Many anglers see weedy lakes and instantly think of this as a negative situation, which could not be further from the truth.
There are many positives that can be taken from lakes that contain heavy, deep or blanket weed. Fishing in weedy lakes does take some more effort and you are increasing the level of risk but the rewards can be great, not to mention the excitement of hooking a carp in these conditions.
Carp will always be near the weed beds for a number of reasons and it is these reasons why targeting weedy lakes are a great tactic to catch carp.
- The carp will feel safe and take cover in the dense weed. By fishing in or around the weed, you can be sure the carp are near your hook bait.
- Many anglers will be fishing on clear spots in clear open water, so a great tip is to target these weedy lake beds to give yourself an edge by doing something different. Lots of anglers will get the marker rod out, find a clear spot and put all of their rods out without even considering fishing on light weed.
- There is lots of natural food found in the weed which the carp feed on. This is especially true when carp fishing in silkweed due to its lightweight and low density
- In the hot weather, which we have been experiencing lately, the carp take refuge in the weed beds. The oxygen levels are much higher due to photosynthesis and this is very important in keeping the carp active and wanting to feed.
- When the carp take cover in the weed, making them feel safe, this, in turn, ensures they will start to feed which is exactly what you want as an angler.
Hopefully, these points will make you reconsider fishing in weedy lakes. If this is the case you need to make sure you are adopting the right tactics with the following tips.
How to fish a weedy bottom?
Ensure your tackle and rigs are setups for the weed, as a general rule you can simply beef everything up. I would increase the breaking strain of my mainline to at least 15 lbs and use something abrasive resistant.
You will want to ensure your rig has the ability to drop the lead, this is paramount in fishing in these types of conditions.
If you get caught up in thick weed something like a Korda lead clip system can easily dispose of the lead giving you a better chance of clearing heavy weed and also landing the carp. There are a number of different ways to dump the lead, I have always favoured lead clip systems.
What type of weed
Find out which type of weed you are dealing with. There are a few ways to achieve this.
The first approach is to get a good vantage point, possibly climb a tree if it is safe, and have a real good look.
Can you see clear spots?
Can you see thick dense weed?
The second and more common approach is to get out your marker rod and feel around the lake bed with a lead. Try to find the low lying silkweed which would be a great place to position a rod.
As I mentioned these spots will be crawling with natural food for the carp and more importantly carp will be close by. I would even try to bring some of the weed in and have a good look at the type of weed you are dealing with. Also keep an eye out for clear spots, which will indicate where the carp have been feeding previously.
When you do find these interesting spots, whether they are light weed, clear or even denser weed, make sure you clip your rods up to ensure you hit the same point each time you cast.
There are a few types of weed to look out for.
Silkweed as shown in the image - this is a light blanket weed that contains lots a natural food that the carp love to feed on. Great to fish on or around if the weed is low lying.
Candian pondweed - a very thick, strong and dense type of weed. You know when you get hooked up in this stuff and to be honest, something I would stay away from.
Milfoil - again very dense and heavy weed much like the Canadian pondweed.
Carp rigs for weedy bottoms
So you have decided to fish a weedy lake and found some clear spots and some light weed which you want to fish on. So which rig do you choose?
If you are carp fishing in silkweed that is fairly light I normally fish a critically balanced hook bait that will sink slowly through the water and just sit on top of this light weed bed, perfectly positioned for that big carp to bite.
Alternatively, you could use a very popular big carp rig known as the chod rig. This rig will sit perfectly on light weed due to the construction. The rig uses a pop-up boilie that runs freely along a leadcore leader, great for this scenario.
On the clearer spots, I would opt for a simple bottom bait rig, keep things as simple as possible would be my best tip here.
If you are going to fish on more heavy or dense weed I would suggest a solid PVA bag that will protect the hook and sit nicely on the weed beds. I would use pellets and broken up boilies to really get the carp rummaging through the weed.
Something to bear in mind, if you do get a take make sure you are very quick to respond and try your best to clear the thick weed as soon as possible. Hopefully, you have taken my previous advice and adopted a rig that can easily drop the lead (Korda lead clip system).
If you do find the carp has managed to get caught up in the weed, just keep the rod high and make sure the pressure is constant and if you are lucky the fish will eventually free itself.
Get fishing in the weed
If you are one of those anglers who avoid fishing in the weedy lakes then I suggest you give it a go.
The carp will not be far away from these weed beds, will feel safe undercover and with all of the natural food will inevitably be feeding at some point. Ensure you know what type of weed you are fishing on or around and adjust your rigs accordingly.
This extra effort and increase in risk fishing in the weed will be worth it when you land that big carp.