This month we gave you the opportunity to ask members of the academy your fishing questions. This month Wayne Mellor asked, “I have just got myself a marker rod and I’m struggling to find out what the bed of the lake is like. I can tell when it’s gravel but not much more. Are there any tips you could give me or is it just a case of practice makes perfect?”
Check out Matt, Darren and Ian’s response…
“I’m sure that the other members of the team are going to cover the feel of different lake beds so I’m going to concentrate on a couple of other tips for feature finding.
“The size and shape of the lead that you use will have an effect on how much feeling will be transmitted to your rod tip. The bigger the lead the more information will be relayed to you. Additionally a dumpier lead shape will reveal more about the lake bed than a more streamlined one. A big dumpy lead will, however, be more prone to catching up in weed and, in weedy situations, you’ll have to keep reeling in to clear it from the lead. A streamlined distance pattern can be popped out of the weed allowing you to carry on feeling the lake bed all the way back to the margins. It’s well worth attaching your lead via a clip so that you can change it easily to suit the area you are feature finding in.
“It is also a good idea to use a similar clip to attach the marker float. Markers have a tendency to dull the vibrations that are sent to the rod tip, create more surface disturbance and get stuck in weed, so I prefer to use a bare lead to feel around (3½ to 4oz). The marker is only necessary to measure the depth or provide a sight marker for casting and baiting to. Once something interesting has been located with the bare lead it is a simple matter of clipping the line into the reel’s spool clip, attaching the marker float and recasting in the same direction as before. It should land in the same spot and, once you’ve popped the float up to the surface you’ll have something to aim at.” Matt
“The first thing to do is make sure you have the correct equipment for the job. The Greys Marker Rods are specifically designed with a more sensitive tip to give an accurate reading of what the bottom is made up of. Braid is a must as unlike mono it doesn’t stretch, and I like to use a lead with a wire stem as I find this pronounces the feeling sent back down the rod.
“You say you can recognise gravel which is great. It is by far the easiest feature to find – the little taps on the rod tip, a dead give away. That leaves us with the silty areas. These are great areas to fish as they hold all of the Carps’ natural food, but you do get different types. When you cast, make sure you feel for the drop. The duller the thud when the lead lands, the thicker the silt. Slowly draw the lead back towards you, and the more resistance you feel, again the thicker the silt. Smell the lead; this will tell you what type of silt you have found. If it smells metallic, almost like iron, then its good fresh silt. If it makes you feel sick, then its not! Inspect the wire stem as you will often find bloodworm wrapped around it. The Carp go mad for bloodworm beds, so if you find one you have struck gold.
“The best tip I can give is to try and find a local water to you with fairly deep margins and clear water. Then you can see the different types of bottom you are likely to experience out in the pond, and you can run a marker set up over it to get an idea of what it feels like. Practice definitely does make perfect, and I see so few people using marker set ups these days that it will really give you an edge if you can master it.
“Hope this helps, good luck and tight lines.” Darren
“Try and use a really heavy 4 oz gripper lead and carefully take a modeling knife to it and remove all of the plastic coating to get the best possible feel as the lead hits the gravel. Always use a good quality braid that will stand the abuse you will give it feature finding.
“The feel of the lead as you pull back depends on what the lakebed consists of in that place, for example if you feel a ‘rattle ’ then you’ve found gravel, if you feel a firm ‘thud’ then you’ve found clay. If you feel a soft pull like pulling your finger through cold custard then you’ve found silt. “If you feel the lead gently building up pressure then locking up then you’ve found weed, in this instance you will also retrieve a fair amount of wed as well.
“Remember that the feel of the rod as the lead falls down an incline into a gully will be lighter this is very subtle but is easily read once learnt and likewise as you drag the lead up the side of a gully the lead will feel much heavier. These inclines are a very good ambushing point as food naturally gathers in these areas.
“Take your time and thoroughly search out your swim as time spent doing this will always pay you back well with extra fish on the bank.” Ian
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