Thursday, 6 May 2010

Sods Law

At long last I had some free time and so Shelley and I made our way down to the Marsh to spend an afternoon by the water. Typically sods law had already intervened, the first day in ages I'd been able to fish was the coldest in absolutely weeks. With my track record of (not) catching Tench it's hard to feel confident at the best of times but this sudden, drastic drop in temperature along with a biting easterly wind done little to inspire me for my first visit to a new water. What the hell, lets do it anyway, at the very least I'll learn a bit more about the place. We had a wander around before choosing a swim. I didn't see signs of anything that looked remotely like a Tench so eventually settled for a spot on the east bank that would accommodate the two of us comfortably, gave me a good view of the whole lake and importantly, was out of the worst of the bitter wind.

For once I opted for comfort and set the new bivvy up before anything else. The rain was easing but it was still cold and 'orrible so staying warm(ish) and dry was a priority today. I set a Whip up for Shelley, put a little cloudy groundbait laced with red maggots out then proceeded to begin tackling up my own gear. This was to turn out to be a very slow process as I was constantly having to stop to unhook yet another fish for Shelley. She began by catching two Roach then the Rudd moved in and it was virtually a bite a chuck.

Back to my own fishing. I laid a carpet of mixed pellets, 2 to 6mm in a variety of flavours and types, in nine feet of water under an overhanging branch to my left. I'd spent some time pondering what rig to use but after chatting to a proper Carp angler (ie. One with a brain, not a chav), earlier in the week I'd come to a decision. I was concerned about silt so took his advice and used the oddly named “Chod” rig, with a 35g feeder on the end and a 3” hooklength with a size 10 hook. Bait was two plastic floating maggots sandwiching two of the real things. This was under-armed to the baited spot and I was fishing! On the second rod I float fished a piece of plastic corn beneath the rod tip with a couple of handfuls of real corn and a bit of groundbait. Lovely, all I needed was a fish. Shelley was having no such problem and was thoroughly enjoying swinging a procession of Rudd to me so I could unhook, return them and re-bait for her. After a while we were visited by a pair of Carp anglers. They were clad entirely in real tree camo but I had no trouble seeing them. They were friendly enough but when I said I was after Tench looked at me like I had two heads. Apparently someone they knew had caught one of “about ten pounds” recently. Obviously this fish wasn't as interesting as the twenty pound Carp that inhabit the lake....

A classic float in the lilies photo, shame it was bloody freezing.

It was great to be fishing again and great to be sitting and soaking up a bit of East Anglian countryside. I saw my first Swallows, and Martins of the spring, heard my first Cuckoo but as time passed I had yet to see sign of my first Tench. Then things started to look up, the Lilies in front of me shook as something large and unseen swum through them. Beyond the overhanging tree I was casting too the odd patch of bubbles began to appear and I began to get the odd line bite on the feeder rod. I decided to clip a back lead on as if there was a fish about I definitely didn't want it spooked. Shortly after this I struck at a twitchy “take” but hit thin air. I was sure it wasn't a liner so topped the swim up with more pellets and recast. I'd hardly sat down again when that rod started singing again and this time I set the hook into something solid and fishy. There was a good weight on the line and the swim boiled yet the fish left the bottom easily. I caught a flash of green amidst another swirl, the fish felt heavy but it looked like it was coming to the net all too easily. Then there was another large, deep boil and all went slack. Well slack-ish, I retrieved a Rudd of about 6 ounces that was nicely chewed up yet still alive. The Rudd must have hooked itself only to be taken by a decent Pike, kind of ironic considering my last Pike session in March!
Yes, another rainbow pic.

After that even the liners dried up and the swim seemed dead. I set up a third rod with a bolt rig baited with plastic corn and a PVA bag of pellets. This was chucked into open water, more in hope than expectation. The afternoon turned to evening and it got colder still but we were kept going by hot tea and bacon sarnies. Shelley gave up catching fish on the whip when her total reached fifty, I caught a few myself but can't get interested in this type of fishing unless I need bait. As dusk approached the temperature fell quickly and as much as I'd enjoyed fishing again I was cold and uncomfortable and I'd had enough. Before leaving I popped into a couple of other swims for a look, checking out whether or not I could cast to various weed beds for future reference. I could hardly believe my eyes when a good sized Tench rolled in front of me, in open water of about nine feet deep. Talk about rubbing it in....

Most of the following day was spent decorating, tidying and mowing but in the evening the jobs were done and my girls were settled. All night and all day I'd been haunted by the sight of that rolling Tench and it had become too much for me. The gear was still in the car so Isaac and I headed off down to the Marsh for a couple of hours. There was a couple of cars parked up and the swim where I'd seen the fish roll was occupied by a Carper, my run of luck continues... I considered heading home again but my lad wanted to catch some fish so we headed off to the spot I'd fished the previous day. I told myself that the bait I'd put in the day before might have drawn some fish in.

That's my boy...

Isaac was soon fishing with the whip. His first fish was a Roach and this was followed by Rudd after Rudd. Exactly the same thing had happened to Shelley the day before. Her first two fish were Roach then all the rest were Rudd. Very strange, I guess the Rudd moving in on the little groundbait I put in must push the Roach away?? I put the float rod out again then took my time changing the set ups on the other two. I wasn't entirely happy with the feeder rig as to me it seemed over complicated for fishing at short range. I switched this to a paternoster set up with a short hooklength and put this back under the overhanging tree once again. By this time sods law saw the Carper in the swim I'd wanted pack up and leave. I considered moving but by the time I'd done this it would have been virtually time to leave. Instead I put a dreaded “Chod” rig on, baited with two grains of plastic corn with a PVA bag of pellets. I felt this would be a better option for fishing the open water with deeper silt. I gave this a big cast this towards the area I'd seen the Tench roll and although I can't be sure how close it landed I was pleased with the result. Isaac got bored of catching Rudd and was getting cold but I cajoled and encouraged him. We lasted till the light was fading by which time we'd both had enough.

So far it's 2-0 to the Tench but I'm a stubborn git and this only makes me more bloody minded and determined to catch a few. I've got the bug again, it's a nice place to fish and I'm enjoying myself in the peaceful surroundings. Looking forward to my next crack at those bloody Tench!

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