My first session in the spring of 2008 was in late April for Tench and Bream at a local commercial fishery. The weather was cold, vegetation sparse and the pit looked bleak, crowded and ugly. I blanked and was glad to leave, vowing never to return. That type of water is fine when the indicators are moving but horrible when you’re blanking. I’m too used to fishing rivers and hardly seeing a soul all day so having to put up with every shouted word of every conversation between two half wits on the other side of the pit is bound to pee me off. Commercials are great for people who want to step out of their car, into a peg and just catch easy fish but to me they’re just sterile holes in the ground. For me fishing is about soaking up the countryside and chilling out in peaceful surroundings. So commercials are not my cup of tea at all really but great in the sense they attract all the types of angler I want to avoid and leave the wilder places less crowded.
Yesterday I fished a pit that I first fished nearly thirty years ago, one I hadn’t visited for about fifteen years. When I think about it, it was this water that set me on the road of so called “specialist angling” but that’s another story. In the mid eighties I caught some lovely Carp and Tench here and it was the latter species I dabbled for this time around. The pit has changed beyond recognition since I first fished it and after a reccy the previous evening I settled into a nice shallow bottleneck at 5am. On the far bank were thick beds of Norfolk reeds, years ago this would have been a sixty yard cast but now silt encroachment means its less than half that. Too my right was a small island surrounded with shallow weedy water.
I fished my usual light subtle methods; i.e. two method feeders! One was baited with a tuna fishmeal mix, this was cast across and dropped about five yards short of the far bank, in clear water. On the other rod I used a seed and fishmeal mix and under armed this to the gap between the island and near bank on my right. Baits were small boilies of various flavours and fake corn, I experimented with flavours and lengths of hooklength as the day wore on. From the very start I was getting twitches and line bites, there were obviously plenty of fish in the area, many of these turned out to be carp that were getting ready to spawn. I had total confidence in the method mixes because up until very recently I used to make groundbait for a living. The tuna mix is tried, tested and successful but not on the market (a long story……), the seed mix is very much a work in progress.
In many ways it was a frustrating morning as I struggled to convert interest in the method balls into hooked fish. Scaling down to 3kg fluorocarbon hooklengths resulted in hooked fish but no good when the hooklength breaks!!!! That idea was binned straight away. I kept ringing the changes and set up a float rod fishing a single grain of corn in the near margin. This worked with a hooked Tench but this too shed the hook. I switched the right hand rod to a helicopter rig and a PVA bag full of small pellets, probably my most productive Tench method in the past, and eventually I was rewarded. The culprit was an irate little male Tench that would have weighed about three pounds but had the attitude of a much larger fish and didn’t know when to give up.
By mid morning the sun was high, the water flat calm and good sized Carp were trying to flatten the reed beds while they spawned. I’d had enough but had thoroughly enjoyed myself. The surroundings were nice, pretty and not too crowded. The fishing was interesting and I learnt a few things along the way. Firstly I have to be fussy with my bait presentation in future, what works on a heavily stocked commercial ain’t going to work in more difficult circumstances. I should also stick to the PVA bag & pellets method on at least one of my rods and lastly keep an open mind!