If you read my blog regularly you will now that last weeks tench fishing was a little frustrating to say the least. Well, I had another session midweek, on a different water this time. With a chance to catch both good sized bream and tench there, I thought I stood a better chance of catching my target species if I put my eggs in two baskets. Baskets named tench and bream. Tactics were also changed, instead of the float gear I brought a medium feeder rod and method feeder. With a pungent fishmeal groundbait and micro pellets moulded around it, a few minutes after arriving at the venue I was already fishing. It certainly is a great approach for quick after work sessions. I started with sweetcorn as hookbait. An hour later, after a dozen casts, I had three small pound sized bream in quick succession. Welcomed, but none the less a lot smaller than I anticipated. And still no sign of any tench feeding. The swim then went very quiet. A change of hookbait to a small boilie tempted a much heavier fish. At first it plodded around a little and my hopes of a big bream looked like they would be rewarded. Unfortunately, and I mean that in the most appreciative way, it soon woke up and turned altogether more carp-like. Indeed, it turned out to be a carp. A pristine common carp, that ended up being the highlight of the session as the rest of the hours slipped by all to quickly and without any more fish. Something different was needed for the weekend.
With a spell of much warmer weather predicted, my thoughts turned to carp, and the possibility of doing some floater fishing. I then thought that the carp themselves might have other ideas, in the form of spawning. Dilemma. After much deliberation I decided to do something I have never really done before, and that was target a catfish. A daytime one too. Thankfully, being in a club offering a good amount of waters containing catfish, my job of deciding where to head to was made a lot easier. For starters a catfish of any size would do me, having only caught one before, accidentally taken on a banded pellet whilst fishing for carp. Catfish on the waggler. Not something you expect and thankfully it was only small around 2lb in weight. I rounded up whatever fishy smelling bait I had in the shed. Some monster crab boilies seemed appropriate. I could take a few pellets with me too and some paste to wrap the hookbait in it for extra pulling power. Hang on a minute, all this fish smelling, fishmeal boilies, and paste, seems like scaled up barbel tactics. Suits me fine.
It was a glorious day. The sun was high and the sky clear. Not the best conditions for cats then? I was going to give it my best regardless. I chose a swim offering a good amount of shade. Perfect. One rod was cast along this shaded area and the other put into open water. I would have liked to position the second rod in a similar place to the first but the cramped swim forced my hand. I noticed plenty of carp were sunning themselves in the upper layers. Not ready to spawn just yet. Ever the optimist, I sat back and waited, watching a small damselfly sunning itself on my net. My thoughts never far away from where those catfish might be lurking.
After an hour of fishing I received my first take. An aborted one which I initially put down to smaller a fish doing it’s best to engulf the two boilies I was presenting. A running rig certainly reveals a lot more activity in a swim than the now standard bolt rig does. I resisted the urge to reel in and left the rig in place. A few minutes passed before the alarm woke from its silence as a fish picked up the bait. I reeled down and set the hook. On the other end; powerful head shakes and lunges in the direction of the tree roots. For a few moments a stalemate. Unable to give the fish any line I hoped all the knots held. Thankfully the fish then ran out into open water giving me chance to recover a little. The speed and power of the fish was like nothing I was used to and I assumed it had to be a cat. In the open water the fish hung deep and planed gracefully in ever decreasing arcs. All the while I was gaining line. When it came into the margins the fish bored hard into the bottom and sediment. Occasionally it’s pale flank would flash below the surface. It was most definitely my intended species. No need to panic now, just wait for the fish to tire. There was a few more minutes of this cat and mouse before the fish eventually rolled on the surface, close enough for the net to be plunged underneath, and breath drawn on my part.
Taken in the daytime, my first catfish caught by design lay on the unhooking mat. I was struck by it’s strange kind of beauty. Prehistoric looking. A creature perfectly adapted for feeding a certain way. An apex predator. I took a few photo’s before letting her go and quickly got the rod back into position should her bigger sister fancy an afternoon snack.
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Until Next time tight lines