Once again, I was at my favourite ancient pond in Wessex looking for what was now an elusive summer Tench. Weather was warm and sunny, again not great fishing weather but it was just good to be fishing today. An odd day today, I did not even catch a Roach. The fish were just not interested.
The search for a Tench took me to a club lake close by. This particular pond is known for it’s Tench, although they are caught anywhere on this pond they are known to occupy a certain section of the pond. When I arrived, I found all but two swims to be occupied, and the area I needed to get to catch a Tench was full. Never-the-less, I still setup one rod on the opposite bank and had a good day. I caught numerous Roach and had three really good runs, only for the hook to slip each time. I then resorted to putting on a large carp hook only to then begin catching Bream. Huge clouds of bubbles appeared in my swim which I hoped were Tench but clearly, I had an assembly of Bream in my swim.
I awoke at four am to the sound of heavy rain. Good and welcome news for the garden and allotment, but not when I was about to take a car journey of over three hundred miles. Although traffic wold be lighter at this time in the morning, I knew that further into my journey the rain would compound delays, I was not wrong. Disregarding an unexpected road diversion that added forty minutes onto my journey, I arrived at my destination eventually around 12:30. I had two options- to check into my accommodation and then track back to do a couple of hours fishing, or I could go straight to the tackle shop to purchase bait and go fishing straight away. The decision was made for me when I called my B&B and there was no answer.
I arrived at the pond to find another member already there and I introduced myself to one of the new members. It did not take me long to get a line in the water. The weather was warm and sunny, not perhaps the best fishing weather; but it was pleasant to be back at this ancient pond again. Fishing in a familiar swim, it did not take long before my orange tipped quill float slid away. Roach after Roach came to the bank, along with a few lovely palm-sized Crucians, and two Crucian ‘corkers’ later that day. A great afternoon was had, but sadly there were no signs of a summer, new season Tench for me today.
All of a sudden it is Spring again. Although the 20th of March marks the formal start of Spring, it has actually arrived in many forms days and weeks ago. All the Spring flowers are in bloom, and the Blackbird has been serenading for some time now.
I don’t usually plant anything so soon in the growing year, but it has been so mild, and with the warmth to continue I began planting the Onions and Garlic I purchased back in February. One hundred “Red Barron” and two hundred “Sturon” have now been set, along with Garlic, Radish, Carrots, Chard and Beetroot. I have never really had much luck with carrots, but am trying two varieties this season so we will see how they fair. My Rhubarb always does well, and this season is no exception; its off to a flying start.
The 20th of March this year is especially significant as not only does it mark the beginning of Spring, but it is also a full moon. Not only this, but it is a “Supermoon” – a very rare occurrence co-inciding with the beginning of Spring. This particular moon at this time of year is also known as a “Worm” Moon as it signifies the emergence of worms in the soil. The last time this co-incided with Spring was back in 1905!
As per usual, I was anticipating fishing for Roach on one of my favourite rivers in Wessex on the last day of this course fishing season.
As the date approached I, along with others, watched the weather forecast for the days approaching the 14th; It was not good news. The bailiff had been on the phone the previous week to say that the river was in the fields. Desperate news, but this particular river falls very, very quickly, so I was not too disappointed at the time.
I drove down on the Monday and arrived late in the day. Tuesday brought ‘biblical’ rain; this did not look promising for Thursday the 14th. The rain stopped around 15:00 on the Tuesday and I ventured forth to see what the river was like. I was amazed that, yes it was flowing very quickly, and really was too coloured to fish well, but it had not risen into the fields, so I had a couple of hours fishing on the river bank.
However, Wednesday morning brought grave news from the bailiff that the river had risen overnight and was now in the fields again. Along with gale-force winds, fishing here would be impossible today. I am lucky to be a member of a couple of nice ponds in Wessex, and one in particular I know to be tree-lined, and was sure to be able to get out of the wind somewhere along its banks and cast a line.
I found a lovely sheltered spot close to trees that were part submerged in the water. The perfect hiding hole for big Roach and unsuspecting Carp. The sun made an appearance, and once the Kelly kettle had been fired up, I was very comfortable, content and warm. I caught some lovely Roach, the biggest was definitely the very first fish I hooked, but as it rolled on the surface it threw the hook. I went on to catch 20+ Roach but no Carp today. Tomorrow, the 14th, would definitely be spent on a pond somewhere.
After many emails sent and received, it was to be spent with a few friends on a commercial pond. I had fished this pond a few times in the past years and looked forward to connecting with one of its resident big Perch.
I arrived at 12:00 on the dot after travelling down some very narrow lanes and through a ford that was full of water, breaking one of the cars fog lights in the process! Damn sat-nav, I will throw it out of the window one day. I hadn’t realised but a couple of guys had arrived before me and were already fishing, and infact catching too. After a brief chat with the guys I hastily setup the rod and made my way to one of the few calm parts of one of the ponds there – it looked very perchy! Not long after I had setup the rain arrived. It wasn’t bad at first and I thought that it might blow-over, but it didn’t, it just got heavier and heavier. It was no good, I would have to retreat to the car to fetch my brolly. As I walked back to my pitch, two other friends arrived and sensibly stayed in their car while the worst of the rain passed over.
Everyone had a good fishing day, no monsters were caught and the best part was meeting with friends again and feasting on home made pork pie, cake and of course tea! A great end to this course fishing season. I now look forward to spring, hearing the first Blackbird song and of course the opening of the new season where I look forward to fishing for Tench once more.
I was kindly gifted a new ‘Perch Bobber’ as one of my Christmas presents last year, and is a welcome addition to the second box of floats that I keep.
I have been looking forward the final day of this course fishing season, and was going to use this new bobber for a Perch on a river or pond somewhere. However, this unseasonably warm weather of the past few days has surely got fish on the feed and I was itching to get to a river or pond, it was impossible to wait until the end of this course fishing season, the 14th of March.
There is a commercial fishery near where I live, not the sort of place that I would ever fish, but I learnt of Perch up to 4lb residing there, so was keen to have a crack at one.
I only fished for a couple of hours in the afternoon today, but really enjoyed feeling the warmth from the sun for the first time this year. I managed to catch two Perch, one of around a pound and a half, and the other a little smaller at around a pound. The biggest surprise was at the end of the day catching a small Tench (on a prawn), not the prettiest Tench I have ever caught, but it just shows how warm the weather is today; quite bizarre.
It is the rule that normally it is the kiss of death fishing with a new float, but I was lucky enough to christen my new Perch Bobber. It could have been a summer’s day.
Looking back I realise that I have not written a post on the old allotment for ages, and being such a nice day today, I have decided it’s about time I wrote one now. The warming sun bringing early hope for the coming spring. Blackbirds are now more evident in the garden; although still a little early to hear their song which I look forward to hearing every year.
I left the allotment baron last year, so the soil really has had a rest. Quality of potatoes and other veg had seemed to have taken a down-turn in previous years, even though organic fertilisers were dug-in.
I had forgotten all about a soil testing kit that I was given some years ago. I had done a few soil tests previously to try it out, but discounted the results, from what I have read they are not very accurate anyway. Coming back to it this year, I carried out a number of tests with both dry and wet soil, from different depths, and from all over the allotment, and found some interesting results.
It turns out that the soil in the fruit raised beds has a PH around 7, being a light shade of green on the tester. However, the soil from the vegetable raised beds is very, very dark green indicating a PH of at least 8. This is too high for what I grow here, and should, like the fruit section be around PH 7. Doing a little research, I learn that the soils PH can be adjusted over time. I know that other allotmenteers annually ‘lime’ their soil, but this would push my soils PH up even further. I learn that Sulphur is the answer to make your soil more acidic.
I’ve dug-in and watered-in seven of the smaller raised beds, and one of the larger ones. I have no idea if the quantity of sulphur applied has been correct? I fear it is too little, but In around three months or so, I will carry out a few more soil tests to see if this has been successful, and will only know if whatever I plant here grows well this year and provides better crops.