freeline-20 - Page 112



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the history of this or anything about
the fishery, but it isn’t the best looking
fish I have seen, and I hope it doesn’t
do the record weight.
I do like Lee’s analogy about comparing catching a big import to going
on safari in London Zoo! I’m sure that
if someone did try to claim the record
with a fish that was imported at big
weights they would be considered a
l a ughi ng s to c k w i th 9 5 % o f the
angling community, but I can still see
it happening. The sort of waters that
are likely to import big foreign fish are
the sort of places that want to generate a rapid return on their investment,
and the best way to do this is with
day ticket angling. So it is possible
that a “pot noodle angler” (just add
water) will rock up at a water with
their gear still in the packaging, cast
out a ready tied rig and fluke out a
new record. But will this person
realise the merit (or lack of it) on what
he/she has caught or will they go for
glory and claim the record? I realise
that is the extreme case, but I don’t
think it is too far from being a possibility that a complete novice could
bank a huge fish and claim the record,
and then put it in the history books
alongside Clarissa, The Bishop, Mary
and Two Tone without thinking about
credibility and merit.
On the subject of big fish; Jon
posed the question, “Why are there so
many massive fish in France? Why do
we not have lots of 50lb fish to go for
over here these days, and why don’t
we have 70lb fish and the odd 80lb’er
swimming around in any of our
lakes?”
I’m probably not the perfect person
to answer this because I haven’t done
much fishing abroad, but I have travelled throught and flown over France
a few times and it seems like there are
lakes everywhere; some small, some
vast and plenty in between. France is
over three times bigger than England
and Wales with around the same population, so I’m guessing a lot of these
waters are relatively unfished, so I’m
sure angling pressure is a factor. Their
climate is on average is two or three
degrees warmer than ours, which
isn’t much, but there is a sizable difference in how much a fish will eat in
a water temperature of say 8°C compared to 11°C. Something else to consider is that carp have been in France
a lot longer that in the UK, so in that
time the right strains, and the grow-
112 FREE LINE
ers within that strain have had
chance to find themselves in the right
water, i.e. that of high water quality
and plenty of available, highly nutritious food. In some French waters the
same strain of fish have been in there
for decades, so that “family” of carp
have learnt how to best adapt to the
water they are living in and could
have passed that down the generations. After all each water is slightly
different in terms or natural food, pH
etc so my guess is a combonation of
these factors and the better natural
diet (crays etc) has lead to bigger
weights on the Continent.
I suppose I better stop rambling
there and answer the new questions
that have been posed to us…
Question 1
Hello Mr William. The easiest way
of doing this is to go out in a boat and
have a look or a prod about with a
stick, but not all waters allow this or
are clear enough for this to be done.
Climbing a tree with a pair of
Polaroids on can be a good indicator
of the margin weed, but if you need to
know the depth out in the pond then
a fair amount guesstimation is
required. The best thing that could
happen is if you bring back a strand
from root to tip, but this rarely happens without it snapping. There are
several other ways of estimating, such
as feeling the lead touch down to feel
how much it is cushioned, but probably the best way is to identify which
type of weed you are bringing back
on the hook and trying to estimate
how long that type of weed is likely
be at that time of year. From what I
have found most weed growth will be
minimal from when you read this until
the start of May. (I have seen some
types of weed survive a mild winter
though!). The growths accelerate
through the spring and reach their
peak in July and August. So if you are
bring back Canadian pondweed in
May it is likely to be much shorter
than in July. There are a number of
weed types that are high growing;
they include Canadian, milfoil, bistort,
kelp etc. These will often reach the
surface in places, but you can also
estimate their depth (and location) by
watching the geese and swans as
they graze on it and in it. Swans have
a reach of over 4ft when they upend
and I would say geese are a foot or so
less, depending on their species.
There are also a lot of low-lying
weed types such as onion weed, silkweed, blanket weed, etc. As you gain
experience in weedy waters you will
soon learn which is which and how to
best present a bait in it or on it. There
is one more tip that I will leave you
with… When I’m leading around in
weed in the height of summer and
come across highly dense weed I can
estimate its length by pulling the lead
up the side of it before dropping the
rod tip back down until the lead hits
the bottom. I also get a good estimation of its height when I pull the lead
over the top of it and it once again
falls to the lakebed. I have found that
this is a good spot to look for clear
areas. I’m not sure why; it could be
the lack of sunlight that is able to
penetrate the water through the high
weed or it could be that the dense
weed is sapping the nutrients from
the lakebed. I suspect it is a combination of these things and is similar to
why you never see grass in a forest.
Question 2
Hi, Mr Scott. The simple solution is
to fish a pop-up over the top of the
silt, but that doesn’t really help if you
are using freebies. The best way to
deal with this is to endeavour to find
another area of lighter, less rancid silt
or fish on clay or gravel. You can do
this by casting round and feeling for a
firmer touch down. If you can’t find
anything and you don’t think these
exist in your lake, then the fish must
feed somewhere so they must be
happy to feed in the rancid silt. It’s
their environment so they might not
find it as repulsive as we anglers, so in
that scenario I suggest you fish in it.
Question 3
Sorry I can’t be of much service
here, Mr McDonald. I don’t have any
first hand experience with crays, so I
can’t really help you beyond the obvious of using plastic/rubber baits or
encasing your boilies in shrink tube or
cages. From what I hear they are a
pain and will eat anything, so maybe
you could try filling the margins in
with trout pellets to try to keep them
occupied. But I’m sure one or two of
the others will be able to help you
more.
Question 4
That’s a tricky one, Mr Smith. I
believe an uncanny amount of big fish
come out during the full moon cycle.
There could be several reasons for
this and that’s an article in itself – in
fact I wrote one for Greys and Chub’s

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