It’s been another tough week for me where struggling to get amongst any fish has been the norm. It’s fair to say I’m going through a quiet patch and it seems that no matter what I do, I’m just not getting the results I would like. I guess that angling can be like this at times. You just have to keep the faith and believe that with every blank or poor session you are one step closer to reaping some rewards. Tough sessions are paramount to working out a venue or learning new methods so I try not to get to disheartened by them, its when you are fishing somewhere you know well and a method you would consider yourself to be good at, that its easy to start getting frustrated. This is what I will be writing about this week. It might not be thrilling but its part of fishing.
Session one took place on a small farm pond with room for maybe six or seven anglers at a push. Despite its small size, the water, unbelievably, holds a good head of quality roach along with some crucians, tench and some old wild carp of two or three pounds. With the tench water I’m so eager to get to know closed this week my plan was to try to get amongst the roach, and maybe a bonus crucian or two. I arrived at the venue to find a few pegs taken, so I pretty much had my swim chosen for me. Not an excuse by the way, just stating the facts. Setting up a delicate pole rig, I watched the water and the seemingly abundant roach topping, some of them looked like really good fish too, to say I was eager to get started would be an understatement but I took my time. On plumbing up I found the venue was pretty featureless and best described as a soft bottomed, bowl, with a few reeds around the edge. A depth of three foot seven metres out seemed ok so in went a small handful of hemp and some casters. Every two or three minutes I threw in three casters by hand to keep a stream of bait falling through the water column in the hope of leading some of the fish that were obviously in the upper layers down to my bed of feed. An hour later I hadn’t had any fish. On went a shallow rig with single caster as hook bait. There was still a lot of fish in the upper layers. I started at mid depth, and shallowed up by around four inches if no bites were forthcoming. After 30 minutes I was at six inches deep and no bites had materialised. All the while I had been feeding caster and I was sure I would have had a fish or two by now. Back on the deck rig and a bite straight away, a small two ounce roach. Here we go I thought, but two hours later and no more fish to show, left me scratching my head and the session had to come to an end. On the drive home I replayed the session in my mind and thought I fished well. One of those days then, I thought, just one of those days.
Session two was a quick three hour session after work on my local Bridgewater Canal where I ‘cut my teeth’ fishing for its roach and bream. Admittedly I had not fished here for several years so I expected to have to work hard to find some fish. Pole fished caster and hemp would again be my tactic and one that nearly always gets a few roach. After two hours I found myself scaling down to a 0.08mm hooklength and a size 20 fine wire hook having once again had no bites. I tried all the old tricks, laying extra line on the bottom to anchor the rig, running it at them at dead depth and just off bottom, and fishing past the main area of feed. I even put a small section of worm on a few times hoping the ever obliging perch would be fooled, but once again it was the fish who were fooling me. The drive home this time was a little more despondent than the last. Maybe I had lost my touch, that somehow I was unlearning everything and that all past experiences were being forgotten.
Its not that catching is the be all and end all for me, it really is great just being out on the bank, taking in the wildlife and the changing seasons. As has been said before, that’s why its called fishing and not catching. But this lean spell has to end sometime. Maybe I’m saving up all my fishing luck. Stranger things have happened. I was thinking this on my way to another venue, again for an after work session, and already I was seeing things more positively. Back was the optimism that eventually things would come right again. They didn’t need pushing, just accepting and to carry on as I usually do. Maybe tonight a plan would come together. If not then so be it.
This attitude didn’t stop me from trying hard though, and as I went about trying to extract some roach from a small dam in the Pennines, I fished as hard as ever. With caster and hemp as bait, the common denominator between all three sessions this week, the only change was the addition of some Dynamite Baits IM5 Betaine Green groundbait, which I have found to be a good roach puller on the venue. I started on single caster and was into fish straight away. I had never been so glad to catch a few little perch! Confidence now on it’s way up, I got into a steady rhythm of feeding with the catapult and resetting the rig, fishing for bites on the drop as well as on the bottom. After a few more little perch I decided a change of bait was needed and although worm was my only option, I hoped it was enough to draw the attention of any bigger fish before the snappy little perch could snaffle it. Well, to some degree this worked as on the very first put in I hooked a much better fish. It wasn’t a roach though, but a carp. I actually had the fish on for longer than I anticipated but eventually the hook pulled at the net. It wasn’t a great loss and I have hooked many carp from here in the past whilst trying to extract its big roach. There wasn’t to be any big roach tonight, the biggest being the one pictured above. It was a 5-6oz fish and I had a few more just slightly smaller. I also hooked another carp at dusk, a small 3lb common which I managed to get in. At least the weeks sessions ended on a high. It has been a struggle but these few fish have been the tonic I needed. Back to the tench fishing for the next update.
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Until next time,