Sunday 1 June 2014

Pond Problems

Because of the laziness mentioned in the last blog, I now have a lot of outstanding  ( as in "not yet done", rather than as in "very good" ) rubbish to write about.  Sandwiched between the tench sessions, have been a few short trips to local ponds.

So I will try to split these trips, pond by pond, and will begin with the scrapyard pond, which has continued to produce the odd surprise. I desperately wanted to catch one of the pond's tench.   I had seen photos of tench caught by others...actually mainly by one particular angler, and although none of those I saw were particularly big, being little more than a pound or so, I still wanted to catch one myself.  The challenge you see.

Because of the location of this pond, in a very run down area, I was shocked to find there were any fish at all, let alone carp and tench, but I set up my float gear, with bread flake and occasionally maggots, and waited.  The first fish was of course NOT a tench, but a carp.   Only about four pounds, but a very good looking, well proportioned common carp. I very nearly like commons.   They seem to fight far better than the mirrors and look just as fish are meant to look,  not like some artist's invention of what a fish should look like.    Mirror carp...or most of them at least...are the Tracy Emin's unmade bed of the fish world.   I concede that one or two do look very good indeed, but sorry, they should be removed from the UK, and wild carp used to replace them.   Size does not matter.  Speed though, does!

As punishment for my thoughts my next fish was a small mirror.  Still no tench.     The next evening trip
Pond Crucian
produced a sail away bite, a very uncharacteristic bite for the culprit, which was a crucian carp.    I had never heard of a crucian being taken before in this pond.   But 50 years ago, in this area, all of the rivers were dead, there were few large lakes, and so most angling clubs revolved around weekend matches by coach, and small local ponds.   And in those local ponds, be they farm pits or JCB holes in the ground, were very often crucian carp.     True crucian carp, for back then few knew how easily they would cross breed with goldfish and carp....both of which were quite rare fish at the time.  The crucian I had caught was a bit of an old warrior, but it weighed two and a half pounds, a very welcome fish indeed.  And I wondered whether there were any more, and were any as big or bigger than this one?   The hunt for a tench became a hunt for crucians, a hunt that remains equally unsuccessful, although the campaign did finally produce a tench of about a pound and a half.  All the tench that have been caught here seem to be about this size, and I think a single year class might be involved, from one fairly good breeding year.   Which prompts the question;  "Are their mummies and daddies still swimming around in the pond?    And if so, how big are they now?    The crucian hunt continued to produce fish: if not crucians. Two bream, each about six pounds.  One a male, dark, ugly, thin, rough and covered with breeding tubercles.   A horrible looking fish.    The female was  by contrast fit, healthy looking, fat and a light gold in colour. Two more different fish of the same species would be hard to catch, but excellent size for such a small venue. I have been left wondering whether all the dark fish are male, and all the golden fish female.   I have always caught fish of both types.   I am going to ignore, for this discussion, several two tone bream that I have caught over the years.  More small carp have followed, two I think, none over four pounds, but commons again.  One or two roach, which leaked milt in my hands.

Last year a couple of young ladies were eating their lunch one sunny day by the pond.   They mentioned that great crested newts were present.   And whilst fishing this Spring, I have indeed seen quite a few newts, including what was probably a pair, one being much darker than the other.    But they seem much smaller than the great crested newts we used to see everywhere 55 years ago.   And so I think these must be common newts, although I have not managed to see one up close yet.    Wonderful to see any newt species locally though.

I have not spent too much time by the Sunday challenge pond, two Sunday challenge sessions for a typical three ounce tench, a two pound common, a tiny perch and a small rudd.   The pond is exceptionally clear so
The Two Grass Carp

far this year, the handful of 4 and 5 pound carp seems to have lost some of its fingers, but the two grass carp, the only two in the pond, and which I caught in two consecutive casts last year, remain.    And still look a lot like chub as they swim along.  There seems to be a very tame crow lurking around the venue.   A couple of times it came within a yard or so of me.   I threw it some bread, which it looked at in disgust and then ignored. I must return, camera in hand some morning.

Quite how a clear shallow pond can seem so empty of fish at times is a mystery.   Today I could see one five pound mirror, and a shoal of 30 small rudd.  All the many smaller carp, the roach, bream, crucians, the two grass carp, the tench and perch were invisible.  But they are there...somewhere.

The third pond:
There is a TINY, TINY pond down near the Mersey, so tiny that I have always assumed that it held no fish at all.  Largely weeded up with reedmace and rushes, its open water is maybe 10 yards by 4, with some of that clogged with Elodia. But it is another place where I have seen a few newts. A true wildlife pond.
I was walking, and looking for newts when I spotted, at the surface in an Elodia clearing: a fish!  
Golden Orfe
A crucian no less, maybe 6 or 7 ounces.  I kept looking and was sad to see a bulbous red and white fantail goldfish emerge from the weed too. Later in the day I saw a couple of golden orfe and 4 small rudd.   Maybe the rudd and crucians are natural, but the orfe and goldfish have been dumped of course.  Whatever happened to the good old days when unloved goldfish were flushed down the toilet when the kids were not looking?
So next morning I went down, minimal gear and some bread to check for crucians.  

Got into a spot of bother because it was very early and, as I approached the pond, past the chain mesh fencing of a small company I saw a couple of railway porter style trolleys and a black bag on the ground in the bushes not too far from the Rugby club. Just a few yards from the pond.  I looked at them, heard someone the other side of the fence and thought something was up. Then saw a guy in a balaclava on the path immediately before me. Asked me what I was doing... "going fishing". he seemed unconvinced and so I mentioned it being quite odd to see the  trolleys there. 
He said it was his fishing trolleys and he was fishing " just along there". Unlikely thinks I. Then for some inexplicable, daft reason, I followed him as he claimed he was going to his rod. There was a small iota of "hope he is not in my swim", but in the main I suppose I was curious.  He circled around and then disappeared down near the river. As I walked back, there were now two 10 gallon plastic containers, full of liquid, near the trolleys. And the guy came back up behind me. I told him I had already called the cops, because he was now looking rather threatening towards me. 
" Gimme your phone" he said. "No way", said I, and walked on. He grabbed the hood of my jacket and tried to stop me, demanding the phone again. I refused, and he spun me around, throwing me down an embankment towards the silted up part of the pond. Ripped my jacket.  I was not hurt, so I surreptitiously  tucked my phone inside my fishing boot and climbed up the bank. If he had asked again I would have said I dropped the phone in the fall. I walked on and a second guy, also in a balaclava asked me why I phoned the cops. "because I think someone is stealing something". "Stealing what?" " I dunno" said I. 
And the two guys, luckily, then moved off, now with 4 ten gallon plastic containers, of what I thought were chemicals. Anyway I then really did call the cops, who suggested it was probably diesel. Anyway I am unhurt, slightly ripped camo jacket, but otherwise fine. Oddly, although I was shaking a bit, I realized I had quite enjoyed the whole  incident. I have no idea why I decided to have a go in this way. I have always thought that if I should see a poacher, I would never think of tackling him, not at my age, yet suddenly here I am having a go at sorting two thieves on an industrial estate. Silly me. Coppers took their time...they went to the wrong rugby club! Their dog found nothing, but they could see someone had been climbing the fence.  I am told they got away with about forty gallons of diesel.
Had I had more time, been thinking more clearly, I would have backed away on seeing the trolleys, and if I had not been seen, phoned the cops from some hidden spot, and watched the process.    But   nope: I just dived in!

And I caught nothing.

Gull With Minnow
Walking back along the river I saw a black headed gull fishing in the weirpool.  First I have ever seen perched on a branch, although this branch has been long dead.   It was catching minnows, male fish in full breeding colours.  There are many, many minnows in the river.  Not too much else post cormorants, but many minnows.


  1. First rule of fishing .... dont put yourself in a situation where someone may kick shit out of you! Be careful ..... good read tho!

  2. I know, I know. My wife was unhappy, my fishing friends critical, and my son kicked the shit out of me verbally, for a good hour or so.