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Out of the Depths


How deep do carp like water when feeding?
The answer to this question is hard to answer with any certainty. However, I can give my opinion about this subject.

All carp are different and all waters are different as well, but I would say that in general carp are more likely to prefer a depth of water that feel comfortable to them and which provides them with any present requirements. Therefore, the depth at where the carp will feed will depend on the time of year and weather conditions at the time.

I, myself, never before fished in depths more than 30 feet just because of the simple fact I prefer fishing in the margins and in the shallow parts of the water. Nevertheless I knew that our new destination, a large and deep reservoir, contains a lot of fishable water deeper than 30 feet and less shallow water in this part of the year, namely autumn.

big carp holliday

After a twelve hour journey we made the last turn up the dam at the reservoir… Wow! What a huge body of water, beautiful! It is five pm and we had already agreed not to do so much more that day, so that we could make a fresh start the next day. We decided to go around the lake and see where we can get to the water.

We chose a strategic spot where the wind is blowing straight up the bank. Here we can cover a stretch of about 600 yards for our fishing. In this particular part of the lake it seems that we have the possibility to fish some margins and a huge stretch of the deeper water. The spot where we want to set up our camp is hardly accessible by car so we probably won’t see a soul for the whole week.

The next morning we knew exactly what to do and we hit the water around seven. What an epic morning! The sun just rises from behind the hills and there is nobody on or around the water as far as we can see. Our potential spots are carefully examined and mapped on our fish-finder. Our suspicion is correct, the shallow parts are around 13 feet deep and further from the bank it runs steadily down to 50 feet. We decided to fish different depths, but at this moment we are most confident about the shallows. We marked our spots in the GPS and fed it up with a mix of boilies and tiger nuts. Let’s see if this works out. We brought all our gear to the other shore, the camp was built up and the rods were brought in position. We were enjoying it to the max.

Carpfishing paylake

The first day went by quietly, but the next day we had our first run. The alarm from the rod, positioned 40 feet deep, screamed off and the tension was on immediately. The first fish has to slip into the landing net, always! As if we didn’t do anything else in our lives, both of us automatically hit the autopilot. There we were, sitting in a boat together on this mighty reservoir, fighting a carp. I love this feeling. Ten minutes later we were able to land the first fish of our new adventure. A beautiful common carp was the result.

And now continue. At least, that is what we hoped for. The rod was quickly positioned back on the same spot again and we were excited for another quick bite. Meanwhile, we fantasized about some of the beautiful mirror carp that swim around in this lake. One of these are high on our wish list. Anyway, sometimes your hard work is being rewarded. The next morning we got another bite and this rod was positioned 50 feet deep! This was the spot where we actually had the least confidence in and it brought us an amazing scaled mirror carp. Like a painting. Awesome!

Back on the bank, the carp was weighed and putted in the retention sling for a couple of minutes. We had agreed that after each fish we would place the rod back as quickly as possible. On the way back we both expressed our surprise about catching fish between 40 and 50 feet deep. Something we did not expected at all…

Just as we are busy preparing the photoshoot, the bite alarm from the same “50 feet rod” screams off again. What a madhouse! This chunky mirror also was landed and it started to look like we were on top of the fish.

After those two amazing mirror carp we were full of confidence and another rod was placed at 50 feet also. We were one hundred percent sure that the carp were feeding deep. The next morning two other rods were also moved to the deepest part of the reservoir. But then it went quiet… awfully quiet. We even came to a point that we were considering moving. Was it just luck then?

Suddenly the mighty reservoir turned out to be fickle. It made us doubt. With the results we had booked so far, we should catch more. Nevertheless, after catching all the fish with soaked double 22 mm hookbaits on blowback rigs, we even changed two rods to tiger nuts to see if that would make a difference.

carp lake france


However, because we were at a tipping point of our week and considering the actual strong wind it didn’t allow us to go and look for more potential spots, so we decided to stay.

Absolutely not desperate and certainly confident with the fish we caught, but of course we wanted more. The decision to stay was soon rewarded when we got another bite from again a “50 feet rod”. A small common slipped into the net and our doubt was restored. It couldn’t be otherwise, the weather circumstances were ideal at that moment.


During a small exploration round the lake, I found a steep slope that went down from 30 till 40 feet. A real hotspot! It was with great perseverance and after feeding up just at the bottom of the slope with some boilies and tigers that we said to each other: “This spot must produce more fish!”

In the last days, we caught several carp from the “slope spot” and also one from the depths again. Between the somewhat smaller inhabitants of the reservoir, a strong mirror carp was caught in the evening!


Our first reservoir adventure was unforgettable. Unfortunately, we didn’t caught any real big ones. But on a water like this during such an adventure with your best mate, the weight of every fish counts double. Every carp caught is a trophy and we were gutted when we lost a small common just in front of the net on the last morning.

In the end we caught every fish over 30 feet of depth. So like I said in the beginning, carp will feed in the depth of water that they feel comfortable in. At first, I would never have chosen to fish this deep in this time of the year, but after this experience I more often will try at least one rod in the deepest part of the water I’m fishing. Even in summer.

Erik Hurxkens

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