THE current heat wave, interrupted only by thunder and rain, has been enough to persuade me to keep my rods in the garage, and so I haven’t fished since my last column.
I’ve spoken to a few friends who have been out and about, and their luck has been poor.
Most of them were after carp and drew blanks. Those who chased rudd or trout fared better, but only marginally so. It’s the weather.
These hot, sticky days when humidity levels are high can be difficult. The fish become disinclined to feed, and bites can be few and far between. My preference is to fish on the top with floating baits, but when the sun is high the fish can lose interest.
They will cruise around in the upper layers, sure, but all too often are reluctant to tip their heads up to a blinding sky to sup a dog biscuit or floating crust. The first hour or so when the low morning sun hits the water will be your best chance. After that, I would echo the sentiments of a well-known Cotswold carper, who told me ‘summer days are for fishing or for pub beer gardens, usually the latter’.
But it is not all gloom. Night offers a different world. Those with an interest in fishing history, or who are old enough to remember the writings of Dick Walker, will know that floating crust was originally devised in the late-1940s as a way of catching cruising margin carp at night.
Baits were suspended above the water, with a few free samples thrown in, until the ‘clooping’ of a feeding fish became apparent. Only then would the bait be lowered.
Open banks and exposed pitches don’t suit the method, so find somewhere with reeds and cover. Travel light, as I did recently overnight on the Kennet and Avon canal, and leave the bedchair and bivvy at home. You can always sit on your unhooking mat – at least until it gets wet and slimy. I promise you, Walker’s old method still works.
Finally, during this hot spell, we ought to remember that water quality can deplete, and oxygen levels plummet.
In this column last year I mentioned the loss of some fish on the Water Park. It’s worth keeping an eye on your water, and reporting any signs of fish in distress to the owner or club.
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