The urge to try to land some of the tench and bream that managed to escape me last session was too great. Instead of heading to my intended target water I returned for another attempt at catching these wonderful and good sized fish. Conditions had changed a little over the past few days, the southerly wind had swung around to a westerly, and had picked up considerably. Under the grey clouds the air was cool and damp. Heavy rain was predicted. The water temperature thankfully, had not dropped too much, so I was confident of a few bites and maybe a few fish. Whether they would turn out to be good ones was anyone’s guess. I would have fun trying none the less.
Due to unforeseen circumstances I didn’t arrive at the water until ten o’clock. I had been hoping for a dawn start but this simply couldn’t happen. I also had to be away from the water for five o’clock at the latest. The window of opportunity was not the greatest. Fishing for tench and bream in the middle of the day. I went about tackling up on a peg near to where I fished last time. Umbrella first as the rain had already started to fall. I used the same rig as last time. I had to go a little further to find the deeper water in the swim. This extension of the marginal shelf prompted me to plumb up a line on it; to my right a tangle of tree branches and, no doubt, roots. I would feed this line by hand little and often, and drop on it every hour or so to see if any tench were present. I thought it would be a little too close to the bank for the bream.
I opened each swim with a little sweetcorn. Both the species seem to love it on here, and although I did have some pellets with me, I didn’t want to use them unless I was really struggling. I started on the long line at 11.5m moving the rig every few minutes searching the swim. I like to keep the bait dropping through the water column. It might seem strange to do this when fishing for tench and bream, but as I have said before, I think they spend a lot more of their time off the bottom than people realise. After fifteen minutes I had a slow, deliberate take. My strike met something heavy. A lumbering weight that could only mean one thing. A bream and a nice one too, certainly over 4lb. Having lost so many fish last time I played this fish so carefully. Thankfully I was able to net it and I was more than happy to do so.
A 5lb male fish full of spawning tubercles. I took a quick photo and returned him. It was a lovely looking fish, old and dark. A proper bream. I poured out some coffee to celebrate and fed the swim. I have no problem leaving the swim to settle after a fish like this. It may be over cautious on my part, but I can’t see it doing any harm, even if it doesn’t do any good. I fed the margin line too but it was too early to try it yet. Instead I enjoyed my beverage and watched the geese defending their territory. No doubt they had mates nesting nearby and we’ll soon be seeing little balls of grey fluff swimming alongside them. Coffee over and back to the fishing. I shipped out to 11.5m.
I worked the rig, moving it to either side, further out, closer in. Thirty minutes later and another fish on. A tench this time but a smaller one, maybe 3lb. It fought hard, as they all do. A quick picture and returned. In the clear water it is lovely to watch the fish swim strongly back to their watery home. Again I fed the swim but this time, whilst waiting for it to settle, I tried the margin line. I had seen the branches knock a few times. There are some good sized carp in here. Today I hoped they were not the fish causing the branches to move. I tried double corn on the first put in. The little extra weight dragged to float to a mere pimple on the surface. After just a few minutes a slow lift of the float told me a fish had taken the bait and a quick upward strike confirmed this. The fish bolted for the sanctuary under the tree. Applying steady pressure I managed, inch by inch, to edge the fish from going any further underneath. After much stubbornness the fish ran for open water. From here I could play the fish with a little less panic. It put up another great fight, and typical of male tench, it thrashed about and ran in circles, before eventually diving of its own accord into the waiting landing net. It really is great fun catching tench!
4lb 5oz was the weight of the fish. Great fun to catch and a good size for a male fish. With the margin line now well and truly disturbed, I went straight back onto my longer line. I had only just over an hour of the session left before I would have to leave. I was happy with what I had caught so anything else caught would be a bonus. No lost fish this time and to catch during the middle of the day. Yes, not bad at all. So deep in thought about the session, I almost didn’t notice that the float had buried! Thinking I had missed the bite my half hearted strike met, surprisingly, with another solid fish. Another bream by the feel of it. This one felt a little bigger so once again, I played it extra carefully, and within a minute it was sliding over the rim of the waiting landing net.
It was indeed bigger than the first bream and weighed a respectable 5lb 11oz. Again, another dark and old fish, with a liking for corn. I think a few more sessions on here are due over the course of the season, either at dawn or at dusk. I may try some open water swims too where the bream may be holding in larger shoals and possibly where the biggest of them are. I’ll probably have a go for them in the next week or so, fishmeal groundbait, pellets and of course corn will all feature. I’m looking forward to it.
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Until next time,