Far Bank Dom Gar­nett ar­gues the case for weedy fish­eries...

Do you curse at wild, over­grown, weedy waters? Rather than chang­ing fish­eries you should change your mind­set, reck­ons Dom Gar­nett

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

THE punter in the tackle shop is adamant: “It’s un­fish­able!” he says.

It’s in the height of sum­mer each year that the lo­cal venue erupts with that com­mon plague of an­glers, weed. Fish and rigs dis­ap­pear – the place has more salad than Waitrose.

I’ve seen groups of vol­un­teers waist deep in the stuff, try­ing to put a dent in it, while some or­gan­i­sa­tions even take to dye­ing the wa­ter to re­move it. But is weed re­ally such a dis­as­ter?

For me, at least, those balmy days when the stuff is thick of­fer some of the best fish­ing of all.

A lot of swims will be de­serted. The wa­ter will be be clear and rich, if a lit­tle tan­gled. And with plenty of ex­tra shel­ter, the fish will of­ten come right un­der your rod-tip.

There are is­sues to solve, ad­mit­tedly. You might have to strengthen tackle to land that 5lb tench that comes to the net with its own body­weight in plant mat­ter. You might need to break out the rake or to­tally change your pre­sen­ta­tion. But is that such a bad thing?

If you’re still hav­ing doubts, con­sider the re­verse sce­nario. Is there any­thing sad­der than a clas­sic-look­ing wa­ter where ev­ery shred of cover and veg­e­ta­tion has been stripped bare in the name of con­ve­nience? Clubs and fish­eries quite of­ten cave in to an­glers’ com­plaints and set about re­mov­ing some of the best fish­hold­ing fea­tures of all.

In the pro­cess they not only di­min­ish nat­u­ral beauty, but also rob the fish of nat­u­ral food, turn­ing them from wild crea­tures to hun­gry cap­tives.

It’s easy to see why so many an­glers pre­fer com­mer­cial fish­eries and rel­a­tively fea­ture­less pools th­ese days. Clear, weedy waters don’t take well to fancy rigs and heavy leads. They take fish­ing back to ba­sic wa­ter­craft and sim­ple tac­tics.

Freel­in­ing with tra­di­tional baits can be beau­ti­fully sim­ple and ef­fec­tive. But with so much nat­u­ral life amid the weed, us­ing nat­u­ral baits such as snails, or even fly fish­ing, are bril­liant too.

Just sweep a net through the mar­gins if you’re in any doubt of the value of weed. Shrimps, snails, wa­ter boat­men, damsel nymphs, you name it, the fish will be eat­ing it – and I catch ev­ery­thing from roach and rudd to the odd tench on copies of nat­u­ral in­sects at this time of year.

So rather than chang­ing waters, I’d urge you to change your mind­set when the green stuff takes over. Be­cause even if some of us hate weed, our quarry thrives on it. Fur­ther­more, those over­grown, less-fished spots so of­ten pro­duce the most beau­ti­fully-con­di­tioned fish of all.

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