The plan was to get up at some insanely early hour of the morning and have my first proper attempt at catching Tench for this spring. Well that was the plan but Saturday night was wet and late and I didn't rise from my pit until just after 6am. Madison was keen to join me and after “five more minutes” was soon sipping tea and nibbling her breakfast. We pulled up at the pit to find a breezy morning and a very crowded water. I'd had an area in mind but that was taken and so were the swims either side. In fact it looked like just about every gap contained a zipped up green bivvy with a perfectly symmetrical set of rods sitting motionless outside it. We drove round the pit, looking for somewhere to fish and to be honest I could have quite happily gone home but it was Madison who wanted to fish and made me stay. Eventually we settled for an empty swim on the east bank with an island an easy cast away and a deep, reed fringed margin.
I chucked a method feeder out to the island; groundbait was a fishmeal concoction of my own with a small boiley and fake corn on a hair rig with a short hooklength. The other rod I put a PVA bag full of small pellets and maggots at the bottom of the marginal shelf over a carpet of pellets of different types, sizes and flavours. Next I rigged up a 4.5 metre whip, a light float rig baited with maggots and Madison was happily fishing. To be honest I had absolutely no confidence and very little enthusiasm, I like to be able to choose where I fish not be forced to sit somewhere I didn't fancy. It felt cold sitting in the face of a fresh westerly wind and I really didn't think we had a chance of catching anything, happily Madison proved me wrong! After chucking in a little loose feed she started getting bites and was soon catching Rudd, one a chuck. These fish were only small but to her they were “Gold and silver and red and pretty...”. After one over enthusiastic strike a small fish was sent airborne and I had to remove both the tackle and the fish from the branches of a tree above us. Thankfully the tackle was intact and the fish unscathed. After a while she became a little bored of this so wandered off to explore the surrounding area.
Having been thoroughly out fished by my daughter I couldn't resist having a few chucks with the whip and managed to catch a couple of Rudd to ensure I didn't go home totally fishless. I went through the motions with my Tench rods but still couldn't muster up any enthusiasm or confidence. Around me the tribe of carp anglers were stirring from the comfort of their bivvies and judging by the state of them it looks like the pit has become the water of choice for the local chavs, oh well.... There are parts of the water where it is possible to get a bit of quiet and privacy but unfortunately not where we were fishing. Six more weeks and I'll be able to fish the rivers again, miles and miles of water with hardly an angler in sight, heaven!
Madison wandered back for a cup of tea and proudly pointed out the cairn of stones she'd built on top of a mountain of sand. We baited the whip up once more and before long she was disturbing the Rudd population once again. With a couple of handfuls of maggots as encouragement she was soon getting a bite every chuck as before. Thirty years ago, as a child I would catch Rudd of similar size and in similar quantities from this very pit, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then so it's nice to know some things don't change.
We packed up in the late morning, the fishing had been disappointing but it was lovely spending time in the countryside with my daughter. I enjoy Tench fishing, even though I'm hopeless at it, I really hope I have time for another go soon but I have a busy few weeks ahead. The next time I cast a line is likely to be in a foreign country in a few weeks time.