With limited bait and an uncertain forecast I decided to give Clayton Ponds another go, and this time I would try the bottom lake. Unsure of what to expect and hearing many cautionary tales of the lake I approached it with the intention of either Pole fishing or Slider float fishing on the waggler (given that it is 16 -18 feet deep in places).
Choosing a peg on the far bank with a fallen tree for cover and deciding not the fish amongst the leaf litter in the right corner I set up my pole fishing equipment and quickly realised that I was fishing the deep end! Setting up a 1.5g pole float at 11ft deep and still not coming near the bottom I decided to take a stab at fishing at around 9 feet. If the lake was anything like the top one there would be a layer of silt and muck on the bottom which may be good cover for eels, but not good for roach and rudd.
Using a dry mix of brown crumb and Sensas Lake 3000 I began balling into my swim creating a fine cloud where my float was positioned. My single red maggot remained untouched on the hook for the best part of 45 minutes. During that time I also changed to a double red, single white (which were slightly bigger) and worm. I hadn’t fed my swim for 15 minutes when my first bite arrived, and it was a tentative one at that. The float quill bobbed uncertainly on the surface and finally slunk away. On striking I shipped in a scale perfect Rudd and shipped back out expecting another bite soon after. This was not the case and in the 20 minutes that followed, my efforts were rewarded with only a line bite!
|Plenty of fish of this calibre at Clayton Ponds!
Choosing to re-evaluate my options I stopped fishing at this point and had a quick walk around the lake (I was the only person fishing) to see if I could find any fish moving around. Sure enough not far away from where I was fishing there were a few small shoals of rudd milling about in the top 2 feet of water. It also became clear at that point that not fishing in the leaf litter was an error as the majority of movement was coming in the shape of little swirls of fish feeding through the fallen leaves. From the opposite bank I could also see fish moving just beyond the length of where my pole would end (that will teach me for not packing the 2 extra extensions!)
A change of tactics was now the only option if I wanted to start catching fish! Setting up a waggler rod with as light a float as I could manage, I set up a short rig. Including the floats length, it ended up at a depth of 2 and half feet. Casting just beyond the fallen tree and firing out half a pouch of maggots, within minutes the float disappeared and I was into a fish! A rudd found its way to my net. I was surprised how quickly the bite came considering how long I had been fishing at a deeper depth with little action. Firing out another pouch of maggots and casting over them the float buried instantly and within an hour I had caught more than 40 roach and rudd. The change in tactics had paid off!
This method of fishing is highly enjoyable, and as long as you keep the fish feeding it can be a lethal way of building a heavy bag of fish. The constant feeding however does diminish your bait supply and within 2 hours of fishing this style I had successfully depleted my pellets and 90% of my maggots! The daylight was slowly starting to give way to the dark and mist so I began to pack up pleased that my gamble was effective. I was still surprised that (what is generally considered) a summer method of fishing worked so well so late on in the year and will certainly remember it on my next visit. Clayton Ponds lower lake is slightly bigger and a lot deeper than the top lake but is equally full of fish, and rumoured to contain some specimen eels and the odd Pike! Whether I will visit these lakes again before the New Year is uncertain, but when I do get back there I’ll remember the lesson I learnt in this session, take more bait and catch a net full.
As a rating I would say;
Fishability *** ½
Accessability *** ½
Value for Money ***** (Free)