The Puzzle Of The Fish In The Flash

October 19, 2015

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Practising pond dipping at the Pond

David Pottinger writes:

Whilst taking a walk around the Pond the other week, I noticed a mother and her daughter pond dipping from one of the fishing platforms (see picture above). They were practising prior to a school event. She said that they would be using the fishing platform for the dipping itself and then go to the dipping platform proper for observation purposes only, as it was now full of fish! This came as a bit of a surprise to me and I went to take a look and yes, it was certainly full of fish (see picture below)!

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Click image to see the fish in The Flash pool (near the Station)

A few days later I bumped into Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, and told him the story. Interestingly, he said that this filling up with fish had happened previously although they were not sure why. Last year, for instance, they had to take over 5,000 fish out of the comparatively small area as it was getting seriously overcrowded!

Here’s the rather fascinating background story, as related by Colin:

“This (filling up) seems to be a regular occurrence and we are not sure why it happens. Fish are not good at explaining their actions! In December last year (2014) John Sutton called in his old work colleagues from the Environment Agency (EA) because The Flash pool was packed with fish. The EA was concerned that the fish might suffocate in such dense shoals in a very small area of water. The team used a large seine net to trap the fish and all were transferred back to the main pond. 5,000 fish of various sizes, species and ages, but mostly young, were returned to the main pond.

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Catching the fish in The Flash pool

Fish can move between the two water bodies by a culvert under the footpath but seem not to move back into the main pond having assembled in very large numbers in The Flash pool. The reason is not clear. We do know that fish will migrate out of the pond using the inflow streams and it might be that these were trying to migrate out into the Hart Brook via the Small Pond on the other side of the railway line.

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Transferring the fish back into the main pond

The wide culverts in The Flash are, however, completely blocked and no water can flow in that direction. Thus if they were trying to migrate they were frustrated in the attempt and hence came together in large numbers. One suggestion was that the fish were driven there in an attempt to escape predators like pike and Great Crested Grebe but trapped in The Flash they are easy prey for Kingfishers and Herons, so no escape there. I rather think this idea does not explain quite so many fish however.

We will call in the EA to once again do a rescue. Meanwhile if any pond dipper catches a fish, please put it back in the main pond not into The Flash pool.

As always, there’s more going on at the Pond that you ever realise!

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A Walk Around The Pond

February 2, 2014

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The front part of the jetty is completely under water

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The opening of the above jetty in 2010 – see here

David Pottinger writes:

I haven’t had the opportunity to take a walk around the Pond recently so, due to the good weather, I took a quick stroll yesterday and was quite surprised at some of the sights! The recent downpours have made a really big impact.

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One of the fishing platforms is completely submerged

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High water on the path near the railway station

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Another fishing platform

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However, not all bad – a really nice rainbow!


Catching Bream At Fleet Pond

August 9, 2013

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The First Bream

David Pottinger writes:

Whilst taking a walk round the Pond yesterday, I struck up a conversation with an angler, Chris Gadsden, at one of the fishing swims. I was curious to find out how the angling was going.

To my surprise Chris had already caught (and released) nine bream that morning so I thought I’d wait and see if any more came along. After about 15 minutes one was caught (see above), followed by another about 10 minutes later (see below).

They are common (or bronze) bream and about 4 lbs in weight. Bream are shoal fish which explains why catching one can sometimes lead to catching another in the same vicinity.

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The Second Bream, Just 10 Minutes Later – This Time A Younger And Livelier One

To fish at Fleet Pond a permit from Hart District Council is required. These are available from the reception desk in The Harlington Centre, or ‘Tackle Up’ on Fleet Road.

Also required is an Environment Agency rod licence which is available from the Post Office or the Environment Agency website. Fishing is only allowed from a boat or an approved fishing jetty and site by-laws apply.

For an overview document on ‘Fishing And Boating At Fleet Pond’ by Hart Countryside Services, please see here.

Additional information can also be found on the Tackle Up Facebook page: Fleet Pond Anglers.

Finally, we are currently in National Fishing Month 2013 (19 July – 26 August) – see here for details.

Photo credits: David Pottinger.


A Bream’s Tale

November 17, 2012

On a walk round the pond last September I bumped into a fisherman and we got chatting about the different types of fish at the pond. As part of this he showed me a good-sized bream that he’d caught earlier. It had a cut on it’s head which was perhaps due to a close shave with a hungry cormorant.

The fisherman put some antiseptic gel on to the wound (see below) and then released the fish back into the pond.

Click pictures to enlarge.

Photos: David Pottinger