I met with Andy for a second go at Snitterfield reservoir on Sunday morning to find it deserted and flat as mill pond. Slightly overcast skies raised my hope that the better roach might feed confidently given the lack of bright sunshine which I had encountered a few days previously here.
Before getting started there was a small forgotten matter I needed to settle... A month or so ago whilst on a trip with Andy and Dave to the windrush we had all agreed I small wager of a quid for the biggest grayling, which Andy won and which I had forgotten to pay him for. Not being one to welch on a gambling debt a brain wave had struck me the day before and I had prepared said quid for payment in a special way which I suspect may have quite a far reaching effect this year!
Rather than explain it keep your eye on http://piscatorialpastimes.blogspot.com/ for a full explanation.
Whilst setting up half way down the road bank a second wager was agreed to give me the chance to take back the prize by catching the largest roach. This would be a wager I was not destined to win.
Again I opted to fish the pole but this time I went for the a little more of a wintry approach for this still chilly lake by way of a few cups full of liquidised bread. The fish were still playing coy and both of us had to work hard for bites, but determination paid off in the end as floats began to dip and fish were soon being swung to hand.
We turned out to be the only anglers there all day. Maybe everyone else knew something we didn't but having the place to ourselves was real treat. It didn't take long for us both to start banging out feeders into deep water to try and search out a few of the bream which were rolling at twenty meters out.
Through the day we forced some roach and persuaded some small bream that our pellet hook baits were safe for consumption, and finally towards the end of the session the roach/bream hybrids made their appearance, fighting like made dogs as always.
In my last blog I wrote of how deep this lake is and this point was reiterated to me by some beautiful little bream I caught, which when they were landed were a pale white/silver colour from lack of light; after a few hours spent in my keep net in the shallows they turned dark brown.
Another thing I suspect about these bream is that they are not as young as there size may indicate. The bream in this lake seem to have a maximum size of about 3-4lb, the average being 1 1/2 - 2lb which is nothing compared to how big they can grow. If I caught one of these fish in the river or another lake my guess would be that it would be two or three years old and it would be in perfect condition, but these fish are definitely older as their fins seem worn, and are definitely not in that skimmer stage any more. Andy and I discussed this as we fished coming to the conclusion that the depth of the lake probably limits the amount of bloodworm the bottom feeding bream get to eat, whereas on a shallower lake there would be a ready supply, hence feeding fish achieving larger weights quicker. Here the slow warming lake combined with a limited amount bottom based food results in these almost stunted bream.