The River Weaver in Nantwich is a lovely stretch of water run by the Nantwich Angling Society on a yearly membership for just £20!
It can get quite busy because of the price and location but if you can see past this there are some real gems to be caught. On the lures you have 3 options to catch; Pike, Perch and Chub. The first probably being the least abundant and the last probably being the most abundant.
I personally fish it for the Perch, Chub then tend to be a regular by-catch with the odd pike turning up in certain areas.
Numbers of Perch are a little unknown, and as the river floods a lot it gets absolutely destroyed. It floods out into the surrounding fields and pushes huge amounts of debris down stream.
From this you would think its probably rubbish and not worth a look. But as local rivers go I think it is a great stretch to fish especially the way that I do; which we are going to talk about in this blog.
I am in no way saying that my way of fishing the weaver is the best way or the only way but it is my preferred way and it works! Hopefully this blog will be an interesting read for you, maybe even give you a few pointers or answer some questions for you.
I tend to have two approaches when it comes to soft plastics on the Weaver. A skirted jig or a Texas rig / Carolina rig.
both fish weedless and that is very important on the Weaver as it is so snaggy. If you are fishing normal jig heads then its safe to say you are going to loose a fair bit of gear! I still loose gear fishing weedless….
The first set up above is a skirted jig. I use either 7g or 9g most of the year. When its really cold I still use these in micro versions for smaller baits. They come in a variety of colours and weight shapes. It has an open hook point which is protected by a brush weed guard. these are great for fishing heavy cover but are not as weedless as a Texas rig or Carolina rig. The skirt gives added movement to help the Perch to see it in the cloudy water.
I use these with a creature bait trailer. something with big paddles to create even more movement. I will talk about lure colours a little further down.
The second rig I use is a Texas rig / Carolina rig. I combine these two together as they are a very similar rig in their construction
Firstly the Texas rig is a very very good rig to use when its really snaggy as when it is set up correctly it is very streamlined and will slide over any underwater snags with ease. I normally rig it with a grip stop above a 7g or 9g bullet weight, a glass bead between the weight and hook and then an offset worm hook; either a 2/0 or a 1/0 depending on bait size. I have the stop about 3 inches above the hook to give the weight a little movement which in turn ‘clacks’ the glass bead against the eye of the hook adding an audible signal in colored water. If it is really snaggy you can push the stop up and ‘peg’ it which keeps the weight and hook all together.
Secondly the Carolina rig. I use this when I want the bait to sink a little slower if the Perch are hitting the bait on the drop for instance. It give the bait a longer hang time in the water column for more lethargic or pressured fish. I rig it the same way as the Texas rig but I put a stop either side of the weight about 10 inches up from the hook and loose the glass bead. Its also really good if the fish have pushed into a silty pocket, in this instance the weight will sit in the silt leaving the bait to sit gently on top of it.
As you can see with the above images there is a trend with the soft baits I use on the Weaver. They are predominantly Creature baits or Crayfish imitations. This is because the weaver is full of Crayfish. Perch and Chub both love feeding on Crayfish (Pike do as well), they are a great source of food for them.
One of the reasons I love fishing for them in this way is the take. when a Perch hits a Crayfish bait you know about it! From a Perch’s perspective a Crayfish can fight back, unlike a minnow for instance. So when a Perch makes the decision to go for a Crayfish it goes hard! Its the risk and reward of the meal for them. There is no fine pluck in my experience when fishing for them in this way!
I normally use one of three different style Creature baits..
There are a lot of opinions regarding colours of lures for different situations. So this advice, again, is what works for me. Something else may work for you!
- If the water is colored I use white. It is probably my favourite colour to use to be honest!
- If the water is clear I use natural colours or darker colours.
- If it is first light or last light, when there is not as much light penetrating the water I lean towards UV lures or white!
If I am using skirted jigs I tend to try to match it up. Natural colours for clear water and brighter colours for colored water.
Play around with colours and see what works for you.
LINE AND LEADERS
This part is very important on the Weaver! If you don’t have the right line / braid on then it doesn’t matter how weedless your hook is! And here is why….
For the Weaver I always carry two set ups…. Not because I love hauling lots of gear. But because they both serve different purposes.
I personally like to use casting set-ups. This is personal, I find they are more efficient and you can get lures to places that a spinning set up just can not get to. Use what you have and are comfortable with.
I have one set up with 30lb floating braid. and the other set up with Fluorocarbon strait through.
Most lure anglers use braid strait through, this is because you can feel everything, there is no stretch. And that is why I use it. It works very well and you can feel everything.
The big down side to braid is that when braid meets a branch or any other wood underwater it acts like a saw and will dig right into it. Fishing into heavy snags with braid in my opinion is a rig death sentence.
That is why I have a set up with just fluorocarbon on. Fluoro tends to glide over snags if fished right preventing most of your snag fishing rig losses. You loose a little bit of feeling because of the small amount of stretch, which you will not notice anyway if fishing creature baits, but you can fish where the Perch are a lot more effectively and more important, safely.
I normally have a Texas rig on the fluorocarbon set up, and a skirted jig or Carolina rig on the braid set up.
For leaders I use one of these three. Anywhere from 0.20mm to 0.25mm for the really snaggy stuff works. No need to go go super fine with this as the perch are not investigating your rig, they are hitting it like a run away steam train.
WHERE TO FISH
Now the obvious answer to this is…. fish where the fish are! But that is the hard bit to figure out. Fish like areas they know so if you catch a fish somewhere there will normally be more. A thing to note is that on the river a flood will push the fish into new areas and snags may move which in turn will move the fish on. There are some indications on the river to look for though that will show you where fish are.
Here are some easy pointers…
- If its very sunny the fish will be in deeper water or in the cover of overhanging trees or snags.
- If the river is flooded or fast the fish will still be there! But they will be in the slower ‘slack’ water.
- If the river is low they will be in cover.
What does it all look like though? What does a slack look like? What is a crease? These are all questions that a very valid especially if you are new! Let’s try to answer some for you!