As is usual these days I was very limited for fishing time this weekend and could only squeeze a Friday evening session in. All week at work I'd been thinking about where to go and my mind kept thinking back to a local gravel pit where I'd caught the odd tench whilst carping. It's not noted for its tench but I just couldn't get it out of my head and I decided to set myself the challenge of catching one of its red-eyed devils by design on the float.
The weather was sunny and well over 20degrees by the time I got lakeside, carp were cruising about on the surface all over the place and there was millions of those little white fluffy seed pods carpeting the surface. A walk around the lake didn't fill me with confidence tenchwise, the water clarity was like tap water and it was like looking into a swimming pool. Apart from a couple of small jacks and a few carp nothing else was visible, not even any fry, I was stumped as to where to start. Another walk around and I decided to setup in a swim where the marginal reeds extended out into the lake a little bit further than the rest . I could still see the base of the reeds furthest out clear as day with the Polaroids and there were definately no fish there! Hopefully with a bit of stealth and baiting up I could tempt something in from the deeper water further out, that was the plan anyway.
Shockingly, when I plumbed up off the end of the reeds I was surprised to find it was 7ft deep and I could actually see my plummet on the bottom! At that point two nice tench swam past within feet of my float which did wonders for my confidence. I baited with a mixture of hemp, corn and red maggots and settled back into the reeds to await events.
A biteless hour later and I gingerly stood up to check out what, if anything, was going on in my swim. All my bait was still there untouched. Earlier I'd watched several carp come through the swim but not one of them even paused as they passed near the bait, maybe I'd got it all wrong?
As I racked my brains to work out what I needed to do, the weather began to cloud up a little and my fortune changed for the better. The float bobbed and shot under and my strike met with a formidable adversary, I stood up just in time to see the back end of a large carp disappearing into the depths on the end of my line. The outcome was inevitable really and within seconds I was reeling in a very much straightened size14 hook.
Within minutes of recasting another carp was hooked and lost, at least they were eating the bait! With the sun still hidden behind a thin layer of cloud my float wouldn't keep still and again I stood up for a quick butchers. This time there was a couple of large Carpy tails waving at me from a thin cloud of silt and at that exact point the pair of them suddenly bolted out of the swim and one of them was attached to my line! I actually played this one for a couple of minutes before once again the hook pulled.
I thought about beefing my gear up to land a carp but knew that doing so would seriously damage my chances of getting a pickup from a tench in the clear water. I was using 6lb mono straight through to a size 14 heavy gauge hook, I didn't dare go heavier. The disturbance from the carp had put a little more colour in my swim at least and with two hours of daylight left, time was fast running out.
The next bite was a much slower affair. The float bobbed a bit, nearly going under but not quite before eventually sliding away properly. My strike met with something much more tenchlike, thump thump thump right from the off. Sure enough a nice male tench was soon nestling in the net and at 5.2 it wasn't a baddun either, mission accomplished!
I managed to foulhook a carp in its tail shortly afterwards which gave me a good run around before swimming into the reeds and snagging me up and then, Just as the light began to fade, I banked another tench to round the session off.
Considering the water clarity I was surprised to get as many bites as what I did to be honest. I think the cloud cover helped a lot as did the carp stirring the bottom up a little. I know how I'm going to fish for the carp next time I'm down there that's for sure, float fishing maggots with a barbel rod and 12lb line should bag me a few I think!