Summer Pike Fishing and Fishing Weedy Waters: Any Questions Part 8
Summer pike and finding gaps in dense weed are the next two topics in our brilliant Q&A series, in conjunction with Nash Peg One.
Q. Why do a lot of club rules say that you can’t pike fish in summer?
Mark Barrett replies:
The main reason why a lot of clubs don’t allow pike fishing in the warmer months is actually quite simple: pike are an ambush predator and, as such, they are built to cover short distances at great speed.
When you hook pike in the summer they fight as hard as most fish, but they fight for far too long – the species is built for short bursts, not prolonged exertion, which means that they get a build up of lactic acid in their muscles, in the same way that we do when we get cramp. This means that pike can struggle to overcome this build up when returned and can easily die.
Couple this with the fact that the dissolved oxygen in the water that fish use to breathe is at its lowest in warm weather and you have conditions that make it very hard for pike to recover and so rather than take the risk and lose their pike stocks some clubs look to protect them with the no summer piking rule, in much the same way as carp are looked after with mats etc.
Personally I never pike fish in the summer, partly through wanting to catch other species but also to respect the species and to make sure that they are there and ready come the winter time.
Q. What do you do if you can’t find ANY (and I’ve really tried) weed free areas on your lake (I’m fishing for the carp and tench)
Ian Hardman responds:
Thanks for this; it is a really interesting question.
You’ve walked around the lake with your Polaroid glasses on and searched the places you cannot see with a marker rod and yet you still cannot find a clear area to fish...
Many of us will have faced this to some extent and there are a variety of approaches that you might consider.
Before looking at these though, in general with weedy venues, it’s a good idea to use safety rigs which discharge the lead easily. This help you to avoid becoming weed logged and can help you to get the fish up in the water quickly when playing it which is a considerable advantage when fishing in weed. We do not want tethered fish so it’s always important to balance tackle setups carefully to protect them.
So what do you do when faced with solid, wall-to-wall weed? Well, the first and my personal overall favourite, is to create a clear area to fish.
Investing an hour or two with a weed rake the day before I want to fish, clearing out two swims, will both remove weed and churn the bottom, which is a great natural attractor for both carp and tench. If I can I leave the swim/s for at least eight hours before fishing them.
Standing in a fixed spot, cast (or throw depending upon size of rake in use) the rake to form a triangular pattern - the apex of the triangle pointing towards the bank you are fishing on. You can then fish to either corner or in the middle. The size of the triangle depends on how energetic you were with the rake. This allows good presentation near to the weed with good line lay back to the rod tip. The second swim is so that if someone else gets there first you will still have a swim; after all, stumbling onto a freshly cleared swim is something too good to miss.
If you do not wish to clear a spot yourself, and you have time, you can always enlist the assistance of the fish. My second choice is instead of casting a weed rake, throw, catapult or spod groundbait in the same triangular shape and the fish will clear the weed for you. This is especially effective if you target a gravel/firm bottom area. Although this will take longer, over the course of a week or two, feeding the area every other day, you should get an acceptable result. You can also use this approach after a good raking session to have the fish keep the area clear. However if your venue suffers from crayfish, as so many do these days, I wouldn’t use this approach or any other heavy pre baiting approach.
The Third approach I would consider is to fish with tactics and tackle which are sensitive to the weedy situation rather than changing the environment. For the Carp, surface fishing either freelining or with a controller float is great fun. Feed the fish with free offerings until they take them confidently (this may take a while, days or even weeks) then press your luck. If you’re lucky and are fishing a venue where everyone says surface fishing doesn’t work, with some surface pre baiting and patience you may exploit an overlooked opportunity. Where the fish take surface baits readily they may be experienced, so your surface presentation will need to be excellent. There are plenty of articles about surface fishing to draw upon, but do watch out for the wildfowl and if people feed ducks on the venue, don’t forget bread as bait (when the ducks and seagulls are not looking).
Aside from surface fishing, a subsurface rig which will work well for both the carp and tench is the Chod Rig.
This would be an approach of choice as it lends itself to weedy venues. Using either pre tied tackle or by carefully following one of the many articles on Chod Rigs to tie your own, you should be able to present a bait to fish your weedy venue straight away. Smaller popup boilies (say 10mm) and buoyant corn, popped up lobworms and many other baits are good for both species. The mechanics of the Chod Rig are well explained in many articles so I will not repeat them here but a well-tied and presented Choddie, supported by suitable area baiting, could well be the answer to your question, if you have limited time on the venue.
With carp and specialist anglers of the calibre of Paul Garner, Tony Gibson, Alan Storey, Steve Pope, Ted Bryan, Alan Blair, Mark Barrett, Lewis Baldwin, Ian Hardman and Bernard Anderson – to name but a few - the Nash Peg One team has a wealth of experience covering just about every species that swims and the expertise of the whole team is on tap for everyone at FishingMagic to take advantage of in these Q and A sessions.
If you have any questions that you would like the team at Nash Peg One to answer in the next instalment then please e-mail them through to firstname.lastname@example.org
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