Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bump - back down to earth

Armed with my successful new tactics, brimming with confidence and encouraged by the weather I was back again for three, maybe four nights of tench packed fishing. The wind direction suggested that the tench should still be in the same place as last week, and although I actually hoped to get a different swim the one I fancied was already occupied and I settled into the one I had fished last week. Baits out by five o'clock and it was only a matter of time before the tench would start crawling up the rods.

Despite an almost perfect sunset it was dark by the time a five pound male tried to eat my fake corn at 10.25. As it was bound to be the first of many more tench I didn't bother with a photo, and I didn't bother taking a picture of the small roach/bream hybrid that picked the same bait up at four am, nor the tufty that had expressed a liking for a fake pellet half an hour earlier. Something was bound to happen during the morning, and it did. A pike snaffled the corn on the way in, and nearly made it to the net before it bit through the hooklink. Nothing else showed any interest in my baits until I decided on a move at eight the following morning when a pike of four or five pounds nailed a 10mm boilie as I began to wind it in. This one was hooked in the scissors and was safely landed and returned.

I had two areas in mind for the move, and despite expecting a late arrival to have nabbed my first choice swim it was still free. The angler was fishing twenty or thirty yards from it and had just returned a tench as I approached. My mind made up I set up in swim choice one. After a few hours someone in the area I had marked down as choice number two landed a fish. Not to worry, things were still looking good. The afternoon was pleasant and it felt like a take could be imminent at any time. In area choice two it was, as I saw another fish landed... Dusk arrived, a tench rolled, and the wind swung round into the brolly, bringing a little drizzle with it, so I turned it round. Cosy again, I settled in for the night staring at the motionless isotopes.

Then the wind swung back where it had started from and brought more drizzle of a heavier nature. I moved the brolly back just before the drizzle became rain. Just after midnight, during a dry spell, I got a drop back that was the result of a liner. On recasting there was a tentative take on the corn and I lifted into an obvious bream.

For once it wasn't a skimmer, and although it wasn't a monster it was the biggest I had ever hooked so it got it's photo taken in the dark - in more rain. Shortly after recasting I had another line bite which I ignored. Every so often until dawn I would be woken by yet another liner on the same rod. Somehow I rather suspected that a smallish bream had hung itself - so it proved when I decided to rebait and recast the rods in daylight when the rain had cleared.

A nice ripple on the water as the sun rose and the day warmed up should surely have heralded tench activity. But no. Not a sniff. Deciding to call it quits I was on the road home by half past twelve. A few days of work will ensue to reappraise the situation and plan the next part of the campaign after this minor setback.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nothing succeeds like success

When you are blanking it's all too easy to stay at home when you really should be out there doing it. Conversely when you have had a good session you will move heaven and earth to get back and do it again. After my last session I was definitely in the latter mode. I had hoped to get away on Wednesday and return home on Friday as I had to be somewhere on Saturday morning, but Wednesday didn't pan out. Either I could do an overnighter Thursday-to-Friday or fish through until early Saturday morning. I decided to push my luck.

There was fairly strong north-westerly pushing down the lake, and fish had been caught close to where I had caught last time. So I set up on the downwind side of the willow and fished baits on the edge of the mudline being created off the point to my right. It didn't take long before tench number one made off with a couple of grains of fake corn on the method feeder rod. A male with a rather tatty tail.

Before dark two more fish were landed including a seven pounder which picked up two fake casters on the maggot feeder.

For some reason this rig is proving my least effective, although it does catch an occasional fish. The night was pretty quiet, apart from the obligatory two o'clock four pound bream. Then just as daylight was starting to make an appearance the boilie rod was away resulting in another seven pounder, and as I was rebaiting the hair something made off with the method fished corn. Two fish in ten minutes and then nothing until half nine when I suffered a hook pull after playing a fish for a reasonable length of time. Having only just changed the hook (because a pike had bitten off the original hooklink) I was cursing the different pattern I had used.

I needn't have worried as two more fish were successfully landed on it later in the day, although the afternoon was quiet, a last fish of the day took a boilie at quarter to ten. Around noon the wind had swung round to the west and intensified producing far from traditional tench conditions.

I like a decent wave when I'm tench fishing, but this westerly was cold and so was the ensuing night - certainly compared to Thursday night which was positively balmy. In truth I wasn't too confident, and sure enough only one bleep from the alarms troubled my slumber. Despite Saturday dawning with a lighter wind and sunshine no early morning feeders made their presence known, and as I left for home another angler reported that sport had dried up for him when the wind had picked up, having had only one run (which slipped the hook) in almost 24 hours.

Having ended the session with nine tench you can bet that I'll be trying to get through my work early this week so I can head back for another session while they are feeding. The females are starting to fill out, and a big fish could be on the cards over the next couple of weeks.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Madness in my method

Travelling 150 miles to fish an overnight session might not be the action of a rational man, but my excuse was that I had a meeting to attend in the general vicinity. Sort of. For once the weather forecast was spot on, and the afternoon turned to rain - so I sat in the car for an hour or so waiting for it to ease off as promised. For once my first job was to get the brolly up to keep the gear dry, then after a quick bit of plumbing three rods were baited and fishing by half five. The evening was turning out nice, the wind swinging round to the south-west and dropping in strength as the sun shone.

The plan was to fish without spodding a bed of bait out and to use a mesh bag of 'magic beans' on the boilie rod, a maggot feeder in conjunction with two fake casters and a method feeder with one sinking and one floating grain of fake corn popped up slightly. The three rigs were cast out in a staggered pattern with the furthest one being in six feet, and the others progressively shallower. All lines were marked with orange Dacron fly-line backing. On casting out I feather the line as soon as I hear/feel the marker go through the rings. No need for clipping up.

Within an hour the caster rod was away and I was playing a male tench of over five and a half pounds. Unbelievable - so little effort and an almost instant result! As I was sorting the fish out another tench slapped its tail close to my baits. The next bait to get picked up was the double corn and another male an ounce lighter was landed at 8.30pm.

As darkness fell I rebaited and recast for the night. With cloud cover moving in the night was pleasantly mild, and I recast the two feeder rods a few times before getting in the sleeping bag and nodding off. Just before midnight the method rod was away again this time it was a six pound female tench. A bream of around four pounds picked up the same bait around quarter to two, but then all went quiet and by dawn there was a snail creeping along one of my rods in search of a lump of method mix!

After a brew it was time for rebaiting again at 5am. Shortly after six the method rod was away yet again and my biggest tench of the season so far was in the net. A battle-scarred almost two-tone female that had clearly yet to fill out with spawn.

By now the wind had dropped to nothing and drizzle set in. I had a horrible feeling that the wind was going to pick up from a fresh direction and blow straight into the brolly. I was right. It did. I hadn't turned the brolly round in advance and everything got soaked as I uprooted it in the rain. I waited for a break in the rain and made my escape. For once driving north saw the sun breaking through and I soon got all my gear dried out when I got home!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Ol' red eyes is back

Would it be third time lucky? The plan for this session was to do an extra night in the hope that this might give the tench more time to find the bait.

As there didn't seem to have been loads of fish caught since my last visit and no areas producing numbers of tench I decided to fish a swim that hadn't seen much attention. If they weren't in the 'hot swims' they had to be somewhere else.

Apart from a few single bleeps the first two nights passed without event. Then, as forecast on the Saturday afternoon the wind swung round from a not too cool north-easterly to a mild south westerly - blowing into my bank at an angle. When the wind died before dusk I spied bubbles out of casting range. I've seen them there before, so perhaps there is some sort of feeding station out there. More importantly as I was looking at the bubbles through my binoculars a tench rolled in my line of sight - right over my bait! With it being warmer, and a tench having rolled my confidence level rose a good few notches.

As darkness fell all was quiet. No bleeps. Nothing. And I dozed off. At half one the right hand alarm woke me, as something made off with the 10mm boilie. The fight was unspectacular and the few nodding thumps suggested a bream, but nope. It was a tench. Not massive, but a six pounder in great condition would do me as a first tench of the year.

The rest of the night passed without event and I awoke before the alarm and recast all three rods at five thirty after a Mars bar and brew to kick me into life. As dawn broke the wind strength gradually increased until the margins began to colour up. I had planned to fish until noon, but despite my confidence for the morning nothing had happened by ten so I decided to start a slow pack up. I'd got everything in the car beside the rods, alarms and net and was strapping the marker rod into the quiver the right hand rod was away again. This was definitiely a tench, but half way in the fish fell off. Bugger!

What to do? It had to be worth another hour so a fresh bait went out. After half an hour something was niggling - I hadn't put the bag of 'magic beans' on the hook. I wound the bait in, changed the boilie, added the 'magic beans' and recast.

The wind had now picked up more strength and swung round more to the west and was blowing straight at me. Maybe fifteen minutes after recasting the boilie rod was in action for a third time. The 'beans' had worked their magic again. This fish put up a decent scrap, and I was surprised when it weighed in just over six pounds. Yet another lovely looking, yellow-bellied, tench.

I gave it another half hour or so, and while I'm sure more fish could have been caught, pressing matters demanded I head for home.

The 'magic beans'? Hmmm. I reckon it was the wind that brought the fish over and put them on the prod. Although all three runs had come to the 'beans'...