KEV HEWITT attributes his success to finding the best spots to fish on the lake bed. Here is how he does it so consistently to catch big carp on a regular basis.
Work The Spot
Kev makes sure his middle rod is always the one catching the most fish. This ensures that he moves his rods to make this happen. This can often give him multiple bites off one spot.
A bare lead will often glide over low-lying weed. Once Kev finds an area of choice, he investigates it further with a breakaway lead. The prongs pick up the weed on the spot and give a real picture of what’s on the lake bed.
Tools Of The Trade – Kev starts all feature finding with a bare tournament style leade. Once he has found a smooth area he works it with the breakaway lead. If it is clear, he will cast around the spots to deduce the depth around the swim.
ACF: What is the process you go through when finding a spot.
KH: For me it’s about fishing areas where the fish are frequenting. Normally I have seen them showing in this area, so it makes sense to try and find a feeding area in their vicinity. I might build up a picture of where the fish spend their time the most over the course of several session and events to really dial in where I think I will most likely get bites from.
I start off with a normal tournament-style lead. This is the ideal tool when you want to keep resistance to a minimum to maximise feel. If the area is clogged with weed then I need to ensure that I can feel the subtlest areas. The bulk of a marker float will also catch up on the weed and make it harder for you to find a spot.
Two scenarios will emerge from your initial plumbing. Number one is the lake will be completely clear and you could present on most of the lake bed with no discernable features. At this point your bait becomes the feature, so it’s down to your accuracy with the bait to create a tight area in which to get bites from.
The second scenario is when there is an abundance of weed.
ACF: What do you do when there’s a lot of weed?
KH: I will always aim to find a clear spot, no matter how big or small. Sometimes it will take me just a few casts and others it will take me an hour, but once I have found a fishable area I can log it for all my future sessions.
ACF: So what’s the next step once you have found a spot with a bare lead?
KH: I switch to a breakaway lead. This shows you how clean the spot really is. A lot of the time you will think you have found a really nice clear spot with a bare lead, but you run over it with the breakaway lead and it will be not as clear as you first thought. This will involve another few exploratory casts with the bare lead to try and find something more suitable.
ACF: Does the spot have to be as clear as possible?
KH: I would rather it were completely clean yes, namely for rig presentation and baiting. You don’t want your bait hanging up in the weed away from your rigs. Sometimes it can’t be done, but a light covering is still fishable. If an area of light weed is my only option, then I will commit some bait to it in a bid to getting the fish to clear it for me.
ACF: Once you have found a spot you are happy to fish on, what do you do next?
KH: I will cast to its boundaries and see how far I can go left and right and how much further the spot extends back. I always note all of this down in my book for future reference. I then get the marker out and cast around area. I am looking to see the depth variation. It might be that the spot is only a rod length wide but with huge depth variations that would make it awkward to fish. I will measure the depth all the way along the spot to make sure I know exactly what I am fishing over. To my mind, an even-depth spot that is surrounded by weed but clear on the lake bed is perfect.
ACF: So even if the spot is half a rod length wide will you try and fit three rods in it?
KH: Yes. I will always fish the rigs together no matter how tight the spot is. It depends on the venue, but my aim is to fish three rods on the spot and put all my bait on the best spot possible, as opposed to putting a kilo of bait on three areas in one swim. I also prefer to have three rigs on one area to maximise my chance of a pick-up. If a rig tangles or gets picked up and spat out, I still have two other chances.
ACF: Do you find spots within the main spot that you will get more bites off.
KH: I have had sessions where the right-hand rod gets all the bites and you can’t seem to get the others rocking. I then put my left-hand rod to the right of the rod that is getting all the bites. I aim to have my middle rod getting the most bites. Quite often, a little re-jig of the rods will get you multiple bites from the area.
ACF: Do you have any instances of fish preferring to feed in a certain area on the spot?
KH: I found a gravel bar on Wraysbury from Peg 10. It was nice and clear and the fish were regularly in the area. I nicked a couple of bites from it, but was convinced that it could do more. I shot a feature with Rob Hughes, where he dives a spot after it has been baited to see how my spot-finding skills fared. I was fishing on the edge of the gravel where it met the silt. Rob found that the bait on the gravel had not been eaten and the bait on the silt had been devoured. There was a discernable line between the two. From then on I wrapped the rods a couple of feet further so that they landed in the silt. I had nine fish in less than 24 hours. The difference that two feet made was huge to my catch rate.
I learnt that the fish on Wraysbury prefer to feed on silt. The gravel is really big on there, making it hard for the fish to extract their food. It’s interesting to see how the fish prefer to feed on different substrates in different lakes.
Kev will always ensure his middle rod is the one getting the most bites.
Another reason to suggest the Wraysbury carp liked to feed in the silt was their soft mouths. Gravel-feeding carp seemed have harder mouths from years of feeding on the hard lake bed. The gravel at Linear Fisheries is a lot smaller and they predominantly like to feed on these hard gravel areas. It’s something that I am always mindful of when fishing lakes and I always consider these points when choosing a spot to fish. You have to analyse everything in carp fishing. Even when you are catching you need to question the key points as to why it is working.
ACF: Would you ever stage your rods across a spot at different distances?
KH: I fish them in a line at exactly the same distance. I like the fish to feed freely at the back of the spot without being disturbed. They will then feed up to the rigs and I have less chance of them hitting my lines when feeding, which naturally puts them on edge.
The line clip is a vital tool when working out the lie of the lake bed.
ACF: Once you have found areas will you continue to monitor them through the course of a season?
KH: It’s always good to keep a record of spots so that you can drop in and fish them when the fish are there. You can also keep an eye on spots and see if they have been fed on recently.
There was a spot on Linch Hill’s Christchurch Lake in The Padded Cell swim. On certain sessions it would do big hits of fish, before having lean periods of inactivity. As this happened you would see the spot go from a hard area to growing over in silkweed. After a few weeks fallow you could drop a rig on there and all of a sudden it went from a weed-covered area to a hard spot. At this point it would be worth putting rods on and fishing.
A bare lead will often glide over low-lying weed. Once Kev finds an area of choice he investigates it further with a breakaway lead. The prongs pick up the weed on the spot and give a real picture of what’s on the lake bed.
ACF: Will you revisit spots from a previous year?
KH: If they are spots that I have caught from, yes. Providing they aren’t too weeded over, I will definitely try and reclaim an area that used to be a great feeding spot.
ACF: Would you say that feature finding has been key to your success?
KH: Definitely. Everyone can find the fish if they are willing to look, but it takes a lot of effort to successfully plumb an area and make the most of it. It may take lots of casts but once it’s logged you can keep visiting it when the timing is right and get some great results.