Watercraft is the ability to think like carp, predict their movements, habits, likes and dislikes. To be able to blend in with the environment and become one with it. What follows are some tips to help you develop your watercraft. So you have purchased your permit to fish a new carp lake, what's next? What I would normally do is spend some time researching the venue and the carp within it. From large to small waters the same approach has worked for me time and again. Make a few trips in advance, not to fish, just to observe and tune in to the environment. Try to learn the habits of the fish. Polarised sunglasses are a key item to carry. They help to eliminate surface glare and help you to see through the water.

Carp and the wind


On large gravel pits, carp will nearly always follow a big wind, especially a new wind blowing from the southwest. South-Westerly winds are by far the best winds because they are the warmest. Carp follow these new winds because they know natural food items will be carried by them. Locating the bank where the southerly wind blows is a tactic employed by most experienced carp anglers. In such conditions the carp will often be in the water lapped margins. Often they will be just a few feet from the edge, as the waves crash in. A SW wind will usually herald the approach of a low pressure front. Air Pressure plays a part in how all fish behave. Low pressure is characterised by cloud, rain and winds. High pressure is not good for carp fishing at all. Hot, sunny days will have a negative effect on catch rates. As the carp move around slowly enjoying the warmth of the sun they burn less energy, this in turn means they eat less

On small more intimate lakes carp will often ignore wind direction in favour of security and safety. On these small lakes stealth is important and on the first trips to observe the lake you will always see more by remaining quite and blending in to the lake and its surroundings. On such waters look for features like lily beds, reed beds and other interesting areas. Carp in these smaller lakes will often be a little more crafty and careful than there large water cousins. This is mainly due to there coming into contact with anglers and carp baits far more often. Carp rigs may need to be refined and adapted to take into account the careful feeding nature of these fish. When approaching any new venue I always study the margins as much of the time that is where I will fish. Even on large gravel pits the margins can still one of the best features. After the first initial visit you should have a few likely looking areas in mind. Taking a rod with you is a good idea. I avoid the usual plumbing set-up in favour of just a sensitive rod coupled with a 2 ounce lead. At this point I am interested in the feel and nature of the bottom. I will cast the lead and slowly draw it back feeling through the tip of the rod for anything unusual, such as smooth clay areas, gravel or weed. I will spend much time feeling the margins, again looking for gravel or hard clear spots in the edge or depth variations.