Many mature lakes, ponds and reservoirs have some form of silt varying in depth and quantity. If there is any kind of inlet into the lake chances are it will deposit sediment only adding to the silt content already in the lake.
To the angler this can cause many problems with bait and rig presentation due to the soft, smelly nature of this black goo! Most baits will loose their atractiveness and take on the foul smell, heavy leads will drag short hooklengths down burying everthing including the hookbait.
All is not lost, it is possible to present your hookbait in an atractive manner to the carp without casting to a silt free area of the lake. The hooklength can be increased - light leads can be used to reduce the lead burying deep in the silt - crytically balanced hookbaits can be used to rest on the surface of the silt - popup foam etc has its uses too.
A method i use on a regular basis whilst fishing in silt situations which has helped me to acheive some excellent results:
The first thing is to try and establish the depth of the silt, i normally allow for the silt being at least 6" deep with the top 2" being very soft which will disperse and form a cloud when the lead touches down. The silt will then settle down covering your rig.
With this in mind i decide on the area i am going to fish then select the lightest possible lead i can get away with, normally a 1oz flat pear. The next thing is to use a hooklength twice the length of the silt depth, 12" as a start. To be safe i start with a pop-up hookbait and apply enough weight to sink it down very slow allowing it to rest on the silt. As the hooklength is very long and carries the risk of looping up off the bottom i apply some lead putty to pin it down this will help reduce the risk of spooking any fish. Once the rig is ready to cast to your chosen spot either tie an old pop-up to the hook with PVA string or attach a piece of PVA foam. This will give the silt cloud time to settle before the bait slowly settles on the bottom once the PVA has melted.
When your rig is in your chosen spot, lightly bait with free offerings and wait for the bite alarm to scream off.
I have used this kind of presentation for quite a few years as most of the waters i fish are very silty and i have caught while others have sat behind motionless indicators all day.
of fishing in silt
One of the main advantages of fishing in silt patches is that they are often natural food larders for the carp due to the bloodworms and various other natural food sources that live in them.
When looking round the lake keep your eyes open for clouds of coloured water, bubbles and pieces of plant debrit being dislodged and floating to the surface as this will indicate fish heavily feeding in the silt. This will be worth carefully placing your rig and waiting for the fish to find your bait.
When the pop-ups don't produce any runs i would try a more natural bait like maggots, worms, cockles or prawns. This can sometimes make all the difference between a fish and a blank session.