A bad day today

GeeTee

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I’ve recently returned to fishing after a break of almost 20 years. I’ve been fishing a commercial type pit a few times and had some great sessions, large tench, double figure carp lovely roach. All on waggles, double maggot and little and often loose fed maggot.

so I joined the local club who have got loads of venues all a bit more natural, decent fishing I’m led to believe but obviously not overstocked commercials. Really looking forward to some of the rivers come winter but just doing still waters for now.

Had a good day last week on one of their pits, on the pole, nice roach and tench, you guessed it, double maggot on hook, loose fed maggot little and often.

i think I’m a one trick pony!

today tried a bigger pit with the intention of trying a feeder session. I tried a banjo in line feeder, it was okay, no tangles, learnt how to use line clip, Pellet or corn on hook - not a single bite. I didn’t really like the banjo much and I think method type feeders might work best on commercials. Next time wii le a cage feeder.

So, I got the pol out, you guessed it, double maggot, little and often. All icanught was dozens of small perch, a couple to half pound and a few roach. Not what I was hoping for at all. was looking forward to some tench bream and carp on the feeder really!

what I really learnt was that I’ve got a heck of a lot to learn!

i need a beginners guide to how to tackle a mid size gravel pit or estate lake, this one is 6 acres with the feeder. Or even how to get the better fish with waggles/ pole. Where to look please? All the tutorials I find are about method and commercials. Traditional type pits seem a very different proposition!
 

kevin o connor

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It might not be any harm to talk to some of the club members and maybe tag along with them for an odd session. The last thing you want is a few sessions like that and get disheartened !
 

The Landlord

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Sounds a similar story to my own. Packed up fishing for a good while & came back to the world of commercials. I first had to get used to fishing for carp on the pole (still haven't cracked it in a match situation yet).
I then joined a club with a good few, varied stillwaters. It was like learning to fish all over again after a couple of years of fairly easy commercial pleasure fishing.
You'll find that maggots will attract the smaller fish in natural ponds & I would take an assortment of baits with you. Corn, meat, bread, prawn & pellets. Feed micros & fish corn over it or small cubes of meat. Rudd don't normally like hard pellets so this can prevent being pestered by them. Expanders are another good alternative & I've caught most of my decent carp & tench on them this summer. Obviously maggots will come back into their own during the winter, when the carp & tench aren't active.
See if your club has a facebook group. I've picked up loads of useful info from ours this year.
 

rd115

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If i were to fish a gravel pit the 2 things i'd take would be marker rod and spod rod.

Marker rod to find a plateux, gravel bar or something that's not too deep, and spod to get a bed of bait down to plop a feeder over the top.

With it still being fairly warm, you might be landing your feeder in 25ft of water and the fish might not want to be down that far, so pays o find out the depths.


Also asking other anglers who fish it regular for advice on depths, features etc
 

Deejay8

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A bit of knowledge of the water would help. Try asking other anglers fishing the venue or in the local tackle shop.
 

davej1981

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I know what you mean about finding guides covering natural waters. Ive returned after 20 yrs off too and its all commercials these days. Ive started back on commercials for now just to feel my way back in, catch some fish and get confidence back. Im planning on joining one of my local clubs next year which is all natural waters. My plan is too start where i left off and build up from there. Tbh although some of the methods and tackle have evolved massively imo the techniques havent, the more i watch the more i think its essentially what we were doing all those years ago. This forum is a great source of information but also try your clubs Facebook page if there is one
 

spanky

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I would agree with some of the advice above and do some more homework - talk to other club members and find out a bit more about the venue.

A common problem with gravel pits down my way is that many medium sized fish have been taken by cormorants, which means there are lots of fish up to a couple of ounces and a handful of specimen fish in many of the lakes. This makes for poor pleasure fishing sessions, since it's either a bag of bits on maggot or a long wait for possibly nothing.

This may not be the issue with your venue - but I've put it out as an example of why doing your homework is important.
 

DAMFLASK CHRIS

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I had a break from coarse fishing for about 15 years and for the last 2 years been fishing a big reservoir where I used to fish in past joined a new club with shallower waters and have struggled to catch well this year using pellet and working out which groundbait is best for these waters
 

Robwooly

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If i were to fish a gravel pit the 2 things i'd take would be marker rod and spod rod.

Marker rod to find a plateux, gravel bar or something that's not too deep, and spod to get a bed of bait down to plop a feeder over the top.

With it still being fairly warm, you might be landing your feeder in 25ft of water and the fish might not want to be down that far, so pays o find out the depths.


Also asking other anglers who fish it regular for advice on depths, features etc
This reminds me of a scenario I have (except the marker rod/spod bit) with a friend of mine who I'm sure is a much better stillwater angler than me and has better gear etc who has just joined our club. He's been fishing a gravel pit and really struggling to even get bites whereas I've done ok always getting bites plus a new pb Tench just on Wag and mag like the OP even though I've only fished the pit three times - The difference is I've found a shallow corner where the fish are in summer. I really need to tell him that as he may be thinking I'm well good at fishing gravel pits :D but seeing as it's the only one I've ever fished I doubt it. I suppose the moral of the story is it's not who you are or what you do sometimes it's just where you're at.
 

Zerkalo

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As above and also natural venues can be a lot harder nut to crack but not impossible, depending on fish stocks, which I’d try and find out what’s in there before fishing again if you don’t already know. That way, you can decide on your tactics depending on what you find yourself fishing for. Having said that, I have had some surprises fishing natural venues when I was told there was a load of Roach in there, fished maggot, and ended up catching a bagful of Tench, not every venue will throw up such surprises.
 

rudd

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First thing first - there are many natural venues / types and some which fall in this area which are/arnt such as estate lakes and drains.
You could argue a gravel pit is man made, at what point do you class it as natural / commercial?

Have read all of the above and agree some homework and prework is required, find out stocking levels and when stocked, carch records, talk to other anglers but most importantly get out a marker rod and find some features.

I disagree with the spodding comment - how many times in angling media do specimen fish get caught from gravel pits on corn with a sprinkling of offerings?
Low density stockings in big waters are generally bait wary.
 

GeeTee

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Now I’ve done a bit of research it seems a lot of the members fist it more as a specimen/pleasure lake. They talk about getting a few bites all day. There’s also a fair bit of silt weed on the bottom. I think, in fairness, for now it’s not my sort of thing. Though I don’t fish matches I do fist that sort of approach And like to get plenty of regular bites.
 

SteveAmo

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If you are struggling to get to grips with a particular venue rather than going on and having a poor days fishing, go to the venue have a walk around and watch/speak to the other anglers and ask them about the methods they are using.

99% of folk will be only too willingly to offer you advice and guidance on how to tackle the venue.

A couple of hours doing this could save you endless fruitless trips plus you’ll no doubt make some new contacts and friends.

Good luck
 

davej

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With lower fish stocks and more natural food you'll always struggle for bites, most of my fishing has been on natural venues half a dozen fish is a good day.
The fish always seem to switch off after catching a couple on the same bait, always have plenty of options of bait to try.
 

smiffy

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Gravel pits are notoriously hard. It’s normal to have a low stock density. Or, maybe it’s a normal stock density but our perception of normal has become skewed😉. Without cloud cover or wind I would expect to struggle on all the pits I fish, possibly blank. So the biggest piece of advice I can give you is pick your day. Don’t go for the hell of it. Right now, seed is fishing really well on some that I fish. Soon Bread will pick up some bigger Roach, hopefully. Then they become the domain of Pike and Carp anglers through the winter.
Map out the contours of the lake bottom and drag the same lead along the bottom looking for gravel amongst the silt. Any feature will hold fish. Tench could be right under you’re feet,literally👍👍
 

JayD

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Now I’ve done a bit of research it seems a lot of the members fist it more as a specimen/pleasure lake. They talk about getting a few bites all day. There’s also a fair bit of silt weed on the bottom. I think, in fairness, for now it’s not my sort of thing. Though I don’t fish matches I do fist that sort of approach And like to get plenty of regular bites.
I'm not too sure about the "fisting" bito_O , not to my taste, but each to their own ;),

I agree with most of the answers so far, and it's something I've heard a lot over the years. As Smiffy says above, anyone relatively new to angling, or with experience mainly on the 'commercial' type waters, will have 'skewed' or unrealistic expectations of what to expect from more natural waters. It kind of proves the much denied fact that many of these waters are artificially designed/created to make it easier to catch fish. I've said often enough that I don't agree with them, so don't fish them. They're just my personal feelings, and I won't go into the 'whys and wherefores' now.
If you want to fish more natural waters, then you are going to have to put in some work, especially on gravel pits, which are usually crisscrossed with gravel bars, which create 'pathways' that lead to troughs and plateaus that fish feed on at various times. You can cast out, and be a couple feet off, and instead of being in a few feet of water, you're in 20ft +. These gravel bars, have a great influence on the behaviour of the fish, especially when it's windy. The movement of the water, (under tow), will be channelled down these 'pathways' and as well as just providing a flow, (which can be surprisingly strong at times), it also creates slacks, and eddys where food will naturally settle and provide a natural larder. These are constantly changing with the conditions, sometimes several times in a day. They act a bit like mini rivers, but are more susceptible to sudden changes. I've found that the strength of flow in these'channels' can affect the species in them, I've found for instance, that tench will tolerate a stronger flow, than bream, but that's just my experience on my local waters, others might be different. Add to all that that the usual clarity of the water, and the much reduced stock levels, unlike the carp filled 'commercials', and you will see why you're finding a difference.
The other thing about natural waters, (I class a natural water as one that can naturally sustain the level of fish in it), is that there is usually a ratio of fish sizes. It's like a triangle, with many small fish along the base, with the numbers reducing as you go up and the average size increases, until there are few really big specimens present. This isn't set in stone, and yearly weather, and seasonal differences can produce good survival rates in some species, but that usually balances itself out naturally over the years, due to predation, lack of food, injury, or disease, etc.

These are just my thoughts and finding, others might think differently. It might not be to everyones taste, but overcoming the challenge of a natural water, be it a stilwater, canal, or river, is the thing that has kept me playing this game for more years than I care to remember.

John.
 

The Landlord

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With lower fish stocks and more natural food you'll always struggle for bites, most of my fishing has been on natural venues half a dozen fish is a good day.
The fish always seem to switch off after catching a couple on the same bait, always have plenty of options of bait to try.
This is very true & good advice.
One of our ponds is notoriously difficult but also the most picturesque & contains the best specimens. It was previously four different ponds but now made into one, linked by channels & bridges. Full of lily pads, bushes & reed beds. You'll never bag up but will catch one or two decent fish or blank!!
There's so much natural food in there, they don't need the anglers' baits.
 

OldTaff

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I’m back after a lay-off of about 15yrs too, not had many solo sessions yet (teaching son to fish).

I don’t think of myself as a one trick pony but what I pretty much always do on every venue is start off the same way - whip, light rig, maggots/casters, margins - it invariably gets something on the bank really quickly and that settles me down before I move on to other methods.

Might be a throwback to my match fishing days when not catching wasn’t an option - or maybe I’m just a bit weird ;)



Karl
 
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