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Diary of an average angler

This diary dates back to a holiday in 2003 when I think the urge to get back into fishing took off.
From around 2007 the trips became more frequent with 2010/11 probably being the peak of activity.
Things again pick up in 2020 - a sort of rebirth!

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The Clay Pit (18)

Side pond

You can view the video on this page or open YouTube by clicking the YouTube icon above.

Arrival time: 08.50
Weather: After a very hot spell, chilly with occasional sun and windy.
Tackle: Hardy 11' 6" Marksman Specimen Avon, Allcocks 4" centrepin, preloaded waggler, 6lb line direct to 10/12 eyed hook.
Baits: Maggots, bread flake, spam.
Fish: Two tench and one small rudd.

After a scorching hot beginning to the week I decided to go over to the Clay Pit as I didn't fancy too much walking, thinking it would still be quite warm. In fact it was really chilly with a fresh wind. It was my first visit to the Clay Pit this year as the lake was closed for spawning until just before the opening of the river season. I've had fairly consistent success on the small side pond in the past but on this occasion it was really challenging. I hadn't had a positive bite in the first three hours.

I got my usual spot, although some rather drastic vegetation clearance had changed the character of the swim considerably. The far left corner, which would normally be my target, was no longer screened by tall reeds. This meant that the adjacent path and car track were no longer screened, meaning that anyone walking along the path literally towered over the water surface. I'm not sure how sensitive the fish in this pond are to movement, but it wasn't a good situation. As mentioned, I persevered for around three hours without a positive bite. A few float lifts and movements, but nothing to strike on.

A chap then turned up and fished the at the other end of the pond. Shortly afterwards I foul-hooked a carp, bringing back just a scale on the hook after no more than 30 seconds. I went to show the chap who surprised me by saying he had caught a tench on his first cast. And he was fishing bread just off his rod top.

I would also usually fish close in, but had fished the far corner following a recommendation from another angler some time back. But encouraged by the close-in capture I started fishing by the reeds to my right. It wasn't long before I got a decent bite and was into a tench, on bread. It was actually hooked just outside the mouth, making it a technical foul-hook. But the fish was completely lethargic, offering no real resistance, although once on the bank it looked in good condition.

denuded swim

Showing severely cut back vegetation
Click on image to open lightbox

1st tench

The first tench coming docilely to the net

1st tench

First tench 2lbs 10oz

The right margin

Fishing down the right hand reeds

2nd tench

Second tench 4lbs 2oz

unstoppable carp

A carp bends the rod just before I lost it

small rudd

Finally hooked one of the float troublers

Not long afterwards another positive bite resulted in another tench. This time it did offer some initial resistance but for its size (4lbs 2oz) it came in far too easy. Once again, it looked in good condition when on the bank.

That was to be my last tench, following which I got more tentative movements on the float, which I attributed to small fish. And sure enough when I changed to maggots and managed to hook one of the bites, it turned out to be a very small rudd.

For the last half hour I reverted to the far corner but, as previously, nothing seemed to be interested. Then, just before I was planning to pack up, the float disappeared suddenly and positively, but I missed the bite. So, it was one more cast, which I made close to the far reeds but away from the corner. Another positive bite resulted in a large fish steaming off in to the shallow reed bed to the left. Unable to gain sanctuary there it turned and sped into the far reeds, which were deeper, and there it managed to take my hook. So things ended with a bang rather than a whimper.

Reflecting on the session, and following an exchange of comments on my YouTube channel, the conclusion is that it was probably a case of low oxygen content in the water that caused the fish to be so lethargic. Certainly, when handling the fish, they felt warm to touch. It is a shallow pond and the three days of exceptionally hot weather had, it seems, warmed the water significantly and reduced the oxygen content. In fact, I had been told earlier in the year that the vegetation clearance was carried out to expose the pond more to the wind, and thus provide some natural oxygenation. I'm not sure that had worked!

© 2024 Robert Bassett

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