How To Fish Snake Lakes 1

How To Fish Snake Lakes

The popularity of Snake Lakes, especially with match anglers, has increased massively in recent years, and the one at Puddledock Farm in Essex is a classic example. Many are stocked with a mixed variety, especially the more common silver fish we are use too, some have species such as barbel and ide which offer consistent sport throughout the colder months but here at Puddledock its really an all out carp venue. In this article I will look at how to fish Snake Lakes.

Look for the mud bank

Every swim here is almost identical with a uniform depth and cover down the near side margin and across to the far bank which in this case is around 15m, however some swims do stand out and they are the ones with a clean mud bank on the far side, the ones you wish to draw in a match but rarely do. For today’s session I have headed to a banker swim, peg 29 which is a bit of a walk but does produce bigger than average carp and often weights that frame in matches. 

Critical depth

It’s been cold overnight and the chill in the air indicates winter is just around the corner. This will affect how to fish snake lakes. I’m a little apprehensive just how it will fish but I’m going to approach it in the same way I would a routine match, but expect that I may have to make a few changes throughout the session. That mud bank on the far side will be where I start and first job is to have a good plumb around to find not only the depth, ideally between 12 -14 inches tight to the bank, but an area where I can present a bait effectively. The reason I’m looking for a certain depth is at 12-14 inches the carp don’t have the depth to mess around meaning bites are nice and positive.  Deeper swims will see carp intercepting bait at all depths creating loads of false bites and foul hooked fish, frustrating and time consuming.

Totally reliable

The rig I’m using for the long line consists of a strong 0.4g homemade rugby ball shaped float connected using two rubbers to Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono and I’ve placed a no12 shot directly below this to stop the float moving along with six no8 just above a 3’ Classic Mono hook length. Finishing of the rig is a size 16 barbless Sphere Beast hook with a band directly attached which retains a 6mm hard pellet. One other important addition to the rig is two no8 back-shot attached above the float which keeps the float pinned into position and the elastic I’ve chosen for this line is the No 10 white Stretch 7 Hollow, ideal for carp in the 2lb – 10lb range. 

how to fish snake lakes 2

Always start across to a clean mud bank if possible.  

sphere beast hooks

Sphere Beast Hooks are my choice when carp fishing.

snake lake bait

Bait, micros, 6mm pellets with maggot and groundbait as backup. 

"I look for a clean line across to start with."

commercial pole float

Robust floats are needed and a yellow tip stands out against the mud. 

commercial pole float stotz

A bulk of no8 placed above the hook length.  

How To Fish Snake Lakes 2

Back shot keeps the float pinned in place.

Under control

I’ve also recently switched over to using the one piece Skyline kits that are ideal for this type of fishing, strong, rigid and along with a side pulla gets even the biggest fish under control quickly. They also have depth measurements every four inches which allows me to adjust the rig if needed but also return to the initial plumed depth instantly.

One bite at a time

Having plumed the depth it’s time to head across and feed the swim. This is where many get things wrong and introduce too much feed using a large pot. What this simply does is gets too many fish into the swim which simply leads to prolonged fights from foul hooked fish, many of which are lost at the last moment. What I try to achieve is to get just one or two carp in the swim at any one time and do this by feeding a small kinda pot of micros, just enough to entice that positive un-missable bite. If I don’t get a bite after a few minutes I simply ship back in and feed again with another pot of micros. Don’t press the micros into the pot to firmly, what you want is when releasing these for them to fall out in a steady column above the hookbait. Keep repeating this and it won’t be long before there are signs of carp in the swim, the float sails away and the elastic extends from the pole.  

Instant action

Quite often it takes a little while to get a bite but today first put in and a good fish around 6lb comes to the net. The action continues as an even bigger fish falls a few minutes later but after a dozen fish during the next couple of hours bites slow up, time to start feeding the margin. 

Down the edge

The chilly overnight temperature has certainly toughened things up, it’s certainly not fast and furious like the summer months, yet a switch down the edge starts to produce bites, not on top of the shelf but at the bottom which shows they’re not that keen on coming up in the water. 

The rig down the edge is almost identical apart from a 4×12 float; 4’ hook length, bulk of no10 and a short hair to a bait band along with Xitan blue Microbore Elastic through the top kit. Feeding this line is different as whilst continuing to fish the far bank I start trickling in a few 6mm pellets by hand, just enough to draw a few carp in and start feeding confidently. The reason I found the fish in deeper water was whilst testing the shallow margin I noticed bubbles coming up further out, so keep your eyes open at all times, especially as the seasons change. 

The rain and wind has started to increase and having landed plenty of carp to nearly 10lb I’m happy with what I’ve learnt, winter is on its way and those shallow marks are getting tougher.  I hope this has been useful and given you an insight into how to fish snake lakes.

Alex Reynolds


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stretch 7 elastic

Stretch 7 Hollow, great for the Skyline Kits.   

browning Xitan SLK 1 piece kit

Skyline kits, perfect for commercial carp.  

commercial pole float locking shot

Put a small shot under the float to ensure the float can’t move when playing powerful carp.

Alex’s Tackle – How to Fish Snake Lakes

Sphere Zero-G PT+

Skyline Kits

Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono

Cenex 0.16 Classic Mono

Sphere Beast barbless size 16 hook

Stretch 7 Hollow/Xitan Microbore Elastic

.4g/4×12 handmade float


Alex’s Bait

Micro pellet

6mm Hard Pellets


Dead maggots

Alex Reynolds carp

The carp here can run big and often you will find the better fish right on the mud line.

Pole Fishing Snake Lakes

Pole Fishing Snake Lakes

Alex Reynolds from Browning Wickford looks at how he approaches pole fishing snake lakes in the autumn months for carp and F1’s.

Click the play button below to watch the whole video or find it on the Browning Europe You Tube channel.


Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning poles website here.