Monday, 26 May 2008

Tench and other strange creatures

The weather forecast had promised heavy rain and fresh easterly winds, far from ideal conditions. When I arrived at the pit around 5am it was gloomy with a bit of drizzle but not too bad really, in my book loads better than the flat calm, bright sun, baking weather that threatened to burn me to a crisp two weeks ago. Not only does this shitty weather put off a lot of anglers but I’ve done OK for Tench in gloomy, damp conditions in the past. At first glance it looked like I had the pit to myself but as the sleep cleared from my eyes I began to notice a few green bivvy domes dotted around, one of which was in the swim I fancied, typical. I wandered down towards the shallows, I hadn’t planned to fish there because I figured the fresh wind would stir the water up and make life uncomfortable for the fish, (that was the theory at least) but another green dome put that one out of the question anyway. Walking back towards the car I noticed that the first carper I’d past, fast asleep under a pile of sleeping bags, had both his rods pointing across his swim and to the left. His lines were aimed directly at a group of lily pads which were right in the centre of the next peg. So in effect he was camped and asleep in one swim while his baits were in the one next door…Why? Strange creatures carp anglers. I eventually settled on a nice looking swim with overhanging willows on the near bank, Norfolk reeds on the far and a scattering of lilies in between. The only problem was, I had to fish from a wooden platform and I don’t own a rod pod, nor will I ever! Yes I can see a use for the things, especially when fishing from wooden platforms, but I’m far too tight to buy a piece of equipment which in reality, I’ll only actually need once or twice a season. I can remember years ago when I still fished for Carp, the very first rod pods were made by Gardner I think. My mate and I were happily fishing when some bloke appeared and began to set up with his fancy new pod. He told us we were doing it all wrong because our rod tips weren’t level, I asked him if the fish knew and he looked as confused as we were. Strange creatures carp anglers.

Anyway I improvised and jammed my rod rests into the gaps in the wood and was soon fishing. I chucked a method feeder across to the far bank, dropping just short of the reeds and dropped a helicopter rig with a PVA bag close in by the lilies. Hook baits were 8 or 10mm boilies with some fake corn or pellets, the method mix was the seed concoction and in the PVA bag I had a mixture of 5 or 6 different types of pellets. I’d had loads of liners on the previous trip so I clipped on a back lead on the close range rod, such sophistication! As I am the worlds worst Tench angler I settled down out of the rain, into the comfort of my little pop up bivvy to await the inevitable blank. However after only half an hour the method feeder was away and I was out in the drizzle and into a lovely little male Tench which was in perfect condition. In fact it was so perfect I took a quick photo of it trying to jump off the unhooking mat. Half an hour later the same rod went again and I had a repeat performance with another pristine little Tench. Another half hour passed and I was still getting attention on the method feeder with little twitches and pulls but the close range rod hadn’t even bleeped. Just as I was thinking of changing, off it went and I was briefly attached to another Tench before it shed the hook and left me playing a lily pad…bugger!
Things slowed down for me after that but I was kept entertained by the strange behaviour of the carper just down the bank, who judging by the commotion, had finally woken up. As I’ve said he had his rods pointed at a bed of lilies, surely an obvious target, so why did he feel the need to cast a marker float next to them? A couple of minutes later I heard an unfamiliar sound and looked round to see this strange black thing purring across the water. Now I’m not entirely positive but I’m fairly sure this was one of those bait boat thingies. Unsurprisingly I don’t own one myself and in general I turn my nose up at the things but I have to concede there are situations where I could justify using one. Fishing next to a bed of lily pads at a range of about twenty metres is not one of them however. A few minutes later I was treated to a repeat performance but this time the carper cast his marker to the far bank!!!!! (Why??) Before sending his highly expensive, little remote controlled toy a full twenty five metres to drop his bait with a flash of blue lights. At the risk of sounding like Victor Meldrew, I could not believe it. Granted the far bank position was a little more difficult but it was no harder than the cast I’d been making regularly all morning and I’m far more used to chucking out lumps of dead fish for Christ sake! The only possible excuse I could think of was he could perform virtually all of this without leaving the comfort of his bivvy for more than a few moments. Strange creatures carp anglers.
Just before 10 am the method feeder roared off again and I found myself attached to another Tench. I managed to keep the hook in this one and it was slightly larger than the first two being a female. I decided it was like Kylie, small but perfectly formed. I’d managed to forget to bring a spare bag of groundbait so was forced to switch this rod over to a PVA bag rig. Over the next hour I had a couple of twitches on this but no proper takes. By eleven o clock the rain had increased to the extent it was becoming uncomfortable and according to the radio the weather was dry in Manchester and they were playing cricket. It was high time to pack up and enjoy the cricket from the comfort of my own home.
So that’s four Tench landed from two visits which is an unprecedented success by my standards. All very nice and enjoyable but so far the fish are all small and I’m wondering if the bigger Tench, which I know are present, inhabit different areas of the pit. Or maybe they aren’t going to be fooled by my very crude approach. Interesting fishing, just a shame I won’t have time to try and find out for another week or two.

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