More tench fishing this week. The weather had been progressively getting warmer since my last session and I had high hopes that the fish would be on the feed. I stuck with the same approach as last weeks but I arrived much earlier, not a typical tench fishing dawn start though, as I planned to fish until dark. Ten o’clock was early enough and surprisingly I found the lake to be all but empty with just two overnight anglers pitched up. I expected more people, what with it being back holiday weekend. I wasn’t complaining.
With all of the lake to pick from I had a walk around. With my polaroids I could see a good way into the water. From higher banks even more so. I saw a few carp basking in the early morning sun. Magnificent looking creatures. I left them alone and made my way to the north bank. These swims looked good, the south westerly wind gently blowing into them. Of course I chose to ignore this, and headed for a previously fished swim on the opposite bank. Doh! In hindsight this was an error and I think I would have gave myself a much better shot on the north bank swims but whats done was done. I tackled up quickly, and went about putting down a small bed of hemp, maggots and a few pellets. Soon after in went an inline maggot feeder on the clear spot I had found and a helicopter rig to the side of the clear spot over some light weed. It felt right and I was confident that within a few hours I might be seeing my first fish. How wrong I was. As I sat surveying the water at 6pm, eight hours after making my first cast, I cursed my decisions. The initial one of ignoring the north bank swims and my second decision, of not moving to them mid afternoon, thinking it would come good where I was. I’m a pretty mobile angler usually. Today I thought it best to resist this urge. Hindsight is a truly wonderful/annoying thing.
The only two fish of the session came at dusk, two baby tincas of around a pound each. I had taken one rod off the spot an hour before and changed to a simple fixed lead set up with popped up fake corn as hookbait. A small PVA bag of pellets was the only free offerings and this was presented onto the upper third of the marginal shelf, where I had seen two fish move. One a carp and one a tench. At least I hadn’t blanked but it was poor fishing on my part.
I did see some great wildlife during the long wait, numerous birds that I, as yet, dont know the names of. I really must get myself a book. I also seen a stoat at pretty close quarters behind my head as he scurried along the bank. They are lovely little animals and I’ve never seen one as close before.
A change of venue was needed mid week for a short after work session. I fished for the same species but I fancied doing something different for a few hours, and with the chance of a 6lb fish, it seemed like a good place to head to. I was going to fish for them with the pole, presenting sweetcorn and worm hookbaits over a small bed off similar loose feed. If you have never fished for decent sized tench on the pole, I suggest you give it a go sometime. It is great fun and offers a certain amount of sensitivity and control that a running line cant. It can really help when the fish are being finicky.
Condition were ideal. A mild, overcast day with a brisk southerly wind blowing. Because of this I knew there would be a strong undertow, something I’ve found the fish to like on the venue in question. But how often do seemingly ideal conditions produce unfavourable results. Fairly often in my experience so I didn’t count my chickens and started off fishing quite negatively. I fed only a small amount of bait. Over the soft bottom the fish usually give their presence away sending up tell tale, pin prick bubbles. This lack of feed can stop them becoming preoccupied with small loose feed items. I started on sweetcorn and moved the bait often trying different areas of the swim. Often a bite come within seconds of the bait settling. As if the fish watch it flutter down and grab it quickly. It took me an hour to get my first fish on the bank.
A lovely conditioned tench of 4lb 12oz that took my sweetcorn hookbait just minutes after moving it to the extreme right of the swim. It certainly pays to search the swim especially when the fish are being a cautious. I knew from the start there was fish present but they were not in real feeding mode yet. I had to wait until dusk for that.
Rig wise I opted to fish a 0.17mm line breaking at roughly 7lb. Hooklength was 0.15mm and breaks around 5lb. There are also some nice carp present and I wanted to give myself a chance of landing them should I hook one. My float choice was a 0.3 gram diamond shaped float, the bulk shot set just over half depth and three number 9 dropper shot below that to suit. The rig was set three inches over depth as a starting point though I did vary this throughout the session to counteract the undertow. Elastic used was a 13 hollow elastic set fairly tight as these tench are hard fighters.
Just before dusk I hooked another tench, slightly small than the first at 4lb exactly. After a quick photo I fed more sweetcorn and watched as small patches of bubbles started to break the surface in different parts of the swim. The dropping light levels had brought the fish on the feed, with at least four or five fish now in the swim. The next tench I hooked I lost, the hook pulling on its powerful first run. Maybe it wasn’t properly hooked? I quickly baited and re set the rig. Another quick bite, a lift bite this time, and a big bream of at least 6lb was hooked. It came in with ease, compared to the tench, although it too dropped off a little before the net. Alarm bells in my head now and even though the hook felt ok, I quickly changed it. Two lost fish in a row is too many for me. Changing the hook did little to help though as I went on to lose another two tench and another big bream, all in the space of half an hour. I was gutted. Unsurprisingly the feeding frenzy was over shortly after this and I didn’t have another bite. Why I lost so many fish I am still trying to work out. I usually land nine out of ten fish on here, even in weedy conditions. I could go back today fish the same and not lose a single fish. I still enjoyed the session a lot but the loss of so many good fish made it bittersweet.
Until next time,