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Hard lake advice needed


Uroy
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I'm fishing a carp lake and struggling with it. It's about 15 acres in size . Depths range from 2-5 ft . It's chocked with weed tho there are small clear spots . The carp are a nightmare to catch . I've only had two since joining and to be honest they both came from pub chucking solid bags . There's 15 pegs on the lake . The carp very rarely show themselves so hard to locate . I've tried pre baiting but to no avail . You're not allowed to wade or use a boat or clear weed . Even the experienced members blank most times and I'm dying to catch one of the bigger fish that come out from time to time . Has anyone fished a hard water like this before ? What did you do or what would you recommend to try ? I've been using solid bags and standard rigs 6-8 inches long with a stick on them . Most members feel that catching at the lake is more down to luck but I'm not having that . I've done about 20 sessions for two fish and I'm dying to get more fish but at this point I'm just stumped . Any thoughts ?

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Welcome to the forum Uroy, I like your attitude.

 

I'm going to ask an obvious question about your pub-chucks; were they in the same place?

 

Few other questions:

How many others fish the lake and is it on a regular basis?

When pre-baited, how long was it for, how frequently and with what?

Do you know what sort of stock is in there?

 

Sounds to me like pre-baiting is the answer though, take the quiet time over winter for a few months to bait up a couple of spots using smallish baits (hemp, corn, pellets) if you intend to use an alternative hook-bait and a few later on. Use your time observing and improving your knowledge of the lake.

 

One way to find carp is to use floating bread, but this will depend on the wildlife and lake rules (and other anglers around you).

 

I'm sure others will be along to offer their advice as well to give you something to think on.

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two fish in 20 sessions is good on some places!! It may just be a very tricky water to catch from. 

 

My personal approach would be to use google earth to try and locate historical clear areas in the weed or features and see if they are still clear now. Climb trees on sunny days and you'll be able to locate holes in the weed as the lake is fairly shallow, providing the water is clear. Try to find signs of fish feeding and see whats at that location (difficult during winter). Once you find a few likely spots bait moderately with particle (groats, pigeon conditioner, wheat, corn, maples, etc), im talking 2kg on each spot twice a week. Dont fish them, sit on your hands and keep checking if they are getting clearer or not. The ones which aren't stop baiting, the ones which are add in your chosen hookbait (for me it would be a good quality boilie) and make the ratio 1:1 so 1kg particle mix to 1kg boilie (I would crush and chop 1/2kg) and keep the bait going in for a few weeks before fishing it. 

 

A single bait I have heard is very effective and I have been playing around with is a single brazil nut (make sure you prepare properly) on a long hooklink, balanced so it very very slowly sinks. Visual and the smell of the oils coming out of it are incredible for such a small bait. 

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Thanks for the tips lads . That's something to go on . Climbing trees is banned . Using sea leads to clear spots is banned lol . It's unreal .

My two pub chucks where In different parts of the lake . I've been baiting with maggot , corn , hemp and lightly with boilies . I've tried this on two spots . Baiting each for about 4-6 times before fishing .

Everything I've read on this subject says location is key . But when you don't see them you can't pin them down . Also the weed is so thick most of the year you are confined to the margins as you'd never get a fish in from further out . Even with dropping the lead . Regarding stock the official line is 150-200 fish but the lakes been hit bad by otters . I believe it's closer to 50 fish . My feeling is that they lie up in the thick weed in the most of the time . Fish are caught from time to time but from all areas so hard again to establish . And of course no one will tell you where they caught or what they did . And I wouldn't expect them to either !!

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Everything I've read on this subject says location is key . But when you don't see them you can't pin them down .

 

Dead right. On the vast majority of lower stock waters I've fished catching them is easy - it's finding them that's the hard part. Your pub chucks would suggest that is the case on this water.

 

If this water is as hard as you say then personally I'd forget about it for winter. For spring you have two choices; the campaign approach or the mobile approach.

 

The campaign involves locating and clearing spots with loads of bait - which in my opinion does not guarantee you carp. It can only work if you know you're baiting areas the carp will visit and be prepared to feed on. To know that you need to see them. This approach can also be very expensive (regardless of what bait you use).

 

The mobile approach. Make no mistake the carp will show themselves (in spring, summer and autumn anyway), you're just not looking hard enough. Be it first light, last light, in the middle of the night, whatever, if you look hard enough you will find them eventually. It might take you 6 hours to see a sign but when you do you're basically more than half way there. Carp are shoal fish and for every single fish you see there are many more beneath the surface. Cast a single at a show, if you get a drop leave it, if not, recast. Couple of pouches of bait on top - job done.

 

Over time by taking the mobile approach you'll learn all about where the carp like to be in different conditions, this will mean eventually you don't have to look for them as you'll have a pretty good idea of the areas in which they'll be. It is this learning process that turns any difficult new water into a water on which you expect to catch fish.

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Id bet my last 50p that they will give themselves away at some point during 24hrs.  Is night fishing allowed? or can you at least gain access to the water during darkness?  If you can, just sit in the dark (wrapped up warm!) and listen carefully.  If you hear a moorhen shreik or any other water bird for that matter, Id put my money on it being spooked by a fish, even in winter.  Listen for the sploshes or even just a light 'plop' and try to narrow down the area it came from.   During the day, keep an eye on the water birds movements, sudden changes of direction or paniced behaviour are a dead give away.  Flatspotting, weedbeds rocking etc should all be checked out.  Leave all the gear at home and just spend a full day looking, listening and hunting them down.

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That's great mate . Some good tips in there . Cheers . I have seen fish on the odd occasion but they're usually rolling in the middle of the lake and due to the weed being so thick it's impossible to fish there . They would be 100 yards plus away and the weeds dense the entire lake . I've been watching the margins and the first 30 yards or so but they just never seen to show there . I know most boys use solid bags and try and fish into clear spots but there's no real good multiple catches of the lake . The odd fish comes here and there with no real pattern but good fish are caught now and again . This lake had my head melted lol . Apart from seeing a few fish in the middle from time to time I'm struggling to locate the rest of them . I think a few more longer trips just watching and not fishing are in order

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That's great mate . Some good tips in there . Cheers . I have seen fish on the odd occasion but they're usually rolling in the middle of the lake and due to the weed being so thick it's impossible to fish there . They would be 100 yards plus away and the weeds dense the entire lake . I've been watching the margins and the first 30 yards or so but they just never seen to show there . I know most boys use solid bags and try and fish into clear spots but there's no real good multiple catches of the lake . The odd fish comes here and there with no real pattern but good fish are caught now and again . This lake had my head melted lol . Apart from seeing a few fish in the middle from time to time I'm struggling to locate the rest of them . I think a few more longer trips just watching and not fishing are in order

I know it sounds really strange, but I have seen waters where the fish simply don't show at short range during the day, maybe because of angler pressure, maybe because during the day they don't move in that short.

 

Probably the hardest part is getting presentation right. Fishing a standard pendant or lead clip :urgh: is just pulling the hook and bait into the weed, and as much as I dislike them, a barbless hook may actually get you more pick-ups in weed, as would a paternoster set-up where the lead is a long way separate from the hook on a lead link.

Please note, in thick weed, I do NOT like a Helicopter or Chod rig set up.

 

Finding fish, watch, watch, watch, walk and watch some more. The chances are there is a lot of natural food in the weed, and obviously that is where the fish feed.

 

It may be worth sneaking some particles in to areas to get the fish to clear out areas for you, creating clear spots using the fish.

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I know it sounds really strange, but I have seen waters where the fish simply don't show at short range during the day, maybe because of angler pressure, maybe because during the day they don't move in that short.

 

Probably the hardest part is getting presentation right. Fishing a standard pendant or lead clip :urgh: is just pulling the hook and bait into the weed, and as much as I dislike them, a barbless hook may actually get you more pick-ups in weed, as would a paternoster set-up where the lead is a long way separate from the hook on a lead link.

Please note, in thick weed, I do NOT like a Helicopter or Chod rig set up.

 

Finding fish, watch, watch, watch, walk and watch some more. The chances are there is a lot of natural food in the weed, and obviously that is where the fish feed.

 

It may be worth sneaking some particles in to areas to get the fish to clear out areas for you, creating clear spots using the fish.

Why would a barbless hook get more pick ups in weed? The only thing i can see barbless doing in weed is costing you fish threw hook pulls which on a hard lake or any lake is the last thing you want. Edited by liamclose
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Why would a barbless hook get more pick ups in weed? The only thing i can see barbless doing in weed is costing you fish threw hook pulls which on a hard lake or any lake is the last thing you want.

Strangely because weed catches on the barb, the hook doesn't get taken in as well as a barbless hook.

Shaun Harrison wrote about it on a few articles, complete with pictures of how the barbed hook has had weed catch on the barb itself. I can't remember whether it was CarpWorld or Carpology though.

 

A barbless hook can penetrate better than a barbed hook, again the barb can prevent it pri cking in as deeply. As you point out though, a barbless hook, if you allow any slack can pull out during the fight.

 

 

Ian Jones on Earith insisted on barbless hooks, and due to rig design, I rarely lost any fish to hookpulls, after I had sorted out certain issues with rig design. It meant I switched to line aligners over knotless knot rigs, but once that was done, no more hookpulls :wink:

 

Obviously though you also have the barbed vs barbless debate and which causes least damage, and on either you have to consider fishery rules, and your own conscience. On either I have worked out my rigs to cause least damage, and know if the hook is any trouble to remove, use side cutters to snip the hook as low down as possible and push the remainder out point first with forceps.

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I've fished these kinds of lakes before and they can be very tricky indeed. I get what your saying about no shows from fish, as I've had this myself and I've sat up all night in all weathers trying to see fish. I came to the conclusion that the fish were moving through lake bed channels in the weed in 6ft of water so didn't disturb the surface at all. In my case they're was clear spots but under the surface weed and finding those invisible clear spots was paramount. What I did in the end was to learn how to cast onto the weed with a balanced float that would very slowly sink through the weed but when it fell into a channel under the weed would then fall quickly with a donk. Once Ive found a couple of these clear spots under the weed the fishing became much easier as I knew I was on a patrol route. The downside is that presentation was an issue and bite detection not always perfect but I did catch fish.

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Thanks to all that have replied . I guess it's just a case of trying to find them . I sit under a brolly outside my bivvy watching the water but rarely see them except for an odd crash in the middle of the lake . I'll take on board what's been said and see how it goes . If anyone wants to add anything then any more tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks lads

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No I can't fish there . They're about 100 yards out and it's just thick weed all over . I mean I could cast a solid bag but even dropping the lead it would be a nightmare even trying to get them out . Wading is banned and so is using a boat to help land them . It's driving me mad cause that's the only place I've seen them . Even in the middle of the lake it's 3ft deep and chocked solid with weed . But they have to move around outta the centre at times but I'm struggling to see them . Baiting the margins hasn't worked and I know a few other lads are baiting spots in the margins but again only an odd fish here n there is being landed

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Lol no not yet . I thought about presenting a zig but the weeds just imense and I worry about presentation . This lake is unreal . The committee won't allow any clearing , raking , boats , access to the water which just makes it a ball breaker . Also no chods so it's a tricky one .

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Sounds to me the sort of lake that needs to be fished hard from march to June the fish are at there most catchable the weed not so much as problem early on. If the weed that bad and you carnt get access to a boat i personally wouldn't fish it after June. Of coarse winters an option but i find low stock weedy waters the worst winter waters of all useally. as i say id just hit hard in spring get tactics right and it will be job done by time weed gets bad.

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Thanks lads . Yeah with the rules you would think they didn't want you to catch lol . Fishing hard from spring to June does seem like my best option . The problem is tho that this place has got into my head now . After a blank I drive home bugged off . Pack my gear away swearing I've had enough then a few hours later my minds ticking over asking how am I gonna get them out . I think the challenge of it all is what's keeping me going . Not many silvers and a handful of swans just . I think before I fish again I'm gonna just go and observe and try and locate them somewhere in the margins and try a baiting campaign on that area . It seems that might be my best option due to the circumstances and restrictions . Thanks to all who have commented . You've given me plenty of good points to think about and ponder over . Cheers lads !!!

Edited by salokcinnodrog
Edited to remove censored swearing. Don't do it again!
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