Eddie asks; I have booked a lake with a party of friends on the 19th of March. I recently had a tour of the lake and was disappointed to find it was thick with weed. I would be grateful if you can give me some advice on the best method & rig to use?
Don’t be disappointed because a lake has weed in it. The weed is a source of food, cover for the carp, and during the day provides oxygen (although in March oxygen levels should be high anyway).
First thing is to get a lead in there and establish what sort of weed you have in front of you, because this will dictate to a great extent how you fish.
If the weed is a thin covering of the bottom of the lake I would have no problem baiting over it and casting straight into it. A longer hooklink can help in these situations. PVA taping the hook or a PVA bag will avoid the hook picking up weed, particularly if its silkweed. You can also use PVA foam on the hook to slow the descent of the baited rig; this will also act as a marker when it hits the surface letting you know your hook is clear. Definitely do not pull back after the lead has landed.
If it is loose sprigs of long weed with gaps between them again I would fish amongst it. In this case I would tend to use short flexible braid hooklinks and again mask the hook with PVA tape or put the lot in a PVA bag to avoid hook ups in the weed.
In heavier weed I would be looking for the clear spots or fishing tight to the edge of it. Observation should tell you if this is worthwhile. If it’s a pressured lake the carp will probably break cover and bolt across the clear areas not stopping to feed on the way. One tactic I have used successfully to overcome this is to cast over the weed into clear water letting the rig drop close to the edge of the weed. Following a pick up the carp runs away from the weedbed against line pressure rather than burying themselves in it.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a carp get stuck it in weed, don’t pull its head off! Light constant pressure will usually cut through the weed and free the fish… above all be patient.
Always fish with the safety of the carp in mind, don’t fish at range over multiple weed beds, use lead drop off system to release the lead if the fish gets stuck, and don’t fish in areas where you have no chance of safely extracting a carp even if you can see that’s where they are. There’s always another day and another chance.
Tight Lines, Ron Key