The Weird and the Wonderful - Not Just Teeth: June
This month Mark Barrett sees one of his favourite fisheries destroyed in the name of carp fishing, enjoys a rare bit of sunshine and helps a lot of other people catch a few fish.
What a strange month it has been over here in East Anglia. We started the month with some truly torrential rain, something we had actually managed to avoid for most of the summer - unlike most of the rest of the country - and it ended in a heatwave. The wonders of a British summer!
My month started with my first guiding client of the season. Mick had come down to catch a 2lb plus rudd, well that was the target, and fortunately, despite a pretty horrendous weather forecast, he also brought the weather with him and we enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon for once! To be honest when I am out on the river for the rudd I rarely fish all day preferring an early or late start, but with Mick coming from a distance away and to get some value for money, we started at about 2pm and fished till it got dark at about 10.30.
Using the tried and tested method of long trotting bread Mick connected with rudd after rudd but, despite catching over a dozen over the pound mark, he just missed out on his two pounder, though I am sure that one of the fish he bumped off would have passed that magic mark. Still the fact that I got a tip at the end of the day says that Mick had as good a time as he said he did, but even better was a picture that dropped into my inbox a few days later of Mick with his first two pounder from a different area I had told him about.
So with a nice start to this year’s guiding it was a case of moving on to my longer term guiding projects you could say! As any of you that have read this blog will now know I have started to introduce my nephew Adam to the joys of fishing and he has really taken to it. However, taking Adam does mean that I have to compromise on where I would usually fish as there are few things that can be more irritating than a bored nine year old. Therefore we have been visiting some of the areas commercial venues with a view to catching as many different species as possible as we go along. So far this has gone well, but this month the wheels came a little bit off that wagon!
Our first visit of the month was to a venue we had visited once before in the early spring, Fenland Fisheries in Earith, Cambs, to fish their Vermuyden Lake where I have had some cracking trips before. However last time we went we caught nothing, not only that but we didn’t even have a bite so, perhaps understandably, Adam wasn’t too keen to make a return visit . Having had good past experiences on the fishery I eventually talked him into it...Oh how I wish I hadn’t!
Unfortunately the fishery had undergone some changes in the year or so since my last decent trip; the tench, and other species, had largely been removed, sacrificed at the altar of getting bigger carp and therefore more revenue from those noddies that use money to overcome ability. Add to that mix a few grown-on big fish and you have the perfect recipe to charge the earth and kill off another mixed fishery into the bargain.
Thus in ten hours of ideal fishing conditions with tried and tested methods, it came to pass that not a single bite was registered yet again, and we were £15 lighter for the experience! Yet another fishery was consigned to the ‘do not re-visit’ category, which is a massive shame as it’s a water I truly loved fishing, but sadly in these myopic carp fishing times no one can see past twenties, thirties and upwards.
Nor, seemingly, can they manage to cast out with any kind of foliage within a 200 metre radius of themselves, well that’s the only assumption I can deduce after seeing two swims, that were great little margin spots, wrecked by the hand of carp anglers this month. One was the spot from which we had caught some cracking crucians the month previously but seemingly the one willow branch that overhung the lake and gave the crucians a nice bit of cover was obstructing the casting of carp rods to the island, conveniently ignoring the fact that there must be at least twenty other swims that do offer a cast to the same place!
Of course it took a completely blank day in there to ascertain that the swim was indeed well and truly ruined, all the time during which I was supposed to be making a crucian fishing video with my mate George who screens his videos on You Tube under the banner of ‘The Fenland Fisherman’. Considering they are shot on a budget of zero, on his Canon stills camera the results are surprisingly professional, even if the star guest consistently fails to catch for the cameras...
One thing that didn’t make it onto the film, but was nonetheless very noteworthy, was the ‘Swamp Monster’ landing his biggest ever carp in the shape of a 20lb 9oz grass carp! I didn’t know there were any in the lake, but we were informed there are just three and this was the biggest of them. In typical Swamp Monster fashion nothing was easy with the capture though as he forgot to turn the Baitrunner off when he had the run resulting in a huge bird’s nest. In the end it was easier to handline the fish in, only for the hook to pull just as George stuck the net under it and the lead to crack George in the forehead! A typical day out with Mike!
There was even more video work to come, this time in a purely consulting role. Bob Roberts and Stu Walker are well known for their barbel videos but at the moment they are putting together a DVD on all the main UK species and the plan was for them to join me for 24 hours on the river after its big rudd, whilst I would also stick a couple of rods out for the carp, just in case.
I met up a bit late with Bob and Stu and they informed me that they had already had a number of decent rudd to nearly 2lb and all they were really looking for was that one big fish to wrap things up so, whilst they went off in search of that fish and Stu filmed the whole thing with his underwater camera, I stuck out my carp rods and got my kit sorted - just in time as it happens as the heavens opened for a while.
With the pitter patter of rain on the brolly and after a decent cuppa I lay back for a while on the bedchair - the inevitable occurred - and the next thing I knew it was gone 7.30 and prime rudd catching time!
I could see Bob and Stu were still a long way upstream so I sat in the same swim as I had my carp rods in to keep out of the way of the ‘luvvies’. Pretty much the first run through my float buried and the rod arched round with the tell tale thump, thump of a big rudd on the end. Sure enough it was a good rudd of around the 2lb mark. I slipped it into my pegged out carp net to show the other two and got back to my fishing. It took a little while for the next action but, just as a barge was about to go through my swim, the float disappeared and another big rudd was on, this one feeling, if anything, larger than the first.
I had a few narrow squeaks with the barge as the fish decided to not play ball at all but eventually a really nice rudd was nestling in the folds of the net, weighing in at 2lb 6oz when I put it on the scales when Bob and Stu returned.
Unfortunately Bob and Stu had a tale of woe to tell of feeding a few big rudd for ages and getting some great underwater footage only for a skimmer to appear from nowhere when they made a cast, spooking the lot in the process!
The night passed by uneventfully and the rudd hunt in the morning yielded nothing huge to any of us before I had to shoot off to take my nephew Adam fishing for the afternoon and evening.
If the morning hadn’t been great the afternoon and evening were great as Adam and I enjoyed a red letter day on our local favourite commercial. Adam landed new personal bests for three species, the highlight for him being his first ever tench, all 6lb 10oz of it! I don’t know if he was more delighted in catching that fish or in being able to ring his Granddad (my dad) to inform him that he had caught a bigger tench than he ever had! But that was trumped on his next visit when, in attempting to help Mike the Swamp Monster net a very big perch, he managed to let it swim straight back out whereupon it promptly swam around a reed stem and shed the hook. If the Swamp Monster was unhappy then he was positively apoplectic when Adam went straight back to his own swim, cast out and propently struck into and landed a big perch - all 2lb 2oz of it! All I could do was sit back and very quietly (not!) chuckle to myself!
We had one more visit to the same lake but by now the heatwave had descended and the fish were very sluggish. We did manage a few very early on including Adam’s first ever chub of 2lb 8oz but it was hard work after that and in the end we resorted to fishing for the cruising carp with zig rigs. Adam managed a couple of smallish carp and christened his Peg One rod that we have been testing, but it wasn’t the best of days and eventually we all started to look for shade as the temperature hit 30 degrees!
The final trip of the month was in search of big crucians, a species I am getting a real fondness for and it was to be to a fishery that I had only visited once before: Lakeside Fishery in Hinckley. Again the day was very hot but fortunately here there are plenty of trees and, with a bit of a breeze blowing, it was a really grand day.
Sadly the crucians didn’t play ball instead we had hundreds of skimmers in the 8oz to 2lb range and when I say hundreds I mean just that. What weight we could have put together over the day doesn’t bear thinking about but Jamie my mate did manage to get two crucians around the 1lb 8oz mark which were like new pins and both he and I lost a very good fish each, me just as we were packing away, but there’s always another day and another month and I will tell you all about it next time.
By the Same Author
- The Angling Trust, an ‘Unbelievably Weak Governing Body’ - Not Just Teeth: December
- Fishing in Sickness and in Health - Not Just Teeth: November
- Jigging for Zander and Deadbaiting for Pike - Not Just Teeth: October
- Autumn perch and catfish - Not Just Teeth: September
- Catfish, Carp and Kids – Not Just Teeth: August
- Paying your Dues?
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 3
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 2
- Sounding Off
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight