Trip #20 – Highbury Pond
This session was going to be my first experience of fishing on a Leeds ASA water. I have walked around the pond previously, hoping to see some features, some fish moving or even some fish being caught. Given the time of year there were no real features to speak of, no fish (that I could see) moving and only one angler sitting very quietly looking down on to one of his quivertips. On my return visit I decided I would give the maggot feeder a try. The cold weather also gave me an excellent opportunity to fully test my recent winter purchase of an Avanti Cyclotherm Suit.
|Quite a lot of ice remained until late on in the day!|
With both lines in the water and sitting down to begin the waiting game I became aware of how comfortable I was in my suit. Although more bulky than some of the higher costing brands, given that the air temperature was around 1 degree I was positively toasty and once comfortably positioned my previous worries of my movement being restricted were gone. Moving around to re fill my feeder, tie lighter hook lengths and root around in a carryall behind me with ease. I also found that the pockets were spacious, useful and waterproof (a fact that I would be glad of later that day).
Setting the timer on my watch for 12 minutes I reeled in and cast out for the best part of 2 hours with only 1 bite to show for my troubles. On several occasions I found that either silt, leaves or dead water foliage would be caught around my hook. Having no buoyant maggots or fake bait to elevate my offering from the lake bed, I made the decision to switch from Maggot feeder to waggler, and with nearly half the day gone the change would have to be quick to give me a chance of catching some fish and making up for my poor performance of the morning. The constant casting of my waggler rod would also test the restrictive concerns I had about my suit and provide it with another challenge.
Plumbing a depth of around 5 feet, I choose to fish slightly off bottom (4ft), in the hope that I would be fishing just above any dead or rotten vegetation below. 10 minutes past and the float finally dipped under. It was a very timid bite and winding in I saw the maggot had been sucked to transparency, a tell tale sign that red fins were around. Changing hook links, reducing hook size to a size 20 and baiting double fluorescent pinkie resulted in my first fish of the day. A small roach which dropped off the hook as I swung it in! Baiting now with a red maggot and fluoro pinkie (the best combination of the day), I managed to connect with a string of small Roach which meant that the next few hours past quite quickly.
|Plenty of fish this size were still on the feed in
Highbury despite the freezing conditions.
Again I found myself thinking of how warm I was, despite the ice still remaining on the waters’ surface. With an hour to go the fine rain which was trying to soak me through turned into more heavy rain, and before long the ice on the lake had vanished and puddles around the lake were beginning to appear. After 15 minutes of this all my equipment was thoroughly wet but my new Shimano holdall (also on its first proper outing) and my suit were up to the challenge. After packing everything into my carryall that wasn’t essential I continued to fish picking up a small roach, whilst remaining both warm and dry!
The bites became less and less as the day wore on, and speaking to a local angler he informed me that there are good Carp, Tench, Roach and the occasional Trout to be caught from the lake. With that in mind and knowing that the temperature wasn’t doing me any favours, I decided to call it a day packing up around 4. Had I been using a keepnet I would have had a few pounds of silver fish to show for my tricky afternoon on the waggler. It is a venue that I don’t think I can fully review until I am able to fish in a few locations, rather than the only location where the water wasn’t frozen! Being only a short distance away from here means its falls into that category of venues where a few hours of pleasure fishing could be had with an afternoon spare or even in an evening after work (in the summer).
My suit however exceeded all expectations and I was both warm and dry for the entire session. I was also very impressed with how comfortable and easy it was to move around in once in a settled on by seatbox. I don’t think it is a suit that could be used for long walks along the river bank, as the jacket and trouser combination do leave to wearer looking and feeling slightly cumbersome. However I have used the trousers and a lighter jacket previously and found it both comfortable and lightweight. With that said, and for the reasonable price of £49.99, it allows the user to remain on the bank chasing their quarry for a few extra hours in comfort and warmth, when previously the onset of the cold may have discouraged them!
Avanti Cyclotherm suit;