The first swim (photo above) was in a basin of water attached to the main body by two small channels at opposite ends. The water dropped right down to 8 feet not a metre off the bank and a small tree to the right held 11 feet below it. The water depths around the entrance though is shallow with only 3 feet in one area. The weed growth in the margins was rich and thick and I had seen an angler catching small roach and perch on the pole on a previous occasion.
The other two swims were again next to trees in the water and held deeper water to 16 feet dropping off quickly from the bank. Having decided on my swims I now proceeded to spend time in them all. As with all waters a pattern slowly emerged and this was to be the case. Despite continuing to blank in each of the swims I noted that I was invariably fishing early morning sessions and rarely bankside past mid-day. However, an unforeseen event forced an afternoon session and with it my first fish.
The session in question saw me setting up in the first swim and cursing due to the fact that I had left my weights box at home. So, selecting a small roach deadbait I shallowed up and cast 10 meters over to the right of the basin and let the roach settle gently on top of the thick marginal weed with no additional weight to pull it further down and away into it. An hour later and the float bobbed gently and slid accross the water. A firm strike and a lively 7lb fish was soon resting in the net. The time was 2 pm.
What followed on from this was further afternoon sessions again using a weightless bait approach and with the baits being allowed to rest on or just in the weed. More 'one fish' sessions became the norm with a couple of scraper doubles being the best weight achieved. The fish remarkably all seemed to come close to or on 2 pm. Despite always varying the baits it soon became apparent that roach and skimmers with the occasional trout were the winners. Sea deads got me absolutely nothing and the floats bearing my usually favoured joeys, herrings and sardines beneath them remained motionless. All three swims were now responding and on a couple of occasions I actually put two fish onto the bank though nothing much bigger than ten pounds, usually jacks and without doubt a few repeat captures.
One late Saturday afternoon in November I was returning in my car from fishing the swim furthest up the pit, when having slowed down in order to scan the water (as you do) I noticed it held four adult grebes all dipping madly into the margins. Pulling over and peering down into the margins by my feet, I soon discovered the reason for this activity. Hordes of 2 inch fry in their thousands balled up in and below the weed for as far as I could walk along the bank, it was black with them. The grebes were catching near on every dive and I was gutted because, already late, I had to return home and didnt even have time for a cast. Surely, if the grebes were so readily feasting and the fry were there in such numbers, then old esox must be down there amongst them partaking in a share?.
The next day I returned early in the morning (more to prevent the swim being nabbed by another angler than with any hope of some new found morning success) to find the fry still evident, though depleted in numbers and with no grebes in sight. Hoping I was not too late to take advantage of this fry feeding frenzy oppo, out went the two rods baited with roach and trout and a whole lotta hope.
The wind had got up overnight and small waves were lapping on the margins at my feet. The wind was blowing directly into my face and the increasing swash of the waves was beginning to colour up the water in the margins. Soon I couldnt even see the marginal weed let alone any remaining fry amongst it.