Despite the barbel bug biting I had a new blank I wanted to try out for casting method feeders. I also got the impression the tench hadn't spawned the last time I fished for them and there would be a slim chance that, given the weather since then, they might still be carrying spawn. So it was that I got my work for the week out of the way and was getting down to sorting the gear out for a final tench session when the phone rang. It was an invite back to the gravel pit to try for the bream, doubles had been coming out hand over fist. Why not? The gear would be the same, I'd still get a chance to try the new blank out and even though the tench would have spawned on the pit an eight or two might be on the cards.
The carp fishing had been slow by all accounts and I got the pick of the swims - so I settled in on the gravel bar that had been producing the bream. A few casts with the plumbing rod soon found the bar, but there were large patches of bubbles coming to the right of the bar in what felt like a weed free area. One rod on the bar, one where the bubbles were rising. As I was targeting the bream I'd added some Vitalin and brown crumb to my hemp/molases meal/pellet/pv1 mix, saving some back for catapulting out in balls.
It didn't take long before the indicator on the new rod cast to the bar was telling the line bite tale. I knew I'd get a fish when the stars came out. Sure enough around ten thirty the left hand, bar rod, indicator rose and held steady. The typical dead weight and occasional thump confirmed the presence of a bream on the end of the line. It was a dead ringer (bar two ounces) for the two I caught last time, again picking up the trusty double plastic corn bait.
I didn't get much sleep as liners kept the bobbins moving at regular intervals but didn't get another fish. As it came light I switched the method rod on the bar to a maggot feeder/fake caster rig which produced a surprisingly plump tench just after eight am. They hadn't spawned. July 11th and the tench hadn't spawned. Most odd. But I wasn't complaining when a bigger one, proving to be a new personal best, and the next step on the big tench ladder climbed, took the corn fished off the bar. It's not often that a new rod proves lucky, but this one did just what I wanted it to - cast method balls well, and play big fish nicely. Although the tip is stiffer than the Torrixes I have been using all spring, and so casts heavy method balls better, the playing action comes further down the blank with no hint of lock-up.
Despite a few tench rolling and tail-slapping no more were caught during the day, although three more bream came along followed by another at half eleven. A fake pop-up pellet on a method rig produced one of them, the others all taking corn. The rest of the night was quiet and I got a few hours kip. The following morning produced another three bream, to the corn, before I packed up and headed for the water I had been concentrating most of my efforts on this spring/summer. It had been a successful session, eight bream (six over ten pounds), and a couple of tench. Just as well given what was to follow...
On arrival the water looked a picture, yet it was all but devoid of anglers. Just one was fishing despite it being a Thursday. A month ago would have seen it a struggle to find a free swim between Wednesday afternoon and Sunday evening. This meant that I could set up where I'd succeeded a fortnight ago. This time I got more than a few hours undisturbed sleep... The opening of the rivers and the way the water had been fishing had combined to create an exodus to pastures new, and that's where I'll be heading next time!