Thursday, 8 April 2010

Pond Life - Fishing in the Balance

I've been out and about looking at some local and free stillwater fishing opportunities in the last few weeks with a mind to exploring the tench, rudd and carp angling potential of each throughout the coming summer. I did something similar about this time last year, if my memory serves me right, and then I located a pair of lakes of radically differing characters separated by an isthmus, the smaller of which chokes with weed in summertime and seems full to the brim with ravenous tiny rudd, and the larger of the pair, a very pretty weed free lake but almost completely cloaked in deep beds of common reed where I managed to fish a session or two, landing a solitary tench and losing a number of quite decent carp.

The lake turned out to be a shallow balancing lake that was originally excavated to accept the storm water run off from a nearby industrial estate. Stocked with coarse fish soon after it was dug, it was then, as far as I can ascertain from local lore, left entirely to its own devices by the council and in good time, when all the original stockies had grown on to an 'interesting' weight, duly robbed by a notorious local commercial fishery baron...

Now, it is probably twenty to thirty years of age and is maturing into a natural wildlife haven, with grebes, reed warblers and other wildfowl species making use of the ideal habitat produced by the rampant bullrushes. It's just like a little slice of the Norfolk Broads.

A little google research into the local area's council controlled stillwaters turned up further potential sites of interest, two of which were also balancing lakes. I visited one of them a week ago and it looked good for an exploratory session, being fringed with bullrushes, with an island feature and a secluded pool connected to the main lake by only a very narrow channel and that looks most interesting of all to my eyes.

The other I have only visited thus far via Google Earth, and it looks a little stark from above the clouds, but we'll see...

I hadn't had much luck on the canal front over the past few weeks, the fishing for both roach and zander switching off completely as a spell of unsettled cold weather passed through. As soon as the weather cleared and the temperature rose I decided to revisit 'The Broad', to hopefully catch an early tench or two, but really, to put the record straight with the resident carp.

It was surprisingly warm in the southerly blow, but I was still glad to settle into my usual peg at the inlet and find it completely sheltered from the wind, and the water out front where I intended to float fish, calm, unruffled, and peaceful.

I rigged up two barbel rods with eight pound main line, each with 11 inch long, 3 swan shot insert wagglers, six pound hooklinks and hair rigged double grains of corn on size eight barbless hooks. The locking shot was calculated to expose almost four inches of the insert tip and float body, the dropper shot placed just three inches from the hook putting the bait on the deck and dotting it down to just an inch showing so that any lift of the bait would be indicated dramatically and easily seen at distances of thirty yards...

Such precision of intent! That's the benefit of a year away from your errors.

Both rods were cast within six feet of reed beds to the left and out front on the opposite bank, I chucked in a handful of corn over each casting position, and sat back in the peaceful afternoon sun to await events. I didn't have to wait long before events took a turn, and a turn for the worse, when a family of five kids, two teenagers, three dogs and a pair of adult minders turned up and parked themselves on the nearby bench and proceeded to eat, drink and make the most unbelievable racket! Not an unpleasant racket mind, just the normal squabbling, shouting, laughing noise interspersed with bursts of drum & bass, yapping dogs and the inevitable underage bare knuckle bouts of a large family out on the warmest afternoon of the spring thus far, for a bit of a jolly.

They 'parked' there for an hour and a half; I thought they would never leave. I was just considering asking them to leave by means of a well aimed pouch of corn when they started to go home of their own accord, and then, just as they passed me by, my left hand float suddenly upped in the water and shot under quickly. The strike met with a fish that that plunged about on short but powerful carp like runs, and sure enough, after a short but spirited fight witnessed by my aforementioned tormentors turned audience, up came a pristine little mirror carp to the delight of all concerned!

I sat it out for the next three hours, a whole hour of which was spent with a fellow brother of the angle silently watching the motionless floats over my right shoulder, but they were not going to move again, and when eventually he tired and departed, I reeled in and went home.


  1. I Have fished the lake with island a few times last year. It has a good stock of little tench, Zander, pike and some decent carp. But it gets plundered by the local eastern Europeans that work in the local factories. If you look on the banks you can see where they even cook them on campfires, it's heart breaking

  2. Yeah, it does look open to exploitation, Danny, because of the position of the lake between a large industrial estate and a new housing estate. Shame that these lakes are not controlled in any way, they should make very good fisheries but not if they are plundered all the time.