How To Fish Silty Venues for Carp- Jonny Old
Silt is a build-up of broken-down debris, this is normally a combination of leaf matter, twigs and dead weed. Once it has been in the lake for a while it will start to rot and turn into a soft sludge. Presenting rigs in it can often be challenging, especially when you have no idea on how deep the silt may be. Saying this, get your tactics right and you could be onto a winner as them silty areas will often hold lots of natural food such as bloodworm. Bloodworm thrive in this environment due to them being able to live in poorly oxygenated places, so throughout the day when the Oxygen levels are at their prime the bloodworm can bury deeper into the silt out of the way of any predator that may have them on the dinner menu. Come night time, the Oxygen levels will start to fall and the bloodworm will rise up in the silt and are at risk of being found by Mr carp. If you have fished silty lakes before this can often be the reason why they fish better at night, because them fish know when their meals are most accessible.
On it or in it?
When it comes to fishing silty venues, you need to decide on two things. Either fishing in it, or on top of it. This can be determined by what type of silt you are fishing over.
If the silt is a build of leaf litter, then you probably want to avoid fishing your rigs in it because there is a good chance you will impale a leaf or twig over the hook point which will hinder your presentation and basically write off any chance of a bite. In these instances, a pop up rig would be your best chance of presentation, something like a Ronnie or a hinge would fit the bill perfectly.
If you find the silt is really soft and smooth with little or no debris, then fishing in amongst it can be a killer tactic. It may take a bit of time to build up your confidence in doing it but when the fish begin to feed in it, they will often bury their heads, sometimes even down to their gills so it’s definitely worth having a rod right in the soft stuff! A bottom bait presentation with a small mesh bag, just to protect your hook point as the rig is being plunged into the soft substrate. This will mean that when it breaks down your rig will be sat amongst a pile of free bait, with the hook point not caught up in any small bits of debris that may be present in the silt.
9 times out of 10, when fishing a silty bottom a helicopter presentation is key, coupled up with a small lead to avoid it plugging too much. You will need to judge how deep the silt is to decide where your bead placement will be on your leader, so a couple of casts with a bare lead will give you a rough idea, if the rod is locking up solid before pulling free you know its quite deep/stodgy silt. But if the lead is gliding back fairly easily you know it’s not as thick. You can get away with a lead clip set up, but in these instances a soft longer hook link is a must, the last thing you want is your lead plugging into the lakebed and your hooklink coming out of the hole creating an arc, which the fish could potentially bump into and spook off.
When applying bait, it’s best to imagine the silt being like a weedy bottom, the heavier the food items the more they may disappear out of a carp’s sight. Chopped boilies and lighter food items are the one when fishing over soft ground, they will sit onto of the silt and be in the carp vision should they drift over the area. Of course they will still find the baits should they be masked by the silt, but it may just take them a bit longer to pick up on the scent trail leading them to the free food, in return slowing down your time to actually get a bite.
Good silt bad silt?
You may find a nice silty area that looks and feels good, but it is well worth smelling your lead on the retrieve, or if you’re bringing silt debris back smell that too. If it smells almost metallic or scentless you know it’s good silt, whereas if you have a whiff and it stinks almost like rotten eggs, then these are spots that may not be any good. The smell will instantly taint your baits and spoil your chances of a bite. They will often be neglected by the carp too, but sometimes the carp may turn up on them dirty smelling zones and have a feast. They are mud pigs after all!
Glug them baits up!
Silt is renowned for tainting the smell of bait so it’s a great idea to heavily glug the baits beforehand. What this does is, not only push out more smell and attraction on the bottom, but when you add liquids to the point where they can’t absorb anymore, it means the scent of the silt cannot penetrate the bait because they have already taken on the maximum amount of liquid possible. The best way to achieve this is by adding your baits into a bucket and submerging in lake water, Live System is a good option as its visual and will stand out over the dark bottom. Once you have added the water follow this by adding your chosen liquid. NS1 bait booster is a fantastic, sweet liquid which complements the live system great. Leave them for a few hours as a minimum. If you can leave them overnight, then that would be even better. It’s well worth glugging your hook baits too, obviously if you’re using pop ups then you don’t want to over glug then because it will affect the buoyancy. If this happens you can drill them out and insert a cork plug. This will restore any buoyancy lost.
The silt is a larder for natural food and it’s well worth putting rigs in/on it, just approach with caution and make sure your rigs suit the silt you may be fishing over. If you get the tactics right and the fish are there, you will stand a very good chance of getting some bites.