ON THE BANK
Well, the weed at the big lake is now reaching a point where the lake is becoming practically unfishable, the silkweed has taken over all the clear areas and also created rafts on the top of the existing beds of Canadian.
I think that the time might be here to look for another venue for a few weeks, at least until the first few frosts start to cull back the growth a little bit.
My last couple of trips both produced fish but the hassle I had getting them in was immense, boating out to retrieve fish that were stuck in weed with my line looking like a Monday morning washing line. Huge clumps of silkweed hung from it at ten feet intervals proving impossible to wind through the rings masking your fishing tackle in weed. This meant that every few yards I had to stop rowing, grab the line, and strip off the weed before I could continue out to where the fish was stuck. Normally this is only a problem to be overcome but, add a gale force wind like the ones we have been having lately, and it becomes an insurmountable problem because every time you stop rowing you instantly get blown backwards, letting out more line as you go and collecting yet more weed.
I did manage a cracking looking thirty-pounder and a nice mid twenty one the first attempt but, the next week, I had to physically hand line my rigs back in the first morning because the lines were too heavy to reel. As if this wasn’t ridiculous enough I actually found that one of the rods had a small, double figure mirror, hanging on the end, unable even to register a bite because of the line being trapped in an underwater forest. That was when I decided enough was enough. I don’t mind fishing in the face of adversity but, when the safety of the fish is also in question, then it’s time to stop fishing.
It was a shame to be pulling off the lake, even temporarily, because I really was managing to get amongst the fish and catch every trip but I couldn’t see any other alternative.
There are swims on there that are a lot clearer, a couple of these are practically weed free but, why would the fish want to live in desert when they can feel safe and well fed in a forest full of food, they wouldn’t, so it’s off to pastures new (or re-visited) for a few weeks at least. It’s just a question now of where to go as I didn’t really plan for a new water at such a good time of year to be fishing the one I was on, it’s a bit early for a winter water but something needs to be done a bit sharpish, so fingers crossed.
BELOW THE SURFACE
With the main focus once again being weed, or it is everywhere I have fished lately, I have a little tip regarding finding fishable clear spots.
A marker float is obviously going to help you to pinpoint the better areas but, in the early stages of feature finding it’s actually more hindrance than it is help. A marker float will act like a small weed rake, gathering up everything it touches and making it impossible to actually feel what is going on. By using a braided line and a large lead you can cast out and feel the way the lead falls through the water, picking up on any little bumps, pings or plucks along the line as it sinks, this will tell you the length of the weed you are dropping through. A lead on its own can be dragged along the bottom and, should it become hung with weed a quick strike will free it again, giving you a second and third chance at feeling for clear areas. A marker float however, that will just hold on to a ball of weed all the way back to the bank meaning you have to cast three times as much and hope for a lucky first drop. Also a marker float further confuses the issue by actually negating some of the weight of the lead, making the clearer areas feel better than they actually might be.
How many times have you found a nice spot, cast a rig out next to the float and discovered it was weedy all along, this is down to the marker rod giving you the wrong signals.
Once you have found a clear area using just the braid and lead set up it is an easy job to clip up the line, wind in and add a marker float to the set up, allowing you to pin-point the area with enough accuracy for casting.
Sticking to a theme, I want to have a quick word about the ‘Banana Braid’ we sell for marker and spod work.
The first thing you will notice, I would imagine, is the colour of the stuff, absolutely shocking yellow that can be seen for miles. This is so handy when you are casting or spodding around a marker float, it stops those annoying accidents that end up with you dragging the float back when a cast lands bang on target. Also, being very buoyant, it sits up in the layers, out of the way of your mainline and thus giving you even less chance of a tangle.
The buoyancy also helps when marking over weed as the braid will lay over any weed-beds between you and the spot, making it less likely to bury into them and prevent the float coming up.
It’s worth remembering that you are never actually going to be fishing with it as a mainline so, once you have broken down those physiological barriers that everything in carp fishing must be green, you can start to appreciate the benefits a visible utility line can offer.