Feature Finding - Team Korda

Team Korda explain how to map out your venue, pick your spots, and then effectively present a bait over the top of them.

Feature finding is a very important part of carp fishing. The rigs that we use are dictated by the type of lakebed that we are fishing fished over, and the wrong rig in the right place can certainly cost us fish. Knowing how to actively look for spots using a marker rod, will certainly help to put more fish on the bank.
It is important that you have a marker rod that is kitted out with the right bits and pieces; a visual marker float, a large lead and braided main line are some of the most important bits of all.

You will need a marker float that you are able to see clearly, this is very important. The perfect spot might be a long way out and you will need a good sight marker to aim at when casting your rig. It is certainly worth having a few different coloured flights or marker floats at your disposal too. Certain flights are much easier to see than others, depending on the glare and colour of the water. The last thing you want is to find a spot and then become unable to see the float, which marks the area.

Having a reel spooled up with braid is an absolute necessity; using monofilament simply won’t cut it. Although braid is expensive, the difference between the two is huge and braid wins, hands down, every time. Because braid has no stretch in it whatsoever, everything the lead comes into contact with is registered through the braid and back to the rod tip. The stretch in a monofilament line will absorb a lot of the signals picked up by the lead, which means the angler misses them. Braid completely solves this problem – other than price, it’s a no brainer.

The large lead ensures that there is plenty of tension in the braid, between the rod and the lead itself. A small lead will skip over things and those all-important signals could go unregistered through the rod tip. You want to use a lead that is of a happy medium size, the three or four ounce Probe Leads are ideal. The Probe Leads are a lead designed specifically for marker work and will do the job perfectly.

Learning to feather your cast and feel the lead down through the water on a tight line will help massively too. This will allow you to feel your lead touch down onto the lakebed, giving you an accurate idea of what you’re fishing over. This can also be used to your advantage when casting the baited rig to the area.
Once you have the correct items of tackle, it’s time to start casting around your venue and exploring the lakebed. Here’s what you’re looking for:

Gravel - this is the easiest one to recognise with a marker float. Your lead will bang down as it touches the lakebed, sending back a positive CRACK, a sure sign that your lead has hit hard bottom. Your marker float setup will slide along the lakebed with relative ease, depending on the size of the stones, and whilst it does so it will send back vibrations. This is caused as the lead bounces along the gravel and in most situations it will feel like a gentle tapping sensation. In some cases the lead will even become misshapen or appear scratched. Gravel areas are ideal for placing bottom baits on, hard on the deck.

Clay - sometimes clay is very hard and will feel similar to gravel if it has been fed on regularly by the carp. Clay can also feel soft and smooth, which makes it a little harder to determine as you pull your lead along the bottom but the tell tale sign is to find bits of clay on your lead. This is where the use of textured lead can come into play as they will pick up clay with ease, where a smooth coated lead could see the clay fall off as you reel in. Just like with gravel, these areas are best suited to bottom baits.

Silt - this registers more like a gentle thud as the lead touches down on the lakebed. When pulling back with your float the lead will often feel plugged at first, depending on how deep the silt is. As you tighten up, your lead will unplug itself from the silt, which is a good way of determining exactly how deep it is. Once the lead is free and you begin to drag the lead along the bottom it will feel very smooth, sometimes like glass. This is a great place to put a rig during the colder months as it often provides warmth and natural food for the carp. Something to look out for when fishing in silt is the dirty-smelling, or rancid stuff. Smell your hook baits after retrieving the rigs from silt so that you can check their smell, if it has been contaminated by the silt and smells rotten then it’s not a good sign. When silt fishing you will sometimes find that you retrieve a rig with bloodworm on the hook, this is generally the sign of a good area. When fishing in silt, a pop-up is ideal but bottom baits will also work well.

Weed - it is easy to spot weed, such as Canadian Pond Weed because it grows up to the surface of the lake. The Blanket Weed or Silk Weed varieties are much harder to spot and in open water, unless you have the use of a boat, you cannot see them from the bank. The main give away will be to find the stuff clumped up around your lead after reeling in the marker float, again a coated lead will be ideal here. If there is blanket weed or silkweed present it will come back on your rigs too, as it clings to everything. This stuff holds loads of natural food for the carp and rig presented correctly in this stuff can be deadly. When actually using your marker rod in weedy situations you will feel a very faint drop or no drop from the lead at all - It will depend on the thickness of the weed. When you pull back your float it will probably lock up solid and you will reel in a massive ball of the stuff. A pop-up rig would be best suited here.
Now that you’re able to determine the different types of lakebed, you can use this to apply the right rigs to the right spots.

A little edge that will go a long way towards achieving continued success is to mark your lines. By using the line clip on your reel, some Marker Elastic and a pair of Cygnet Distance Sticks, you are able to log everything that you find. Once you have located the spot, simply pop the line in the clip, place the sticks in the ground, 12 feet apart, and then wrap the line around them until you hit the clip. Be sure to count the amount of wraps as you go, then note the distance in your phone or diary. With the distance now stored, mark the line using Marker Elastic and you’re ready to cast out. Reverting back to this data will serve you well and saves the need for continued marker work each trip.

Applying all of this to your fishing will see your catch rate improve dramatically; the spots are there to be found, you just have to find them.

Team Korda