Fishing open water can leave anglers unconfident. With what looks like no-features or cover for the carp - this could not be further from the truth! There is often a range of different lake beds, features and all sorts on a lake bed. To find these, you need to know how to feel the lead down, what different lake beds feel like when dragging the lead on the bottom and things to look for from the bank. This should help anglers unsure of this and put some food into thought.

How To Find Features With A Rod

For new anglers, this can be a bit confusing - however when you put it into practice it's very simple. When you arrive at a swim, grab a rod with a lead and cast it in some areas. When doing this, cast far but keep in your water. When casting be sure to feel the lead down so you know what the lake bed is like in the area you've casted. To do this bring the rod back as the lead hits the water then follow the rod down as the lead falls but maintain a tight line from the rod to the lead!

If the drop you get is hard then you're fishing on a hard spot - clay or gravel, if it's soft it's either low lying weed or silt. No drop at all means it's unpresentable to fish!

Once you've done this, when reeling the lead back drag the lead across the bottom. If you feel lots of small, aggressive taps then it's gravel you. If it's completely smooth then it's clay. If you feel small subtle taps then it's silt. If there's a small amount of resistance then it's either deep silt or low-lying weed. If you have to apply pressure to move the lead then it's weed.

Finding Spots From The Bank

The best way to do this is with a set of polaroids! When on a weedy lake, more often or not you can see clear spots glowing in between weeds. Climb a tree and have a look at the water from a higher angle, this will get you better vision of the lake bed. This isn't always possible with deeper lakes and silty lakes.

Doing this can also help you spot any potential snags in the water - meaning you know which areas you have to keep the fish away from!

Where To Fish On These Features

When fishing on a gravel bar, fishing on the edge of the gravel is a good way to fish. In my eyes slapping a rig right in the middle of a bigger spot of gravel seems blatant unless you fill it in with bait. You may catch a couple of fish fishing in the middle of gravel but fishing on the edge of gravel makes your bait a lot less blatant. This will make the fish feel more confident.

When fishing silt, you don't want to be fishing deep silt. This is usually silt which is super sticky and smelly. Silt which feels glassy and not sticky is the best to fish in. You can tell if your lead is sticky and smelly then it's deep silt.

When fishing in low-lying weed, ensure that you're getting a drop every time you cast so you know you're presented. If there's patches of low lying weed next to deeper weed fishing there is good. However with low-lying weed as long as you are presented you can't really go wrong.

Written By Rob Taylor