In The Thick Of It
Kodex angler Damo Lee offers his top tips for fishing near or on top of weedy areas during the summer.
Fishing for carp during the summer months can become very frustrating due to the warm conditions causing large periods of inactivity, but there will always be a window of opportunity for a bite. The fish are often starving during these months and will no doubt be up for a feed at some time of the day. The weed growth is at its peak and this is where the carp will pretty much always feel most safe. If they are spending their time during the day basking in the sun in and around the weed beds, then you can bet your money they won't travel far to find food...
Most often I have found that they seem to become preoccupied with the natural food that is there for them. I'm not sure if this is because they know eating boilies/bait trips them up and we catch them, or rather they just prefer the naturals over what we give them, but I have found that by putting a good spread of krill and crab boilies in the areas that they feel comfortable eating the naturals, they won’t be able to resist eating the bait as well.
During this time of year I seem to spend a lot more time casting a lead around, searching for clear areas that I could present a rig on. Once I have found a spot I'll put a rig back on and cast it to the chosen spot and retrieve it back in - this tells me what type of rig is best presented in that area. The reason I do this is that, sometimes, when you think you have landed on a clear spot, it can in actual fact have gone through light weed growth and therefore hinder your rig presentation if the right one isn't chosen. I do prefer clean gravel spots, but often it's the weedy areas the carp feel most comfortable to feed.
Now when it comes to my method of choice for fishing in or around weed beds, it has to be the helicopter setup. I feel this method gives you so much versatility, being able to set the beads at different places, which enables you to set your rig to land and lay perfectly on top of the weed when you’re fishing into the thick of it. The rigs I use in and around these situations are usually either the Chod or the Ronnie, depending how deep the weed growth is. If the spot only has light bits of weed (e.g. a couple of inches) then I will use the Ronnie rig, but if the weed is anything more than that I will go back onto the Chod and set it so the pop-up slowly settles onto the weed rather than being pulled into it. I also slide my top bead to account for the depth of weed, so I know the rig is presented every time and ready for the next fish that drops onto the spot. I make all my Chod rigs for these situations using size 3 Genomic MGP chod hooks, 15lb Shape-Shifter Stiff/Chod Rig line, Kodex Titanium Flexi Bait Screws and just enough of the Graviton putty to sink the pop-up slowly onto the spot.
I use a lot more chopped boilie and crumb in the summer months and have recently found it to be more successful. I’ve also found that by adding a few chopped tigers to the mix this gets them grubbing. I always mix in a few liquids like Ectoplasm to help keep the fish in the area, as the scent trail stays in the water column even though the bait has been eaten.
These methods have led to me getting a local club lake record at 28lbs, backed up by several more fish to 20+. I hope some of this can help to put more fish on the bank like it has for me. Tight lines.