Simply put, this aspect of carp fishing is THE most vital aspect for us to get right. Sure we can get occasionally lucky by pitching up in a swim near the car park or one that has a nice view and a flat area for the bed, but placing all our hopes on convenience rather than actual fish location will leave us with a dry net all too often.

Watercraft is often whispered about as if it is some sort of ‘dark art’ or Jedi skill – it isn’t! All watercraft consists of is looking and listening to our surroundings and then reacting accordingly. Sounds simple? Well, it is but it does require effort and patience – the two elements that anglers who are often preoccupied on the quick route to success are not keen to put in.

The secret to successful carp fishing is not in a packet, in a box or on a DVD – it is inside YOU. You are the key to your fishing success and if you are willing to take time looking for and locating the fish then from that alone, your catch rate will soar, I promise you!

Get to the lake as early as you can; just before first light is best. Try and watch the lake from a single position (instead of long walks between swims where you can’t see anything through the trees) – one that allows you to see as much of the water as possible. Look for big, oily swirls, tips of heads and noses as carp slide silently out of the water. When it starts to get light, look for areas of fizzing as it is nearly always flat calm at dawn. Additionally, areas of large frothy bubbles trapped in the surface film can often betray a zone where the carp have been leaping and feeding earlier in the night. Nervous bird life is another good one and following the shrill alarm of a spooked coot has caught me many carp.


It is ALL about looking for signs and then positioning yourself accordingly. Your eyes are like a muscle – the more you exercise them, the stronger they get and the more you will start to notice. On many lakes, even well stocked ones, whole areas can be devoid of carp – it is imperative that you search out the areas of activity and then approach them accordingly.

The more you look, the more you see. The more you see, the more you know. The more you know, the more you will catch!
Good luck!