Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Silver Bream - Pond Life - On Coming Down to Earth

It was Keith who predicted what would happen next... after enjoying a purple patch of just one week's duration in which I would break two personal bests by large margins, I would then end up looking at my reality from a false and dangerous perspective - omnipotence - and I would henceforth step into any fishery and believe that I had a God given right to its largest fish and that it would no longer be required that I work to earn them.
The thing is that I saw all this coming too and so made steps to avoid acquiring such a corrosive state of mind by embarking upon a regime of exploration that would, I thought, more or less guarantee that I would have my work cut out and thus avoid getting too big for my size elevens.

I have a passion for finding out what my local free waters offer in the way of fishing, and I do have an abundance of them to choose from, it has to be said. There's the miles of canals on my doorstep of course, and I do count my self very lucky to have this resource as the mainstay of my angling life, there's also a small river also that gives me occasions for some sport and then there are the numerous ponds and lakes that stud the locality, some of which I have already begun to explore but many more that I have yet to try.

The first on my 'must take a look at list' for this spring were two ponds on the outside edge of a vast nearby industrial estate that last year I had been tipped off about for the prospect of a large perch or two, but that from Google Map's aerial perspective looked like nothing more than a pair of muddy craters. However, on my first Reconnaissance of the place, a walk of a mile and a half with the the dog, I found that yes, one of the ponds was indeed the expected muddy hole in the ground but that the larger of the two was rather fetching. This was a deep pit gouged out of the land and deep enough to have passed through the overlying strata and penetrated a layer of sand deposits. Consequently the water was gin clear, reed fringed and maturing nicely and would have been very attractive indeed as an angling prospect if it weren't for the bold red signs erected by the owners of the business park forbidding leisure activities any more advanced than dog walking, up to and including fishing.

Nevertheless, there were the trace signs here and there that people had indeed broken the rules and fished regardless - a few too many cigarette butts in the one place, the wound up strip of tin around a luncheon meat can key, a short length of discarded monofilament. I thought it worth a try, just to see if the red signs would be backed up by muscle, and duly set out on a morning walk with Molly sporting spinning gear and after my spring target, the big stripies.

I needn't have bothered as I was met at the entrance by a security guard who'd spied my coming from a distance and driven up to head me off... I politely turned around quite defeated in the attempt, and went home....

My next targets were a string of three prospects all in a row along an abandoned railway cutting that used to lead to a colliery, all of which I had visited before but never got to fish, the walk to them being just too long and circuitous. However, I got busy on Google Maps and discovered a footbridge over the Bedworth Bypass that would shorten the journey by nearly half, reducing the time and distance to the furthest flung of the three ponds to a manageable hour's walk of two and a half miles.

I wasn't set on trying any of the nearest of the three, but the farthest of all, a tiny pond that I had found does contain some surprisingly large perch, up to and just over three pounds in weight. The tip off about these perch came via another of us angling bloggers, Andy Johnson, who's had some cracking great lumps from the place, so I wasn't fishing blind, knew what to expect and fished accordingly.

First trip out I took along a box of fat lobworms freshly dug from my local bait patch. I sat there for three freezing hours for three bites and one three ounce fish - not the expected monster perch that my outrageous confidence suggested I should have had on or around the first or second cast but at least it was a genuine example of that rare species, the silver bream.

At the end of the day I finally let Molly have a well earned swim

On the second trip I arrived to find Andy already fishing. While I was standing there talking about the day's prospects before setting up my own stall he brought in a tiny skimmer bream, just the right size of meal in fact, for a big old perch. Once again I failed to land any spectacular fish despite having plenty of bites, none of which I could connect to, infuriatingly, until I finally nailed a three ounce early season rudd.

A gang of local lads turned up to fish in the late afternoon. They were dressed more appropriately for a day's shopping down the mall rather than sitting on a bank in late winter, fishing, but they'd brought a football along with them so every now and then they'd kick it about to work up a bit of a sweat, and then continue fishing. They were no trouble though and it's good to see youngsters out and about doing what I did at the same age. They left eventually and so did Andy, but I stayed on into darkness, had no more fish, and then walked home somewhat bemused.

My third attempt was just yesterday. Unfortunately, and despite my best efforts it too would have been a total wash out if it wasn't for the capture of a small roach and another equally small silver bream.

A pristine silver bream with its outsize eye and chrome bright scales

Of the perch I have not had a sniff even though I have had plenty of bites some of which may have been from them, and the unshakable belief that they would come in the end, whilst Andy in the meantime has had another two pounder. He certainly seems to have the knack with them and I clearly do not! What it is that I am doing so wrong that I cannot catch what has to be one of the easiest fish of all that swims, a fish that will greedily devour anything meaty chucked in front of it, I'm not entirely sure...

Something, obviously.

It would seem my 'omnipotence' has well and truly blown, thankfully, and so I now should dress my hook with something somewhat less high-faluting...

A slice of humble pie perhaps?


  1. Yeah, it was nice to meet you too, Andy, you are the Don of the Pit Pond, mate!

  2. Sounds like you were unlucky on the Industrial site - I've seen people fishing there before and have even been told the security staff turn a blind eye. Maybe some of them don't though?

    Glad you've confirmed the Silver Bream are present in the Pit Pool. I thought I'd spotted one previously on Andrew's blog, but figured I'd find out eventually for myself - beaten to it again though!

    Nice picture in AT again this week. You'd better conjure something up quickly for your column space next week!

  3. I think I'll visit via the rear entrance next time, Sean!

    I did stride up in plain view along Winding House Lane so I suppose the poor grunt was duty bound to , well, do his duty!