What a crazy winter we are having. I can count the number of frosty mornings so far on one hand. In fact, I could count them on the hand of one fingered man. I purged any thoughts of pursuing perch this week but I still fancied a challenge. What about a December tench? That sounds suitably silly. I set the alarm for a little before dawn, a lot later than a summers dawn raid after tench, and dreamt of olive flanked fighters.
I brought with me casters and worms, but due to the amount of tiny perch that are present, I would only be using worm on the hook. Chopping them up to feed in with the casters is usually the kiss of death. Unless you like catching tiny transparent perch one after the other. After plumbing up I fed a palmful of casters over a small area, and poured a cup of tea, drinking it slowly whilst the swim settled and watched the water. The surface was calm, the tall trees flanking the water protected it from the strong gusts that were already rattling through their canopy.
After half an hour had passed, and with only a few tentative bites missed on caster, it was time to try half a worm. There must be something down there preventing the smaller fish from settling, I convinced myself, as I shipped out. The float had barely settled before it confidently sank from sight. On the strike, yards of elastic shot from the tip, and I was into a good fish. A powerful fish. Most definitely a tench. What a ridiculous situation. Grinning from ear to ear, I hung on as a confused tench bored hard, water boiling whenever it neared the surface. Patience saw me win the battle, with no snags in the area, it was a case of letting the elastic do its thing.
The rest of the morning passed quickly, a few small roach stole a worm almost as long as their body, and I waited for the onset of the afternoon. My friend, the hungry robin, went some way in reminding me it was indeed nearly Christmas yet here I sat, expectedly, waiting for a tench to bite. A little after two o’clock the float stuttered to life once more and another brutish fight began. This fish felt a little bigger than the first, though it did come in a little easier, something I was not complaining about. It was not long before a deep bodied tinca was diving into the safety of the landing net. A brace of December tench, a proverbial two fingers to perch everywhere, who needs you to have fun. Nerve jangling, heart racing fun.
And it didn’t stop at tench. The last bite of the day saw me into a very heavy fish, for minutes I did not see the culprit, it was super quick in bursts and then turned to a dead weight, hanging in the deep. After ten minutes the fish neared the margin, more out of its own will, than any pressure on my part. There, just meters from my feet, rose a huge pike. Well into double figures, worm hanging from its top lip, hooked fair and square. That’s the last I saw of the fish, seconds later it spectacularly powered away, and didn’t stop. Amazingly the line did not snap, the hook simply pulled, as the elastic bottomed out.
Enough excitement for one day, I thought, time for home.
Thanks for reading,