I can’t think of another pursuit that is more soul destroying than angling. Only at times of course. When everything falls into place angling can be very satisfying and rewarding. An angler tramples through dew soaked grass a little before sunset with thoughts of tench. They arrive soon after at a picturesque, reed lined and weed filled lake. The morning is deadly still. The waters surface, glassy. Setting up as the sun rises gloriously. Its warming rays begin to work their magic. Small fish begin to rise. The anglers casts as near as they dare to the weed. Throwing in some free offerings in a bid to get the attention of nearby tench. Of course, in this perfect scenario the tench bubbles follow, as do a handful of stunning, dark green doctors with maybe a scattering of had sized rudd thrown in for good measure. The angler leaves at mid-morning having achieved so much and seen such beauty all before the rest of the world has woken up.
It’s a shame then that my recent tench fishing sessions, two of them, haven’t quite fit in with the above scene. In fact they have been less than good for the soul. The first of the two took place early in the morning. I arrived at the venue just as the sun was rising. Previous experience teaching me that any earlier would have been too early, the fish usually switching on around seven o’clock. As long I was set up and fishing before then I felt confident of a fish or three. I set up in double quick time, found a lovely patch in the weed and by half past six had already had a few casts. On my fifth cast the float lifted positively and I struck into a tench that ploughed straight into the weed. Steady pressure applied freed the fish, and although it tried several more times to find the darkness of the tangled stems, the fish was soon on the bank and having it’s picture taken. So far so good.
Seven o’clock came and went with no further fish. There wasn’t much activity anywhere on the lake in all honesty. Usually the small roach and rudd rise and feed on any insect life unfortunate enough to fall on the surface but so far I hadn’t seen one. I fed little and often hoping to attract something into the swim, which I assumed was barren of tench. I think I was right to assume this too, as the early afternoon made an appearance I was still on just one tench. A very tricky session for sure. I decided it was time to pack away and come back a few days later, this time for a late afternoon session. Spirit Level; 80%.
Despite how hard the lake fished last time I was still eager to return. In the four days I had been away the weed had grown so quickly. It was now just a foot from the surface in places and I feared I might be heading home for the weed rake. Thankfully, the swim I fished last time still had a channel that was fishable, so although I was going to head elsewhere, I ended up back in the same swim. The session started slowly, but this is something I expect on the venue. Pellets and corn were sparingly fed over an hour or so before the float wavered and sank for the first time. The fish on the other end though, was not a tench but a bream, turning on its side and coming through the gap with the utmost cooperation. You can’t grumble at a fish over five pound even if it is not the target species. A quick picture and away it went. Spirit Levels; 85%.
I re-cast the rig with a touch more confidence now. Surely the tench would find my bait eventually. It was just a matter of time. Thirty minutes passed before the next bite and, yes, it was a tinca. It bored for the weed on both sides of the channel, burying its head on occasion but being still quite soft the fish easily come free with a little gentle pressure. As I reached for the landing net the rod jolted back as the hook pulled. Solidity melting away to nothingness in the way only a hook pull does. Never mind, I thought, the tench are present and feeding. More feed introduced and another thirty minutes went by before the next tench was hooked. And lost. Once more a hook pull and just a few seconds into the fight this time. I took it on the chin. A wry smile and a shake of the head later, my rig was was back in position. It was when the third tench was hooked and lost that I began to think I it wasn’t going to be. Especially as this fish was within arms length of the landing net before the hook just popped out and the fish, seemingly in slow motion, righted itself and sank from view. The fourth tench that I hooked in the now fading light, five hours into the session, was destined to join the other three and once again, when the hook pulled mid fight, I was not surprised. I conceded defeat and began to pack away. Spirit level; 10%.
You would think that would be enough to put me off tench fishing for life. But of course it is not. It is not the failures that matter. Yes, you can learn from them. Dissect them in an attempt to ‘work it out.’ Sometimes, however, its better to admit defeat and far better for one’s sanity to focus on those perfect moments. When everything comes together. To think of the times past and yet to happen. That will restore the soul. I know I have already begun doing so. I guess thats the reason the spirit level will never fall to zero.
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Until Next time tight lines