How to find underwater features using a marker float rig

This simple yet amazingly effective marker float rig diagram will enable you to ‘see’ all those hidden underwater features and therefore ensure you can place your bait right where you need it.

This rig can be cast to various spots around the lake to not only find the depth in that particular spot, but also to find out what lies on the bottom – weed, gravel, mud or silt.

With a little experience you can very quickly figure out the exact make-up of the bottom of the lake you are fishing and determine which areas are likely to hold the fish and therefore where you think you will be best casting your bait.

All you need to create this set up is a spare carp rod (preferably around 2.75lb test curve), a reel loaded with strong braid, a marker float, a heavy swivel lead (of around 2oz or more), a length of strong monofilament, a strong baiting needle, a cork ball and a run ring with bead.

The reason for using a strong rod and strong braid is so the angler can ‘feel’ the bottom of the lake. Basically the combination of strong stiff rod and braid helps transmit every knock and bump of the lead along the bottom to the angler’s hands. It’s hard to describe in words, but with a little practices you’ll be able to tell exactly what lies on the bottom by the feeling you get through the rod and braid when the leads moves.

Building the link for the rig

Creating this rig is really very simple… Cut off 14in of your strong monofilament and tie one end to your swivel lead. Now pierce the cork ball with your baiting needle and draw the strong monofilament through it so the ball is trapped upon the line. Now tie the run ring to the end of the strong line.

To complete this link, push the cork ball onto the base of the run ring. You could glue this in place if you wish.

Setting up the rig

Thread your braid through the guides of your spare 2.75lb test curve carp rod and pass it through the run ring of the link you made earlier. Now thread the braid through the run ring’s bead and then tie it onto the base swivel of the marker float. Job done!


Using the rig

You must cast this rig with a fluid motion – not a jerky cast – so you don’t tangle it. And once the rig lands gently wind the reel’s handle to send the large marker float down to the bottom where it will contact the link and lock up.

You’ll feel this through the rod, when the float hits the link and the line tightens fully.

Now open the reel’s bale arm and pay out line 1ft at a time, remembering to count as you go and remember to add the 12in (1ft) that forms the link. Keep paying out line and counting until you see the float break the surface. Whatever figure you arrive at – that’s the depth.

Remember that figure, or better still write it down, and then gently wind the float back down again until it locks up against the link.

Now gently pull the rod around to your side, while keeping the reel locked up, and drag the lead along the bottom.

You’ll feel various things through the rod depending upon the substance that the lead travels over.

If the lead hits into weed, the rod might well lock up solid and then jerk round again as you pull on the lead.

If the lead passes over flat mud or through silt you’ll feel a constant but smooth pressure.

If the rod passes over gravel or rock you’ll feel a definite tap-tap-tap feeling through the rod.

Once you’ve pulled the rod right round to your side, swing it around again to point directly at the lead, wind down again slowly and pay out line until the float pops to the surface, counting the depth as you go.

Do this many times in a wide variety of places around the lake and you’ll begin to build up an excellent picture of the bottom of the lake with all its little dips, troughs, gravel bars, weed beds and ledges.

Get the right distance


If you find a real corker of a feature there's only one way to ensure that you hit that spot. Cast to it with your marker float and once you've found it again, clip the line around your line clip.

Wind the rig in and place both your marker float rod and your fishing rod onto rod rests and open the bale arm. Now walk the marker float and the fishing rig out until the line hits the clip. Once you've done that, place the rigs onto the ground, walk back to the rods and clip up the line of your fishign rod.

Now you'll always cast the right distance and hit that spot every single time you cast!


If you are new to this rig and aren’t exactly sure what you ought to be feeling through the rod when you pull your lead across mud, gravel, silt or into weed then try this trick… Simply visit a lake that has all those features in the margins, drop your lead onto those features, walk the rod away from them and simply drag the lead across or into the features and note what it feels like through the rod.