Honestly it must be like playing whack a mole being a committee member of the Bridgwater Angling Association and for the water management team of Dunwear ponds. Go back a couple years and the Railway pond was given a major face lift, much effort was put in to hacking, chopping, cutting and good old fashion spade work to make the pond usable again. The Railway pond at the time was in what could only be described as in a terminal state of decay. There was only a couple usable swims left and three quarters of the pond was inaccessible owing to mother nature having her say. The far bank was prepared for the implementation of pallets to be installed.
But a problem reared its ugly head soon after, the unwanted arrival of Water Primrose . It took two intense efforts to eradicate this unwanted menace, but the battle was won. A month or two later and the the proposed platforms where installed on the far bank. The date of June the 16th 2021 was the date that was decided to open the pond up for fishing and the indeed for match fishing.
But once again as though it was predestined another situation occurred which was going to thwart the local angling fraternity. This time it was caused by the biological and psychological factors of the fish themselves. It appeared that the libido of the fish had upped a gear and at the beginning of the month the fish had started spawning, so and quite rightly so the angling committee decided to close the all the ponds at Dunwear for a month. So once again due to unforeseen circumstances the fishing was put on the back burner. So then there is no fishing now until July the 1st.
Okay people can live with that, no problems. But alias nature it seemed had put another trick on the table, that of the dreaded blue green algae. It first appeared in the big pond but has now emerged with all its nastiest in Railway pit, which I must say had been hit by this scrum particularly bad. So now fishing depends on when this algae decides to disperse.
It’s a pain in the ass because not only does it stop anglers from fishing it has a detrimental on the water itself.
As algae blooms, it can depletes the water of its natural oxygen. This lack of oxygen can lead to a dead zone or an area where aquatic plants and animals cannot survive.
It is very toxic, blue-green algae or cyanobacteria (a good word to have in scrabble) — can cause serious illness in humans and pets. Sicknesses such as these that are caused by algae are known as Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) associated illnesses. So the question is, what causes this bloody stuff?
The combination of factors that trigger and sustain an algal bloom is not well understood at present and it is not possible to attribute algal blooms to any specific factor. (this sounds like is a cop out from the scientists).
Nutrients promote and support the growth of algae . Excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to run-off from the land is considered a major factor. The main culprits are phosphorus and nitrogen.
In the landscape, runoff and soil erosion from fertilized agricultural areas and lawns, erosion from river banks, river beds, land clearing , and sewage effluent are the major sources of phosphorus and nitrogen entering water ways. All of these are considered major factors
Internal origin of nutrients comes from the lake/reservoir sediments. Phosphate attaches to sediments. When dissolved oxygen concentration is low in the water , sediments release phosphate into the water column. This phenomenon encourages the growth of algae
Early blue–green algal blooms usually develop during the spring when water temperature is higher and there is increased light. The growth is sustained during the warmer months of the year. Water temperatures above 25°C are optimal for the growth of algae. At these temperatures, blue–green algae have a competitive advantage over other types of algae whose optimal growth temperature is lower (12-15°C).
Light Exposure and Water Movement
Along with food, algae require the right amount of light to thrive. Blue-green algae are so common because they have the ability to move throughout the water column and adapt to variable conditions. Algae will typically grow around the shoreline of a pond or lake because this is where the shallower water is. You typically will not see algae growing in the middle of a 20 foot deep water body because that is too deep for the sunlight to penetrate.
Most of blue–green algae prefer stable water conditions with low flows, long retention times, light winds and minimal turbulence; other prefer mixing conditions and turbid environments (this could be applicable to big pit in Dunwear).
Turbidity is caused by the presence of suspended particles and organic matter (flocs) in the water column. High turbidity occurs when a lot of water is running through the system (high discharge after a rain event). Low turbidity occurs when there is only a small amount of suspended matter present in the water column. Low turbidity can be due to slow moving or stagnant water that allows suspended articles to settle out of the water column. When turbidity is low, more light can penetrate through the water column. This creates optimal conditions for algal growth. In return, growing algae create a turbid environment.
Taking in to account the above, why is Dunwear prone to this nuisance. Well could it be to do with run off from the railway tracks or the industrial estate next to Railway pond which is on Dunwear lane. Also bear in mind that there is a ditch that joins the Railway pond to the river Parrett which runs parallel to the industrial estate. Owing to the configuration of the Railway pond it does not really get a lot of wind on it. So called run of, and lack of chop on the water could be the main causes.
But what of big pit? Stand on the bank on big pit which backs on to south pit with a strong westerly wind and you notice quite a chop on the water. Well how does fit in with the above assumptions? Well after a bit of research I found that clay pits are very prone to algae blooms, owing to the fact that clay itself has a lot of locked in nutrients. Ask any gardener.
These nutrients can be unlocked by fish just rooting along the bottom or bank erosion which is common back of South pit. There is a lot of nooks, crannies, bays and little inlets in big pond which could be deemed ideal conditions. Scientist agree that one of the main effects is global warming and a chilling piece of information is that algae blooms are increasing 18 percent year on year. Will it happen again at Dunwear, who knows it’s just a case of watch this space.
Sedges Match held on canal lake.
Two weeks since the last match (cor done it go quick) and a certain subset of society who gather under the banner of Watchet angling club met once again and attempted to delve into the art of match fishing. There were 15 hardy souls of varying degrees of sanity who decided to throw their hat into the ring and give it ago.
1st on the day with a healthy weight of 41 lb 8oz was Rob Dodd. Rob who had been out of sorts lately found form again from car park peg 45. Bait employed was corn and maggot over pellet.
Just missing out on a few bob was 2nd placed Alan Bland. Alan pulled out of the hat peg 42 which happened to be the golden peg. Meat was the main bait and long pole and down the margin was his tactics.
Nigel Coram done well for 3rd spot from unfancied peg 53. He used pole at 13 meters and meat.
4th spot went to Steve Warren who fished pole from car park peg 43. In his own words “I had everything on meat” Mr Warren had top silvers weight of 13 lb 10oz so well done to him.
Phil Dodd who had favoured peg 41 came 5th. Phillip employed his usual tactic of method feeder with dead maggot.
Finding himself at number 6 was Paul smith. Paul who had peg 64 amassed a total of 26 lb 15 oz. Paul had 2 Carp on the tip and the rest on pole and maggot.
New kid on the block Ian Grabham was 7th, he had an okay day from peg 60 with a very respectable weight of 21 lb 07 oz. Maggots on the pole and fishing shallow with pellet got him his weight. Good old Ian brought some lovely chocolate cookies for the members to share, Good on yer mate.
Ian Townsend from peg 57 struggled until the last hour when he had a few Carp. Ian was placed at 8.
Bob Pascoe the silvers man had a bit of an odd day in that he had 1 oz in the sivers department, but made up for it in Carp Bob was placed 9th from peg 62.
Tony Richards who although in poor health bit the bullet and turned up. Tony had a torrid 5 hours without a bite but landed a few Carp more or less right at the end. Peg 51 was his home for the day and he finished in 10th.
11th position went to Dave Nash, he kept things simple with pole and maggot from peg 63.
Good old Alan Jenkins who is not in the best of health these day put in a spirited effort for 12th place. Alan mainly used the pole with various baits such as maggots worm and caster oh and meat. This was from peg 47.
At 13th place was yours truly from peg 49. Now a lot of anglers did not have most of their fish until the last hour. I managed to get my fish going straight from the start but there was just one problem, just a small problem you might say. All my fish was small, I even had 2 Carp and even they where small. I never worry about the big things, just the small things.
Last time out winner Eric Searle had better days. From peg 55 he didn’t catch much thus found himself in penultimate place.
Last but not least was NHS hero Dave Colley from peg 59. This guy does not seem to care about being the wooden spoonist as long as he still has the ability to wear a smile.
I know this blog post is later than usual but this was due to unforeseen circumstances.
The next match will be at Shiplate on Hawthorns on Saturday July 3rd so see you then.
So in the mean time don’t forget guys to change your clothes.