I have felt rather dislocated from angling for a little while now. This is mainly to do with me being laid up for nearly eighteen days recovering from an operation and on top of that, the brief hiatus was bookended by my now seeming insatiable appetite to get my ass thoroughly kicked by my still invisible foe, Anguilla anguilla.
I was in serious need of some food for my soul after my first trip out into the wide world was again plagued by everything but eels on the cut. I chose to cast off my self imposed Morlock status and head into the sunny easy living world of the Eloi and see if I could remember what it was like to fish in the light.
Still limited by trying to take it easy, I decided a trip to some old childhood haunts may salve my soul and maybe rekindle me a little. A lot of my local blogging buddies visit these abandoned ponds on and off through the year although I think I may be the only one that remembers how they originated.
In my youth I would ride the tow path of the canal to get here to fish with my friends, though back then there was only two ponds which both sat on Parkers Farm. The big pond was the preserve of the adult angler and in some ways was one of the fore runners of the modern commercial fisheries, the way it was lined with anglers on a Sunday hoping to land a carp or two. It was also the first place I saw other anglers using the modern carp tecniqes over twenty years ago.
The hard worn banks are now overgrown and the once grey water is now gin clear. Every square foot of the pond has some kind of weed growing in it and although seemingly abandoned by the masses of yesteryear, fish still remain. Although I still remember it fondly amongst the hazy memories of my youth it now has grown new charms, ones I apreciate more now I am older, and it has a forgotten feeling which really appeals to me.
I fished for only an hour or so, just enough time to land a handfull of wild as you like perch who had probably been skulking amougst the debris awaiting a meal.
The next stop was a pond that was not one of the orginals but came to be in the second life of this land as a golf course. The crater as it is now called by Jeff, has a very water trap feel to it but what it lacks in charm it makes up for in sheer numbers of fish. At sometime in the past it has been stocked with Rudd and they went besserk!. I wouldn't bet a penny with anyone that a maggot could reach the bottom of this pool any day of the year.
I only fished for an hour and a half. but in that time I landed well over a hundred fish just like this these stunted little buggers.
I did get a few bigger ones up to about six ounces as well as few rouge perch, but the high light of this stop was watching two very frisky black coloured carp rolling around in the weed. Being only a few feet deep at best I find it very hard to understand how any of these fish survived the harsh winter when just about every bit of still water in the country was practically solid.
My last stop on memory lane was the one which I really remember. This little pond was no more than a drinking pond for the livestock back in the day but was where most of us kids fished. Now due to the massive weed growth which is flecked with rubbish deposited by the local yobs it only has a couple of very tight areas to fish. But as always nature finds a way and peering into the depths I could see shoals of small silvers passing over road cones and perch inhabiting old trolleys and rusting wheels.
To be truthful I was more intent on staring at these wonderful little survivors than fishing but somewhere in the last shady hour I hooked a few hungry little perch. All in all I had great time exploring my old stomping ground and walking back through the waist high grass with the sound of a million grass hoppers buzzing in my ears it actually felt like summer for the first time this year.
A few days later I took the opportunity to get a mid weeker in on the Avon. I could have done with maybe making an effort on the challenge but all I had in mind was lazily sitting on the river watching a rod tip nod all day. So I paid a visit to an area I have only ever fished once before in the summer.
Every year I say to myself that I should check out more of the river when it's clear so when the winter arrives and the water is coloured I will know where the features are. This turned out to be the perfect opportunity to combine some self indulgence with a bit of recce work for later in the year.
Every time I poked my head through the bushes and peered into the clear water, hordes of dace, chublets and roach scattered in every direction. The river looked beautiful and as I'd hoped I could see just about every pebble on the bottom. I clocked loads of cracking looking spots for the winter as I headed to a bend where I knew there would be a few fish holding up.
Seeing all those fish gave me a hint that I could get a few nibbles but on the other hand the Avon has an evil streak through the summer so I didn't get too excited. Turns out they were well up for it! Using a small maggot feeder stuffed with red grubs I got bites from the outset. Though two different species were responsible for two types of very different bites.
Dace constantly worried the bait until the maggots got husked out or I was quick enough to hit one; perch would give me two or three slight nods before pulling the light tip right over.
My thoughts of a relaxing day faded away as quickly as my two pints of mags. I never thought there were this many fish in this area but the must have been thousands of 'em queing up waiting for the feeder to make bottom.
By two all my maggots were gone and the shoals seemed to have no appreciation for ground bait what so ever, so I slipped off up stream with a few slices of bread to see if any chub fancied a tango under the trees.
Apparently old Issak was right, the summer chub is the most fearful of fishes, and once I showed the slightest of shadow on the sky line they melted away under the weed beds never to return.
I'd totally lost track of the time until I realised I only had twenty minutes to get from Stratford to Coventry to pick Jacky up from the University. In a rush I foolishly cut through the thicket on the way back to car and came out the other end cover head to toe in sticky buds. I must have looked like a mad man all the way home as I brushed what must have looked like invisible insects cursing as I went.