An August Wessex Trip

A friend had contacted me to say that he would be fishing on the 16th, the day of my travel. I made my long journey to Wessex via the local tackle shop to purchase some bait, and then to a local inn to gain some sustenance, checked in to my accommodation and then made my way to the ponds.

I found my friend in good spirits and had not intended to fish that night at all. I did give in. Gathering my tackle from the van I set up a couple of swims down from my friend. It was good just to be here again. We fished until the approaching darkness. Tomorrow I would be here in earnest.

I had intended to skip my breakfast and be at the ponds very early on the Thursday morning. However, the journey the day before had taken it out of me, and besides, it was set for rain. A fair weather fisherman now I tucked in to a very good fry up and lots of tea before thinking about my departure.

For the traditionalists, I have not moved over to the dark side; (Carbon fibre) but managed to christen not only a new float, but this rather wonderful R.Sealey twelve foot ‘Match Winner’. This was sold to me as a black cane rod. It is nothing of the sort and is infact very, very dark green. It is made with a Spanish Reed butt section, a cane mid section, and a split cane top section.

I arrived at the ponds around ten thirty-ish and was greeted by warm sunshine. I setup in the swim that my friend had been in the day before, as I knew it had been raked. There were no signs of feeding fish. My float never dithered enticingly, nor were there any bubbles on the surface of the pond. Around twelve my float slowly submerged,  I grabbed the rod which hooped over. The fight lasted all of five seconds; the hook gave way. Damn! Well, at least I know they are feeding. I re-cast and settled down to more tea drinking. I noticed that I began bringing in weed when I reeled in, so around one thirty I raked the swim three or four times, baited it again, and went off to a local hostelry for some lunch.

Returning sometime after two o’clock, I recast. Again there were no bubbles, nor signs of feeding fish in the swim at all. Non-the-less I was very content. Not long after the bells had rang seven times, my float again slowly slid below the surface. Once again lifting the rod sent it into a hoop and a dramatic battle commenced. At this point I had no idea what it was, but it was desperate to get into the bed of lily pads. I gave as much strain as I dared on five pound line. It then changed direction into more open water, saw a wall of weed and then shot back towards the lilies. I thought that I had it under control until it managed to wrap itself around the one lilly stem that was jutting out of the bunch. I didn’t know what to do. I gave as much strain as I dare again and then fish raised near the surface, it was a Tench! Blimey I can’t loose this one. Keeping tension on the line, I tried to reach the stem with my landing net to break it free, but it was just slightly too far away to reach. Total stalemate occurred. I had to give in. Releasing tension from the reel was the last thing I wanted to do as I knew the fish would easily drop the hook. However, this was my only option. Releasing line from the reel sent the fish berserk and it freed itself shooting out of the beds and into open water once more. Keeping it as near the surface as I could, I managed to bring it over the waiting net. This pond is very well known for it’s Crucians, but I fish for Tench here, and was over-the-moon with this specimen. I haven’t caught a Tench in this pond for ages.

I had received a mail to say that two other members were to be fishing on the 18th , so I made my mind to fish another local pond to give them some peace. Again, following a leisurely breakfast, I decided that I would make my way back here to say hello before making my way to my fishing destination. However, when I arrived around eleven there was nobody there. Again I gave in, changed my mind about fishing the other location and went back to the same swim I fished the day previous. Around lunchtime I had the same sort of bite. No bubbles or knocking of the float, it simply slowly slid under the surface. Lifting the rod I knew straight away I was into a good fish and thought it was another Tench. I could not believe it when I drew it over the net, it was a huge Crucian. I did not weigh it, but was easily over one pound. The reel I was using on the day was a three inch Allcocks Aerial Popular ,and can be seen in the picture that the fish must be at least nine inches in length.

I know there to be a military firing range in the county and the ‘booms’ can be heard for some distance. However, today the sounds were quiet and loud, somewhat different to the norm. I was treated to a short shower, then the air turned really cold from what was a nice sunny day. This could only mean one thing – thunder. I was not wrong and did not have to wait long before the next storm rolled in. This time it was much closer. I reeled in and sat in the car as the rain began to fall in rods. I noticed two cars coming down the track, this must be the chaps who were going to fish today. Some time passed before I vacated my vehicle and went back to my swim. I really didn’t fancy my chances after the storm and cold rain. This often stops fish feeding. The two chaps also came round to say hello. One setup on the top pond the other went onto the bottom pond.

I was amazed to see my float slide under around five thirty, and was overjoyed to land a final Crucian before packing up and making the long journey back home.

It was great to be at the ponds again, and it was lovely to witness the Kingfishers fish, whilst I was waiting for a bite.

I can’t wait for my next trip.

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