The Wetland

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 September 2020. There are a few figures at the bottom of this page, if that sort of thing is of interest.

All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page) There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchTinca tinca little star...

2011: crucian  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.

The WetlandPond '5', teeming with small crucians and tench. The WetlandA 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. The WetlandA perfect small crucian The WetlandA 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?

The WetlandA perfect small tench The WetlandA perfect small crucian The WetlandA perfect small crucian The WetlandThe thin cane-tipped porcy, poised... The WetlandA bucket, one of several, of small tench and crucians
Another Crucian Carpcrucian...(and back to the top of the page) Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian Another Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carpcrucian Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian Crucian Carpcrucian Another Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian CarpCrucial crucian Crucian CarpCrucial crucian Another Crucian Carpcrucian Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian

2012  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 WetlandsThe 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. The WetlandsOne of the 'gold' goldfish shown with one of the brown to show the similarity of the shapes. The WetlandsBoth of the brown goldfish together. Some colouring remains on one of them and they look pregant. The WetlandsPond '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'.

The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus

2013: grayling  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.

The WetlandPond 5 The WetlandBonfire The WetlandPond 6

2013: grayling  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 WetlandsThe Wetlands '6' The WetlandsThe Wetlands - trotting, kind of. The WetlandsThe Wetlands '6'
The WetlandsThe Wetlands '6' The WetlandsA 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.

2013: grayling  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 WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe 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.

2013: grayling  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 WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland
The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland
The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus

2014 - A nice handy little tin  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.

The Wetland...rather depressed looking yearling swan The Wetlandthe Wetland, pond '7'
The Wetlandthe Wetland The Wetlandthe Wetland The Wetlandthe Wetland, tea-break

2014 - A nice handy little tin  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...

Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...1
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...2
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...3
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...4
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...5
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...6
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...7
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
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.

2014 - A nice handy little tin  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.

Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands'The Wetlands... '5' Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands'The Wetlands... '5' Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands'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.

2014 - A nice handy little tin  26th May 2014. The Wetland Pikes. 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)...

The WetlandsGood stripes son, show 'em off...then released into the wild... The WetlandsFive more The Wetlands...from this tiny pool

It is a tiny pool, perhaps 25 yards square...amazing really. Little breeders.

2014 - A nice handy little tin  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.

The Wetlandanother one of the Wetlands' pests

Soft reset.
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2015  18th April 2015. The Wetland. A fly-by on the way home, removing one more of the dratted and fecund pike.

The Wetlandone more pike out the Wetland...as it was on my way home.
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2016  13th March 2016. Netting 'the Wetland'. See the account of the day hereNetting the empty pond.

Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
The stream with great possibilities...1
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
Pond #1...2
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
Pond #1...3
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
The denuded pathway alongside #2...4
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
Probably a record stone loach...5
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
One of the best crucians...6
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
More of the crucians...7
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
One of the barbel...8
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
Pond #1 with its plastic sheet in place...9
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
An expert pike angler pauses for reflection......10
I like porcupine quill floats...I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page) I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats...

2017 swivel  4th February 2017. The overdue demise of 'Houdini' the PikeFive pike went into 'pond 6' as an experiment. I think we've removed about 57 pike in total...so far.

2017 swivel  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 WetlandThe path behind '6' The WetlandLooking across pond '6' The WetlandThe floats of the day and their tube The WetlandThe orange tip on the water
The WetlandThe bold sedge-warbler The WetlandThe 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.

The WetlandThen it rained for two hours...the view up '5' to '4' in the near distance.
The WetlandThe hole in the weed in pond '5' The WetlandThe blue float in the hole in the weed in pond '5' The WetlandTwo rudd from each of pond '5' and '6'
The WetlandThe first of the brace of tench from '5' The WetlandThe 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...

2017 swivel  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.

The Wetland, pond 3View to the left The Wetland, pond 3The mind bendingly green pitch The Wetland, pond 3View to the right
The Wetland, pond 3The fairly blue porcupine quill The Wetland, pond 3Most of the tincas The Wetland, pond 3A few of the rudd, which are doing rather well
The Wetland, pond 3Read..steady.. The Wetland, pond 3'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.

should be old ledger weights...coffin...(and back to the top of the page) should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel...

2018 ''Crossroads''   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.

The WetlandPond '1'... The Wetland...and its float The WetlandThe Pond 1 tench The WetlandThe 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.

The WetlandPond '2'... The Wetland...and its float
The WetlandTiny tinca The WetlandMore tiny tincas The WetlandOne of the numerous golden rudd The WetlandThe 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.

2018 ''Crossroads''   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.

The Wetland11am, nearly mid-winter The WetlandThe pitch in pond '4' The WetlandThe slightly psychadelic pike-cork The WetlandA 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 WetlandThe pond '6' pikerel The WetlandThe 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.

The WetlandChub... The Wetland...chevin... The Wetland...or chavender

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 WetlandThe pond '3' Leviathan The Wetlandsundown

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.

The Wetlandcold moon rise
Another Crucian Carpcrucian...(and back to the top of the page) Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian Another Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carpcrucian Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian Crucian Carpcrucian Another Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian CarpCrucial crucian Crucian CarpCrucial crucian Another Crucian Carpcrucian Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian

2019 - Rewiring, rewriting, renewing  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.

The WetlandPond '4' The WetlandTwo water snails doing what water snails do in the spring. The WetlandA hopeful, but ultimately disappointed pike-float The WetlandPond '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.

The WetlandThat sort of a day... The WetlandA 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)...

The WetlandOne of the little carp The WetlandOne slightly larger little carp The WetlandThe very fine tench The WetlandA glitter of rudd The WetlandTwo tiny tincas

...and that was that. I needed something to eat, so pottered off only mildly dehydrated.

2019 - Rewiring, rewriting, renewing  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.

The WetlandPond '5' The Wetland'Operation Esox' The Wetland'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 WetlandThe Path by Pond '5' The WetlandPond '4' as seen from Pond '5' The WetlandThe 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.

The WetlandCarp #1 The WetlandPerhaps the best of the rudd The WetlandThe very fine tench The WetlandA runch of budd

2019 - Rewiring, rewriting, renewing  3rd May 2019. The WetlandPete's Wetland. Before and After. The fallen willow.

The WetlandBefore The WetlandAfter

This doesn't show me 'before'; lithe grace and careless of step. Then 'after'; walking carefully, shall we say.

2019 - Rewiring, rewriting, renewing  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.

The WetlandPond '3' on a bright May day The WetlandThe monstrous tench (for a tiny pond) The WetlandThe pond '3' pitch The WetlandThe blue-tipped foundling pole float
The WetlandA buttercup. Just because. The WetlandThe tiny pink-tipped quill (it got breezy) The Wetland'Some rudd'. Think in terms of 'x 50'. The WetlandThree tiny tench and one of the larger and 'regular' rudd.

2019 - Rewiring, rewriting, renewing  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 WetlandThe 'just about to vanish' porcupine quill The WetlandThe Milbro Tourist and the Cardinal 33 The WetlandThe Green Orb-Weaver Spider
The WetlandThree of the older and more regular rudd. And an odd tench The WetlandThe very fine tench, probably the largest I've caught at the Wetland The WetlandA keep-net of rudd. That's the first time I've used that net in about 30 years The WetlandNine 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.

2019 - Rewiring, rewriting, renewing  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 WetlandThe wet-leaf path by Pond 4 The WetlandThe meadow across the way The WetlandThe hopeful and distant pike-float
The WetlandThe bait under the fallen willow The WetlandThe expert The WetlandThe 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.

2019 - Rewiring, rewriting, renewing  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.

The Wetland4 The Wetland3 The Wetland4

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 WetlandThe sinking sun flared off the tree-tops and it was all rather pleasant. The WetlandI 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.

2019 - Rewiring, rewriting, renewing  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...

The WetlandPond '4' in the Low Winter Sun The WetlandThe 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 WetlandThe Larger of the Pond 4 Pike The Wetland...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.

Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page) Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook

2020 - Hindsight Year  13th May 2020. Allowed Out. I set off with something of a buzz, as notwithstanding the 'lockdown' this would only be my second trip out in 2020. I was keen to try out the 'new' Four Piece Avon tip and was hopeful that the place would have retained a little warmth despite the recent cool snap.

The Wetland is at its best in Spring and is the greenest place I know of, but this didn't hide the clear clear waters...Pond '1' held a little colour, enough to obscure the corner chub, but '2'-'6' were as Bombay Sapphire. Ah. I pottered about, spotted a few tench promenading in '3' and a large chub and one large tench likewise in '4'. Pond '5' might have been bereft of life, for all I saw. Hm. Even the rudd were apparently hunkered down somewhere. I set up in '3' to fish for a random tench against the far trees, something which has worked in the past. Pete called and I vouchsafed that if I got even one bite I'd be above current expectations...

...can you say 'foreshadowing'? After an hour, sans tinca, I rootled out a few worms from under a rotting log and using the same float, cunningly weighted with two AAA shot, planted a worm in the gap in the willows in '2'. Two chub thought this was of passing interest, then the float slid along a bit, in that casual way that floats do when the fish do not see much fishing.

The WetlandThe path by '3' The WetlandPond '3' in leaf The WetlandThe least chary chub

This fine chub exercised my rod 'enough' to see it was basically good, although the spine' alignment might need re-checking. Despite my exaggerated stealth, the other chub took fright. I wandered up to the other end of '3' to try the same game with the small posse of tench - they obligingly swam past, over and around my bait for half an hour. Hm. I had a look around the other ponds, even the '4' chub had taken refuge somewhere, so I tried for another chub from '2' for 40 minutes, which they were not having, then snuck around to '1' and lobbed the same worm (figuratively) into 'chub corner'. Or today, 'chub-less corner'. As there was some colour in '1' I opted to spend an hour fishing for bites on the sunny side, while sipping tea and contemplating the infinite. When I started there was decent colour; an hour later my bait had materialised out of the murk and could be seen on the bed. At this time I remembered the 'half-a-boiled-fruit-cake', with added blackberry whisky, that was sitting on the side at home...

The WetlandThe long quill on the far side of '3' The WetlandLooking down the rod The WetlandWaiting on '1'...

(...In contrast with this time last year, the ponds all had some colour and I caught rudd, tench and carp without much trouble, I shall hope for a warm 10 days and try again...)

2020 - Hindsight Year  22nd May 2020. The Wetland, one more time...

The plan was to fish the Wetland on the way home, although I was not convinced it would be alive with fish. It was certainly more alive that last week. Pottering up and down, there were plenty of chub moving in '1' and '2', with '1' clearer than last week and '2' with perhaps a tinge of colour, but not enough to hide the chub, especially those in the downstream corner enjoying the sun. There were several tench mooching about in '3', two fine chub and a large tench abroad in the still gin-clear '4' and in the sunny corner there was a pike of about 2lb bathing on the pond-bed.

Edging down to '5', which was also clear although weedy, I spent a while firing small crusts into the far trees and the accumulated flotsam in the NW corner and then waited...carp are too curious even if bread is new to them, but nothing stirred. Hm. The only signs of life were a few rudd and small crucians in the NW corner. In '6' a few rudd scooted about and I saw one pike laying up in the weeds; the swim helpfully cut at the end of the pond had been enveloped in floating catkins and fluff, so was not (today) an option.

I decided that I would fish the south end of '3' as the movement suggested that the fish might feed towards the end of the day, so I baited very lightly then enjoyed the sun, two scotch eggs and several tins of cool lemonade...a dog-fox made it halfway along the path alongside '2' before catching sight of me, and then only when I moved my head quickly to see if it noticed. It froze for a moment, then did that dog-like volte-face and trotted briskly back the other way, then darted up the path between the first two ponds and vanished. Heh. Pete'n'Pam came by en route to another venue, not that I had masses of fish to report or anything...but we talked of this and that, while at the proscribed seperation.

The afternoon stretched out and a few-score rudd and schools of tiny fish went back and forth, plus several 2-3lb tench which obligingly coasted around the float then hovered between me and it for most of the afternoon. Once or thrice the float was pulled in that determined way that suggests a small fish is doggedly tackling an overlarge bait. I debated slipping on a size 18 and fishing for the rudd, using scraps of cockle or nibs of bread, but really did not feel the need to overexert myself in the warm wind-blown sunshine.

The WetlandDescisions, decisions... The Wetland...but really did not feel the need to overexert myself in the warm wind-blown sunshine... The Wetland...the float was pulled in that determined way that suggests a small fish is doggedly tackling an overlarge bait.

The fully grown swan passed through the pond, traversed '2' in furious half-flight and proceeded to violently assault the immature bird on pond '1'. It drove it out the water and down the path, then into the hedge and after some noises off, the mature bird emerged and made its serene way back down the ponds. Over an hour later the younger bird emerged from the hedge and made its way dejectedly along the path to within a few yards of me, pausing every so often to extend its neck and scan the water for the bully. It then appeared to decide that I represented some kind of sanctuary and settled down on the path and after a while ate a half-circle into the lush grass, then went to sleep.

Meanwhile, I thought my chances were improving by the minute. There were sporadic feeding signs, obviously taking place wherever my float was not located and this kept me, figuratively, on the edge of my seat until about 7pm. At this time, small fish started priming, zipping up from the bottom and zipping back after a small splash and it seemed to me that these were probably small crucians, although it is hard to be certain. For the next 30 minutes this kept me hopeful, although the float only twitched once or twice and although the water seemed quite alive, I decided that was enough for me. I woke the swan, which grudgingly moved along the path, reproachfully it must be said, but before it slipped into '2' and began drinking copiously I had seen both wings and feet were intact, so I diagnosed a seriously injured pride then headed home for some scrambled eggs. And possibly a 'Red Label' or two.

2020 - Hindsight Year  29th May 2020. The Wetland, another 'one more time'...

It was very very hot. I regretted turning up as early as 3pm, the '2' chub were sunning themselves under the south bank and I stalked to within two paces before they took flight, as did the rudd, also seemingly wild. I took a quick stroll then settled by the lilies at the north end of '3', expecting to have to wait until the sun lowered itself behind the hedge opposite...after 45 minutes I could feel my shirt sticking to me, so took the LBR'Little Blue Rod' aka the Other Mk.III and nicked out a few of the larger rudd from '5', which was fun and then spent some time under the trees there watching a couple of tench nose about the margin followed by three acolyte crucians, the largest perhaps 2oz. I stole up to the end of the pond and saw a large dark shape hanging in the water. I snuck around the tree and it was gone. From the gap between the ponds, I watched the extremely healthy rudd population in '6' scoot about while a pike of around 2lb evanesced into the weeds. For a pond full of pike, it has a lot of rudd.

I whipped a few of '6''s rudd out for good measure and then turned to face the other pond and spotted the same dark shape under the trees in the corner. Hm. Not a chub. Doesn't look or behave like a tench. Carp? I looked away, looked back and it was gone...

The WetlandSo so gold... The WetlandFour of the rudd flotilla The WetlandThe inevitable float

I spent ten minutes eyeing up '5' or standing in the shade, pick one, while thinking a sensible idea would be to weed-drag a swim and fish in the shade, sat back in my chair for twenty minutes, then did the smart thing and took chair and tea to the totally leafed-over path at the top of the ponds and spent a sensible hour or so in cool shade, disturbed only by what appeared to be a pair of willow tits, which I have not seen here before. Two cups of BEGCBlack Earl Grey and Cylon; tea, JAA for the consumption of later and now with a normal body temperature, I edged back to my pitch which felt like the right spot, despite the lure of a dragged shady swim in'6'. So I fished...

...despite the right sort of bubbling, bites were absent, so I swapped shrimp for punched bread and almost immediately nabbed an 8oz tench on a bobbling lift-bite. Heh. Pete arrived just in time to miss this fish, but not a few more bites which yielded nothing. I told of the possible carp and other sightings, then Pete went on. I dropped the hook size, slipped on a fine antennae, but still went on to have one of those times, when they were there, I was there, the bait was there, but I could not quite put all three together.

The WetlandThe Pond '3' Pitch with its Lilies The WetlandThe Biggest Tench The WetlandThe Smallest Tench

I nabbed another rudd, pricked a couple of fish on the strike and finally nabbed a tiny tench, which is always fun. Then the sun was below the alders, the evening was wonderfully cool after the blast-furnace afternoon, and I was quite content with that.

The WetlandA panorama shot taken from between '3' and '4'
The WetlandA panorama shot taken from between '4' and '5'

2020 - Hindsight Year  5th June 2020. The Wetland, yet another 'one more time'...

It is cooler than of late and although it would be balmy day indeed for January, the breeze has rendered pond '1','2', '3' and '4' devoid of colour and although a few chub are visible (as they always are) in the first two ponds, no other fish are showing, barring a long-range view of one chub in '4'. Pond '5' is the most promising looking and it is fortunate that my plan was to drag a swim here and see what it held. Unlike the preceding pools it is heavily weeded, with colour in a few gaps, but although a few rudd, the odd crucian and a few larger tench have so far been spotted, the carp are still conspicuous in absentia.

A twisting squall rendered the weed-dragging a particularly wet affair, so after that and baiting the pitch I return to the DT'Driving Technology' for my coat and determined I would cut back the crack-willow that was laying across the path alongside '1', its branches now at about 'face height' for this angler.

I was glad of the coat...I start to catch rudd. The water is clear, even after the rake, so I relax and play with the easy fish. After nabbing a few using maggots on the hook, I wonder if it is possible to catch then on a bare hook painted red with a permanent marker. Yes it is. It is also possible to catch rudd on the same hook threaded with a ¼" piece of thin red silicone tubing. Showers, various, beetle past and I note several tench-like shadows scooting along the bed at the shady edges of my personal hole-in-the-weeds. Aha.

The WetlandThe Pond '5' Pitch The WetlandThe Second Biggest Tench

I pop a BB ½" from the hook, re-set the depth and fish on the right-hand side of the gap, as close to the weed as I can get, immediately nabbing two tench, a fingerling and a 'two-fingerling', both falling to those 'dither-rise-dither-rise' bites that are typical of tiny tench in silt. After three or four such fish, with a smattering of extra rudd, naturellement, I nab a 6-8oz tench consistent with one of the longer shapes that I had noted earlier. A couple of rapt hours and a dozen tiny t.'s later, the largest fish of the day arrives, perhaps 1lb 10oz or so, putting a proper bend in the rod, but still smaller than one I had seen earlier...

The WetlandA panorama pitch picture
The WetlandThe Turmoil of Tiny Tench The WetlandThe Biggest Tench

...A few more fish come in the last hour, but no sign of a carp, although I was suspicious of one most carp-like bite, a eternity of trembling then a lightning take. Had I tied on an 'old-fashioned' size 18 baited with a single maggot, I suspect the tiny tinca count could have been doubled, but I was, with a stout 16, invested in larger tench and hoped for carp. Then, at 'just one last cast' time, another firm squall made a decision for me and I pack, swiftly, damply, and call it a fine day.

This is small beer for some, but for myself, these tiny ponds with their barely cut paths, wild fish and season-to-season and daily variations are more attractive than 'the same old carp' day in, day out, that is most of our fishing.

2020 - Hindsight Year  25th June 2020. The Wetland. How to deal with maggots on the turn...

...go fishing with them and use them up. This was Pete's plan, so having some not completely fresh maggots, I joined in. There were many many small tench in '3', many rudd likewise and Pete, overseen by Pam (who, being civilised, had brought gin and mixers), caught rudd and a chub from '2', the latter possibly the trickiest catch on these little ponds. They went on and I, not being so civilised, opened a flask of BEGCBlack Earl Grey and Cylon tea and chain-sipped it until I was merely dehydrated.

The WetlandOne rudd, simply to show of its fine colours The WetlandSome of the more-than-a-score tench The WetlandOne small toad...which hopped it before I could turn on the 'macro' setting.
The WetlandAt last; it was cool... The Wetland...and...wait...

The light fades, the thin cane disappears into the shadows, so I swap it for a small translucent pink-tipped quill and using the OMT'Overly Manly Torch' on its 'dim' setting, I fish on, passing moths bursting in the beam like fireworks, until the water is still and the bites cease.

2020 - Hindsight Year  10th July 2020. The Wetland. Hmm.

I had, some time back, carefully reinforced a small plastic tub to use for sea-food bait. Dropping it on the garage floor rendered it imminently recyclable. This omen was compounded by the excellent flask of BEGCBlack Earl Grey and Cylon I left on my den's chair and further by a gifted pint of maggots that overnight had become a pint of casters and 30 maggots.

Undeterred, I filched a chub from '2' with two mussels attached to a small red float, the whole flung to a few yards short of the far bank. I repeated this trick on '1', not before first missing the first bite. Both shoals vanished as if they had never existed at all, although I sat quietly for a long time...pond '5' then. I'd dragged a couple of pitches the previous day, but the water was clear, even the rudd were scarce and I debated fishing for bites in '2', which was nicely coloured...after an hour and a few rudd for the look of things, bubbles appeared of the tench type. Aha.

Then it started...I first lost the ability to cast. The float either went into the weeds or was too short of the weed to be in the feeding zone. I changed lines. I changed floats, about four times, tried two hook sizes, scaling up to fish with shrimp on the hook as small rudd further confounded any attempt to get the bait where it needed to be. After eternal comedy fishing punctuated with Anglo-Saxon, I hooked two tench in successive casts and both threw the hook. A short while after I struck at a perfect tench lift-bite which resulted in a large rudd 'for the pond'. I gave up, putting on a regular old porcupine quill, shotted conventionally with the bait just on the bottom and watched it twitch and dither until it was fading from sight.

The WetlandPond '2' chub The WetlandPond '1' chub
The WetlandOne rudd, simply to show of its fine colours The WetlandThe pandemonium pitch The WetlandThe parting shot

I started last casts and over-armed a final shrimp into the gap. The white spot vanished almost immediately, a grudging 1lb male tench the result. The Naiad of the Ponds rudely stuck out her tongue, made an unladylike gesture, mock-curtsied and evanesced into the trees. It occurred to me that perhaps I should have eaten something in the previous 10 hours. I can take a hint. I recalled there was a mostly full bottle of Mr. Walker's efficacious straw-coloured mood restorer on the dining room table. Something for the drive? "Dennis is a menace, with his 'Anyone for tennis?'..."

2020 - Hindsight Year  22nd July 2020. The Wetland. Stocking.

"I shall have a pint of maggots delivered on Tuesday, if you fancy a socially distanced fish-in after that?" wrote Pete. Well, one shouldn't waste maggots...

Peter took one end of '3' and me the other. Pete caught considerably more fish than I did - I started with double-maggot, caught several nice rudd, which I carelessly put back, then started trying to catch rudd on purpose and utterly failed - even the tiniest hooks were missing 4/5 bites and the resulting fish were tiny. Ah well. While I did this, Pete took two buckets of rudd to '7' to which I added very few, one tench and a few scraps of reddish-gold. By the second bucket the tiny pond's pike appeared to have learnt to lurk for a free lunch. Pete removed two tench from the inlet filter, one small one minnow-sized, not the first this year, suggesting that stocks in '6' are rather better than they might look.

The Wetland...and me the other. The WetlandI started with double-maggot, caught several nice rudd... The WetlandA lot of these down here, among others.

I snagged another small tench; it went mid-day blue-sky quiet then Pete and the South bank shade left, leaving me baking at about 150°C. I bumped off a small tench then caught one. Aha. A couple of tiny rudd followed then the swim flat-lined, so I went for a wander. I meant to scope out '2' for some long distance chub snitching, but Pete's swim (sans Pete) was swirls of silt...I caught two tench on the bounce, so shamelessly moved in and brought the net. In the next hour I nabbed a dozen or so, but time and the sun were moving on, so I took the tench-bucket to '7', putting up the expectant pike, then paused to watch the large tenchy patch of bubbles in '6'.

The WetlandPete removed two tench, one small one minnow-sized, from the inlet filter... The WetlandOne of the small fat tench The Wetland...so I took the tench-bucket to '7'... The Wetland...pausing only to watch the large tenchy patch of bubbles in '6'...

I tarried by '2', put on a long quill, shortened the line to a free 12", cast it over and in front of the patrolling rudd, then waiting until the quill turned and followed the school before striking. In this way I nabbed three larger golden rudd for the fish-barrel. Hot though, very hot..."Perhaps we should move the pike from 7..." wrote Pete later on. Now, where did I put the Little Blue RodPike, for the removal of.?

VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page) VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace

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 July 22nd 2020. 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 34 entries on this page, most of which involved fishing. During some of these visits I have nabbed and counted at least: 183 rudd, 114 tench, 15 pike, seven chub, four goldfish, three carp and one crucian. Additionally there were days when I either caught so many fish I lost count (sure) or did not bother to count them (probably), so there were also: five occasions when bunches of rudd were caught, three occasions when bunches of tench were caught and two occasions when bunches of crucians were caught.

There are also a few barbel in Pond 1 of which I have caught exactly zero, a few perch in Pond 6, of which I have also caught exactly zero of, some stonking stone loach in '1' (to date: zero by hook) and allegedly a few gudgeon...

VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page) VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace
JAA