The person who coined the phrase ‘Time flies’ wasn’t joking was he? It only seems like five minutes since I began my gravel pit bream campaign, and here I am, writing about how it went. I have been fishing two-night sessions and in this final week I managed to get two such trips in. After three successive blanks, my confidence level was high. Surely I wouldn’t blank for five trips on the trot. Would I?
Well, setting up for the first of this week’s sessions, there was nothing wrong with my confidence level. However, even though confidence is an important part of angling, ultimately it takes more than that to put fish on the bank. In spite of having the utmost faith in my baiting up, tackle and positioning of bait, I still blanked.
With lots of time during the hours of daylight, I was able to enjoy the natural surroundings of the gravel pit. Since first fishing there in March, I have witnessed the whole of nature bud and blossom. Even the usually pretty drab and ordinary Hawthorn bush had suddenly come alive with colour. There really is so much to appreciate, as we look around at the wonderful natural world in which we live.
I also added a new species to my bird list for the year, taking the total to 73. It was only by chance that I picked up the binoculars, for a casual sweep across the pit. Amongst the Great Crested Grebes, Moorhens, Coots and Mallards, I spotted a solitary Ruddy Duck. It stayed for no more than five minutes, before it left in search of waters new.
Now is also the time that the birds that have been successful in breeding, are out and about with their offspring in tow. A couple of slices of bread soon had a family of Canada Geese around the peg, with the young looking as if the word ‘cute’ had been invented just for them.
Weather wise this first session was plagued with torrential showers. Although they only lasted for a few minutes, they were very intense, and I was glad to be in a bivvy as opposed to just basic shelter. I had noticed another angler had set up for the night with just a standard umbrella. He was certainly in for a wet time!
The second night again proved to be very quiet as far as the fishing was concerned. But to round off my campaign, I was back a couple of days later to give it my best shot, and hopefully go out with a bang. This time the weather was hot – with the temperatures reaching the low 20’s – and not a drop of rain in sight.
However, instead of a bang, I went out with a whimper! Nothing at all could be tempted to take my bait. But, as any bream angler will testify, this is par for the course when pursuing big slabs. The thrill of bream fishing is not necessarily with the fight, but the initial capture!
As I woke for the last morning of the campaign, I was greeted with a powerful sun trying to fight its way through the mist. I quickly grabbed my camera and caught what I consider to be a very beautiful scene. A moment or two later and it was gone, as the sun overpowered its way through and burst into the sky. Any angler that night fished regularly will have many memories of not only wonderful sunrises, but also sunsets as well.
With the bream on the pit mainly coming out at night, as we are now into summer, my fishing time is little more than six or seven hours in the twenty-four hour cycle. The hot, sunny days and the still, mirror like surface of the water is not conducive at all for bream fishing. Plus, the water temperatures have brought the fish into spawning mode – probably why I’ve been blanking!
Hence it was time to call it a day. Plus I have a few other things to do (angling wise) before the love of my life – the rivers – open up on June 16th. As with all campaigns, we have to look at the big picture, and in that respect it has been quite successful. It would have been nice to have spread the blanks out though, rather than have them concentrated at the end! Still, with a new personal best bream to come out of it all, as an end of term report I must give it a B.
Gravel pit Bream campaign
(Originally published May 2004)