Nearly bream revisited / Houdini the Tench (Entry 183)

I found myself heading back to the same venue as last week. Thoughts of bream once again my catalyst. This week, however, I would catch a bream. I had to. There could be no excuses. Unlike last time when conditions were far from ideal, this week the weather was perfect, a warm wind, overcast skies and I had made a dawn start. I had casters with me too and these bream love casters. Even the peg I wanted was available. Yes, I thought to myself, if I don’t catch a bream this time I seriously need to hang my head in shame.

Ideal bream fishing conditions

In went twenty feeders full of casters, pellets, and groundbait at about forty yards where the slow, sloping shelf just about meets the deepest water in the lake. Here any marginal weed is minimal and the bottom is largely firm. Usually to the breams liking. I gave the swim twenty minutes whilst I drank a tea and set up the rest of my tackle, all the while keeping my eyes on the area where occasionally, in between gusts of wind, I spied an odd patch of bubbles. This was looking promising. I made my first cast and sat back. Almost immediately; a line bite. Then another. Next the tip slowly pulled around and held. I lifted the rod into nothing. Madness! I didn’t even feel the fish. Still, next cast I would get one, just wait and see.

A tench posing as a bream

Except I didn’t. An hour passed with absolutely no more activity in the swim. Where had the liners gone? The bubbles? Very, very strange. I topped up the swim with a few more feeders full of casters. A change of hookbait from caster to sweetcorn was also decided upon. Then a near perfect cast saw the rig in prime position. Time to cross the fingers of my right hand which would leave my left for when I really needed it later on. This seemed to work, as a few minutes later the rod was nearly pulled in, certainly not by a bream, this had to be a tench. Indeed it was, doing a little gardening in the thick marginal weed, a few minutes later the fish, accompanied by about the same amount of weed, was safely in the net. A green present wrapped in green paper.

The first and biggest bream of the day

But still not a bream. I changed back to a caster hook bait where almost instantly I had another bite. On the other end of the line a slow, plodding weight. That beautiful slow, plodding weight of a bream. At last! Now to lead the fish in without too much pressure on the hook hold. As bream do, it behaved impeccably, swimming in a straight line from swim to net. It was a decent fish too. A 7lb’er in fact, and was the first of four fish, though the next three fish were all slightly smaller around the 6lb mark. The last fish I hooked was the same species as the first, though this one had much different ideas on how the fight would end, and this tench felt lager than the first. It kited to my left at a ridiculous speed, directly into a bed of lilies, and there it went solid. Completely locked up. There was nothing for it other than paying out some line, placing the rod down, and waiting. Now was the time to cross the fingers of my left hand. Minutes passed. The moment of truth came slowly round, rod in hand I reeled down, still there was weight, and a kick from the unseen fish. But miraculously it pulled through the lilies with the gentlest of force. What joy, another weedy green present safely netted, ready to be unwrapped.

This time however that green parcel was an empty one.

Thanks for reading,



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