Monday, 14 May 2012

The Crays

 Its Sunday morning and the sun is shining. I up and out the door for the hour and a half drive to one of the gravel pits which the club lease the fishing rights to. The roads were nice and quite, and with some Nickelback on the car stereo, I found myself really in the mood for exploring this new water and hopefully getting into some of the large bream and tench that inhabit the gravel pit.

I soon arrived and after fiddling about with the lock on the gate to the pit I'm in and get my first proper glimpse at the water. After a walkabout for the first hour looking for signs of life, I spoke to a carper who's been fishing the lake over night. Sadly,he didn't have a huge amount of knowledge about the place, but he did let me on to a big problem.

The problem is that this gravel pit isn't just home to large carp, bream, tench and pike. But it is also now home to a invasive species. The Turkish Crayfish or Narrow Clawed Crayfish was brought in during the 1970's for the restaurant trade, but for reasons known only to themselves they were released into the wild. Now the problem with these crayfish is that they breed quickly, eat everything and are highly aggressive. These critters have a highly tuned sense of smell and they seem to be able to sniff out anything edible. But how bad could it be?!?
After seeing the carper feeding a few of these blighters in his swim which have had large amounts of rotting wood in the silt. I decided I would head up to the top of the pit to the areas that are deeper and have a silty bottom. I was soon in a swim, and got the marker float out to check the depths an contours of the lake. It was deep in the margins at 10 ft, dropped to 14ft 20yrds out, then rose up to a 10ft shelf at 40yds, before at 60 yds dropped away to 14ft again.

The wildlife is thriving
I decided that the best plan of action was to fish to lines one on the shelf and a second in the deeper water at 60yds. The closer rod would be a maggot feeder helicopter rig and a method feeder would be fish on the other rod. The method feeder rod baited with fake corn would be over a area that I would initially spod some PG, hemp and corn spod mix. The feeder rod would be cast every 15-20 min to built up the swim. That was the plan Stan.
Just out of curiosity, I decided to check out the the swim for the Cray family, so I put in some nice oily 3mm halibut pellets on the silty margin.
After a mere ten minutes the maggot rod was twitching, and upon reeling in the bait was gone. The maggot feeder was re filled, fresh bait applied to the hooks and recast out. The rod hadn't been out long before the alarm sounded and again upon reeling in the red maggots were gone. So, rebait and recast.
It was at this point of putting the bobbin back on the feeder rod that I noticed that a small gathering was starting to happen in the margins. The Crays had turned up and they were not small!! The maggot rod was again bleeping, but this time I struck and hooked into something. It felt like a solid lump, abit like weed then I felt a small kick. Perhaps a small bream or a roach maybe???
No in fact it was a crayfish and it was the the process of devouring the maggots. Upon unhooking and dispatching the crayfish (death on sight) the maggot rod was back out, but this time with one really maggot and one floating fake maggot. The plan was that if the bait was popped up off the bottom by 6". That would sort them out. Alas, this bait too was soon eating, including the fake maggot. Is there nothing there wouldn't eat??? Apparently not!!! After hooking and landing about 14 of these things, I'd had enough and decided to head for home defeated.

Oh fuzzy ducks
I did drop in onto my home water for a few hours to see if the bream would play ball there, but with the sun high in the sky I new the old warriors wouldn't be too keen to get on the feed, but I felt that I had to try. The fish was as predicted slow and I soon became tired of flogging this dead horse and head for home dejected. I have fired off an email to the controlling clubs to see what action they proposed to combat this blighters, but I feel that I know what the reply will be.

Roll on the river season.

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