No one can be unaware these days of ‘Global warming’, with conferences held regularly by ecological groups, scientists and governments the problem is a genuine and serious one. It is also one of the main factors in the increase of weed growth in many of our carp fishing lakes across northern Europe and in my case northern France.
Add to this the intensive agriculture in many parts of France, with its heavy use of phosphate and nitrate fertilizers and you can soon see why weed is becoming more of a problem every year.
There are many types of common pond weeds that we can see proliferating in our waters. Some are denser and harder to deal with than others. They do though offer a safe haven for fish and abundant food store.
- Accurate Casting:So how do you deal with weed when you turn up to a weedy lake? Well first off don’t panic carp can be caught in weed if you give it a little thought. The first thing I learned when approaching a weedy venue was the need to cast accurately. I am convinced that a major part of being consistent in carp fishing is presenting a bait in a way that a) the fish can find it easily & b) that your rig will work efficiently and get a good hook hold that will enable you to land the fish. I believe often when you get a series of hook pulls and lost fish, your rig is simply not working effectively or is ill-adapted for your swim.
- Find the Clear spots: So I like to fish in clear spots adjacent to weed beds where I am confident the fish can find my bait. Ok the fish will certainly feed with more confidence in the weed itself, as they have natural cover and food, as I mentioned above. But I am just not confident my rig will be fishing correctly and the thought of sitting for hours with a rod that is effectively NOT fishing is impossible for me. Casting is the trick. I like to over cast slightly to the hole in the weed and feel the lead down until it ‘Donks’ on the lake bed. If you hold the rod high you should feel a knock as the lead touches down. I follow the line forward a bit too to try and avoid as much as possible to inswing effect of a lead going in on a tight line. If I don’t feel the donk I will recast until I do. This can mean a number of casts, which is why I stated at the outset accurate casting is very important. But I prefer to cast 20 times if necessary until I’m happy.
- Fish Sensibly: Some anglers will try to fish in right in the weed, but to my mind it is unwise to fish in thick weed where you have little chance of actually landing the fish. This includes fishing over weedbeds or to far margins and having to drag a fish through them to land it. Not only that it is this likely to result in a lost fish, a break off or mouth damage. The only way I have found to do this safely is in a boat. (These are not allowed on many waters however). I used a boat to get directly above a hooked carp and avoid the heavy ho of trying to pull it through weed.
- Fish the Correct Rig: The main item of your rig though that causes the problems in weed is the lead. Anglers must use a lead that can come off easily once a fish is hooked. The Korda safety clips are ok but I modify them for weed fishing by drilling a hole and trying them onto the swivel. This means, with a lightly fitting tail rubber that the leads popped off easily and the clip doesn’t slide up the main line causing a 45 degree angle to the fish. Recently however I see other makes like Armaled have produced a safety clip that blocks the swivel in place. This is an improvement I believe.
- Do not use in-line leads : I would not recommend this type of set up in weed, not only will these plug you right in the weed if you a cast goes astray, but they will hinder you considerably while you play a fish and probably cause you to lose it. In this case the fish will probably end us towing the rig, I am not convinced of the saftey of in-lines in any case.
- Do not use Backleads: I would also avoid backleads like the plague in weed. To my mind they serve no purpose but can cause untold problems once you hook a fish. You need to think why you are using a certain item of tackle and adapt to the situations and not blindly fish in a stereotyped way.
- Do use PVA: PVA bags and tape are a great aid in helping your presentation when fishing in weed. You can cover you hook to avoid snagging weed. This is useful if you want to pull back gently after the cast to see if you are clear. It avoids the hook point picking up debris.
You can place your whole rig inside a bag and feel this down to the lake bed and know that once the PVA melts down you’ll have a nice pile of bait, in close proximity to weed that is clear and fishing and baited up… There are lots of uses for PVA in these situations that will help you land more carp. You can use the tape to hold a break away lead in place on a safety clip for example, so you don’t unnecessarily lose weights when you cast out.
- Fish as close in as you can! : In a previous article I mentioned all the advantages of fishing the margins. Well these are even more important in weed. Weed will offer you cover to fish closer in. you will be able to fish more accurately, cast more accurately and have a far higher chance of landing your fish.