Should I set up my rigs to drop a £1 plus lead on every take, or not? This is a subject that again is becoming a controversial issue amongst the carp angling community.
It appears to be the fashion to set a rig up so that if you get a take the lead is released immediately. I know that we all talk about fish welfare but is it really necessary to throw money away just because everyone else is doing so?
My answer to this is no!
I am sorry if this offends some anglers principals but I do not believe that dropping a lead is always necessary. I fully believe that the most important issue is the welfare of our beloved carp, but sometimes there are other methods that are safer than dropping lead.
Lets look at some fishing situations that we all come across when fishing different venues at different times of the year.
From around the middle of October through to the beginning of May the following year, most waters, not all, are generally weed free. There are some exceptions such as the growth of lily beds which will start to grow a little earlier. Where the weed does start to show during the warmer months then, yes, set up your rigs to dispose of its lead on a take. Dropping the lead will make it easier to bring the carp to the surface and over the weed beds and reduces the chances of locking up a fish.
Snags and over hanging margins
Snag fishing is dangerous at the best of times when it comes to the welfare of the carp. Most sensible anglers will avoid fishing too close to the snags, but you now find that most British, German and Dutch anglers that visit French lakes have the use of a bait boat. Because of the ease and accuracy that can be obtained from the use of a boat, some can be tempted to get closer and closer to dangerous snags.
Situations like this would require a lead to be dropped immediately on a take, and possibly also using barbless hooks with tubing, and no leadcore or leaders. It is imperative that the carp has the best chance of freeing itself if it does manage the safety of the snags.
Open water fishing with no weed or snags
I personally do not see the need to drop a lead when fishing open water. I always set up my rig, so that if a carp does encounter a problem when I am retrieving it, a shake of it’s head will release the lead. I believe that this is all that is needed in this situation, however, more and more lakes are enforcing the leads to be dropped no matter what, on every take.
Just think what our lake beds will look like in a few years from now, with 3 and 4 ounce leads scattered in the popular feeding areas about the lake. If there are 30 runs on a lake in a week, that would be 5.6 pounds of lead dropped. If you look at the most productive times of the year, April to mid-October which is approximately 28 weeks, that would amount to 840 leads weighing around 157 pounds or 70 kilos.
For years now, we have been trying to reduce lead pollution from fossil fuels, so what are we doing now, introducing lead to out water ways. The only answer to this is to ban lead altogether from our fisheries, using natural products such as small rocks or stones. I know that there some such products on the market, but they are not popular, as they are not anywhere near as dense as lead. Even if we convert to other metals, none can work out as cheap or as dense as lead, and we shall carry on littering our lakes with more and more debris.
So what is the answer. Educate anglers. More rules and banning of certain terminal tackle. I don’t know. But we do need to look after our carp and also try and reduce the amount of tackle that we are depositing during our fishing sessions. Maybe a weighted substance that breaks down after a few weeks in the lake, but again it would have to be non harmful to fish, invertebrates and bird life.
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