Sunday, 5 June 2011

Gravel Pit Bream - A Sniff of the Slimies

In my new found enthusiasm for figuring out the foibles of large stillwater bream I decided that I'd need to have at least two waters to fling a feeder at in order to be able to compare and contrast data sets. With a little googling I found one not too distant that contained them in small numbers of the required size. Also, I had it on an eyeball from Lee that the other pit was still choked with its current algae bloom and showed no signs of a pending die back, so having suffered an eerily silent blank there I wasn't about to suffer another.

New waters are always a revelation aren't they? I walked around the deserted pit seeking a fishy looking peg and dumped my gear in a lovely looking corner swim and then went to look for signs of fish. I stumbled down the steps into a peg that had been newly renovated and saw a large carp or bream sized boil of water two rods lengths out. I needed no extra incentive and had my gear in that peg within the minute.

I pulled out a float rod that was already set up from the previous canal session, baited with three red maggots and cast into the middle of the area where these swirls caused by at least three or four pretty hefty fish were still arising from, then flung in a few small handfuls of free offerings over the top. I had no immediate takers and within ten minutes all signs of activity had ceased, the fish having either departed or were getting their heads down and taking the free offerings.

Unfortunately it proved to be the former and when the sun came out from behind the clouds it was clear why, and clear being the operative word here, as I then saw for the first time that the water was not quite as opaque as I had first thought, but rather it was as sheer as a shot of mothers ruin. Despite my best efforts at being still and stealthy my first arrival at a fishery is always noisy and clumsy, which is why I usually set up in a non-starter peg to begin with on purpose - in order to have the time to jettison all the normal bluff and bluster of this world and just slowly disappear from view.

Clearly I had spooked the fish, whatever they were but I didn't care much: I thought they'd be back soon enough and anyway the fishery was clearly packed with big fish that would have my bobbins dancing all afternoon so I baited up and sat back to await unfolding nets of bruiser bream.

Evening arrives and my bobbins haven't moved an inch! I've seen one fish prime way out and even that may have been a grebe and apart from a little shoal of passing fry witnessed in the margins the lake may as well be empty.

To make matters worse, when I pack down the float rod that I have kept made up all this time just in case of the return of those big fish, I snap off the fine tip. I decide to move around to the other side of the lake as I can see in the distance a group of three carp anglers fishing three rod pods and I want to talk to them to get the lowdown on the lake, if that is, they know any more than I do.

It seems that the lake is 'very hard' and contains just 'twenty or so carp', that 'big bream come out in ones, and never twos and threes' and that 'just one tench has come out this year'... but after a few subtle questions all this is qualified by the further fact that 'hardly anyone ever fishes the place seriously' as 'blanking is the norm here and not the exception'.

I tell them about the large swirls seen off the front of my peg and one of them mentions that not only was he fishing for carp from that very peg from early morning without a single bite and only moving just before my arrival, but that he'd also seen an eel in the margins and one of some considerable size.

I ask him "what size exactly was this eel?" and without hesitation he lifts his eyebrows and spreads his arms wide...


And "what kind of girth", he purses his lips and makes a hollow heart shape from his thumbs and forefingers...

"Good grief, that's an eight pounder!" I exclaim.

"Yep, probably " say he, apparently unconcerned.

Carp anglers: don't you just love em? If I'd been him I'd have made some peg alterations of my own by gouging out the banks with my bare and bloody knuckles if need be till I'd won myself a juicy worm or two and then dangled one in the face of that snake and a half, but it didn't seem to concern him that the specimen he had faced was far larger, relatively speaking, than any of the lakes resident carp (some of whom had visited the swim soon after his departure) or bream or tench come to that.

Mad as hatters, the lot of em!

Needless to say I was back in the swim within no time at all and fishing two rods of worms in the margins for that monstrous anguilla. Luckily, peg alterations were unnecessary as I had a tub of lobs on me dug earlier that morning. Needless to say I didn't get it on my hook in the hour and a half of evening left to me but I reckon, because bream and eels love worms equally that I'll be going back sooner rather than later for another sniff around after the slimy ones.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes. Two sorts of fish "carp" and "nuisance fish"...

    Mind you I'm a teeny bit scared of big eels.