With the first tench of the year now under my belt, the next session started on much more of a level playing field. No longer was it they that had the upper hand. Best not to dwell on that last statement though. Ones like that have a habit of coming back to haunt you. I felt confident that the tench in the lake had woken up and had begun to feed. In preparation for a more significant rise in water temperature that would, undoubtedly, see them start to think about creating the lakes future generation. They definitely wouldn’t be interested in my hook bait then. I made my way, as I have done in previous weeks, to the bank of the lake that bathes in sun for the longest amount of time. Here the water is a touch shallower and the weed growth more prolific. I hoped that the tench would be drawn here in readiness for these future events.
On my first cast, to my utter disbelieft, I witnessed the float sliding from view. You guessed it, not a tench, but another bream. A fairly small one for the venue but always good to get the first fish of the session into the net. The yellow peril proving too tempting to ignore as he swam past, on the look out for some female bream to chase. I catapulted a few pouchfuls of catsers and a few grains of corn into the swim and sat back. I expected there to be a fairly long wait before the next fish. The sun was already high and the temperature was very pleasant. Given the clarity of the water I knew I would have to wait for the sun to be sinking rather than climbing. The fish in this water do not feed with any positivity in bright conditions. Apart from the odd rogue bream of course!
Even so it is one of my favourite places to fish. Set amongst dense woodland, there is such a calm, still atmosphere. Patches of wild flowers carpet the ground. The wildlife is plentiful and diverse. Shrews keep me entertained during quieter spells and there is always the slim chance of witnessing badgers venturing out for the evenings foraging if you stay until darkness. A chorus of frogs croaked from the undergrowth that hid both them and the brook behind me. I felt privileged just to be a part of the scene. Apart from the odd family walking the dog amongst the tall trees, or an eager photographer snapping frantically in an attempt to capture one of the elusive woodpeckers in action, I can sit for hours. Time slipping slowly by. It’s the perfect escape. A solitary pursuit, maybe, but certainly not a lonely one.
All hell broke lose late afternoon when a particularly feisty tench eventually picked up my corn hookbait. The fish ran to the left. Then to the right. The line plinking off unseen weed stems. The swim became a battlefield of floating weed casualties in a matter of seconds. The clutch sang out as time after time the fish bolted away from the margins when it got a little too close for comfort. Eventually the tench tired and was swept into the net. Five pound of tinca and the same of vegetation. Real tench fishing.
A beautiful, deeply coloured fish. An ounce over five pound. It wouldn’t have been any less appreciated if it was an ounce under. Sometimes the method and the setting really do make the capture. Not the size of the fish. It does help when they are a picture perfect example of the species of course. After the picture, I walked to the next swim and rested her. It took a few minutes for her to start kicking, ready for freedom. Upon lowering the net, she casually flicked her tail and dissappeared under the weed, leaving nothing but an oily swirl on the surface.
The last fish of the session came just a few casts later in the form of a small male tench. He had certainly seen a few summers judging by his dishevelled appearance. The fight was typical of a male tench too, ferociously charging in every direction, and sending thunderous thumps down the rod blank. A defiant message for any angler. It may well have took me twice as long to net a fish half as big as the last one. They are spirited creatures. With the fish returned the sun sank all too quickly and without any further bites in that time, I reluctantly had to make a retreat. A most enjoyable session in pursuit of springs most welcomed fish.
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