Thursday, 31 May 2012

Carp & Tench - More Spouting...

Following up on one of the weekend's leads, I decided to pay the lake, where I'd seen a group of what I hoped might be rudd swimming in the surface layers of the water, a visit. On arrival it was clear that I'd not find them easily because the entire Northern end of the lake was alive with fish moving around, and in the reeds and rushes, busy spawning. I couldn't say for sure which fish were spawning and which fish were eating the same. Some fish were in the throng were very small, some much larger, though I fancied I saw the green flank of a tench amongst them all.

This lake is an unknown quantity as far as its populations are concerned. It is a balancing lake that empties into the Coventry Canal, built to contain flash flooding from a nearby industrial estate, and was originally stocked with general coarse species when created. Some time after, according to most apocryphal tales, it was netted 'illegally' by a local commercial fishery owner, and the majority of the stock removed and transported just across the canal. Just recently I have heard a more plausible report of what actually occurred. The lake suffered a pollution incident which caused a drastic oxygen depletion, the Environment Agency came along, netted the lake, and transported the surviving fish across the canal to the commercial fishery, the owner gaining something of a windfall.

Whatever the truth of the matter, it is clear that netting operations and the pollution combined did not succeed in wiping out stocks, because the lake teemed with fish today. Oddly, hardly anybody fishes the lake, even though it clearly has enough carp, who today could be seen cruising about and making themselves generally apparent, to make it worthwhile. The tale of the netting, and the fact that a few have sat it out and blanked, have combined to protect the lake from attention. Locally, it is known as a 'waste of time'.

It has just three or four 'swims'. And they have been created by dog walkers, not anglers. I chose one that offered access to open water where I could chuck a buoyant, highly visible, fast cocking, balsa-bodied float (of my own making, and created for just this purpose, with big sight tips in both black and orange versions for bright and dark water) about at all ranges, in search of surface feeding rudd. I could not find any, and suspected they might be the fish, or one of the fish, involved in spawning.

Closer to the bank I set the depth to fish on the bottom. From a certain spot, I got a bite or two, but missed them all. I thought it would be small fish that were pulling the single grain of corn about, but then I hit one of the bites, and hooked a powerful fish who immediately threw the hook. It was clear that it wasn't small fish playing with the bait, but possibly, tench.

I hoped!

A little later I got embroiled with another of these 'tench', one who went off on an incredibly powerful series of runs, and who also proved very hard to net. It proved to be a small carp of five pounds or so. I doubt this fish had ever been caught before. Carp are powerful fish, but uncaught carp are tremendously hard fighters when they finally are. This fish put up a scrap the like of which I'd forgotten a fish could give, ripping tens of yards of line off the reel in seconds, and at one point, leaving the water entirely. Fantastic!

Then the swim came alive with what clearly were tench bubbles, because no other coarse fish produce the like. Patches of tiny pin head eruptions caused by the fish shovelling their snouts through the silt, started to appear here and there. But could I catch one? No I could not! I got a few half-hearted bites that were probably line bites only, but nothing that could be struck at. This continued, on and off, for well over two hours. Infuriating!

Eventually, the bubbling subsided. Then, out of the blue I got a real bite. I really hoped this was a tench, but the fight was remarkably similar to the earlier carp's. Of course it was a carp after all, and one who when eventually banked I thought really was the first caught fish, it was so similar. It wasn't though, but it took examination of the photo to tell them apart. Once again, a tremendous arm wrenching tussle and great sport. Lord knows what a ten-pounder, or better, from here will take to subdue ...

I'd love to find out!

I moved swims after this, and in search of more tench bubbles, not carp, of whom I'd had my fill. The next along looked promising. So, I set up and cast out. Fish were roving all around, the surface covered in dimples and ripples, bow waves, vortices, and swirls of all sizes. It was a remarkable sight on a lake where such intense activity is hardly ever seen.

Then I became aware that the hot air had begun to move, and an ominous threshing sound was rising in the tall reeds to my left. All of a sudden a great spray of water arose, just as if someone had turned on the tap to a wayward lawn sprinkler under far too high water pressure, just out of sight, at the edge of the reeds. I started up, astonished that there even was a 'sprinkler system' (and, why ever would there be?!) installed at this lake that I'd never known about, curious also, to see who'd waded through the reeds to turn it on, but then realised it was no sprinkler, but a huge water spout that was the real cause.

A great swirling, roaring, rushing noise accompanied it as it rose up thirty or forty feet in the air. I fumbled in my pocket for the camera, but it took too long to fire up for the first shot, and by the time I'd realised what what was happening, sparked the camera into life and waited what seemed an interminable age for it to ready itself, the spectacle was over, the impressive dancing jinnī of rotating water collapsing to foam, and all I got to shoot in the end, was the ghost of the eye of the storm.

The lake fell silent. And I mean silent, 'as the grave'.  The reed warblers and buntings, who'd been darting here and there and doing what warblers say they do on their tin, which is warble, hid themselves away and warbled no more. The fish, who'd frolicked about all the while, vanished. The water surface, once dimpled and rippled, was now as flat and smooth as float glass, and with only the foaming remainder of the spray now gradually fading away to nothing.

And I didn't get another bite...


  1. Nice post Jeff and 2 feisty carp

  2. It sounds like a lovely bit of untapped water that Jeff with an air of mystery.

    Maybe you should construct a rake device and give a swim some TLC to draw in the Tincas.....

    Obviously the water spout was the spirit of the lake letting you know that you had exceeded your fish quota for the day .....

    Lovely read mate

    Baz Peck

  3. Easy to forget how hard a carp fights when it's not "used" to being caught, recently had a 5lb fish never seen before no a small pool, nearly had me arm off.

    Shame you missed the spout on camera, that would have been a pciture worth having.

  4. hello there, thats pretty amazing to see that water spout never experienced something like that and some very good looking carp, including the tiny pike

  5. Jeff,

    I kow of this place myself, infact trying for the pike, but to no avail. I recently purchased some reels off a local couple who reckon they have caught carp upto 18lb from here. Fishing hard against the reeds. Whether its true or not, i dont know.

  6. Loverly buttery commons them Jeff, I know a small cattle drink that used to hold fish like that in no more than three feet of water. Had you all over the pool like a bone fish as they were rarely if ever caught.

  7. Cracking carp, good fun on the light gear I imagine?

  8. Very nice i love this spirit of fishing !