Top carp angler and keen diver, Rob Hughes, shares some of his greatest pieces of advice for catching carp, all of which come from his observations when filming beneath the surface...There’s so much still to learn about the carp’s environment but if anybody knows a thing or two about it, Rob Hughes is that man. Rob needs little introduction as his underwater filming and photography has been seen in many magazines, on DVDs, the TV and, of course, on the Fox website too. We asked the carp ace to reveal a few things that he has learned through his underwater escapades and, importantly, how it has shaped his fishing and how it can do the same for you.

First Things First: Carp anglers are very much split over the issue of using a marker float, but Rob says that it’s of paramount importance to understand the nature of the bottom, especially its depth and make up. How else can you truly harvest some of the most vital information needed for a successful session?

Above: You really should carry one of these. The risk of spooking a few carp outweighs not knowing what you are fishing over.

Know What’s on the Bottom: “I rarely start a session without first getting the marker rod out, unless it’s a swim in which I have already done my investigating on previous trips. I know a lot of people say that a marker float and lead can be a carp scarer, but that’s only if there are already carp in front of you to be scared in the first place. The risk of causing disturbance at the beginning of your session is far less significant than not knowing what you are fishing over. I’d much rather know the depth and make-up of the lakebed even if it does make a small disturbance, than not know what I was casting to. Without some knowledge of what’s in front of me, it’s impossible to formulate any plan, choose the right baiting strategy or know what rig to use. It really is that simple. If you are worried about using a float then just have a couple of casts with a bare lead, using the braided line on your marker or spod rod, as you’ll be amazed how much these few casts can reveal. If it’s a lake that you visit regularly then have a really good plumb around after your session and be sure to keep a record of your findings. That way you don’t have to do it at the start next time you visit. Download the Swim Mapper app and you can keep a really detailed record of the water.”