Question: what are carp holes?
Jim Pavelly sent an e-mail and a selection of photos about some carp holes that he had success fishing to while in France. His questions were namely: are these holes obvious and are they definitely created by the carp? If not, what are they and how were they created? If they are created by carp, then why are they situated in particular areas? Why do the carp continue to excavate these holes?”
Rob Hughes "Carp holes are very interesting areas. I’ve seen them cut into silt, clay and gravel on quite a few lakes so there isn’t really a general preference from the fish’s point of view, it being more of a site specific reason for digging where they do.
"In silt I would expect they have been harvesting food and have carried on digging. They certainly visit the spots regularly and if you can find them and get a bait into them then they will certainly produce. Finding them is the key and a marker/drag lead is the best way but go very, very slowly as it is easy to pull over the top of them. I think that in the winter months the fish are happy to hold up in them, getting warmth and security from the sides around them, effectively forming a nest. The ones you have shown me appear to be where they have excavated the silt and there are a few like this in Weston Park in Shropshire which are clear hot spots. You’re right when you say it looks like a small explosion has taken place. If they were on the land they would look like badger sets with a build up of debris around the hole.
"You mention the takes came from the front and middle of the hole and I would think this is probably as a result of your line lay. A rig on the front or middle would be better presented than at the back. Interestingly, my good pal Steve Briggs found similar holes in Bob Davies Lac Serriere which, whilst only a foot or so deeper in a couple of foot of water, would produce fish even though none were seen. They too, as with yours and the Weston Park holes, are on the far bank just away from the margins against a no fishing bank so they may well be pressure related sites where the carp feel they can get away from anglers and be safe.
"Some of the ones I have seen are clear scratching areas as the carp have been covered in clay which I believe is their favoured scratching medium. The silt ones I would think are more likely to be feeding spots and also areas where the carp over the years have become comfortable. I think they do keep them clear and keep visiting them as they have found somewhere that they like to loiter, feed or de-stress. It’s food for thought and carp holes are certainly something that I am going to investigate much more as and when I come across them in the future."