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December 2, 2007

HOW TO: Feature find with a marker float

No two lakes are the same, indeed no two swims are the same. When we look at the lake we are intending to fish, all we can see is a flat sheet of water. Without knowing what we are about to cast into how can we understand what rig will be most effective for the conditions we are placing our rigs into? The best method of feature finding is with a marker float, braid and a dedicated rod that has been specially designed for the task.

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...or continue reading below for more in-depth information.

The marker rod should be able to cast as far as your normal carp rods can cast. There is no point in skimping on this as you will not be able to feature find at your full casting range.

I use a Greys Marker rod which is a 12' rod with a 2.75lb test curve. This rod is designed specifically for use as a marker rod and has 6" and 12" marked graduations above the reel seat to allow accurate depth measurement.

Greys 12' Marker rod, specially designed for the task

Graduations of 6" and 12" allows accurate depth measurement

A large spooled Shimano Bigpit reel is filled with low diameter non-stretch, floating braid (Whiplash Pro) in 30lb breaking strain. At 30lb breaking strain the braid has the same diameter as 5lb mono which makes it easy to cast.

The braid having no stretch will allow you to feel the nature of the lake bottom, be that the "rattle" of a pebbles or the smooth drag of silt, the braid will transmit everything through to the tip of your rod.

Shimano Bigpit reel filled with low diameter non-stretch, floating braid

The spool must not be filled to the lip (as you would with mono) and should always be wetted before casting to minimize wind knots

There are leads available on the market that are specifically designed for the purpose of feature finding. However, as long as the lead is heavy enough to cast to the range you are fishing to most leads will work.

Grubber lead from Wychwood - specially designed for feature finding

A whole range of floats are available to cover most eventualities:
- Close up work
- Extreme range
- Weed
- Difficult light conditions

The float needs to be buoyant enough to pull the braid through the rig ring and rise to the surface, whilst not being too big so that it impairs the cast

The Setup
The lead is attached to a 12" stand off boom which comprises a quick connector at one end which the lead connects to a large eye ring at the other.

We have a stand-off boom to prevent weed from blocking the running eye. The eye allows the line to pass freely through and connect to the marker float.

How do you use a marker float?
Once you have set up your marker-float its time to explore your swim. If you're searching for a known feature then choose a point of reference on the far side of your swim or horizon, like a tree, pylon or church spire. If you don't have any prior knowledge of your swim then fan out your casts in an arc to eventually cover the whole swim, making note of a point of reference for each cast.

Cast out your marker-float, overhead style, beyond where you think the underwater feature is by aiming for your chosen point of reference

Once the lead hits the surface of the water quickly flick over the bail-arm and wind up any slack so that you're in direct contact with the lead and marker-float. Keeping the rod tip high, let the rod gently lower as the lead pulls the tip down. Feel the lead and marker-float dropping through the water, this is where a braid shock-leader and main-line is advisable.

What can you feel?
When the lead touches down on the lake bed you'll feel the vibrations traveling up the braid and down the rod to your hand. Mono has too much stretch which suppresses the vibrations.

The feel of the touch-down depends on what the lake bed consists of in that place. For example, if you feel a ‘knock’ then you’ve probably found gravel. If you feel a firm ‘thud’ then you’ve found clay. If you feel a soft ‘thud’ then you’ve found silt. If you feel the lead gently coming to rest on the lake bed without a ‘thud’ then you’ve found weed.

Lead retrieval
Once the lead has touched down you then turn side-on to the water, pointing the rod at 90 degrees to the marker-float and tightening up.

By using the rod only, pull the lead and marker-float along the lake bed about 3 yards at a time

The feelings/vibrations that come up from the lead will give you an indication of what the lakebed consists of. For example, if you feel a constant knock, knock, knock, then you’re pulling the lead across gravel and the rod tip will bounce quite violently. If it feels like the lead is ‘sticking and skipping’ across the lakebed, then you’re pulling the lead across clay. If it feels like the lead is being pulled through ‘porridge’, then you’re pulling the lead through silt.

If the lead starts to snag up and gets harder and harder to pull along, then you’re in weed; you can actually feel the strands of weed snapping as you do this. When you’ve found say gravel, you can then explore how long or wide it is by casting past it or either side of it using your points of reference on the far bank or horizon and by using a marker on your line.

When you have found a feature you like the feel of, stop winding. Holding the rod at 90 degrees to the marker-float, loosen the clutch and pull line from the spool 12” at a time whilst watching for the float to surface.

When you see the float, make a note of the depth

Continue this process until you have a good idea of the underwater features you have in front of you. Log these features and depths in a book so that you can quickly fish to these features in future sessions.

Marking the range

Tieing a marker knot with pole elastic

Pole elastic marker knot now in position, slides freely through the eyes

Knot lays neatly onto the spool and does not impair the cast

Master these simple techniques to ensure you get the best from your swim. With this knowledge you can ensure your rig is right for the type of lake bed and your bait is placed in the optimum position to ambush those hungry carp.

Tight lines!

HOW TO: Feature find with a marker float



At January 25, 2013 at 6:18 AM , Blogger city said...

thanks for share.


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