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Jack and Terry

The Key to unlocking a lake?

With the full lockdown still in place and it being here to stay for some time, fishing is still only permitted in your local council’s district. With that in mind last weekend I visited a lake in my local council that I have never visited before. The weather had picked up from the recent weeks so it was looking good for a bite, however sadly this never happened for myself and ended in a big old muddy blank. 

So, that leads me nicely to today’s blog, with no fish to show for my efforts this blog will outline a few areas that can really help you in your fishing, be it Carp or any other species, these next few tips can swing the scales in your favour. 

With a lot of the current Carp fishing vlogs and videos on the internet the thing all the top anglers touch upon is Watercraft. However, some of them push this word upon you but never really help any beginners into understanding exactly what ‘Watercraft’ means. In this blog I’m going to touch on a few key points that full under the label ‘Watercraft’ and can hopefully help anyone who is not 100% sure to get a bit more of an insight. 

1. Weather 

The weather plays a huge part into many peoples fishing conditions, this will make a big impact in where the fish may be and help you identify that. For instances the wind, the wind can play a huge part in where to locate carp. Carp tend to follow the wind due to it blowing the surface water in one direction meaning the water beneath this moves in the opposite direction, carp will tend to swim into the flow of water which means following the direction the wind is blowing into. Most of if not all-weather apps will show you the strength of wind, personally any wind blowing around 13mph plus I would consider a strong wind and will consider this when going to the lake. 

The next massive factor when considering the weather is Pressure, myself and Jack have only recently in the last year or so started to understand how much of a difference the pressure makes and how to read it effectively. In basic terms we have come to understand anything below 1000 is consider low and anything above 1000 is high. 

The way pressure can really impact your fishing in basic terms is the higher the air pressure, the higher the carp will tend to sit in the water. When below 1000 this lends itself perfectly to fish on the bottom of the lake using whichever methods you like, whereas above 1000 would really lend itself to Zig fishing at different depths and also floater fishing/surface fishing where permitted. Surface fishing is one of mine and Jacks favourite types of fishing for Carp as you can see the Carp approach and take your chosen hookbait, this is awesome fun and I highly recommend it where possible! 

Obviously, all of the above information doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t catch on other methods when the weather indicates otherwise, but if you take the above into consideration it could really help you land that extra fish you may not have had. 

Personally, me and Jack use an app called XCWeather for our up-to-date weather as its easily accessible and shows all the information needed. 

Jack caught this awesome 23lb mirror carp from the surface, whilst fishing in weather conditions that promoted this type of fishing.
XC weather app showing the direction of wind, strength and also the air pressure.

2. Signs of Fish 

So, this may sound obvious but I’m going to touch on a couple of things that could help you spot fish and or give you a clue where they may be held up.  

Carp jumping/rolling, now again this may sound obvious but you will only see this if you’re watching the water and paying attention to your surroundings, this obviously shows where at least a few carp are held up and I will ALWAYS stick a rod onto a showing carp if its reachable from my swim if I have already settled for a swim, if I haven’t already settled, I will check if any swims are available around the showing fish and go straight for it. 

Next up is bubbling/clouding of water. Both these things indicate a fish is feeding in that area and should never be ignored, bubbling is the oxygen the fish is releasing by rooting around on the bottom looking for food and this goes hand in hand with cloudy water, obviously whilst rooting amongst the lake bed any mud/clay/silt/weed will be disturbed and cause the water to cloud/colour. 

Lastly a giveaway sign is any branches/reeds moving. Especially if there is no wind this can be a big giveaway to where fish are patrolling and could be a helping hand in the shy fish giving themselves away. 

I caught this fish on a day trip with my dad when no other fish were caught on the lake that day, this was a few minutes after casting to a showing fish down my near margin, BONUS!

3. Lake Features 

This one is more about your understanding of the lake you are fishing. Obviously, this differs from lake to lake but the principles will tend to stay the same. Islands are always a good spot to aim for as this is a beacon to most carp and most anglers, Islands can break the wind travelling across the lake and provide some sort of shelter for the fish.  

Going hand in hand with Islands is the margins, myself and Jack will 99% of the time have a rod down in the margin, so many people neglect their margins and to me this is a huge opportunity for me to grab that fish that most will miss. Most anglers at the end of the day will discard of their bait in the margin before going home, this soon becomes a beacon for the fish to learn that they can eat quite freely on discarded bait and not get caught as there are no hooks amongst it all. The margins are also a patrol route for many fish to travel around the lake, in conjunction to this a lot of lakes margins actually undercut the bank you are fishing from and the fish will hide right underneath your feet, putting a bait Infront of them can entice them to come out and feed under what they presume to be safety. 

Next up is snags, I personally wouldn’t recommend fishing towards snags until you are very comfortable in your own ability as this can cause harm to fish unless handled properly. Snags are a beacon for carp, as stated before with the undercut on most lakes the fish feel safe amongst the snags as they can be unfishable, if you do choose to fish up to snags you MUST have a tight clutch so the fish can’t just run straight into the snags and get caught up, no one wants a fish to get snagged up and possibly harm the fish. With having a tight clutch, if you are snag fishing, I personally would be basically sitting on top of my rods to ensure I am straight in contact with the fish as soon as I get an indication so I can steer the carp away from snags and potential danger. 

Jack caught this pristine 27lb common by fishing down to his right hand margin underneath a boat the bailiff uses to clear the lake of weed in the summer, sometimes the carp hide there for cover, great Watercraft from Jack, using the features and margins to his advantage.

So, they are the main points to touch on when applying ‘Watercraft’ when fishing. Always check the weather days leading up to your session, this can help you plan your tactics in advance and give you that advantage. Signs of fish, I would recommend doing a lap of the lake if possible when arriving or just standing in a single swim for a period of time just watching the water, see if any fish can give themselves up and help you make your decision where to fish a little easier. Lastly features, keep all these features in mind if no fish make themselves visible and these could grab you that bonus fish. Keeping all this in mind can honestly turn your day from a blank into a bounty of fish, there is no point just settling for any random swim for the sake of it, the idea for all of us is when we go fishing, we go to catch fish, so why not tip that into your advantage with a few simple things. 

As always, 

Tight Lines & Wet Nets, 

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