Colin Mitchell, our popular weekly blogger, analysing what exactly is to blame for poor fishing in good conditions. Here he tests four venues to find out. If you like this blog, click the social media share buttons.
YOU may have noticed over the past week or so how fishing has got tough despite seemingly good conditions. Don’t worry – some semblance of normal service will be resumed shortly!
We are on the change over from summer to winter with cold nights followed by bright skies not helping our chances of catching a few fish. After a few more days or a week of this we should be ok, until the first frosts of course!
Not a lot of people agree that it’s the weather to blame. Pleasure anglers blame match anglers. Others blame too much fishing pressure whilst some will have you believe that keepnets are the cause of poor sport.
So…let’s take a look at three commercial type fisheries that I have visited over the past few months. I won’t name them but they all have things in common – including three lakes at each – and as we go through them you can make your own mind up about match, pressure and nets…
Three lakes, one for pleasure, one for match and one that is used for both disciplines. They were all fishing their socks off until recently. Then someone appeared to throw a switch.
The main match lake became patchy but still with big weights. The match-pleasure lake just became difficult, except in the swims which offered a few different depths to fish at. The pleasure-only pool is still fishing well. I think extra match pressure and the weather played its part here. But you can’t blame keepnets – the fish that are held in nets for matches are still pristine, which is more than can be said for some of the specimens in the pleasure-only lake.
Three ponds, all for pleasure fishing. All are still fishing well even though sport has slowed. No keepnets or matches are allowed here ever, although there were a few matches many years ago. The fishing is virtually guaranteed all-year, even through the ice, with small carp and skimmer bream the mainstay in a venue that’s a bit deeper than you would expect for small pools. Sadly some of the carp do suffer from ‘parrot mouth’ where they haven’t been treated with the best of respect.
Three lakes, one used mostly for matches, the other sometimes hosting competitions and the third purely for the pleasure angler. The shallow match lake where depths are pretty consistent all round has slumped badly. The venue used for both disciplines has gone patchy and even the pleasure lake is very, very slow. The pleasure anglers have blamed match pressure on the main lake – yet all three pools are out of form. Interestingly, very few fish on any of these lakes look like they have been hooked before, despite the use of nets for matches.
Three decent sized lakes, stuffed full of fish, all for pleasure angling, no keenest and the days of matches here are consigned to the history books of the olde worlde days. They are all a bit deeper than the other three venues, with a fair few underwater features, like shelves, that can’t be seen but have to be found with a plummet. Some of the fish do have signs of being caught before, but not bad. All of the fish are otherwise in lovely condition and fighting fit.
So can you work out anything from the above?
Difficult isn’t it? There is no doubt that heavy angling pressure on one venue, especially when keepnets are used regulary, does eventually slow sport. But the thing that stands out in the venues above that are fishing best is that those that are deeper are still going strong.
When commercial fisheries came to the fore a couple of decades ago the big thing was to try and makes all the swims the same depth, and not too deep. I’m now wondering if the venues with greater depth changes – from shallows to deeper ones – offer a better chance of sport, especially when the weather is on the change.
Certainly the shallower waters in the four venues above have been slowed badly over the past two weeks. I know one of them wont come back to top form now until a few months into next year, although there will be times when roach and perch – fish that don’t normally show here in summer – will start to feed.
So a key to you catching more is…to get that plummet working hard!