Improve your Carp Feature Finding

If you're able to locate the spots on your lake where the carp are most likely to be, you will obviously stand a much better chance at catching. An excellent way to seek out the likely locations of the carp is to look for features in the lake that they are likely to hiding in or around.

This article will give you some tips and ideas to help your carp feature finding efforts and increase your chances of landing more carp wherever you're fishing.

carp feature finding

At times, carp will feed religiously in the same areas. Often areas where they might feel safe or where they have found food in the past as they know there could well be food available there again.

We call these areas features and some can be seen by eye, whereas others require more specialised methods of finding them. Below, I'll cover both the simple to spot surface features to look for as well as how to find features below the surface.

Lake Surface Features

The first and most simple features to look for are the ones that are visible above the water line.


One of the most obvious features in nearly all lakes is an island.

Carp absolutely love to swim tight to and patrol and island in search of a meal so it is always a safe bet to place a bait tight to or just short of an island, i have had many a fish fishing tight to an island.

Lily Pads

Another good visible feature is a good old bed of lily pads; easily seen in the warmer months when the leaves and flowers float unmistakably on the surface.

Placing a bait close to the lilies is a great place to fish.

Be sure to fish well locked up as it will be a hit and hold when a fish takes your bait since he will most definitely make a bid for freedom straight into the pads.

Reed Beds

Again, another easily identifiable feature where fish will patrol in search of some of the natural food they hold A well presented bait along with a few free offerings could just tempt Mr carp to slip up.


Some snags are easily seen from the bank-side. These could be a fallen tree or partially visible bush: an ideal place for a fish to be laying up.

When snag fishing, fish just off the snag to try and temp the fish out. Similarly to fishing against lily pads, if a fish picks up your bait I can personally guarantee he will want to steam straight back into the snags. If he makes it, it’s a lost fish and more than likely some tackle.

Underwater Lake Features

These underwater feature are probably the more popular option for anglers to look out for but it does require a bit of work to find them. We would class a feature as anything on the lake bed that is different than the majority of the lake.

Common underwater features you might find in a carp lake are the following:

  • Gravel bars
  • Silt
  • Plateaus
  • Clear areas in weedy lake beds

How to Find Underwater Carp Features

This is where your marker float and feature finding lead come into play. Below, is a picture of my marker set up: a good long highly visual float a heavy knobbley lead, a decent sized strong reel with braided line and a rod of around 3lb test curve with a nice sensitive tip.

Marker Float Set Up

Point to note: the reason I use a braided mainline is because it has almost zero stretch and will send better signals down to the rod tip to allow you to feel the features easier.

The graphic below shows a basic set up of a marker float.

Marker float graphic

Original Image from

Once your set up and ready to find some features, it's a matter of casting out and going through these steps:

  1. wind down to the lead with your rod down held low to your side.

  2. pull the lead back towards you while holding your rod blank and feeling for the vibrations and signals that come back from the lead down the braid to your rod tip.

How to know which features you have found:

If you get a feel of a constant bumpy knocking or juddering then its a sign you have probably found some gravel.

If when pulling the lead back it appears to keep getting snagged up then freeing itself its a good chance you are in weed, you will also know when you get the lead back as there will more than likely be weed on the lead.

If you pull back on the lead and it appears plugged or slightly stuck then frees itself and on the retrieve you feel a smooth gliding sensation then this could well be silt.

As with weed when you get the lead back especially on a textured lead there will be some deposits of silt on the lead.

Now you have an idea of features and how to find and determine them, you may also want to know what depths you are fishing in. This will help you find plateaus and shelves in the lake, which could be areas to find carp.

It is also worth noting that during colder months, fish will sometimes head for deeper water where it is slightly warmer.

How to Find the Lake Depth When Carp Fishing

Checking the depth of the lake is a relatively simple process:

  1. Cast out and wind down to your lead.
  2. Mark 12” from the roller on your bail arm to a point on your rod going toward the tip.
  3. Pay out the line from your roller to your 12” mark counting how many times you do it until you see the tip of your marker float in the water.
  4. When the float pops up if you have moved from your roller to your 12" mark 9 times, you are fishing in 9 feet of water.

What you are looking for are areas of water that are noticeably deeper than others. Sudden variations in depth can be good places to put a bait as this could indicate large scrapes in the lake bed, holes or drop offs and plateaus places where fish could often patrol.

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