        Here you will find some information on Various carp fishing tactics.  I use this to the best of my abilities and find that I do catch my fair share of carp. It won’t be too long until I get amongst the bigger fish at my lake.

Tactics Introduction

Let me start by saying that there are a couple of well known sayings in carp fishing and that is to “first find your fish” or “location, location, location”.  This is quite important to me now more than previously as my new lake I am fishing is quite difficult and tactics have to be spot on as I am finding out.  Its no good having the best bait and best rigs in the world out in the lake if you are in the wrong place to start with. I would much rather be in the right place having located carp, even if my rig or bait may not be 100%.
At least there is a chance of a pick up!!
Many carp anglers upon arrival at a lake choose the swim that may be the most convenient or the most comfortable, they set the rods up in a hurry and chuck out their bait into the middle of the lake and  hope for lady luck to do her bit. The most important things to consider when you go fishing for carp are location of fish, have a good quality bait, good tactics and have effective rigs. These are the basics I try to implement when I go carp fishing.

Watercraft
 
One of most important parts of consistently catching big carp is watercraft.  But what is watercraft you may ask?  It is the learning and the understanding of the lake you are fishing with regards to what the lake bed is like, carp holding areas, patrol routes, feeding areas, depth of water etc.

Being able to visualise what’s out in front of you gives you the ability to target the best areas to set your traps catch carp. Imagine taking the water out, the bottom would have all manner of depths and textures, some of these locations are loved by feeding carp while others are avoided or un-accessible for such a large fish.
Using the techniques explained in the feature finding section below you can explore the your water and build up a visualisation of what is beneath the surface. This can take time but is worth it in the long run. The more you can learn about your water the more success you will have.
Spending time on watercraft can give you a better chance of success on your chosen water. Without putting in this time your efforts on the bank may be wasted. Good watercraft = Knowledge = Carp.

Feature finding

First of all the feature find you will need a rod capable of casting a lead of up to 4oz. There are rods specially designed for this which are strong in the butt and very sensitive at the tip, these are called marker rods and are available for all budgets.  You will need a reel spooled up with marker braid. This will give you a more positive indication as apposed to mono line which stretches and will lose you precious indication. The heavier the lead the better it will hold the bottom. You will also need a marker float. This is a basic set up and is fitted together like so.
Thread the braid/mono through the swivel on the lead. Add a couple of rubber beads as these will act as a shock absorbers and give you a little distance between the float and lead which will help to avoid tangles. Next attach your marker float.
Simple!!  Now you’re ready to feature find.

To start with cast out in front of you and tighten down to the lead. Once you have felt the lead you can slacken the clutch and let out a bit of line one foot at a time. This will give you your initial depth.  Once you have recorded the depth wind down and pull the rod upwards or to the side bringing the lead back to you.  The action of the tip at this point may indicate the lake bottom. Some indications will be like a tapping of the tip, this could mean you have pulled over a hard area or some gravel.  Wind down to the lead again and repeat the process of finding the depth.  Less than your previous depth will indicate the lake bed swallowing towards you and more depth means its obviously deeper. Should you find the lead needs a bit of effort to move after you have cast in this may indicate deep silt areas. 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. A smooth indication when pulled towards yourself may indicate soft silt or sandy areas (easy come so to speak). Should you encounter the rod bending over a lot then springing back you could be pulling through a weedy area.  These are the basic rules of thumb. So now you get the picture. I would repeat this process all across the swim casting at markers such as tall trees on the far margin and making a note on a map of the lake the depths and any varying features. These could be bars or gullies depending on what you have found in your swim. 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 that they are kept clear by moving and feeding fish.
I will be adding a picture of my new lake here in the future so you can see all the work I have done with my own marker rod.

The marker rod probably the best tool in your armoury and with practice it can tell you so much about the topography of the water you are fishing. Do not overlook the importance of watercraft and feature finding as this will definitely put more carp on the bank and improve your catch rate.