Sunday, 23 March 2014

Weedless Opportunities

My river season ended with a bit of a whimper really after doing quite well all winter. I had a few sessions towards the end of the season and am still kicking myself at a few big fish that i missed which would have ended the season in style. It wasn't to be though and despite nothing special i still caught most times out with only the one blank since September which is really good going.

The very last session of the season saw me visiting a small river I'd not fished for a long time, I was hoping to find it much clearer than it was so was disappointed when i saw the colour it was carrying. Ive prided myself all winter on the fact that Ive always got a result out of the worst conditions and sessions so this day was going to be the same hopefully. I wasn't getting any results at all so kind of had one of those 'what the hell, I'll give something different a bash' moments, funniy how they usually end up getting results!

I routed around in my bag for ideas and found a craw type bait which gave me the idea to fish really slowly along the bottom, i routed further and found an old jig head so snipped the hook off just leaving the ball weight and eye, i wanted to use this to make a jika rig.

The rig worked a treat and not long after i got a couple of takes which i missed as a combination of not being ready, not striking hard enough and the fact the rod i was using was a little too soft for this application.

I was quite intrigued by this action and it got me thinking into all the possibilities i had on venues that i had struggled on when the conditions were coloured and weedy bottom. I've never really fished weedless lures on account of not feeling confident enough I'd have a satisfactory hook up rate.

So over the past couple of weeks with the downtime of closed season i have been thinking more into weedless presentations and got some good ideas off the lads on the LAS. Today I had time for a few hours so decided to visit an old haunt of mine that has really gone downhill over the years due to pressure and poaching. I chose this venue because it was carrying colour and is always weedy with the worse types of weed going. I figured it would be perfect to try out some weedless lures and see how they fished.

It took some searching but eventually i got a good take and because of having the weedless lure constantly in my mind i stayed alert and ready for a take at all times so i could make sure i set the hook. I thumped into the fish and was pleased to meet resistance and eventually a jack was on the bank.

The lure and rig i was using can be seen below, the 13cm soft 4play i was using was not the best choice to give me the chance of maximum hook ups, they are abit thick and you would really have to hit any takes to get the hook through all that rubber. However i did a couple of things to improve my chances that i picked up off the LAS, firstly i cut the belly slot in the lure so that it was longer and deeper, this meant that any strike would collapse the rubber a little easier. The second tip i put into practise was to put some Vaseline on the hook, in this case i used a lip balm stick. This idea meant that the hook was lubed so that it would move through the rubber much more freely.

I ended the session with a couple of fish but more importantly i had quite abit of interest that i couldn't convert into fish. This was more down to the fish not taking properly, myself been a little slow on a couple of occasions and once i struck into a bush as i was in a tight swim so didn't get an effective strike.
Some takes i think i hesitated trying to feel for more resistance before hitting it, in these instances i think the fish let go as i struck hard only to find the lure come flying out of the water and having to duck!
Its all new to me though and its a case of getting used to the different way of fishing these types of presentation. I am quite excited though now for future sessions and even when the rivers open back up as this opens up more possibilities of getting results on those tough days and conditions.

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