With the warm and rather late summer we seem to be having this year, I would imagine a lot of venues have suffered with bad weed problems of one sort or another. Certainly the waters I’ve fished have been particularly weedy and given me a little to think about in terms of both presentation and rig safety.
With this in mind, how can we ensure that we are fishing effectively and more important safely in terms of fish care and their welfare? I’ll address both points and offer my thoughts to both the solution to fishing in weed and how to do it safely as possible.
For a number of years now I’ve been a massive fan of fishing solid PVA bags in or around weed. Whilst the method has been around for a number of years, it is still just as effective and accounts for thousands of captures of carp every year. It all started for me around twelve years ago when having the odd session of the Carp Society’s Horseshoe Lake. The water back then was renowned as a weedy venue and the solid bag approach championed by anglers such as Wagner, Hutchinson and Poole etc. dominated the captures for a number of years. Watching anglers like Tim Wagner cast solid PVA bags into large weed beds and then pull out a string of big fish really opened my eyes to the effectiveness of the method. I quickly took the approach to my local venues and over the last decade or so used them everywhere and I caught fish from a variety of weed chocked waters.
By encapsulating both your rig and lead into PVA bag filled with food items can not only offer a superb tangle free effective presentation, but also draw the fish down to a tight cluster of food amongst the weed where they feel safe to feed. In my view nothing beats this form of fishing and despite the popularity of other weed friendly forms of fishing PVA bags still rule in my book.
Like any method or tactic fish, safety must always be at the forefront of any anglers mind and never more so when angling in or around weed. Please ensure that rods and reels are secure and not left unattended. It is essential when fishing anywhere near or in weed to be alert and on your game. Strong tough line is another must and there are a number of good quality lines on the market at the moment. Favourites of mine and ones that I can recommend and use at present come from the Gardner Tackle stable, lines such as the new Pro XM, Hydro Tuff and GR60 in 15lb breaking strain or above and of 0.40mm diameter are ideal.
Gardner Tackle‘s new Pro XM mainline comes highly recommended.” alt=”Gardner Tackle's new Pro XM mainline comes highly recommended.” width=”776″ height=”580″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-11961″ />
For solid bag fishing I tend to favour inline lead set ups, the very nature and shape of these leads allows for maximum resistance of the pick-up and allows a neat compact pva bag to be produced, ideal when accuracy or distance is required. I have in the past used lead clips with short rounded swivel leads and these have been effective, but in my view inline leads when fished safely i.e. when they are allowed to jettison from the swivel and line are perfect and are my number one choice. There’s been lots of talk over the last few years with reference to dumping the lead and with some anglers recommending that you should drop the lead on every bite, Whilst this may help boost the bank accounts of the various lead manufacturers I can’t help feel this advice is a given a little too often and sometimes without need. When it comes to fishing in weed and near snags for that matter, dropping the lead has got to be a major factor and one that cannot be overlooked. With the addition of the new Drop Out Lead Insets from Gardner allow a really effective drop off inline lead system to be created. I like to use it in-conjunction with leadcore such as the ultra-reliable Plummet due to its strength and abrasion resistance or with Mirage fluorocarbon when looking to keep things as invisible as possible.
Gardner allow a really effective drop off inline lead system to be created.” alt=”With the addition of the new Drop Out Lead Insets from Gardner allow a really effective drop off inline lead system to be created.” width=”776″ height=”581″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-11963″ />
I recently used the Drop Out Lead Inserts on a short trip to Linear Fisheries Manor Farm, a venue which has been particularly weedy this year. My presentation started by replacing the soft inner from a flat inline lead with one of the hard plastic Drop Out Lead Inserts. Then by wrapping the end of a three foot section of leadcore over the top of the lead, which was then held it in place at the rear with a trimmed down Covert Tail Rubber. A size 8 Covert Flexi Ring swivel then pushes neatly into the front of the lead and then with the addition of a Q ring a short four inch soft braided link made from Trickster Heavy can be added. With a hookbait added the whole lot is carefully place into a solid PVA bag and then filled with a mixture of S-core boilie crumb, solid Bag mix and small 2mm trout pellets. By tying up the bags in this way you can be confident of casting them into almost any weed.
Gardner’s Medic Plus.” alt=”The importance of fish care and their general health can’t be stressed enough especially during the hot summer months, treat all wounds etc. with a purpose designed antiseptic like Gardner’s Medic Plus.” width=”776″ height=”1247″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-11959″ />
The result was six bites in just over twenty hours fishing, the quick overnight trip proved just how effective the solid PVA bag method can be. More importantly every fish including a surprise 7lb tench dropped the lead a short way into the fight and allowed me to land them easily. The other important point to remember when using a system that allows you to ditch your lead is that there is less chance of damaging the fish’s mouth as there is obviously no lead (usually around 3-4 oz) banging around that could possibly tear or do more mouth damage than needed. The importance of fish care and their general health can’t be stressed enough especially during the hot summer months, treat all wounds etc. with a purpose designed antiseptic like Gardner’s Medic Plus and keep them out of the water for a short a time as possible then allow them to full recover before you return them. Whether you fishing for its relatively small double figure fish or large 30 and 40lb chunks, fish for them safely and return them in tip top health.