Hi Team,

Carpworld - - CYGNET COMPETITION - Andy

I started fish­ing last year and af­ter read­ing a few mag­a­zines and speak­ing to a few peo­ple, I’m still a bit con­fused. Be­fore you start fish­ing I have read you need to search out gravel patches to place your rig and loose feed on, but if you’re float fish­ing this isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the case. All you need to do then, is plumb the depth and try and as­cer­tain the depth. Why is it more im­por­tant there­fore to find gravel when fish­ing on the bot­tom?

Many thanks,

Sean Mc­cready


Hi Sean,

Thanks for the ques­tion – to be hon­est both are im­por­tant. So, you are do­ing right by look­ing for vari­a­tions in depth and search­ing out those all im­por­tant dif­fer­ences and fea­tures. To take it a step fur­ther would be find­ing those clear, gravel patches... most of the time (I’ll come back to that later).

On all lakes and rivers, there will be ar­eas that all fish will visit reg­u­larly. These will be hold­ing ar­eas of nat­u­ral food, whether it be blood­worm, mus­sels, snails, etc. Over time these may get cleared down to the gravel. These ar­eas may be quite small, where the fish have dug down. So this would in­di­cate a nat­u­ral feed­ing spot, well worth try­ing out. The other clear ar­eas that can be cre­ated over time are where an­glers’ baits have been put in over many years. The fish will also be used to vis­it­ing these as well. So, as well as find­ing the depth, it’s worth tak­ing some time to try and find these spots by hav­ing a cast around with a lead only. When draw­ing the lead back, you will al­ways feel a tap-tap­ping as you draw the lead over clean gravel. Try it in the mar­gins where you can see a clear patch – it’s to­tally dif­fer­ent to pulling across mud, sand or silt. If you use braid with the lead, it will feel much more pro­nounced. Many an­glers will use braid on their marker rod for this pur­pose. Pre­sent­ing bait on such a spot, the carp should find the bait eas­ier, and it may well be the first place they visit in an area. As well as find­ing this gravel spot, try and iden­tify its size and shape, this will help when you are bait­ing up and also with re­gard to the place­ment of hook­baits. For ex­am­ple, do you want your hook­bait in the mid­dle of the clear­ing or on the edge of the clear­ing? There is a well proven the­ory that big­ger carp will al­ways have a mooch around the out­side of these as op­posed to div­ing in straight away.

Now to my sec­ond point. Over time, fish can stay away from these ar­eas and stop vis­it­ing them in favour of other ar­eas for a num­ber of rea­sons – whether it be the lack of any food present, or be­ing caught their too reg­u­larly, and con­se­quently shy­ing away. That’s why it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand the wa­ter you are fish­ing in more depth (par­don the pun). On some lakes I fish, I look for those grav­elly ar­eas that the carp visit reg­u­larly as they search for food – a bit of un­der­stand­ing on what the carp are feed­ing on in a wa­ter will help too. In other parts the gravel is bar­ren and the carp may pre­fer to search for siltier ar­eas just away from those grav­elly patches, or at the bot­tom of a bar or drop-offs. These are nat­u­ral col­lect­ing ar­eas for an abun­dance of food items and bait as well. I guess that’s for an­other day though. Hope this helps.


£250 W IN N IN G Q U E S T IO N Are you this month’s Con­tact win­ner? ask­the­ex­perts@main­line-baits.com Jon at to claim your prize A nice com­mon taken by look­ing for a gravel patch, where they were search­ing for nat­u­ral food

A tor­pedo-shaped river carp, taken from fish­ing a silty area at the back of the gravel

This is what the carp are feed­ing on amongst the gravel

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