Into the Valley, Pioneering?
Fred Bonney had the chance to fish what most anglers dream of - a water that had lay unfished for a number of years.
SET DEEP IN a valley of the Lincolnshire Wolds, the Estate, which arable farmer and my new found friend George acquired some three years ago, are two spring fed trout lakes, a fattening (stew) pond, another lake and a small pond, both also spring fed.
As you do, I met George in the local, following one of our pub fishing club meetings.
He was running the trout lakes on a £ 17 a session ticket and was thinking, now he had settled in a bit, that the time had come to take a look at spreading his interests into coarse fishing.
So, he asked my advice, having been pointed in my direction by the landlord.
I was quick to advise, that being no expert, his best bet, if he was thinking of going professional, was to speak to the Environment Agency.
I told him of our club's experience, on our short lived lease, of another farm lake where the EA, free of charge, gave us a report and advice on that lake's contents and potential.
He felt at this time (because he didn't want too many people aware of his plans) that the fewer who knew, the better (Taxman and cash in the back pocket came to my mind). Much to my delight, he asked me to fish the lake and the pond, primarily, to comment on the population.
Both the lake and the small pond, to his knowledge, certainly hadn't been fished for a number of years and he wasn't aware what fish existed within.
I arrived at the water at 5am, the light was just beginning to show on this early May morning and the dawn chorus of Canada Geese and Pheasant was all around. A Barn owl was quartering the perimeter of the first trout Lake, on what is the start of my adventure onto 'unfished' waters.
It became obvious to me immediately that the lake was teeming with small rudd and at least one carp of some proportion, it greeted me with an almighty crash, half way down the lake, as I settled in my chosen swim at the far end.
This lake is, I suppose, 100metres long by 30 wide. It has an island of about 5 metres round and 20 metres from the first bank. Obviously man made and perhaps 20/25 years old. Two of the banks are fishable, the first bank (south) across the width and, the nearside bank (west) by the grass roadway. The island is about 5 metres from the nearside bank.
There are old fishing stages in place, on three banks. The far bank (east) is tree lined, which with some work could be made accessible.The end bank (north), across its whole width, is a complete bed of reed, at present still brown but stretching from the bank, about three metres into the lake.
There are signs of a lily patch, just beginning to emerge to the front. A quick run around with my plummet showed an almost uniform depth of about 1.5m, no obvious shelf around the perimeter; well, at least the fishable perimeter.
I picked the swim at the far end, adjacent to the reedbed as my starting point. As I only had three hours available to me, I decided to sit it out in the one spot for the period.
My tackle is a Shimano Hyperloop 420 FA rod and, to match, a Super Aero 1000GT, loaded with 2.5lb Maxima straight through to a size 14 Drennan Super Specialist eyed hook.
I've chosen, because of a brisk northerly blowing across the front of me, to use a Pete Warren Middy alloy stick, carrying four no.4 dotted down with a No6 tell tale shot.
My bait, for today's short session was maggots and casters fished on the bottom, with hempseed for additional loose feed. Fished about two rod lengths out, close to the reeds.
It becomes very obvious to me from the off, that the tiny rudd were going to cause me trouble with casters and maggots, so it doesn't take me long to get out the Enterprise Tackle plastic casters.
I was soon into a better class of fish. An unmarked rudd of about 8oz, followed very closely by a few more of the same stamp and one roach, of equal size. I then started to get the finicky bites that I've learned to associate with crucian carp. Before long and following a few missed bites, a 'crucian' of around the pound mark is in the net.
Again, a beautiful, unmarked fish that gave me quite a tussle and was followed in quick succession by four of its brothers, all fin perfect. So, the first hour done and things have gone quiet. I carried on feeding with my mixture of baits, the water continuing to foam with the tiny rudd and some bigger specimens.
On another day and in a different location I may have had a dabble with the rudd but I was determined to continue with testing the water.
So I waited patiently and before too long the float disappeared and I was into something somewhat larger that ran me straight towards the reed bed. My line and the fish parted company before it reached them.
I found, to my disgust, my line had busted at a shot. That will teach me not to bite my shots on the line. Yes I still do it, absent minded, me?
Quickly tackling up again, this time pinching my shot on the line, I cast to the same location, sat back and waited. There are 30 Canada Geese around this lake; yes I had time to count them. Their continuous squabbles, and mock fights, along with the monotonous drone of a diesel engine pump that supplies spring water from a stream to the stew pond and the sudden squawk of the cock pheasants around me all disturb the tranquillity that should surround this place.
Anyway, again i'm into a bigger fish and this time the hook pulls after a short tussle. The plastic casters were obviously acceptable to the inhabitants, except, that is, the tiny rudd that fiddle for a while then abandon them. So, what am I hitting; carp, tench? I was soon to find out.
Whatever it was, it was giving me a fair run-around with my reel tension giving it line, so I tightened right up, I didn't want it to go into the reedbed.
It was a carp, a beautiful common of just under 10lb; it certainly put the rod to the test!
Ten to eight, one more cast and another lovely conditioned common carp, about 6lb.
Time for breakfast, must phone 'the Boss', to get the Crastor Kipper from Waitrose in the grill. No signal, what more could I ask for? Down in the valley all is quiet. Well, almost.
So, visit number one was over. A longer stint next time, maybe an evening session?
I'll let you know.
By the Same Author
- Barbel Fishing - A Guided Experience
- The Barbel Society: Annual Show
- Two Great Days with Martin James
- Into the Valley, Pioneering? - Part 6
- My Story - Fred Bonney
- Into the Valley, Pioneering? Part 5
- Into the Valley, Pioneering? Part 4
- Into the Valley, Pioneering? Part 3
- Into the Valley, Pioneering? Part 2
- Into the Valley, Pioneering?