I had hatched a plan, I’m not quite sure it was a cunning one, but it was at least a plan. An early start was needed if I was to fit everything in. So the night before, all the necessary tackle and bait was packed in readiness for an hour before dawn. I would be heading for my first tench fishing session of the year. I fully expected to blank. And I had something else to do before I even arrived at my intended fishing water. All in the aid of preparation. Effort equals reward, you know.
Sleep felt like nothing more than an elongated blink. No sooner had I set the alarm than it was going off. Up I got, a flask made and some food wolfed down. The motorway was clear as expected and no more than forty minutes from dreaming I was walking around the first venue, dreaming. Of future visits and summer dawns. I wasn’t going to fish here today. This was the preparation part. The venue gets very weedy, in fact the weed growth was already fairly prolific, so I had brought with me a rake. Arriving early allowed me to have a look for feeding fish. Or at least moving fish. There was no visible signs of any tench feeding but I did see on or two carp along one bank. It was quite hard to see anything in the heavy fog. Three ‘tench swims’ were raked in likely looking areas and because I don’t like to look a gift horse in the mouth so were a few close in swims along the ‘carp’ bank. A few boilies were fed in these areas. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get the chance to angle for a bonus carp on one of my trips. But thats for the future. With an hour gone and something already ticked off the list, I made my way back to the car, feeling very excited about the days fishing ahead of me.
As I have already mentioned I was not expecting to see a fish today. So why was I still feeling excited? Tench are traditionally absent for more time than the are ‘catchable’. At least thats what I like to tell myself. Especially on this venue. It’s been a tough nut to crack for me. But I still visit. A clear example that fishing is so much more than simply catching fish. The hours that have slipped by on here not catching must be approaching triple figures. Not one of them was wasted. The birds that abound make a dull moment a rare beast. The crisp smell of pine trees. The earthy smell of last years leaves now brown and crisp underfoot. The mist that floats, ghostly, on cool early mornings. A tench would be lovely but even after the months that have passed by since I last sat here wondering if a hawk-like red eye would see my hook bait, it really wasn’t a necessity.
The fog seemed to be even thicker now. There was no way to look for any signs of fish. Instead I took the predicted weather conditions into account and selected a swim I thought might hold some fish at some point during the day. I had a lead around and settled on two spots. One a marginal spot and the other on a slight bar in front of me. A bed of bait was fed on the bar and I planned to trickle in some bait little and often on the marginal spot. With the rigs cast and the rods set, it was case of taking it all in and revelling in my first real tench fishing dawn of the year. I couldn’t have asked for more magical one. The thickness of the fog made it feel as if I was fishing into a void. Into nothingness. No, not nothingness. It wasn’t empty. There was memories out there. Lurking in the gloom. Waiting to be made. And on the bank as usual there was a angler full of hope.
It took around three hours for the sun to burn through. After which it didn’t take long for the carp to start showing, cruising in the upper layers and in shallow marginal spots. They were fascinating to watch and to feed. Of the tench though, there was no sign. I still had some hours ahead of me. And if not today then certainly next time. Or the time after. Eventually it will happen. A dark green shape will rise from the clear water, a paintbrush tail will slap the surface, and my heart rate will be racing.
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