It was one of those hot listless days, with the temperature hovering around 30C, when every movement seemed to take double the effort, that I decided to visit my small local pond for the second time this summer. The afternoon had been spent searching out the shadiest parts of the garden, while my enduring wife turned down offers of various outings, as they came to my mind, as “Too Hot!” Surprisingly, the suggestion of a walk down to the pond after Tea, was looked upon as an acceptable joint activity, which saw me spring into action, scurrying around gathering up bits of tackle and bait. Refreshed, the tackle trolley was loaded and a ten minute stroll saw us at the bankside by 6 pm, seeking the cover of a tree, which soon proved short lived as the sun moved round to bring it’s full force to bare.
My preferred summer method on this pond is to feed curried hemp, with 6mm cubes of luncheon meat, dusted with curry powder and left over night in the fridge. This switches on the native common and crucian carp population quickly, while tending to keep all, but the largest rudd at bay. Today was a rushed, unplanned affair and my only ground bait was a mix of liquidised bread, with ground, hard carp pellets, the hook bait being sweet corn straight from the freezer. As I tackled up, rudd were already swirling on the surface and I knew that getting through them would be a problem, but thought that heavy balls of feed would soon bring in the carp to push them out. Wrong.
Six egg shaped balls of feed were put in, leading away from the lily bed to the centre of my swim, 8 to 9 metres out, while I set up a 4 x No 10 pole rig with 5lb line through to a size 14 barbless on a 3lb hook link. The pond has a uniform depth of only 2 feet and with crucians as a hoped for target, I wanted to see their fussy bites, while the commons, which rarely run to more than 2lb, can often prove cagey too.
As soon as the float hit the water, it dipped under and the first of too many rudd felt the hook, a pristine golden fish had sucked the sweet corn to the back of it’s throat in a second. The pole was going in and out at speed, with a rudd a minute slipping into the keep net. My wife commented, that pole fishing was not proper fishing, as the solid layer of rudd showed no sign of deminishing, it reminding her of a party game, when a child, where a stick with a string and magnet attached, was lowered into a tub of tin fish, a shiny fish sticking to the magnet each time it was lowered into the tub. These were some of the best rudd I’d taken from the pond and pressed on determined to build a decent weight.
Small bubbles were now bursting on the surface, a sure sign of carp on the muddy bottom, but still I couldn’t get through to them and decided a cast away from the feed might be the answer, putting the float close to a clump of weed. This time the float merely settled instead of zooming off, then rings appeared around the float. Ah, a carp at last. The rings progressed to dips, then a slow submerge off to the right. A firm lift and I was into something heavy, the elastic came out and stayed put as the something slowly made a beeline for the weed bed. A big carp, that hadn’t woken up? I didn’t have a long wait to find out what it was, a round shape the size of a soccer ball, briefly surfacing, before diving back down as fast as it’s paddles would take it. A large terrapin!
Hugging the bottom, this released pet resisted all of my attempts to bring it to the bank, paddling away from me as hard as it legs would carry it, needing to hand line it within rage of the landing net, then dragging it across to my pitch, where it retracted into it’s shell. The barbless hook was in the terrapin’s mouth somewhere, but I stopped short of trying to take it out and cut the line as close as I could, much to my wife’s amusement. The fuss had attracted the attention of a couple of other anglers and I walked it round to show them, before continuing to the other end of the pond and releasing it.
This whole interlude had taken 20 minutes of productive fishing time and I quickly tied another hook to the link, sweet corn on and a cast in. The float sailed off. The rudd collection continued.
The sun was still hot, I was dripping with sweat and my wife was growing tired of the repetition, rudd following rudd. A cool drink was required and she volunteered to walk home to get one, arriving back just as I netted my first carp of the evening. A crucian hybrid. This had given a good fight, making it to the lily bed, but coming out again. I needed that drink.
The fed area was now a mass of bubbles and the rudd had moved out, each bite being indicated by the slightest of movement from the float, crucians nudging and sucking the bait, before moving away with it. Others just sat with the bait, sucking the goodness out to a skin. Some of these I hooked, some splashed to the surface and came off.
A few times the tiniest of bites saw the elastic fly out as unseen commons accelerated into the weed bed, or the lilies, the elastic unable to buffer the runs, the 3 lb hook link parting like cotton. Next visit I shall take a rig with 8lb to 5lb hook link and hope that it doesn’t affect the quantity of bites.
A welcome sight were some small tench, being larger than those caught last year, punching far higher than their actual weight.
As the sun began to sink behind the trees, some better hybrids put in an appearance and it was a case of saying just one more fish, until with the light going fast, I had to call a halt at 9 pm.
This pound plus common took on the dot of nine, the last hour finally bringing the quality fish I’d been after all evening.
A terrific mixed bag of fish taken in under two and a half hours of hectic fishing, this free fishing among the houses always throwing up a surprise, or two, the terrapin being the strangest.