This is the page for The Wetland'The Wetland' on 'www.crucians.org' one of 'Pete's Waters'.
The Wetland is a series of seven ponds, six of which are around 25 yards by 40 yards, with a seventh perhaps 5 yards by 25 yards. They nestle amongst lush vegetation watered by the stream than runs along the north boundary and the spring-fed ditch that runs, rather less forcefully, on the south side.
At first glance it is possible to think this is a miniature untamed arcadia. It is not of course; the ponds have a score of years at most and were dug for a water plant and fish breeding business. They are, having changed hands a few times, in a genteel and terminal decline, the ponds themselves silted almost beyond redemption; even if one was to remove the silt there is nowhere to put it. The ditch on the lane-side was once six feet deep, but is now a few inches of clear water running over what, you will discover, should you trust the tempting scattering of gravel, is four feet of soft mud. Two of the ponds have leaks through their banks into the ditch, routes carved by roots, one repair already leaking anew. They have a good few years yet, but their decline into marsh is under way but even so, this is a fine haven.
Below are JAA's diary entries for The Wetland Ponds in chronological order, since my first trip here in 2011 to the present day in February 2020. There are a few figures at the bottom of this page, if that sort of thing is of interest.
|A bunch of hooks found in my pike box...(and back to the top of the page)||A bunch of hooks found in my pike box||A bunch of hooks found in my pike box||A bunch of hooks found in my pike box|
19th May 2011. A Wetland PondPeter Rolfe's Wetlands. A fun fishing trip, disguised as a "stock re-distribution exercise". Proper job.
Some crucial top level stock re-distribution from Ponds '5' & '6' to Pond '1'. The idea was to take all crucians and tench caught out of Pond '6' and all tench that were not "netters" out of Pond '5'. This is done with a size 18, maggots and a large white bucket half full of water. I practically fell in filling my bucket as Pete gave me the one with a dodgy handle...you swing in your tench, dip your hand in the water and unhook and en-bucket the fish. Unless it's a 'netter', then it goes back. It's necessary of course, but huge fun, although coffee breaks necessitate hanging up your float and hook, with bites pretty much one-a-cast and in Pond '5', the occasional fish is ¾lb with the odd one at 1lb, so you need to pay attention! Pete had this oddity, a black tench with no eyes (not the best snap, you try photographing a black fish against a white background), not something you see everyday.
|Pond '5', teeming with small crucians and tench.||A small black tench. This fish had no eyes at all, just slight depressions in the skin where eyes would normally be. It was 100% fit and heathly.||A perfect small crucian||A perfect small crucian|
I exhaustively road tested the "JAA (Pat. Pend.) Traditional Crucian float" (OK, a small porcupine quill with a sliver of cane wedged in the top). Works jolly well. By the end of the afternoon we'd relocated 138 tench and 67 crucians into Pond '1'. I'd put a score of 6-8" crucians back on Pond '5' in addition, so it was work work work...did I mention Pete gave me a pitch with a red ant's nest?
|A perfect small tench||A perfect small crucian||A perfect small crucian||The thin cane-tipped porcy, poised...||A bucket, one of several, of small tench and crucians|
|...and...wait for it...swivel ;-)...(and back to the top of the page)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)|
26th May 2012. The WetlandPete's Wetlands. A few hand sized crus, scratching work, stock re-location, theory only, but a bit cool and the fish left...the Woodsman brewed and it was still a good day. Nabbed four goldfish from the ditch, where the left hand-spring joins the complex there's a pool by the pipe inflow, abandoned by some 'pet lover' no doubt. Two brown, two gold, two pregnant, next to gentically certified crucians. Nice. Seemed mean to sucker them on pinches of bread. But it wasn't. It was dumb to put them in the ditch in the first place though.
|The dorsal fin clearly lacks the nice curve of the crucian and the lateral scale count is low for a crucian. The colour is wrong also. And the head. It's a goldfish.||One of the 'gold' goldfish shown with one of the brown to show the similarity of the shapes.||Both of the brown goldfish together. Some colouring remains on one of them and they look pregant.||Pond '5', a few small crus. on the Octofloat|
Only 30 years since I caught a goldfish (in Penn Pond). Two went in the Marmiteangler's tank and two, well, 'surplus'.
|Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of...(and back to the top of the page)||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.|
20th April 2013. The Wetlands. Well then, a weekend off, rare luxury. Wetland willow fire yesterday, I keep the logs aside for the hearth, we brew tea, bake potatoes, I plug a gap in the hedge with budding poles and allow myself to dream of gudgeon in the stream with a small number of wild carp. I replace the stress knots in my back with drifting embers burned through an old shirt.
|Pond 5||Bonfire||Pond 6|
27th May 2013. The Wetlands. I fished a very small pond and in the end scratched a tiny quill with a size 18 around the inflow eddies for a couple of hours for three 'nudges', a bumped-off crucian of about 4oz and this little tinker...
|The Wetlands '6'||The Wetlands - trotting, kind of.||The Wetlands '6'|
|The Wetlands '6'||A tiny Wetlands tinca|
...on turning up and seeing as the water was clear as glass, that's two fish more than I thought I'd contact . Good fun.
2nd June 2013. The Wetlands. A short and warm afternoon - which I started by essaying a sprat for one of the pike in '6' which zipped out of its lair in the rushes especially to turn up it's nose at the bait. Huh. I waited a good while with sweat, driven out by the first decent summer blaze, running down my back and watched a fat looking tench about 3lb or so wander past. I gave in on the esox and resorted to the inflow on '5' when the 'The Woodsman' arrived. Fish were around the inflow, crus plainly visible, but my worm only drew out a small tench which wriggled off. I 'donated' the swim and then bumped of another in the corner. TW missed a bite, I say "missed" his rod tip bouncing as he walked back up the bank for a rod-rest...
|The Wetland||The Wetland||The Wetland||The Wetland|
I wondered about a bit and the tench we'd earlier spotted ambling aimlessly in '4' were bubbling in occasional patches as fish cruised and up-ended. I essayed a long cast into the bubbles and nabbed a 5" tench. Aha. I lost a larger one and then over a couple of hours a further half-a-dozen or so, keeping thing moving with the odd sprinkle of hemp and a few maggots. Oddly all the fish fell to pieces of worm on an 18, not a touch on a maggot. The Woodsman continued to watch his inverted raptor quill raptly. It didn't help, missing even the one bite. One of those days. When the fish in '4' pottered off, I switched to the corner of '5' and had one more fat female as the light waned. A rare privilege, fishing here.
Kelly-kettled tea doesn't hurt either.
31st July 2013. The WetlandThis Wetland.... I take a longish spell out to fish a number of these ponds, partly exploratory, partly as it's just great down here.
|The Wetland||The Wetland||The Wetland||The Wetland|
|The Wetland||The Wetland||The Wetland||The Wetland|
|Single 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page)||Single 'VB' Hook trace||Single 'VB' Hook trace|
15th March 2014. Wetland. Some folk would fish a favourite river; I opted to help burn this year's cuttings at the Wetlands. It was, for an overweight 50 year old, a hard days labour but a fun one, especially as we've got the whole "baked potatoes in the fire and making tea" thing off pat these days. One rather depressed looking yearling swan, a heron levering off as I arrived. No sign of the dreaded pike of No.6 and the mystery of the disapearing fish in No.7 remains, unlike the fish. The usual ember holes in the fishing shirt. I must learn to lay hedges...stiff as a starched scare-crow Sunday. Most of next winter's firewood leaned up round the back, drying, before I take a bow-saw to it.
|...rather depressed looking yearling swan||the Wetland, pond '7'|
|the Wetland||the Wetland||the Wetland, tea-break|
13th April 2014. The Wetland. Two pike, baked pike. Kippered JAA.
The last of the felled willow and withies are put to the torch, then the last two pike in No6. fall to casual sprats and the LRH No2, best of luck, the male and the female, the latter fat with roe, an unwanted plague of pikelets removed in the nick...the male fell to a sprat drifted across the middle of the pond under a maroon champagne cork with a hole through the middle and, perhaps prescient, fought like demon. The female took a sprat lobbed against the very corner of the reed bed, one of the greener shoots twitching in time to her tail as she sprang on the bait, much like a twitch-tailed cat on a mouse.
I had to put down my coffee...
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...1
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...2
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...3
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...4
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...5
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...6
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...7
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...8
One of the pike's tail-end was baked in the fire, cooked rather before the potatoes, tasted as sweet as any fish I've had, even the sceptics pronounced it really very good. Now, I wonder what fish the pike have left us? We ate potatoes, had fresh brewed tea, coffee and ate chocolate biscuits as dessert and then 'The Woodsman' and I took up our rods for the thin chance of a fish in No.5 while he kippered me with his Storm kettle... no fish came to our baits, but it didn't matter.
3rd May 2014. The WetlandPete's original idea was simply to raise as many crucians as possible because seven years ago there seemed to be a national shortage of this species.... Seemed like a good idea at the time - but water levels were low and there was barely fishing colour in '3'/'4'/'5'. Perhaps '4' then, but nothing touched my shrimp or worm...'6' was proverbially gin, I spotted four pike at least sitting mid water, perhaps ½lb, possibly five. I gulled one on 6lb Wire, a red flounder hook and lobs, the flash of gills marking the pounce, judging the dash off the moment to set the hook, I was wrong, the rod tip jerked then clacking off a branch. Couldn't get the others interested...'5' has a pike, 3lb or so, fat on crus., I span for it with a 'mepps' left on a stump and a fly spoon. A dozen rudd followed the spoon curious and a shoal of some fry scooted by. I hatched a diabolical plan to snatch fry on a size 18, for piking, which morphed into tricking one rudd out...this and one of its fellows which took a bit of shrimp off the bottom my only fish - the pike appeared once more silhouetted against the trees in a plane of sunlight. Hm. '3' had three chub, I thought five, but two were basking tincas, 1¼lb perhaps. None thought my on-the-drop baits, at the maximum range of the little eight-footer, remotely compelling.
|The Wetlands... '5'||The Wetlands... '5'||one of the rudd|
One day I shall come here when they're feeding...I may come back for the pike, too many, started with five....still got double that I'd say...little breeders.
26th May 2014. The Wetland. There were the two on the 13thSurprisingly nice, probably from the original stocking, then five today (33). Two at 3lb and ¾lb (35) were taken from '5' two weeks ago and two ¾lb from '4' with one escaping (38)...
|Good stripes son, show 'em off...||Five more||...from this tiny pool|
It's a tiny pool, perhaps 25 yards square...amazing really. Little breeders.
16th June 2014. 'The WetlandPete's Wetlands'. The Big Day, Part II. After the aforementioned fry-up, I slipped down here to harass the pike; nabbed one, missed one smaller than the nabbed, saw one sleek 2½lb fish which slunk off. I dozed for a bit, the bait passed on, PR came and went on his '16th Tour', I dozed again, headed home beat. To the pit at 9pm, out before the mysterious death in Jonathan Creek.
|another one of the Wetlands' pests|
|...coffin...(and back to the top of the page)||...barrel...||...coffin...||...barrel...||...coffin...||...barrel...|
18th April 2015. 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. An antidote to the asininity of office life. Hard graft, bushwork, lily root toting and planting, spreading lime...when did my back age ten years more than the rest of me?
|the upper pond, drained and dredged||the upper pond, drained and dredged|
|one of the bunds and silt||the upper pond, drained and dredged||one more pike out the Wetland...as it was on my way home.|
|All tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page)||There are no bad tench||All tench are good tench||There are no bad tench||Tinca tinca little star...|
13th March 2016. Netting 'the Wetland'. See the account of the day hereNetting the empty pond.
The stream with great possibilities...1
The denuded pathway alongside #2...4
Probably a record stone loach...5
One of the best crucians...6
More of the crucians...7
One of the barbel...8
Pond #1 with its plastic sheet in place...9
An expert pike angler pauses for reflection......10
|a very subtil fish...(and back to the top of the page)||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.||a very subtil fish||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience|
23rd July 2017. The Wetland. This was the day of the big fish-in. Naturally it rained. I arrived a little after 8am, as I fancied a quiet couple of hours on pond '6' to see if there was anything in it...well, there is, but little has been caught for a while. I carried on in this vein for a couple of hours, pausing only to drink coffee and take pictures of a particularly bold sedge warbler. A couple of rudd came by, I nabbed those, then Jim dropped in, then after Pete showed me the swirling mud in the hole-in-the-weed in '5' I decamped. I immediately removed a tench and then a swarm of rudd...a few of the latter were taken to meet the pike in pond '7'. The first hole in the weed there yielded nothing and I hacked up the bank to the second hole near the fallen balsam poplar branch. Jim came by and we muttered dark things about modern angling, until a pike-like shape drifted deliberately across the hole in the weed. This totally failed to take the bait for a period which was several times longer than the period for which I can hold my breath.
|The path behind '6'||Looking across pond '6'||The floats of the day and their tube||The orange tip on the water|
|The bold sedge-warbler||The bold sedge-warbler|
We sopping six coalesced on the bank of '3' where the Kelly Kettle was and there was a flurry of cakes, hot drinks, pork pies, mustard (I like a man who plans ahead) and biscuits, some of which were chocolate. Jim appeared to be trying to beat the chub in '2' to death with piece of wet string. Duncan and Harry were nicely wet and had a few small tench from '4' and...some rudd. We awarded Harry the prize for the most fish, a small bundle of floats which he immediately started swapping with his dad's. I gave a few others away as a reward for coming and taking a stand-up bath...the sensible people headed for somewhere drier. I decided to wait under some handy trees near pond '5' and give the rain until 2pm to shove off. Dave came by and we chatted about fish and things, then, being a man of high intelligence he took the sensible option.
|Then it rained for two hours...the view up '5' to '4' in the near distance.|
|The hole in the weed in pond '5'||The blue float in the hole in the weed in pond '5'||Two rudd from each of pond '5' and '6'|
|The first of the brace of tench from '5'||The second of the brace of tench from '5'|
The rain stopped on the point of my deadline, that was close, so I sat back down on my wet chair in my wet clothes. I caught a few rudd to warm up (figuratively speaking) and then fished corn for 40 minutes, at which point another tench showed up...after another fifteen minutes watching the motionless blue peril, I stood up to warm myself and saw the colour in this corner, ubiquitous earlier, had gone, with corn and white maggots visible in the silt. Ah. Home then. Squelch squelch squelch...
6th August 2017. the Wetland. This stock relocation exercise was far too much fun...the plan was to move small tench, now showing at pre 'Operation P' levels, from pond '3' to pond '2'. The promised bucket wasn't there, so I put a few of the early fish into the landing net and dropped them into '2' as I went along. Pete arrived with a bucket once I was eight or so to the good, although for some reason Pete didn't contact any tench at all. About a score got moved over and one solid fish of over a pound went back. Midday, the tench bites tailed off, the usual slump but rudd kept appearing to brighten things up, plus the kingfisher obligingly perched opposite, probably at the limit of the camera zoom but still.
|View to the left||The mind bendingly green pitch||View to the right|
|The fairly blue porcupine quill||Most of the tincas||A few of the rudd, which are doing rather well|
|Read..steady..||'How to suspend a sprat', Part I.|
Pete went on and I spent an hour or two trying to extract a pike from '6' and '7' but this for the most part involved watching an unmoving float with a sprat under it, while no part involved catching a pike. Top day.
|How can you not like perch bobbers? ?(and back to the top of the page)||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?|
10th June 2018. The Wetland. A trip put off for diverse reasons, 'rain' comes to mind. An old fashioned fishing for fun and bites kind of thing and Pete suggested I try Pond '1' for a while and he headed off for Pond '3'. My bait failed to entice a roving shoal of tench, crucians and small chub to get their heads down. After a while, Pete came by and there was obligingly, a scuffle of silt and a tench fell victim to some white-sliced. It was a lively and 14oz kind of fish and the entertainment put paid to any potential hemp-frenzy. Still, a fish is a fish. A short time later a chub, one of the score that had been edging nearer and nearer the bait, nabbed another piece of flake and did what chub do, which is bolt hard and then kind of give up a bit. Stunning fish mind.
|Pond '1'...||...and its float||The Pond 1 tench||The chub|
This final hurrah saw the fish cowering in the far corner of the gin-clear pond. Hm. I went to the 'swim' on Pond '2'. I say 'swim', it's a less narrow spot in the narrow path. I flung some bait, to add to some of Pete's previous, then settled down to hardly catch anything; one small tench plus a sly fishless bite.
By this time, Pete had several small tench and many rudd to his credit, the rudd were to be moved to Pond '4'. Pete pottered off for a bit and in passing suggested fishing further out and I took the opportunity to keep his maggot stock rotated by using a few. This turned on a figurative tap and I spent the next couple of hours catching three varieties of tench, broadly speaking 2oz, 4oz and 8oz, 'on the drop' as often as not. A few rudd joined in and one crucian. I pricked rather too many fish plus the swim was doing cruciany things , so became suspicious of the hook. Despite a few careful touches with a stone, matters didn't completely improve and like a lazy angler, I didn't put on a fresh one. This didn't stop me landing well over a score of small tench which was fine fun.
|Pond '2'...||...and its float|
|Tiny tinca||More tiny tincas||One of the numerous golden rudd||The lone crucian|
1pm was a long as either of us, both preferring to freeze to death than roast to the same, could stand. We pottered off, a pity for me what I mistook for hay-fever amongst the long lush grass, was, dammit, a nasty three day cold. Pah.
20th December 2018. The Wetland. "The WetlandPete's Wetland." I thought to myself, "would be ideal place to spend a few hours." This is partly because it's a pleasant place to be and also because there are as yet pike, where pike are surplus to requirements. Plus, pike fishing is traditional at this time of year, although I'm not really sure why.
Thus it was arranged and I arrived around coffee-time, put out float-fished sprats in ponds '4' and in '5' for 'said surplus pike and sat where I could see both floats. After a while I moved the '4' float, as a pike had started slashing at the rudd that were pottering around the sun-lit gin-clear water. The relocated bait remained un-toothed, so I gently retrieved it for a recast and a fat little 2-3lb pike followed it all the way home and then ignored it, somewhat haughtily I thought. Before I could carefully provide it with a ball of worms, it mooched off to terrorise the rudd. Pete arrived then whipped off to change the memory card in the trail camera. I put up the JW Avon, threaded a small quill onto the 4lb line, stop-shotted it with a no.4 and christened my Cardinal 33 with a succession of bright gold-and-silver rudd, which was fun.
|11am, nearly mid-winter||The pitch in pond '4'||The slightly psychadelic pike-cork||A sparkle of rudd|
It seemed the right time to decamp to '6' to try for a perch last seen in the warmer months. Pete re-arrived, then nipped off to do something remedial to a fallen willow between ponds '3' and '4' so I slid down to '7', threading rod and net through various newly prone crack-willows. Nothing took the sprat at either end of this tiny pond, or when it was stealthily pulled along the length. Pete arrived with the big saw and helpfully cut me a line of retreat, making egress rather easier than the ingress.
Returning to pond 6's reed-bed chair I nabbed a 2lb pike after some careful sink-and-draw with the float, while Pete continued to cut willow. Pete came by, went-on and I half packed and I determined to try for a chub in '1' with a free-lined lob, fancying that a solid take would result if the worm were cast without spooking them. So, replacing the JW Avon's size 16 with a size 6 fine-wire worm-hook, I headed for the first pond.
I was arrested by the sight of a large pike in the last pitch on pond '3', where Pete was fairly sure there wasn't a pike. Fish and fisherman stared at each other for a few moments and the fish flicked its tail and vanished into muddy water. I set up my pitch, cast a dead-bait up the side of the pond, put a lob-worm onto the big-fine-wire gobby-chub hook, and flicked it, with its 5" quill, into the margin, more to provide something to look at, than in expectation. Presently the quill was enveloped in a burst of bubbles and the quill darted forward and vanished. To my surprise this was a fine tench, fine for any water, for this little 20 × 20 yard pool, a giant, and probably the first tench I've ever caught in mid-winter. Huh.
|The pond '6' pikerel||The pond '3' tench|
The pike however, was still noticeable by its absence, so I left the gear where it was and took worms and net to '1', where the chub were obligingly obvious in their favourite north-east corner. Aha. It took me three casts to get the worm in the right place, then the shoal broke, but not before one chub pounced. Heh. I caught another by waiting until the circulating fish showed themselves and casting a worm at one, then after a longish wait, a third also by casting to a visible fish. This last was the proverbial straw for the shoal which vanished for the day. As chub do. All three were pristine and bright if not, as always, the shoals' largest fish.
Going back to the chair, I flung out another worm then re-cast the dead-bait to the back of the little pool, periodically drawing the float-fished sprat back a couple of feet and letting it fall. So it was that the cork ended up level with the languishing quill, where it 'cloomped' under. A careful strike caused the pike to nip off right under the quill, obliging me to open the bale-arm of the little Cardinal 33 with one hand while playing the pike with the other...
|The pond '3' Leviathan||sundown|
Hm. This was the only alarm and despite a few self-respecting attempts to get into the water-cress clumps, the fish was netted with the usual bad grace. I dropped it into '6' to commune with its fellows, possibly to the detriment of the smaller ones, packed up the pike tackle then loitered around pond '1' for a while, enjoying the winter dusk and half-hoping for a sight of another chub, which never came.
|cold moon rise|
|'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page)||Stripey||'Sarge'||A 'swagger' of perch||'Sarge'||A 'swagger' of perch||A 'swagger' of perch||'perca fluviatilis'||Stripey||'Sarge'|
22nd April 2019. The WetlandPete's Wetland Pikes. The plan was that Pete, D. and myself would do a little light coppicing of the two willows between ponds '1' and '2' and then I'd move onto some pike-relocation, then indulge in some light 'fishing for bites'. D. was hunched over his rod on '2' when I rolled up, although the scum breaking away from the pond-bed had rendered his fishing all but impossible, despite a rope stretched across the corner of the pond. I pottered off to commence 'operation coppice', which was very warm work on a quite glorious day.
With the job 'mostly done', I spent an hour trying to catch a pike in '4', Pete went on, while D. obligingly lit his kettle, made tea, then his workshop beckoned, so he also went on. I spent the next hour on '5', where the family of coots picked and threaded their way through the willows on the far bank, then I moved on to '7'. I worked all three ponds with a kind of searching sink-and-draw although the colour of the water made this hit-and-miss strategy.
|Pond '4'||Two water snails doing what water snails do in the spring.||A hopeful, but ultimately disappointed pike-float||Pond '6'|
I missed. In any event, after 30 minutes on pond '7', I cleverly placed my dead-bait into a tree-branch, the retrieval of which briefly located the pike in the adjacent reed bed. I retired to pond '6' and for a while tried to catch some perch. I couldn't buy a bite bottom fishing, so I switched to 8" under the float and nabbed a small succession of rudd, after which I felt slightly competent. At this point some shade seemed sensible, so I decamped to the corner of pond '5' where I'd cunningly thrown in some bait while not catching either of its pike.
|That sort of a day...||A flotilla of coots|
I opened the flask, poured a cup or two and enjoyed the place; the pleasant balsam poplar's scent, the bright spring greenery, back-lit by the sun, a few tadpoles to watch and butterflies are out and about already (orange-tips, brimstones and fritillaries).
I threw in a little more bait and after a while things got interesting, some patches of proper bubbles effervesced into view then in what seemed like a burst, I nabbed several good rudd, two carp and two tench, one perhaps the largest '6' has to offer and one of the smallest. Then it almost as suddenly went quiet. I persisted for another hour with nothing but occasional tweaks of the float-tip, one of which yielded a final fingerling tench which threw itself on the bank (they are tricky to grip)...
|One of the little carp||One slightly larger little carp||The very fine tench||A glitter of rudd||Two tiny tincas|
...and that was that. I needed something to eat, so pottered off only mildly dehydrated.
28th April 2019. The WetlandPete's Wetland Pikes. Again.
More fishing following Phase II of 'Operation Denuded Willow'. Once the said willows, between Pond '1' and '2', were properly reduced to stumps and the resulting detritus cleared up and turned into eco-piles (for the insects), Pete went on. I slipped up to Pond '5' to 'fish for bites' while drifting two sprats dangled under perch-bobbers about the pond, in the hope that a careless pike would intercept one or both.
|Pond '5'||'Operation Esox'||'Operation Esox'|
It was colder than last week - this spring's weather is a little up and down. Normally the thermometer has been abandoned by this time of year, I wish it had been packed for the last two trips, it would have been interesting to see what the temperature of each pond was for these two successive weeks.
|The Path by Pond '5'||Pond '4' as seen from Pond '5'||The Float|
I managed to extract a few rudd and a carp, but bites were few and far between when compared with last week's shorter session. The last two hours were almost biteless. The float dipped the tiniest amount a couple of times (I suspect an appropriately tiny tinca) and the last bite, which delivered the very fine tench, was tentative at best.
On or two apparent pike-strikes raised my hopes and the bobbers bobbled once or twice, leaving me hand-hovering over the handles, but it was curious rudd, no more. No pike again, nice afternoon notwithstanding.
|Carp #1||Perhaps the best of the rudd||The very fine tench||A runch of budd|
3rd May 2019. The WetlandPete's Wetland. Before and After. The fallen willow.
This doesn't show me 'before'; lithe grace and careless of step. Then 'after'; walking carefully, shall we say.
27th May 2019. The Wetland...
...is at its absolute best in that mid-May to Mid-June period when everything is growing furiously and the result is that wonderful light green translucence that marks spring's brief ascendance. This, coupled with the damp ground, ensures that what was a path last week, is today a thin channel between waist-high grasses, reeds, nettles, loosestrife and green brambles. It's a fine place to be and for that reason alone is worth fishing at this time of year.
I did a little mild willow disassembly and while carrying some offcuts back to the gate, I'd noted Pond '3' has the colour that most clearly signals 'fish'. The corner swim is a good one, being deeper than the other corner and with a nice fillet of new reed-mace. So that was me for the duration and there are a LOT of rudd, so much so, it's hard to tell how numerous the slightly-slower-off-the-mark small tench are. At one point a greater spotted woodpecker scooted past me and although it went into a willow at the end of the pond, I didn't get a picture, which is a pity...Pete came by with a few live maggots to go with my dead ones and brown shrimp. On the latter I couldn't buy a bite, which is interesting. Live or dead maggots seemed to work equally well. Dead maggots also accounted for a very decent tench of 2lb or so, about my second fish of the day I think. Always a nice surprise.
I broke at midday to drag ever brittle balsam poplar out of Pond '7', which needed doing, and fished for another hour or two, then sated, I pottered off for a cold beer.
|Pond '3' on a bright May day||The monstrous tench (for a tiny pond)||The pond '3' pitch||The blue-tipped foundling pole float|
|A buttercup. Just because.||The tiny pink-tipped quill (it got breezy)||'Some rudd'. Think in terms of 'x 50'.||Three tiny tench and one of the larger and 'regular' rudd.|
9th June 2019. The Wetland...
After the previous week's snitching, it's clear that Pond '3' has, strictly speaking, more rudd that it needs. So I returned to redistribute some rudd. Normally when one sets out to fish to order, even in the lush and verdant Wetland surrounds, nature has a way of confounding the best laid.
Today however, this wasn't the case. Despite handicapping myself with the Milbro Tourist and a tiny Cardinal 33, in about two hours I put 61 rudd in the keep-net and returned three large silvery rudd whence they came. A couple of small tench came out as well and I was briefly attached to a large tench, but the hook came out before I could discover how well the old glass-fibre rod might work...
I poured the rudd into Pond '6', the reaper man came by immediately afterwards, naturally, and added cut-grass smell to the water mint. Between sweeps of a scythe, he said that any small tench could join the rudd. Whether it was the higher sun or the presence of a second figure, or me switching to the light Avon and 'pin to fish a little further out, the rudd went and I nipped out nine small tench, one final golden rudd and one more of the 6-8oz 'regular' rudd, the original stock. The tench and the one golden rudd were re-homed. The reaper man went on, I nabbed another small tench which was involuntarily put back (they are hard to hold aren't they?) and then got surprised by a near 3lb female tinca.
I sheltered from a shower and decided to try a little while on Pond '7', because you never know, and took the boy's rod down there. Nothing stirred my float in two likely places, but I put up the pike which still lurks down there. Hm.
|The 'just about to vanish' porcupine quill||The Milbro Tourist and the Cardinal 33||The Green Orb-Weaver Spider|
|Three of the older and more regular rudd. And an odd tench||The very fine tench, probably the largest I've caught at the Wetland||A keep-net of rudd. That's the first time I've used that net in about 30 years||Nine of the small ones.|
I sheltered from an increasing firm shower half-way back and caught another small tench while waiting for the rain to ease. I relayed my tackle to Pond '1' thinking I might have a dart for the chub, but the rain went from 'firm', to 'meaning it', to 'with included hail' and suddenly, drenched, I capitulated. The lane was awash with the sudden storm, but a mile away I was, sodden, mocked by the dry road. How odd.
The Milbro Tourist: even with a poorly filled '33 spool it flicked a small quill and 2 × no. 6 shot 15 yards with barely an effort. Nice little rod.
24th November 2019. Wetland Pike. A slow slow day. The plan was to try to remove a pike or two and I drifted dead-baits and myself around Pond 4 and Pond 3 for most of the afternoon, to no avail. Having seen one of the Pond 4 pike I made the mistake of fishing static baits for too long, although as a result of this, I moved about a bit and spotted a couple of pike in Pond 3 which was a 'surprise' as we'd thought there was 'just the one' and I removed it last year. Hm. A poor effort and my only success, fish-wise, was a lone tench caught on a long-distance porcupine quill and lobworm. Unseasonal, but several large tench were visible in Ponds 3 and 4, and they would occasionally dip and scuff the silt, so there's that.
|The wet-leaf path by Pond 4||The meadow across the way||The hopeful and distant pike-float|
|The bait under the fallen willow||The expert||The lone tench. Yes that's a cardboard Glenmorangie tube 'repurposed' as a float tube.|
Summarising, in my head, my experience of these pike leads me to conclude the most effective methods here are lures and moving baits. So a re-think and a change of tack and tackle are required.
1st December 2019. Wetland Pike. Again. I'd made some traces up with single hooks (some big red sea-fishing hooks with all their various barbs flattened off) and a single Mustad 'bloodworm' hook in a size 8. The idea is to enable repeated casting and sink-and-drawing of a sprat, with the smaller hook doing the job if the larger misses. While it's traditional to fish for pike with manly and massive hooks, if a size 8 will hold a 20lb carp, it'll manage the same weight of pike...and to ensure that I carefully hone a cutting point onto these traces' hooks.
It was cold and clear and Pete came by when I'd cast half a dozen times, so we inspected the ponds seeing two pike in '4' but not a twitch in the other ponds, with '5' and '6' very weedy still, although both are home to more E.L.
Pond '7' was very high, with two swans with two cygnets clearing the weed, so we left them to it. Pete went on and I snuck up on the larger pike at the top end of '4' and dropped a ball of worms in front of its nose. These, it haughtily ignored, and eventually it drifted off, underlining its contempt. Huh.
I spent the middle of the afternoon north-wind drifting dead-baits around ponds '3' and '4', then fished a static bait in the well favoured pond '4' under-bank lie. It sounds pedestrian, but it really wasn't. There was a lesser-spotted woodpecker in the smaller of the poplars, a curious twitchy wren, or two, a large covey of partridges whirred over, two field-fares picked around the roadside trees with their small noises of satisfaction, a flock of 50 of the same whooshed over my head, then three deer made their way up the hedge behind the stream and I watched all and sipped tea and eyed the remaining parts of the fallen willow with ill-intent. The sinking sun flared off the tree-tops and it was all rather pleasant.
The shadows were lengthening when I picked up the Other Mk.III to again flick a sprat about. I immediately nabbed a small one from '4', hooked right through the top lip (as it were) by the trailing hook. Another followed the next two casts, then pinched the sprat right off the trace. I made a few more fruitless casts, then tried '3'. Third cast; a shadowing pike spooked as I lifted the bait. On the next, I twitched the bait until the shadow pounced; despite my strike it came off, softly, as if the hook hadn't taken at all. I got two more follows, then the light had gone.
|The sinking sun flared off the tree-tops and it was all rather pleasant.||I immediately nabbed a small one from '4', hooked right through the top lip (as it were) by the trailing hook.|
Interesting. The last hour was the right time, I should have picked up the rod sooner. The traces perhaps need a third single hook (or 'VB' doubles). The Other Mk.III is a fine rod for this, it flicks an unencumbered sprat 30 yards, although the 'ferrule' is a smidge too easy and I shall rub a fine coat of epoxy on it and finish it off with some 000 wet-and-dry. It might do even better with a larger butt-ring as well. Hm. More 'improvments'.
I shall remake the traces with two size 8 hooks, the last can flap about or be nicked though the bait's tail, a chasing pike seems to miss the other hooks as often as not. I need to strike a little harder than it first appears; the slender rod-tip needs to be firmly 'struck through'. It's hard to be certain but it seemed to me the red-dyed sprats got more action than the silver...I shall put dye and sprats on the shopping list. All but trod on a partridge in the gloom, frightened the life out of me.
13th December 2019. The Wetland Pikes and the Instrument of Their Downfall
Once a thought is in your head, it can be hard to expunge. This then, is the mind-set of the compulsive fettler. So it was, that I ordered a Fuji BNLG 30mm for the other Mk.III's new butt-ring and a couple of black Minima's to ease the line's transition from the new butt to the tip. Because of some colossal idiocy, I'd whipped some blue thread over white paint to colour some of the carbon 'ferrules', so I added some dark blue NCP 'D' thread to the order and will replace those whippings as well. Not that this makes a blind bit of difference to anything, except to the engineering gremlins of the mind. Curse them.
In the meantime I slipped onto Pond 3 on the back of the Friday half-day, with the un-fettled Mk.IIIStill a useful rod, as long as one likes the colour blue., the braid-loaded '66x, a dozen frozen sprats and some nice new three-hook casts. I fancied the trailing hook on the cast would snag the tail-strike and the braid would compensate for the fine tip of the rod. It's poor science to change two variables at once, but still. I flicked a sprat about '3'. I removed new trace from a small willow at its own expense, and moved onto Pond '4'. In this way I discovered the spool was under-filled, which requires remedying.
I got not a twitch, strolled about the '5' and '6' without seeing a fish and tried a few casts in '7', which was high, tea-coloured and harbouring a large cast-off poplar branch, that I carefully, if involuntarily, removed with a pike trace. This probably did for my chances there, so as the witching hour approached, I headed back to '4'.
My second cast into '4' nabbed the smaller of the two (hopefully) remaining pike. I popped it into '6', then on the return journey spotted the big one lying under the bank. Hm. I stalked back with a new sprat and it drifted off, nonchalantly, bordering on disdainfully. I threw the bait past the fallen willow twice - I'm by now into a steady routine; cast, one-elephant two-elephant, one wind of the reel handle, one-elephant two elephant... This allows enough time for the bait to almost sink to the bottom between darts...
|Pond '4' in the Low Winter Sun||The Smaller of the Pond 4 Pike|
...I throw a long one down the middle of the pond...one-elephant two elephant, wind one, one-elephant two elephant...and the tip of the rod is yanked violently, making the reel squeak. Heh. This is the 'big one', perhaps a little over 3lb, also decanted into '6' with its brothers and big sisters. I return to '3', nothing doing, try five more minutes on '4' (one never knows) and then fish '3' until the light is nearly gone.
|The Larger of the Pond 4 Pike||...and then fish '3' until the light is nearly gone.|
A simple pleasure, catching pike on my boy's own rod, now in its 45th year. Adding larger rings will add some easy distance to the cast. Probably. It'll at least ease using the '66x, which I'd prefer to have on the rod if using a line over 8lb b/s (in mono) or braid mainline. The latter might be handy if I embrace a 'new' single strand wire that is apparently titanium-and-nickel and seems to my old befuddled brain to be a face-lift for 'AlasticumInteresting stuff.'. Being single-strand it will 'Albright' quite nicely to braid, which might make for a neat pike rig.
I was clearing through those containers scattered about one's desk for the accretion of 'small useful things that have no special home' and on retrieving a sub-set of such things that contra to expectation had a home, I found a lined tip-ring with a very thin tube. I suspect it came off the Cormoran telescopic, and it now looks 'just right' for the tip of the Mk.III...maybe.
|inter...(and back to the top of the page)||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked|
You've reached the bottom of the page and the last trip to 'The Wetland'The Wetland' on 'www.crucians.org'', which was on the December 13th 2019. Because this is a 'single venue page' and as I have the capability to extract all sorts of bits of information with a 'criteria engine', here are some summary details...
There are 27 entries on this page, most of which involved fishing. During some of these visits I've nabbed at least; one crucians, 46 tench, three carp, 15 pike, four chub, four goldfish, 143 rudd and countless, or at least 'uncounted', rudd, crucians, tench and a few roach. There are also a few barbel in Pond 1 of which I've caught exactly zero, a few perch in Pond 6 I've also caught zero of and allegedly a few gudgeon...
|Proper Float...(and back to the top of the page)||Another proper float||Another proper float||Another proper float|
|05:59pm on 2020-02-24|