Watercraft is without doubt the most important aspect in catching carp; if there isn’t a carp in front of you then you won’t catch (obviously). There are a number of different factors when deciding what swim to fish and this is where good watercraft skills come in to play.
Wind is one factor that needs to be looked at as it can push fish into/out of certain areas. A SW win is a warm wind and a favorite for many anglers; this is a wind you want pushing into your swim. A NE wind is the opposite and is a cold wind, this type you want to be on the back off usually. It is worth noting that this isn’t a hard and fast rule and does vary from lake to lake.
Bubbles are a tell tell sign that a fish is in the area and it is feeding. On a flat calm morning if you look closely you can regularly see patches of bubbles rising and fizzing, this is a fish feeding (the jackpot as not only have you found fish; but they are feeding!).
A factor not a lot of people pay attention to is murky water, especially on lakes with a silty lake bed. When carp feed they can stir up the lake bottom and cause the water to cloud up and cause bits of debris to float around the area. There has been quite a few times when I’ve been walking around the lake and at the last moment spotted how cloudy the water was on a particular area, on closer inspection I could then see the carp feeding. If the water is clouded up it usually means they are on a big feed, I had my best ever session when I approached the water and saw the state of it, I just knew I was going to catch.
An obvious factor is carp jumping; this is the easiest and most useful for finding the carps location. Showing carp means you don’t necessarily have to walk around climbing trees and on your hands and knees. Even if you are at one end of the lake you should be able to spot carp jumping at the other end, letting you know to change swims.
A vital piece of equipment needed to track down your quarry is a pair of polarized sunglasses. These glasses allow you to see through the water and not just get a reflection off of it. With the sunglasses you can simply see fish you wouldn’t be able to see if you didn’t have them.
Gaining a vantage point can be a big help indeed. Climbing trees allow you to see big areas of the lake and get a better view of what is out there. Coupled with a pair of polarized sunglasses you will be surprised at the number of fish you will find just under your feet!
Finally never underestimate the wonders of Google earth. Watercraft can be done before you even step foot on the lake, a quick look at a satellite image can reveal a lot about the lake. It allows you to see the whole lake from above so it can give you an idea of areas carp are likely to hold in or pass through. What is really helpful is that the images actually show the lakes features; on clear water you should see gravel bars, weed beds and different depths.
Hopefully this article has been useful and will help you track down your quarry. Thanks for reading.