Last week, being a short one following the Bank Holiday, saw me unable to get away tenching. Infuriating as the weather was warm and settled. The red eyed blighters must have woken up. The Saturday after my trip south for the bream I'd bought a pint and a half of red maggots which were residing in the fridge - on the off chance that I could have sneaked away. Last Saturday I bought another pint on the same premise. Sunday morning and I cracked. I had this week planned out, but I could stand no more thumb twiddling resulting from a lack of blanks to build on (Harrison's are short-staffed so are playing catch-up). The gear found itself getting readied.
I was expecting the first few hours of daylight to be the key time, so there was no rush to get set up well before dark. With dusk coming around ten, now summer is all but here, I had no need for a large food bag and set off after tea. Driving through the verdant late spring landscape in the early evening light, sillaging under way, the hawthorn blossom faded elder flowers taking its place, anticipation was high.
Just as the roads had been quiet so the lake was deserted. I had my pick of swims so headed to the south west corner which the warm north easterly was blowing in to. I took my time plumbing, then baited up two spots with some hemp cooked that very afternoon, laced with a light mix of pellets and old maggots. for the night I placed an in-line maggot feeder on the close in patch which had been baited by catapult, a method feeder with two grains of fake corn on the more distant patch and a 10mm Tutti with a bag of Hemp and Hali Crush to an unbaited clear patch.
Darkness was slow arriving as I lay back scanning the water from under my Aqua Rover Brolly - just big enough to cover the bedchair and fine for a warm dry night. The wind had dropped, but not died away so the brolly was welcome. Around eleven I was surprised to see tench rolling over my bait and in the general area. This went on for at least an hour, but the alarms didn't sound. Nor did they disturb my slumber.
I woke at three thirty to the sound of a coot chasing away a pair of grebes. There was a red glow low on the horizon and it was starting to slowly come light. A few birds were singing and as the day grew brighter as I drank the first brew of the morning so more joined in the chorus greeting the dawn. A tench rolled. I rebaited all the rods, the boilie on the helicopter rig being swapped over to a couple of plastic casters and the lead to a feeder. More tench rolled and tail-slapped. It was fully light. Having seen tench moving closer in than my closest baited spot I wound in the helicopter rig and added a small PVA bag with a few maggots in to mask the hook and beat the weed. A new trick for me, but one other tenchists have been using for a while.
The bobbin on the helicopter rod lifted to a tight line, then dropped back as I got to the rod expecting the spool to commence spinning. As I was about to settle back on the bedchair it rose again. This time it stayed up and the rod top twitched. I lifted the rod and felt a fish on the end. Initially the fish came easily until it hit the margin when it woke up big time. I was convinced it would be a male, but it wasn't. It was a well filled out female.
Had the bag done the trick? I wound in the in-line feeder and added a bag to that before recasting both rods. Two hours later, with the water sparkling in the sunlight, that rod was away. Another well filled out fish was soon landed. By now the rolling had abated. Three hours later I was on my way home after breaking this year's tench duck following another instance of that mysterious inspiration to fish an unplanned session.
April I could (just about!) live with being tench free, May shouldn't have been - but I suppose I didn't get the chance to put enough time in to find the fish (I blame the Bank Holidays - and bream!). Here's hoping I can make the most of June before the spawning urge overcomes the tench.