Saturday, 5 May 2012

Abort, Abort!!!!

I went out yesterday on a wave of excitement as I was off to fish a new gravel pit. The pit in question is a water owned by a club that I've joined. I join this club primarily for the amount of river banks that they have on there books and the gravel pits are a welcome addition/diversion during the river closed season.

River fishing is something I've dabbled with for a few year in my younger days fishing narrow stretch of a local river. But as I got older I tended to fish more and more lakes, gravel pits and reservoirs and have neglected the rivers.

However, this is all about to change in the year to come.

I headed off bright and early to the new gravel pit. The morning was dull and there was some light rain in the air. After an hours drive I arrived and went for a first look about the place. The water was higher than I expected, and it soon became apparent that the gravel pit was taking on extra water from the neighbouring river and its flood meadows. Whilst it was taking in water, it was at the same time discharging it out the other end.

After my walkabout, I head back to the car and gathered some gear and I was soon off to a swim that was still fishable. The water was a shade of muddy brown from the flood water, but the surface was still showing signs of the resident carp and rudd.

I settled into the swim and began getting the gear and bait sorted. I felt around with a lead and soon found a few weed beds and some clear area. Baits and leads were soon attached and cast out to the clear area on the lake bed.

It felt good to be out even with the drizzle, but I couldn't feel it due to the large canopy of trees. But as good as I felt, I had a nagging feeling at the back of my mind.

After an hour of baiting up I poured the first cuppa of the day, when the lakes bailiff came over to check my ticket and see what I was upto. It soon became clear that this chap was very knowledgeable about the lake and told be what the largest sizes of the various species were. It seems that the very large bream of 5 years ago have disappeared, but the large carp and tench remain with good head of rudd and a number pike to upper doubles (sounds like a good lure water).
He also let me know that not many of the members chose to fish this water as the biggest carp goes to 26lb and with another one of the local lakes having 35lb+ carp, that's were the carper members go, so I would most likely have this season on place to myself. Result!!!!
He also comment on the high of the water "Normally its 6ft lower than this, never seen this high" and "It shouldn't get any high though". These words still hang in my mind as I write.

The bailiff soon departed and left me to the days fishing, but that nagging feeling was back and then it hit me, was the water level still rising?
I decided to air on the side of caution and setup some water level markers in the swim and along the path and decided to check on them every 20mins just in case.

After the first 20min, I check the marker on the path to the left, but upon checking it I wasn't sure that the water lapping it was just where I have left it, so I check the marker back at the swim. This was still ok and the level was some way off it.
Another 20mins passed and again I check the path marker. This was now under water, so the water was rising. So back to the swim marker and the water was now at the base. Ok, time to be safe rather than sorry and pack up and head for the car.

After a quick pack up, I was ready to go and the water was now 2" up the swim marker so I headed off back to the car along the path and then I realised that the water was rising faster than I thought. The first section was at ankle depth, so I paddled through. I then turned the corner on to the second leg and this had water over it too, but it looked deeper. I started to paddle through the first few metres and the water was getting deeper. I still have 20metres to go and the water was now up to my boot tops and I still have the lowest point of the path to go. Soon the water was over the welly tops and was at my knees. I continued to wade through it and soon I was on the upward section and the water was below my knees and I was on the home stretch. I was now back at the car and I was soaking wet below the knees and the wellies were full of water. I soon emptied the wellies and dried myself off as best as I could with the emergency towels that are in the back of the car.
All the gear was put in the car and I turned out the the car park and soon came to more water over the exit to the pits. How deep was this??? Luckily it was only a couple of feet deep and the car made it through with no problems. As I head for home and crossed a number of neighbouring rivers, it became apparent that not only the river I was fishing, but also the tributaries and the other rivers were now in full flood and most of the surrounding areas including some roads were under a few feet of water

A valuable lesson learned when fishing next to a flooded river.....

TL and be safe!!!!

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