Nearly Buggered by Stratification.

The venue for the next match for that rag bag collection of cut throats, bandits, hustlers, and crooks who shelter under the name of Watchet angling match group was down to be the Tile lake at the Sedges fishery. But alas this wasn’t as straight forward as it seemed, for the hot weather had taken it’s toll on poor old Tile lake, the oxygen level was being depleted at a fair old rate and it was feared by the owner Jamie Cook that there was a big possibility of fish loss. As a precaution there has been no fishing on Tile lake what so ever since Tuesday. Come the Thursday a notice was put out on social media that the evening match that day was postponed because of the falling oxygen levels. Alarm bells started to sound in the Watchet Angling camp. Rumours started to spread about the up and coming fixture. “The match might be switched to brick lake, or another venue or cancelled altogether”. Once again social media was utilized and the word was sent out by our great Spielsekretärin fuhrer Alan Bland on Thursday that a decision would be announced early Friday afternoon.

So with bated breath and great anticipation the Watchet gang waited for our great leader to take to the podium. The time had arrived and with a fanfare of trumpets and drums our great Spielsekretärin fuhrer proclaimed that Jamie cook, by fine tuning and tweaking against the onslaught of nature had turned things around and managed to restore the oxygen levels of Tile lake to a point where fishing was once again possible. Thus Tile once again it was.

But it does ponder the question why does hot weather have such a detrimental effect on lakes and ponds in terms of oxygen levels. Well here goes.

The life cycle of any pond can be broken down into two stages

Stage 1, during this stage organic matter from plants,birds, animals, fish and other debris begin to accumulate on the bottom of the pond. It is this organic matter that starts to decay and it is this decaying process that devours the oxygen content in the bottom layer. However when this happens it is not all doom and gloom. Wind plays a very crucial part in the health of ponds by inducing the action of mixing. Wind causes a under tow which in turns blends the upper and lower level of lake/pond together which in turn distributes oxygen evenly throughout.

Stage 2 But cometh the hot weather and things start to break down. The culprit is a condition called stratification. This beastie happens when hot summer sun warms up the upper layer of the lake. Now the warmer the water the less dense it becomes ie it becomes much lighter than the colder water in the bottom part. As the sun warms the upper layers even more, the temperature difference between the upper and lower layer becomes more wide. So in layman terms you have very light water at the top part and very heavy water at the bottom part. Now once the temperature difference between these layers reach a certain point a thermocline is created.

A thermocline is the transition layer between the warmer water at the surface and the much colder water at the bottom. In the thermocline the temperature decreases rapidly from the upper layer to the much colder deeper water. Regardless of wind action when the thermocline is created the upper and lower layers can not mix. Now as already described deoxygenation takes place in the lower layer through decaying matter and this carries on throughout. However because there is now no mixing with the upper layer which has more oxygen, the bottom part of the lake because of continuing deoxygenation becomes more or less a dead zone. As a consequence the fish move up to the upper layers and start to deplete the oxygen level at the surface and that is when the problem occurs.

Well amid the hot weather the match was fished. First on the day was last time out winner ( I hope he ain’t going to make an habit of it) Stuart Frampton from peg 33 who had 85 lb 10 oz. Stuart just fished the margin to his left with meat and worm.

Rob Dodd pulled out the hat peg 37 which was also the goldern peg. Fishing pole with maggot over groundbait Rob achieved a weight of 85 lb 09 oz but unfortunately was pipped from grabbing the goldern peg money by an ounce.

Bob Pascoe in third on peg 29, the so called silvers Guru appeared to jump over to the dark side as he had a Carp net of 58 lb 06 oz and a total overall of 71 lb. Pole and maggot was employed.

Alan Bland our Spielsekretärin fuhrer (look up Spielsekretärin if you must It’s German) used mostly paste to gain fourth spot and a weight 65 lb 09 oz from peg 38.

Believe or not but Eric Searle our resident carp basher actually found himself in unfamiliar territory but having the top silvers net. Altogether Eric had a total weight of 62 lb 03 oz to get fifth from peg 23. Tactics used was feeder in which he had 3 carp but Eric caught the bulk of his fish fishing top 2 plus 3 with meat.

In Sixth spot we find Ian Grabham. Corner peg 21 was his home for the day. Ian put on the scales 57 lb 05 oz. Meat and paste down the edge seemed to work for Mr Grabham.

Seventh was Nigel Coram on peg 7. Nigel who did not have the best of starts to the season faired better to day. Paste was used to catch a total weight of 52 lb 04 oz.

NHS hero Dave Colley pulled out corner peg 40. Fishing not all that far out using wafter pellets got him a total of 51 lb 11 oz, to finish 8th.

Number nine was Ian Ricketts on peg 27. Feeder to the Island with pellet got him a weight of 46 lb 09 oz.

Paul Smith had a weight of 44 lb 01 oz obtained by fishing 13 meters with maggot and worm. Paul had peg 36 and was 10th.

Veteran Tony Richards was in at number 11. Tony did not have his normal number of fish but made up for it in quantity. Maggot and pole was used for a weight of 36 lb 01 oz from peg 39.

Mike Griffiths who had peg 32 next to me struggled through out and put on the scales 21 lb 07 oz. Maggot and corn was mostly used. He did manage to land a carp right on the whistle. Mike finished in 12th spot.

Phil Dodd ended up in 13th with a weight of 19 lb 10 oz from peg 25. Phil fished feeder to the island with single maggot.

Sporting a Somerset cricket hat Dave Nash on peg 22 used the waggler and maggot approach to land a total of 18 lb 11 oz for a finishing place of 14 th.

In 15th, well it me yours truly who managed a haul of 17 lb 11 oz from corner peg 31. Yea it looked very attractive indeed. Plenty of margin to fish to, a bush to my left, an aerator in castable distance and a tree about 20 yards to my right. Just one problem the fish did not seem to like it. Most of my feeble weight came on the feeder with pellet casting right under the tree to the right. Oh well always next time.

Poor Alan Jenkins in 16th fished opposite me in corner swim 30. Alan ended up with a total of 14 lb 07 oz by using mostly chopped worm and meat on the pole. But to be fair Alans swim was blighted by surface scum making things most difficult.

Last but not least in at 17 was a guy I had not seen since my school days and for 2 years we were in the same class together at Sydenham Comprehensive. We also fished for the Bridgwater juniors way back in the 1970’s. Chris Williams unfortunately just managed an all carp catch of just 14 lb 04 oz all obtained from the margins with meat from peg 25.

The results
Top silvers

The next match for Watchet angling is at Summerhayes in 3 weeks time lake to be decided.

So until then it is tight lines.

Pete C.

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