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21 Mar 2017
by Terry Hearn
How do you prevent your lines spooking fish in weed?
We ask Terry Hearn...

Question

When fishing very weedy lakes where the use of backleads will often cause more problems than benefits, what do you do to ensure that your lines are less likely to spook any fish moving in or around your swim?
Max Cottis

Just as you pointed out in your question Max, I think that backleads can often cause more problems than advantages, especially on weedy venues, or wherever the bottom’s littered with snags or mussels. To be honest, about the only time I ever use backleads is on the Thames and that’s simply to avoid being cut-off by passing boats, nothing to do with ‘line wary’ fish at all.

It’s easy to imagine a backlead pinning your line tight to the bottom and out of the carp’s way, but unless you’re fishing a perfectly flat-bottomed water with no weed or debris, no humps or undulations, I think backleading is more likely to do just the opposite. You only need something between the backlead and your rig to keep the line up in the water, and quite possibly in a worse position, one where a feeding fish is more likely to bump into it. I think it’s fair to say that a backleaded line is more likely to be a tighter line too, or at least it’s more likely to offer more resistance to anything swimming into it, and so for the most part I rarely use them myself, only when absolutely necessary.

If I’m fishing in a situation where I feel I need to get my line to sink lower I’ll simply slacken them off a bit more. Most of the time I use leadcore leaders, generally with a couple of pieces of rig putty moulded onto the line at intervals above the leader. Obviously this putty can slide up the line when put under a little pressure, so it’s quite safe.

The length of my leadcore leader, the amount of putty blobs I use and the size of the intervals I space it at is dependent on the nature of the spot I’m fishing. If it was all pretty flat out there then I’d generally use around 5ft of leadcore with one blob of putty a few inches above the leader. On the other hand, if I was fishing into a hole amongst weed I’d be more likely to use 3ft of leadcore with two or three pieces of putty above the leader at one-foot intervals. It’s all about doing your best to get the last few feet of your set up to follow the contours of the bottom, or weed, and I prefer to do this without using backleads.

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