This is the story of a club water that holds fond memories for some members but which had fallen into neglect in recent years. It probably started life as a gravel pit many years ago and you had to walk across fields to get there. Modern development has caught up with it and it is now next to a main road and a housing estate and is smaller than it was. Luckily for me I live on the estate nearby and can walk there in three minutes! I have driven by many, many times and would always take a quick glance to see if I could see the heron and sometimes a lone angler. When I started fishing again I found that the water belonged to the club that I had joined so thought that I would give it a try. First I went on a reconnaissance, getting to the water was not easy, brambles had grown across the path, trees and bushes had grown wild and ivy covered everything. Eventually I found my way to the bank and the one and only accessible swim and looked into the water, it was full of weed and absolutely unfishable.
Time passed and I fished elsewhere, on the club’s Facebook page they were talking about improving the water but although there were plans nothing much was happening. I took the occasional walk over to the water through the winter keeping my eye on the weed and saw that it died down as the weather got colder so come December I thought that I would give it a go. The session proved disappointing, the feeder rod was no good as the feeder just sank into the weed which was still on the bottom and I caught nothing on the float rod. I kept an eye on the lake and decided to give it another go in the Spring. At the end of April the weather was warming up and the weed didn’t look like it had grown much so I decided that it was time. Before fishing I decided to give it a rake and as I didn’t have a proper swim rake I took the garden rake with a bit of rope tied to it. This worked well enough and loads of weed came out and I had soon cleared a space to fish.
This time I was more successful, fishing the float rod and light tackle I caught fourteen fish, tench, carp and rudd, all small but great fun and I had proved that there were fish in there! A few days later I went again in the evening only to find that the swim was occupied! The club’s Facebook page discussions had clearly created some interest but after chatting to the angler for a while he invited me to share the swim with him and we both proceeded to catch a variety of fish, nothing very big though. It was nice to have a fishing companion and we had a very pleasant evening chatting and catching.
I went a couple of time more before the weed grew too bad and then moved on to other venues. I caught some pretty fish but nothing of any size, they all seemed quite stunted and I could see the attraction of the water to the heron! Then, a few weeks ago there was discussion on Facebook, the club was having working parties to clear the banks and put in a path so I went over on a couple of afternoons and spent my time pulling away branches which the guy with the chainsaw was cutting. When we had cleared the undergrowth a bit they brought in a machine to create a proper path, which although it is muddy at the moment will be covered with bark or gravel to give it a proper surface. The digger cleared the banks and the weed from close in and the whole place looked much better. It was amazing the difference that a few guys with the right equipment could make in such a short time and I couldn’t wait to fish it again! I did wait a few days though as I ordered a proper swim rake and had to wait for it to be delivered.
Come the day when I had a couple of hours I set off full of excitement, I raked the swim although there was not as much weed as before, set up the float rod to a shallow depth and put a single red maggot on the hook. The float was gliding along the surface with the wind so I gradually increased the depth until the hook caught on the weed then lessened the depth until I was fishing just above the weed. I fished for an hour and a half without so much as a twitch on the float and then packed up and went home for lunch. I was disappointed but not unhappy, after all it is December and looking back at my records I blanked the last time I went in December only to catch in the spring so I will have to be patient. The club has plans to clear the weed and manage the fishery in the future so we are only at the start of a new era with that water and I am looking forward to spending many happy hours there in the future.