Feeling for that drop- James Armstrong
Feeling the lead down to the lake bed is absolutely key and 99.9% of the best anglers out there do this. There are several reasons as to why you should be doing this and there is a technique to it.
When casting into a swim, it is paramount that you have some sort of idea of the bottom you are presenting your rig on; whether that be gravel, silt or weed because it will have a huge effect on the type of presentation you choose ensuring that you’re fishing in the most effective way. By getting it wrong, your rig could be deemed useless and you could be wasting a lot of time!
So, by feeling the lead down, and learning the process you will be able to identify certain spots and even get a rough idea of the depth you are fishing. If you feel it down...you will become a better and more accomplished angler.
The process is pretty simple, but it does pay to use balanced tackle. I prefer a braided main line where I can get away with it, because it boasts very little stretch, ultimately meaning that it’ll be more sensitive on the tip. I also like to use relatively heavy leads 3-4oz most of the time, this is mainly down to using quite pokey rods also. If I was fishing with lighter rods, then I’d try to match the lead size, going smaller.
To feel down the lead correctly, cast out to your chosen destination. Trap the line before it hits the water, with the rod tip held high against the sky, ensuring you keep a tight line (this is key). By keeping a tight line you will be able to follow the lead down with the rod tip until it touches down.
As a general rule, if it touches down firm you’re on gravel or smoother silt, if it’s a soft sensation it may well be deep silt or weed. A few pull backs with the lead will enable you to identify this. Once you’ve located a spot, clip up and wrap it around distance sticks.
I’m not one for being overly bothered about exact depths but as a rule of thumb, the longer it takes to touch down, the deeper it is, and vice versa.
Feeling the lead down is a real skill, so practise practise practise. It is probably the number one attribute that anglers can’t do properly on my tutorials and is the thing I ensure everyone learns before they leave - one of the most important skills in an anglers armoury.