The ide is a fish that I hadn’t fished for until last autumn. I had only ever caught one small sample before, on a giant lobworm intended for perch, from a local commercial style lake. Why was I fishing for ide some of you may ask? Let me explain.
Every season in a local magazine that I write for, The Angling Star, there is a specimen challenge. It’s a league type competition with points awarded for specimen fish over a certain weight. One of those fish is the ide so I thought it would be good if I could catch a specimen, or hopefully more, that I could enter for some good points. My first task would be to find a water that contains fish of the required size, in this case 2lb 8oz and above. With Doncaster being a match fishing mecca, it has commercial style lakes all over the borough. Some were bound to hold ide of these proportions and after a few tip offs, I was soon on a very pretty looking lake, rumoured to have a good head of big ide.
Having never targeted or caught ide before I did what the magazines told me to do and fished shallow ( or ‘up int air’ as they call it round these parts! ) To cut a long story short, over 2 trips I caught a stack of quality roach, missed hundreds of bites, but did land some quality ide to well over 3 pounds. I thought about how I did things over the winter and when this Spring arrived, I turned up on the bank with a different idea on how to connect with more fish and not miss so many bites.
Walking round the lake with my match style tackle, I was pleased to find the area I’d caught well from the previous year empty. Only a handful of anglers were on the lake, one doing a feature for a magazine, complete with photographer in tow, and couple of bivvies were set up. That’s this fishery in a nutshell. A commercial style lake, but the carp that are in are pretty big, attracting the specimen hunters. The other fish range from quality roach, skimmers, rudd, big perch, a few smaller carp and of course the clonking ide.
I assembled my weapon of choice for the day, a pole. Having been brought up fishing in a match fishing style way, I’m no stranger to using a pole and know how good it can be in the right situation. I had number 8 elastic running through my top 2 sections and my float was one of the new style ‘pea’ floats which are great for fishing shallow. I was so confident that this would work I had brought no other rods, or even spare top kits for the pole.
I started fishing around 18 inches deep and was into fish straight away. The first 3 fish were cracking roach, all between 8 and 12oz. The missed bites problem was ‘solved’ in the fact that I wasn’t missing half as many, plus, instead of having to reel in after every missed bite, I simply just lowered the pole back down. Just as I was getting into a nice catching rhythm, disaster struck.
I was getting a little blase about the quality roach. I was getting tired of landing every one, so tried to speed things up a little. The next roach was about 8oz and I tried to swing it in. There was a crack and next thing I noticed was I had a 10 inch swing tip, as the tip of my pole snapped. With this being my only top section on me, I had to faff about to try and get fishing again. I snapped the elastic and ditched the 10 inch broken section. The external bush was way too small now so I had to put a couple of cuts into it with my braid scissors. I eventually managed to bodge everything together again so I could resume fishing. Time would tell whether it would work or not.
Next drop in tested the tackle as I struck into my first ide of the day. Everything worked fine and I was soon weighing a fish of just over 3lbs. Slightly rough to the touch, this ide seemed like a male. I know the ide isn’t a ‘true’ British fish, but you can’t help but admire their beauty. A cross between a chub and roach is how I’d describe them, though they fight more like a bream. After this I carried on netting a succession of of quality roach, but things weren’t going to plan on the ide front.
The sun was now out making things very warm. Every time a bird flew over the lake, vortexes appeared everywhere, from spooking ide. Donning my polarized glasses, I could see a lot of them cruising very shallow, well over to my right. They were feeding on insects and the like, but were so spooky in the clear weather that I didn’t think I had a chance on the pole. It was time for a re-think.
Carefully tip toeing behind some bushes where the activity seemed to be at it’s busiest, I could see a few ide milling about under the branches. I was sure if I could get a bait to them I’d be able to catch one. I walked back round with my top 5 sections of the pole and the landing net. Standing as far back from the water as I could, so I didn’t spook the fish, I carefully lowered my rig, now shortened to about 12 inches, under the trailing foliage and right into the margins. Before I had time to do anything my elastic pulled out, but then sprung straight back. Vortexes told me that it had probably been a good fish. Seconds later the float dipped again and a gentle lift saw me connect into something heavy. The fight was over in seconds though, as I bundled a surprised and lovely conditioned ide into the net. At 3lb 9oz it was a new Pb but I knew there were many larger in the swim.
After weighing and photographing the fish though, I never had another chance for more action. The sky clouded over in an instant, followed by a very strong, cool wind. Just after this the heavens opened. I didn’t fancy a soaking, as I had no umbrella, so I decided it was time for home. In less than 4 hours though, I must have caught about 30lbs of quality roach and ide. A nice catch in anyone’s book.