Academy Q&A – Weedy Waters

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Jake asked our Academy, “I have just bought a ticket for a weedy water which is new to me. Can the panel give me some pointers on how to approach it and the tackle I will need. I’m told that the main weed type is Canadian Pond Weed and from what I have seen in the edge it looks to grow very long with a few other types of long stringy weed in there as well.”

Matt Jackson says:

Outkast-+50-(1)First of all I’ll start with tackle. I’d recommend a nice strong rod regardless of the size of water or how far you are intending to fish. Having a rod with a decent backbone will give you a better chance of keeping a hooked Carp’s head up during the fight, preventing it from getting you weeded up. I’d certainly go no lower than 3.25 tc but I myself use the Chub Outkasts in 3.5 tc for my smaller weedy water fishing. Whilst these retain a good through action they have ample power in reserve to keep you in control. Line wise I always air on the side of caution here as well. Once again when piling on the pressure trying to extract Carp from heavily weeded lakes you don’t want to be let down by weak mono. A good 15lb mono will be great for short to medium range work. You can be sure it won’t give up on you at that crucial moment.

“In terms of tackling the venue Canadian Weed is relatively angler friendly. Most of the waters I have fished in recent years contain it and it’s probably the most common type of weed you will encounter.

“My first piece of advice would be to bin the marker float off and start leading around with a bare lead. Just start by casting to likely looking areas or where you have seen fish show and feel for a drop. If you can feel your lead hit the bottom try pulling the lead back towards you to gauge how clean the area is. If you can get a clean sweep then great but if not the area is still good enough for a pva bag or a chod rig. Depending on how weedy the venue is, don’t obsess over clean spots. If you can’t find clean gravel don’t worry, Carp in these lakes love to feed in the weed so the more sparse areas of weed would be the areas I would be looking for to start.

“Climbing trees on a sunny day can also save you allot of work with a leading rod, quite often in the shallower areas you can spot some good areas to put a bait. If not certainly don’t neglect the margins. Trickle some bait into a few areas and you will soon see signs if the fish are visiting them.”

Drafty says:

Weedy waters seem to be becoming more common these days as fishery owners were once allowed to use chemical / powder treatments to control weed which as now been banned. One of the syndicates I’m currently fishing is very thick with exactly the weed you have mentioned, Canadian. 

“So let’s talk about how we approach it, without a doubt time spent looking for clear spots is the priority. These clear areas may not have had the weed spread across them but are more likely they have been cleared by feeding fish so finding them is a big bonus. I approach this by using just the lead on the line initially and treat the area in front of me like a clock setting myself a distance then gradually arching round feeling the lead down if it drops cleanly with a nice thud I then start pulling back watching the tip of the rod looking for bouncing to see how big this area is. 

Drafty with a 42.10lb from a weedy water

Drafty with a 42.10lb from a weedy water

“So assuming you have found a clear spot and at most fisheries allow more than one rod I would put one of those rods with a bottom bait and bag attached on this spot making sure the rig I use drops the lead on the take, this greatly increases the chances of landing a fish.

“If no other clear spots can be found your second rod now needs to be fished in the weed and probably most anglers today would opt for the chod rig. This is a perfectly good rig but I prefer using a standard pop up rig because I can fish it to drop the lead. This rig is put in a PVA bag with some chopped baits and cast into the weed. I am confident doing this with Canadian weed, because it seems to thicken nearer the surface where is receives more light, but lower down nearer the bed of the lake it tends to die off leaving just the stems and then enabling a Carp to feed fairly well on the bottom. One other tip using this method is to fish with a tight line for two reasons; one Canadian weed sways about and on a slack line giving many false bleeps on the alarm and the second reason a tight line is necessary on the take for immediate reaction of the alarm thus alerting you quickly and hopefully stopping the fish getting weeded.

Baits being squashed flat to slow decent down

Baits being squashed flat to slow decent down

“Finally, if you want to bait up with boilies try squeezing them flat between your thumb and finger because the bait now has a flattened surface it drops through the water by moving side to side slowing its decent down and not bedding itself in thick weed.

“I hope this information helps and good luck.”

Matt Eaton says:

Well if this is your first time fishing in weed I hope you’re prepared for a steep learning curve! Fear not though. It is more than possible to catch fish from weed and it can often be a case of building the confidence to know that you are presenting baits effectively.

Matt Eaton

Matt Eaton

“First off you’ll need the right tools for the job. Weedy lakes are not the place for a subtle approach as you’ll need to beef up your tackle in order to give yourself the best chance of extracting anything you hook. Most of your fishing will be at short range but you’ll be towing weed beds to the bank and trying to dislodge weeded fish so powerful rods will be an advantage. I’d recommend using rods of a 3¼ or 3½lb test curve. It’s important that the rod doesn’t have a harsh action however, so as to protect your hook hold and to prevent mouth damage as you give it the beans on a weeded Carp. The Greys AirCurves have the ideal action and are what I use, but if you’re on a tight budget the Prodigy GT3′s will serve admirably as they will bend right down to the butt.

Greys AirCurves - my choice for weedy venues

Greys AirCurves – my choice for weedy venues

“Weed can be very abrasive so a thick mainline will help you to put more fish on the bank. Things like zebra mussels will make mincemeat of thin lines and you really need to be looking at a diameter of around 0.40mm. Most manufacturers don’t rate lines’ breaking strain accurately and any line of this thickness will be strong enough so don’t get hung up on breaking strains.

“In my experience opting for strength over finesse is the way to go. For instance any presentation advantage a 15lb hook link gives is far outweighed by the extra security of a 25lb one. Similarly I feel much happier with a size 5 or 6 heavy gauge hook rather than a thin size 8. Don’t think that using heavy-duty end tackle will cost you bites though. You can get away with much more in weed than you can on a blatant clear gravel area.

“The same thing applies to finding your spots. It can take a lot of casting around to find a presentable spot in a weedy swim but the fact that there is so much cover rarely sees the Carp vacating the area. As far as I’m concerned it has to be in the right place, no matter how long it takes to get it there.

“Space prevents me from going into too much detail but there are a couple of things that will help you to land any fish that you hook.  Small leads (1 to 1½oz along with tight clutches will encourage a hooked Carp towards the surface where there is less chance of them weeding you up. If you do get a fish stuck in the weed then be patient, give them a bit of slack and they will often free themselves.

“It can take some time to come to terms with weed fishing but if you stick at it, learn from your mistakes and fish confidently you’ll soon master it.

 “Good luck!”


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