The Lake like many English waters of its type, is formed by use of stream and valley. And this means that at one place a small amount of water will flow in, and at another will flow out via some form of dam. On the lake these areas are out of bounds to anglers. One because it is deep inside a nature reserve, and the other because they simply don't want it to become a regular peg. But over the time that has elapsed since I dedicated myself to this water I have become very well acquainted with the bailiff, and have discussed these two areas with him in depth. Thus after a little coercing he agreed to grant me permission to fish the small stream beyond the little that weir spills water out of the lake, on the strict instruction that anything I caught was redeposited back into the lake. If anyone was to ask me about my fishing this supposed out of bounds water, I was to tell them it was solely for restocking purposes under his permission.
What has caught my interest the most during our discussions are the tales of big perch that supposedly drift in and out of the deep hole in the centre of the pool. As I have yet to land a single perch this year from the lake. A big clear water perch seems quite a attractive proposition to me.
I went to the lake early Sunday morning with the initial intent to angle for tench along the lillies which line much of its banks, and upon arriving in the half light I had a peg in mind where I had seen one huge fish in shoal of many half its size. This though is a popular spot, not only with the tench enthusiasts but with the carping fraternity who annoyingly seem to use it not to fish the near bank where I have seen a fair few carp, but blank fishing the far one. Every time I try to drop in on this tasty area it always seems to have inhabited for five days by another angler. Sadly today was no different. But happily it was an old chap with parallel thoughts to my own. I stopped for a chat where he confirmed he was to angling for something of the green variety, but as yet had seen no action of signs of life.
Moving on further round the lake I came to my second choice spot and settled in. The morning passed with very little activity all over. Only a single but sizeable tench rolled six feet off my bait and the float sat perfectly motionless for more than four hours against the pads. I knew the lake was off sorts today and the rising sun I knew would only compound things. So although I was not my main aim of the day I saddled my gear and headed off further round into the woods to give the little stream a cast or two.
Being such a tiny little swim I wanted to cause as little commotion a possible. So set up a tiny clear chubber float with little more than two feet between hook and float. One test run through to confirm no unseen snags revealed a clear run of about eight feet before the stream shallowed with silt. It was a perfect miniature weir pool
What else could I ply my hook with other than a tasty lobworm to tempt a big Sargent. I always split my worms in two hooking one half in the split end and the other vice versa. The way they move through the water when hooked like this is totally different to a whole worm, and has the added attraction of the juices flowing out down stream with it.
Swinging the float out into the centre of the weir, I watched the worm drift down through the clear water until it disappeared out of sight. The little power of the tiny stream caught hold and pulled the rig slowly and steadily along until half way down the pool when the float reached a snaggy looking tree, then dipped once before pulling away on a forty five degree angle and I struck into a solid resistance. At first I felt the right sort of jagging up and down in the water and automatically suspected a perch. But as I coaxed it upstream I got a shock when it reached the clear water near my feet.
It was no perch but instead a tiny tench, which I could see turning from side to side diving towards the bottom.
Of all the fish I would have expected to catch trotting a worm in this tiny pool, this was not one of them. I quickly dashed through the trees back above the weir and released this perfect little croaker back into the lake from where he came.
The next run through was an mirror image of the last. The bait sank, the flow caught the rig and in the exact same spot the float dipped away and I struck a solid fish. Holding it in the flow I thought to myself 'it can't be' But it was! A second little tench, that if I hadn't just put the last one back in the lake would have had me thinking it was the same one. This one too was transported back over the weir and as I walked back I pondered the rarity of these captures. On some heavily coloured commercial just stocked with tench its not unusual to capture small ones. But on old lakes like this one they are like ghosts until they are two pounds plus and here was me with two in two casts.
It didn't stop there ether over the next hour I picked three more identical ones out, trotting my worms past that snag before I spotted two fairly decent carp drift along the edge to my left which dragged my attention away. Add to them the masses of rudd and roach I had seen once the sun squeezed through the trees and I realised how many fish had been washed over that weir when the water was up over the winter.
The tiny tench eventually dried up and around then I fancied a more static bait might give the perch time to find it. So I flipped over to a single swan shot paternoster as a change. Low and behold a string of small perch responded to this move, as well as a couple of over eager Rudd to about 8-9oz who gobbled up my huge baits.
By now I was causing quite a commotion in this tiny patch of water, and the inevitable had to happen. As I reeled in another small perch I watched as a small jack pike confidently follow it up the flow before snatching it right at the last moment and turning back down the pool. The fuss this thing caused as I tried to get it in had to have freaked out every fish in the vicinity before it finally severed my light line.
It did go off for a while. But my final bite using my last worm connected with a certainly larger fish which charged all around the little pool like a maniac. The biggest tench of the day on my last cast using my last worm. At two pound tops it would seem a poor fish for a lot of venues but by this little streams standards it was monster, and mint to boot.
Walking away from this interlude bait-less and half covered in slime from wrangling with those bars of soap, I had a certain smug feeling knowing that I had given something back to the lake. The likelihood is that if those fish would have remained in the stream they could have been easy prey for any of a plethora of predators and come the winter, high water could have flushed them off to god knows where. Back in the lake I fear I am by chance unlikely to run into them again. But if I do see them in some years time there could be a very good chance of them being five pounds or more with all the natural food available.