I hear a lot of people talking about naturals in carp fishing but I felt we ken very little about them. It is usually the case that I hear “It’s a tough water as they all feed on naturals”. So I set out with my Water Wolf underwater cameras to film at a lake I know that is full of naturals to record them and see what I could learn.
For this, I recorded around 60 hours of footage in various spots from weedy to clear to find what they were eating and where. What I found has caused me to rethink my whole baiting approach to these kinds of waters to better reflect what the carp are eating.
The lake I filmed in as a small lake that is very weedy at most points. It is a private water that does not get fished very often and in the summer the weed is so think that other than a couple of margins it is almost unfishable. The lake is on a natural underwater spring which keeps it flooded with fresh clear water.
Whilst it is only a small lake the weed and the spring make it perfect for naturals and for the carp. The stock consists of what looks like two low twenties that have never seen the bank and one high twenty that I have had out on the surface previously. It is loosely used as a stock pool, but one that can be fished.
I filmed this across my Water Wolf cameras, in some cases the footage is very clear and it others its a little murky as you would expect at the bottom of a lake!
My tips for fishing lakes with lots of naturals
1 – Not every clear spot has lots of naturals!
This one surprised me a little as there were only three clear spots in the lake. This leads me to assume that they would all be feeding areas for the carp, but this wasn’t the case. In two of the spots, there was a decent amount of naturals in the water but not loads.
In the third spot, I found I can only describe it as looking like an underwater disco for worms and invertebrate. On this spot, there were numerous worms, bloodworm and lots of other invertebrates.
As a comparison, the other clear spots were visited by the carp around once every hour or two and on some days not at all. The spot that was packed with naturals was visited almost every half an hour where the carp would have a quick munch and then move on.
Unfortunately, other than using an underwater camera there is no way of telling this! My advice would be to focus on the clear spots where you are catching more if you don’t have a camera but that’s pretty obvious anyway!
2 – Most natural food is dark coloured
If you look at my range of hook baits you’ll see a wide range of colours to use. Some of these are much better suited to be used on waters where naturals are present. Personally, my go-to bait is a white popup or wafter on a lot of waters, I like how it stands out and the carp can’t miss it. After reviewing all the footage I’d say that could be the worst choice of bait on this type of water.
In general, the foods the carp are eating are brown coloured or red colour. The darker colours are more like the larvae and the mites and the red as the worms and there is one small red mite that swims around usual within a foot of the bottom. I have not seen anything white or yellow or a washed-out colour in my filming.
To work from this I have started to use darker hook baits, like my yeast extract popups as they are a closer reflection on what is already in their diet. This has been the same with baiting up areas, I have gone from the yellow pineapple & butyric range to the yeast boilie which is my darkest and I have glugged them in the matching dark boilie glug. I’ve been baiting up with crumbed down glugged boilies in PVA mesh as most in vertebra are small.
3 – Nothing is a uniform shape!
There is nothing natural about a round bait on the bottom. I’m not saying you won’t catch on them though, just that you may catch more fishing other shapes.
For this kind of waters I’m now fishing darker trimmed popup and balanced wafters to more mimics natural foods. This helps the bait blend in more with what they are used to seeing and feeding on.
4 – Most things move slowly
In general, the food in the water moves at a slow pace and can take minutes to move a few centimetres. This is the case for most of the invertebrate that lives on the bottom. The mites that swim in the water move quicker and in a more flick like movement in general.
To better mimic this a bait, as mentioned above, on a hinge rig would be my go-to rig. It blends but sits up a little and the rig allows for some natural movement in the water.
5 – Do some pond dipping or raking
Grab a small net and have a dip around in the margin. The best option is to sweep under any over hanging grass or around any weeds near the margin. This will show you what is in the water at that lake and you may find there is an abundance of a particular species. You can then use this to mimic in your baiting setup.
Alternatively, if allowed, throw out a rake and pull some weed in to the side. Then drop it in a clear tub of lake water and give it a shake around. This will sow you what is living amongst the weeds. The carp will feed on a lot of what you find.
You can see my YouTube video of what I find here>
VIDEO COMING SOON (in final editing)
What do carp naturally eat? (UK)
Carp have a very varied diet and as you may know they will try to eat almost anything they see. You can see on YouTube people catching them on random hook baits such as Haribo and boiled sweets.
Carp are omnivores and will eat a mix of inveterbrate as well as some plants and algea.
Here’s a guide to some of the invertebrate that are naturally in a carps diet. Some of these are in the video above showing how they behave underwater. Some of these I haven’t caught on camera as they will vary lake by lake.
Genreal diet list
Fresh water clams
As well as the standard invertebrates there are a number of things carp will eat if they see them –
Dragon flys or damsel flys
Fruits or berries that land in the water