Tuesday 3 September 2013

An Interesting but Bitsy Week.

As per the title quite a varied week, with a few fish to report.   It began with a test of the repaired rod, down at the Sunday Challenge Pond.   I thought a short session was in order and so was there at dawn.  Casting a float into one of the weed gaps I was fairly confident something would take the bait.  And so it proved.   After about thirty minutes my float suddenly accelerated to the left, at a rate that would have made a Formula 1 car quite jealous.   One second it was inactive, a millisecond later it was in the weeds. Deep in the weeds.  Obviously a carp, and by now well and truly stuck there.  
As long as the fish remains on the hook, I have found that a steady pressure slowly pulls these weeds, Elodea, out by the roots, and leaving a trail of disturbed mud colouring the water, the fish, wrapped in a green ball, slowly comes to the net.   And that is exactly what happened.  I unwrapped my green present on the bank to find a pretty little common carp of a couple of pounds or so inside the bundle.
A Little Formula 1 Common Carp
The rod repair had worked well and happy bunnies were the order of the day.  After a visit from the heron, which flew down to the other end of the pond, and a sparrowhawk which flew across it, and thence into the trees opposite, a second smaller carp took the bait.  A mirror this time.  There is so little space between the two swim-bordering weedbeds that even this fish embedded itself into the greenery.

A pair of small dragonflies came into view. They were in their mating configuration whilst on the wing, rather than just head and tailing.  Others I have seen mating have always been perched on some object or tree branch.  After settling on such a branch for a short time, they then separated, and the female started to lay eggs, at a rate of about one a second, dipping its abdomen down into the water.  I guess each dip was one more egg laid.  The male, meanwhile, was following the female, a foot or so away. Its reactions and flight precision, following the female's flight path were astonishing.  The female stopped laying after a couple of minutes and the male once again moved in for a second steamy sex session.  They flew off into the sunset together...or would have done so had it not been about ten in the morning.

The next arrivals were a couple of anglers toting £9.99  Decathlon telescopic rods.   Does anyone make a good telescopic rod?   These two clearly had no chance of catching anything other than suicidal little perch.    I often help inexperienced anglers by giving them the odd hint, but not these two anglers....hang on a minute, I am not usually quite so politically correct.  To re-iterate, I did not help these two, litter dropping, noisy, uncouth noddies.  Had they been quiet and clean I might have pointed out that fishing just six inches deep was not the ideal way to proceed.  Instead I went home...after wishing them some, but not too much, luck. 

With two working rods again, it was time to go back for another tench trip.  Weather ideal, warm, fairly cloudy, and so a night trip seemed to be the ticket.  On arrival at the lake, I found that, during my absence, the swifts all seem to have disappeared (Africa bound already?), but the swallows and house martins remained:  A young tern has appeared, probably raised on the island in the lake.  There was still some green algae in the water, but visibility throughout  the water column had greatly improved, so I chose to fish with lobworms, partly as a tench bait, but also to give myself a chance of a decent perch, or preferably a few decent perch.   No perch were to take the bait, and for a while bats provided the only activity.  Due to the topography of the swim I was unable to get the rod tips down near the water surface, and bats were constantly giving me line bites.   I once caught a bat on a lobworm, many years ago.   As I held the bait up against the sky, to check that my worm was still on the hook, a bat came straight out of hell and took the worm.  Fairly hooked in the top lip, it did cause me to take great care getting the hook out.  It flew off, apparently unharmed.  

It was not until midnight that I had a real bite.  Even this looked initially like a line bite, but I was eventually convinced of the piscine nature of the activity and struck into a fish.   As I did so the rod repair gave way, spectacularly, and the top half my rod slid lakewards down the line towards the fish.  A new, replacement rod will now have to be sought out from Ebay. No choice but to dent the pension.   I did land the fish, but am unable to comment on its fighting ability, the lower half, just the stiff remains of my rod, masked out most of the pleasure of the scrap.  
A Welcome Fish of 6-2.
But after a short while a tench of 6-2 became my landing net's first visitor of the trip.  3 hours later a second tench was to follow, caught on the spod rod which had been brought into play to stem the emergency.  This one was, at a guess, a little under five pounds.  The rest of the night was quiet, nothing much to see other than the odd meteor, Jupiter and the moon in a very clear sky.  Quite a beautiful crescent moon, looking very much like that shown in the opening film credits of one of the big film studios.  I forget which...Dreamworks perhaps?   Those film opening credits must confuse the filmgoing public in countries near the equator.   We, in the UK, are used to seeing the slanted moon's crescent aligned from North-West down to South-East in the sky.  But on my first trip to the far East I was astonished to see that the crescent or the half moon, seen from near the equator, goes from East to West.  It is either a top crescent or a bottom Crescent.   Had I stopped to think about it, this fact should have been obvious to me. But I had never before considered it, and so it was quite a surprise seeing the moon at totally the "wrong" angle. Singaporeans must be just as confused by the Dreamworks introduction,  as the Ozzies ( Four Nil !!! )  are to see robins and snow on Christmas cards.

A Real Scrapper
But back to the fishing trip.  Very few fish were seen to be moving at any time during the trip, and it was not until full daylight, about 07:30 that the next fish was to take the bait.    This fish zoomed off, without warning, into the far distance, a very fast run, and obviously one of the lake's carp. It gave a tremendous scrap on the light tackle, covering huge distances before being netted. Had it not fought so well, I might have been disappointed by its size, 7 pounds, maybe a little less.  But a very crisp, good looking little powerhouse common.

This was to the the last fish, but looking around, I could see some interesting plants, berries and seeds nearby.  So, to relieve the inactivity, I photographed every visible bit of flora within 5 yards of my peg.   I have now challenged myself to try and identify them all.  So, more accurate titles of the following photographs will be added as captions, if and when I succeed in this little venture.

Purple things
Pink things

Another pink thing
Apple and Blackberry Crumble Bush

More white

Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris)
Elderberries (Sambucus nigra)

Pretty red berries

Yellow Water Lily   (Nuphar lutea)

Some Sort of Reed

Flag Iris Seed Pods

Prickly Green Seedpods

The rest of the week has been spent in three short trips to another small pond.  Very much an oasis of green amid an industrial wasteland. Bounded by scrapyards, a council tip, dirt tracks and an uninspiring modern housing development, it has nevertheless been a pleasure to find this water. Especially as it contains fish.  Not many fish apparently, as, under ideal conditions, I have only managed one three ounce roach, and a much smaller perch.  I did lose a carp of perhaps three or four pounds.  All went slack after a few seconds playing it. I didn't see the fish, and it was only by using my Sherlock-like diagnostics on a fish scale that came back on my hook, that I was able to say that I had lost a foul-hooked common carp. The pond, like all ponds, does attract wildlife, and first thing in the morning I was pleasantly surprised to see a dabchick.   Two ladies who came to sit near the pond for their breakfast, informed me that there are great crested newts in residence.   That is probably why the pond is still in existence rather than having been filled in.  The last time I saw these now very rare newts was over 50 years ago.  Note to self: take the camera in Spring.   The water is at least a couple of miles from the nearest rivers, and I have been astonished to find that, over the last fortnight, at least five small eels have been caught here.  The local rivers are a couple of miles away, with, as far as I know, no direct connection to the pond.   The rivers also have VERY few eels indeed, yet, somehow, elvers must have found their way into this pond.   I have no idea how, nor what their route might have been.  Houdini was very good at getting out of confined spaces.  Eels are even better at finding their way into totally impossible spots.  Brilliant.
Remember, earlier in this article, a bat that took my worm as I held it up?  Last night I had a similar experience:at dusk a dragonfly attacked my double maggot as that too was held up against the sky.   Fortunately the dragonfly was not hooked.   As a teenager, a large dragonfly once became tangled in my line as I cast.  I took me a while to disentangle it, all the time my mates were saying "Kill it, those things bite!"   Bite? Mosquitoes might bite, but I feel I was in no danger of having a finger amputated by the dragon's jaws.   I was pleased to see it  fly away unscathed.
I do have the odd problem with this blog: font sizes and photographic layouts sometimes seem to change inexplicably between the design stage, and the publishing stage.   I have no idea why, so  must apologize if at times things look as if they are not as good as they would be if they were better.

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