Monday, 30 May 2011

A change of scenery and some mixed bags

Friday 27th May

Reports from the Tench lake have been pretty poor to say the least of late, the lake seems to have properly switched off for some reason. With this in mind i headed out with the float rod to a club water with a reputation for being quite tough. Its a mature and very deep lake with clear water and lots of marginal cover. The Tench arnt huge but they dont give themselves up very easily at all and seeing as ive never caught one from the lake i decided to take up the challenge and do so.
I arrived lakeside at around 4ish, there was only one other angler on the lake and the secluded corner i fancied was free and the wind was pushing into it. I placed a bolt feedered corn hookbait along the margin to my right and floatfished corn along the left hand margin. I had about seven feet of water tight to the reeds and after feeding some groundbait, corn and pellets as i setup it wasnt long before i was fishing.
Within five minutes of casting out the float dipped and being caught somewhat off-guard i promptly missed it. Next cast the same thing happened and i hit a skimmer of about 2lb, an encouraging start.

The swim went  a bit dead after that but within half an hour a patch of pinhead bubbles appeared next to the float and i hovered over the rod in anticipation. Nothing happened however, despite my swim beginning to resemble a jacuzzi my float never even dipped! i tried going overdepth and also tried maggots and pellet to no avail. I had a think and setup an ultra sensitive rig which involved the use of a tiny 1/8oz free-running lead and a pole float .
I gently lowered it in amongst the fizzing bubbles and began to recieve tiny knocks almost imediately and within a few minutes the float slid away proper. I hit into a heavy fish which powered off along the bank before heading out to open water whereupon it bent the size 14 hook straight!  At least the new rig seemed to do the trick.
The bubbles started up again after a while and i missed another couple of bites . I tried maggots but everytime i did i just got a small Perch so i decided to stick with the corn. The feeder rod was a bit quiet although i did bump a fish off and catch a nice Rudd of about 12oz on it.

I love Rudd and its nice to see them showing in the pool because i didnt even realise there was any in there. Lots of fish began to show on the surface as the light started to fade so, with no further Tench activity, i decided to shallow up the float and fish maggot to see what they were. I was pleased to catch three more Rudd before it got too dark to see the float. Id love to see them get a real foothold in there because they are few and far between in these parts and they are a delighful fish to catch.
An enjoyable trip i thought, although i caught no Tench on this occasion i did get a few bites and learned a bit more about the water, it will give up one of its emerald prizes sooner or later!

Sunday 29th May

The plan for todays trip was to target Bream and Tench on another club water, my mate Keith accompanied me and it was his first time on the place. The weather was overcast and windy with an ever present threat of rain although thankfully the rain managed to hold off for most of the session as it turned out.
Due to  some overindulgence the night before it was around 11oclock by the time we got to the lake and even though it was a Sunday there wasnt a soul there so we had our pick of the swims. We opted for a large double swim overlooking the main body of the lake and hopefully some big shoals of Bream!
We fished four feeders along the same line at around 60yards and it wasnt long before the first fish of the day was landed, a Perch of about 12oz. We were getting lots of tugs and pulls on the maggots which indicated there was a lot of small fish about and this was confirmed as a succession of Perch, Roach and Rudd were caught. At one point Keith had what looked to be a good sized Roach but it turned out to be a Roach/Bream hybrid unfortunately.
It was about 2 hours before the first Tench of the day made an appearance, a scrappy male of about 3lb to my rod. As i landed it i noticed a large shadow close behind which turned away at the last minute, the Tench had a lucky escape! A while later Keith had an even smaller Tench which was grabbed by what i assume was the same Pike, it spat it out though but still followed it right up to the rim of the net. It wasnt a huge croc but certainly a nice double.
On the Bream front it proved to be pretty slow for me with only one fish landed, Keith on the other hand managed to find a few and went on to land 5 of them for a total weight of over 35lb. I did manage a last gasp Tench of 5lb on the nose prior to packing up just before Dark. 
Another enjoyable trip out then, plenty of bites, good company and the rain held off , what more could we ask for? heres some pics from the day .........


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Slow but steady

Sunday 22nd May

This is a bit of a belated write up but i thought id better get last weekends fishing writeup out of the way before this coming weekends adventures begin. After a weekend of doing a few oddjobs around the house I opted for an evening session on the Tench lake. The weather was sunny but very windy and with there being a good chop on the lakes surface i was confident of a bite or two .
The swim i chose was right in the teeth of the wind but also right next to the main entrance which meant a constant stream of passers by. This wasnt a problem until i landed the first Tench of the day around half an hour into the trip and I was suddenly surrounded by curious members of the public. The fish had gone through my other line during the battle and was tangled, i ended up netting the lot and my swim looked like bomb site with rods, line, nets and Tench everywhere. This didnt stop the crowd converging upon me with shouts of "lets have a look?", "what is it?" , "didnt think there was anything that big in here" and the old perennial "are you going to eat it?" I inwardly groaned at the barrage of questions and winced as a couple of kids stepped over my rod, camera phones in hand to capture the moment for posterity. After unhooking i placed it back in the water as quickly as possible in bid to get the people out of my swim asap. As i picked up the rod a woman walked through the line pulling the size 10 hook deep into my thumb. Through gritted teeth i had to graciously accept her apology as i used my forceps to remove the hook which was in well past the barb!
After all that trauma had subsided i recast and settled back down, the weather looked to be on the turn with some very heavy looking clouds rolling in. Even though the rain held off, the stream of public walking by reduced considerably and i even caught another Tench, this one around the 5lb mark. The session was looking up!
Seeing as i was right near the carpark my better half decided to bring the kids down to see me and amost on cue, as they arrived, the sun came out and my right hander signalled a take. Another scrappy albeit small Tench was soon on the mat much to the kids amusement although number two child wussed out when it came to the family photo cos he was scared to get too close! hes only two but hes gonna grow out of that one whether he likes it or not!

After they left i managed another small one just before dark and that was all the action i had . Four bites for four fish in about six hours fishing, not too bad i thought. Reports from other anglers on the lake over the last week suggests the fishing has slowed right down and with a bank holiday weekend coming up i might leave the place until we get another blast of warm weather. I fancy a spot of float fishing and a change of scenery this coming weekend, not sure where yet though...........

Thursday, 19 May 2011


Tuesday 17th May

After the weekends success i was keen to keep the pressure on and planned a couple of midweek sessions, the first being a Tuesday evening trip. There was a few other anglers on when i arrived so i headed for a nice quiet area and got set-up.
Despite fishing pretty well, keeping my bait tight and casts accurate, I suffered three lost fish in the first three hours. All were damned hookpulls again same as the majority of other lost fish ive had of late. At first i thought it might be down to the hook size and pattern but ive played about with four different patterns in various sizes and seem to still be losing fish. I normally use very short hooklinks, could this combined with the feeder bouncing around 3-4 inches away be causing the problem? further investigation is very much required. Anyway, I found myself with about an hour of daylight left and nothing on the score sheet and was really cursing my luck.
As the clock ticked past 8.30 i had another take and finally landed a fish, at 7.3 it was a fairly decent one too and i felt somewhat vindicated after losing the others earlier.


This feeling was shortlived however as ten minutes later i lost another fish! This time the hookpoint had turned. Soon enough the darkness began to close in and it was time to pack up. I left the rods out lying on the ground as i packed everything else up and was pleased when the left hand baitrunner started ticking over resulting in a last gasp Tinca of 5.14. Thinking back, its amazing how many 'bonus' fish ive landed over the years just by leaving the rods out to the absolute death, quality.
Before i left i piled all the bait i had left into the spot with the intention of coming back tomorrow for the night.......

Weds 18th/ Thurs 19th May

I had a day booked off work on Thursday due to an appointment so i siezed upon the opportunity to do a rare midweek night. Upon arrival at the lake there was only two other anglers on so i had a good choice of pegs. The wind was cold and the sky was clear meaning a potential cold night ahead yet despite this i went against my better judgement and headed back to last nights swim . Even though its very shallow i hoped that the bait i had put in would have kept a few fish mooching about.
Within a couple of hours i was regretting setting up there, something didnt feel right and i had that unconfident empty feeling we all get from time to time where you know youve made a mistake and let yourself in for a grueller. A move was out of the question as it was getting dark fast and the location of the swim made any kind of move very difficult indeed, those that read this and know the lake will know exactly which peg i mean!
I landed a tiddler of about 3lb and lost two  fish just before dark which didnt do a great deal for my confidence, the swim looked dead. Whilst there wasnt much happening in the water though i felt like a regular doctor Dolittle as a procession of woodland creatures passed by the bivvy door. As well as the usual waterfowl and small birds, i had a Pheasant, a Weasel, A Squirrel,  some Bats, several Rats and the little chap pictured below. In fact the mouse got so confident it actually came inside the bivvy at one point.

Into darkness the fishing didnt get any better really, i had a Bream at about 12.30am and a Tench of around 5lb at 2.30am and that was it until i lost a fish at about 7am. That was all the action i had for the session and packed up slightly disappointed.
I might give it a rest for a few days i think to recharge my batteries a bit, four sessions in six days is a lot of fishing for me and the fishing itself is starting to get a bit monotonous . Same rigs, same baits, same swims, yes im catching fish and im sure ill continue to do so but  God, how i long for those rivers to open!

Monday, 16 May 2011

The push continues

Sunday 15th May

As the title of this entry suggests, my push for another big Tench continues, this time in the shape of a quick evening session. I hit the lake at around 3pm just as the last of the weekenders was leaving, i had the whole lake to myself, a rare treat indeed! Despite this, swim choice was still fairly limited due to the lack of them . Seeing as none seemed to jump out at me after a good mooch around i settled in what was normally the most popular swim on the lake purely because i might not get another chance in there anytime soon!
I had brought the Bismarck (my crappy baitboat) with me for its first outing in ages and after much faffing about which reminded me just WHY it was its first outing in ages, i finally got some baits out and started fishing.
It was around an hour before i had my first bite and after a decent scrap a nice Tench of 6.12 was soon posing for some pics. Two lost fish on the bounce followed over the next couple of hours before i hooked into another beaut of 7.2. That was to be it for the rest of the session because shortly after that 3 car loads of youths pulled up and they all piled into the woods behind me on a camping trip . Judging by the racket of large branches snapping accompanied by much shouting and the smell of burning it sounded more like wanton destruction than camping . Either way, i wasnt gonna argue with em over it and seeing as i now found myself on my own with gang of drunken chavs 30yards away my session appeared to be going downhill fast. I was happy enough with what id already caught so after enduring the disruption for an hour or so with no further action on the rods i decided to call it a day.



Saturday, 14 May 2011

Persistence pays .......

Friday 13th May

With it being Friday 13th i fully expected the day started out on a downer and sure enough it did! I was given a real ball-ache of a job to program up at work which put paid to any thoughts i had of an early finish and it was gone 2pm by the time i managed to get out of the workhouse. I rushed to get home and halfway there the car decided to die on me for no apparent reason. I managed to get it restarted and its been fine since but i do hope its not symptomatic of some serious wallet damage coming up in the near future!
I had already prepped my kit the night before so it wasnt too long before i was eventually setting up lakeside. The weather was sunny with a coolish breeze and the lake looked good for a fish or two but despite this it was a fairly slow start and it was about 2 hours before i had my first bite. The fish was fairly small at 4.4 and although it looked to be in good condition fin and mouthwise it was very skinny with some curious red blotches on it, a skin complaint perhaps?


After this i started to have some problems on my margin rod with the lakes resident dumbass Swan .  It would not leave me alone and i ended up hooking it and it went mad, i could see my feeder hanging from its mouth as i attempted to bring it in and then, thankfully the hook came free, phew! It buggered off up the top end of the lake and i thought that would be the last id see of it ......... how wrong i was! Twenty minutes later it was back and hooked up again! Sweet Jesus those birds are thick! This time it decided to attempt take off and as it clattered across the surface the hook bounced out of its beak, no harm done. Unbelievably it even came back again after that but fortunately it seemed to hang back off the baited area and i had no more trouble with it.
Back to the fishing anyway, after the Swan antics the swim needed time to settle. The weather had closed in drastically by this time and i was subjected to some serious thundery showers, not fun when you havent got a brolly with you i can tell you! I was soaked and seriously thinking about packing up but in between showers i managed a Bream of about 6lb and another Tench of 5.10.


Once the worst of the showers had passed over it began to brighten up but the temperature felt decidedly fresher. The breeze, although cold, was drying me off nicely so i carried on fishing and was soon rewarded with another Tench. This one was only about 2lb and was the smallest ive ever had from the lake, it was in mint condition and shows that at least one or two babies have managed to survive the hordes of Pike present in the water.
A lost fish soon afterwards was all the action i had until just before dark when my right hander signalled a slow take. I initially thought it was a small fish or a Bream because it pretty much came in like a wet sack until i got it in the margins whereupon it woke up and suddenly felt much heavier! As it slid into the net i glimpsed the fishes girth and knew that it was something a bit special. On the mat it looked big, surely a seasons best or, dare i say it, a PB?
She went 8.8, an agonising 2oz short of equalling my PB but still the second biggest Tench ive ever landed and i was over the moon. A just reward for putting the time in on the water, hacking through so many smaller fish and coping with all the various other challenges the lake presents.

8lb 8oz

Id finally caught what id been after from the lake but with just over 4 weeks to go before the river season begins im not going to be finishing on there just yet, theres still time for another and who knows, i might even get that PB after all! 

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Back to the Tench

Friday 6th May

I had originally planned to do a night on the Tench lake ive been fishing but work and family commitments left me with little time to prepare so i settled on a quick evening session instead. A quick scout of the pool upon my arrival showed the place to be pretty busy, in fact the carpark was full! I scanned the far bank with my binoculars and spotted a free swim right up the top end. It was really warm and quite muggy so i was a sweating, knackered mess by the time i got around to the swim. It was a new spot for me but as i took stock of what lay before me, a Tench rolled exactly where i was thinking about placing my bait. Thatll do me then!

I commenced fishing and it was about an hour before i hooked my first fish of the day. It found some lilies straight away and after a bit of hefty pulling i managed to free it whereupon it promptly found a snag down to my left and the hook pulled. Bugger! little did i know it but those lilies and that snag were to prove a complete nightmare over the next couple of hours....

The next one i hooked  i bullied mercilessly, hauling it away from the danger zones as quickly as i could. It was only a small one but they all count and it was nice to get one under my belt. I tried to take a quick snap in case i needed it for the blog but my camera batteries were totally dead, yet another bugger! looks like id have to try and get something useable with phone-pics.

Over the next hour i hooked two more Tench, losing both to hookpulls due to excessive bullying. I uprated my hook size and hooklink strength to compensate and was pleased to land a nice Bream shortly afterwards. At 9lb4oz it was the heaviest id ever had from the lake and i had to be careful because she appeared to be carrying a fair amount of spawn.

Nice Bream, crappy phone-pic grrrr!

After this i went on to have a total mare with the snags. I landed three more Tench,  5.0,  5.12 and a cracker of 6.14 but i lost another five (yes 5!) fish to the lilies. Most were hookpulls apart from one which snagged solid and ended up breaking me off. The swim was also really shallow and i kept getting pickups off a particularly dumb Swan which, despite several pebbles and a method-ball landing on it, simply wouldnt take the hint! 
Even though i had caught some nice fish, i packed up with a bit of an empty feeling after losing so many. Thoughts of what couldve been, what i couldve done differently and how id approach the swim in future filled my head. When i got home i uploaded the pics id taken on my phone onto the pc and was somewhat miffed to find them pretty much unuseable. I was hoping to bring you pics of my second biggest Tench of the year so far but id chopped half its tail off and it was blurry as hell, more bugger!

Saturday 7th May

After getting home last night i spent an hour sorting some kit and bait out with the intention of going back down today to even the score a bit. Those losses were totally unacceptable and this time i decided to try and avoid that area of the lake as best as i could. 
I know the books and magazines tell us to use watercraft when we arrive at a venue to determine where to fish on the day but id wager that the majority of us often arrive at a venue with a particular spot in mind. A so it was when my mate Keith and i arrived at first light except that someone was already setting up there! some swims were free on the far bank (away from the snags this time) so we headed there, beggars cant be choosers on these busy waters! sod the watercraft, in these situations you have to try and make the most of whats actually available.

Soon enough the fishing began and the weather was a complete contrast to the previous evenings hot conditions. It was still warm but it had rained quite heavily in the night and now the sky was overcast with a distinct danger of more rain to come. Hopefully the fish would feed a little better during the day under these conditions as opposed to mostly first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
After the intial first few feederfulls of bait had gone in it was a good while before i had a hint of any action. Eventually a screamer of a take and a short scrap resulted in a plump female Tench of 5.8 on the bank. It was nice to land a fish in totally snag-free water after last nights debacle.


After this the action continued in a very steady manner, it wasnt red hot hauling but the fish came along in a steady stream at a rate of about one every 45mins to an hour. I landed nine in total to a top weight of 5.10, nothing huge but plenty of good solid sport.
I did witness something unusual though, i was just landing a small Tench of about 3lb when an even smaller jack of around 2lb decided to latch onto its tail. It wouldnt let go and i very nearly netted both fish when a larger Pike of around 8lb decided the jack would make a good snack and grabbed hold of it! for a few seconds i actually had three fish on the end of my line at once until the jack finally let go of the Tench. It managed to get away from its larger cousin too in a shower of scales which left the bigger fish sitting there somewhat bemused!
All in all quite a decent days fishing and i only lost one fish all day too! Below is a few pics of some of the fish caught.




Monday, 2 May 2011

On the slabs

Monday 2nd May

Having been away on a break all week with the family i was chomping at the bit to get back on the bank especially after last weeks bagging session. The lake i have been fishing of late had been producing some fantastic bags of fish to other anglers whilst i was away but i felt it had been a little hammered and fancied a change of scenery. I geared up on Sunday evening with a mind to visit the pool at Tamworth that i fished back in  March but when i awoke on Monday morning i really couldnt get motivated to drive all the way over there. Phil had mentioned during the week that he was going to try his luck on a local club water on Monday so, with a lack of any better offers i decided to head there myself and join him.
It was about 7am when i arrived in the car park which i thought was fairly late but i was quite surprised to see only one other car present. The skies were clear and the sun was already out in full force but there was a really good blow on the water which boosted my confidence no-end even though it was coming from the East. A couple of Carp boshed out in the waves and i was soon scurrying around to a likely looking swim laden with kit.
I spent a short while having a bit of a cast around to see what was in front of me before commiting some bait to a spot and casting both rods on top. As usual i fished maggot hookbaits, my confidence in them is sky high at the minute and theyre always my first choice where Tench and Bream are concerned.
I didnt have to wait long for a bite and soon enough a feisty Tench of 4lb was landed closely followed by another of 4.8.
The bigger of the two Tench

After catching those two in quick succession i was looking forward to a good day but a quiet hour or so afterwards soon calmed me down a bit. It was around mid-morning and the sun was really starting to burn when i had a drop-back and found myself attached to the first Bream of the day. At 6.12 it was a 'proper' Bream and i certainly wasnt going to complain if a few more came along .............

................ and came along they did! over the next 4-5 hours i landed 10 more dustbin lids. Apart from two smaller fish of 3lb and 5lb all the others were between 5.12 and 7.2. The lake has no history of big catches of Bream that i know of so i was most chuffed to have landed around 80lb of them by the time i packed up. If it wasnt for the fact that i ran out of bait i reckon i couldve topped the ton quite comfortably because they were still biting when i left. As i  did pack up i managed to hook a cheeky Jack of about 2lb which hit the maggots as i reeled in and duly landed it to cap off a great days fishing.

Below is some pics from the Day;


Some of them were bristling with tubercles

 Double header

Maggot muncher!