Sunday, 20 June 2010

Fathers Day

I had another early morning, mad dash, short session in the swim I have now christened “The Cauldron” due to the amount of bubbles that are always breaking surface. Unfortunately it was a repeat of the previous few visits. I fished the overhanging bushes opposite with a pop up boilie and the margins with a method feeder & balanced boilie/fake corn. Once again the surface of the swim resembled a shaken lemonade bottle as bubbles erupted here there and everywhere, including over and around my baits. This morning I didn't have a bite, not even a daft Pike! I have never fished anywhere, for any species where there is so much activity from fish and failed to catch. I left tired and frustrated vowing not to fish the swim again if I could avoid it!

Over the past few weeks my Tench methods have evolved considerably. I started off by thinking it might be easy, float fish amongst the lilies and chuck a maggot feeder down the marginal shelf, that'll do the job surely? I wanted to use 'traditional' methods for catching Tench but as the weeks have passed by fishlessly I have found myself reverting to the methods that have caught me most Tench in the past. In the early eighties I learnt to catch Tench by float fishing Bread flake or sweetcorn amongst the lily pads but over the years I've caught far more, either by accident or design, using what should really be called carp tactics. Boilies, bolt rigs, PVA bags, method feeders and it's to these methods I find myself reverting. It's a confidence thing, I'm going back to using the tactics that have worked for me in the past. I've made a bit of a change in baits too. The pellets have been replaced by a seed mix and I've splashed out on some proper 10mm boilies from a real bait maker. The groundbait has a twist too with an old favourite special ingredient X added to the mix. With the weekend approaching I felt confident I had the methods and bait to fool a Tench.

The kids mother had informed me that the youngsters wanted to spend 'Fathers day' with me. That's fine by me; “what do you fancy doing?” I asked them. “don't know Dad, it's up to you” they say. “Fancy going night fishing?” I tentatively suggest. “Great idea Dad!!” comes the reply. So that's that then!

There is one swim on 'The Marsh' that is perfect for our requirements. It's dry, has plenty of room for a bivvy or tent, a nice big bed of lilies opposite for me to position a couple of Tench baits and very little marginal weed for the kids to snag their gear in. It happens to be one of the most popular parts of the lake so the chances of us finding it free on a Saturday evening were minimal. Work couldn't pass quickly enough but by 1830 Isaac, Madison and I were pulling into an empty car park. Not only was that swim I fancied free but we had the lake to ourselves as well! We set about unloading the car on a gloomy evening with a fresh northerly wind and threatening clouds. Before touching the fishing gear I quickly erected their tent so I could get them settled and comfortable so any showers that happened to dump on us wouldn't spoil things. This was achieved and thankfully what rainfall we had was light and brief, the kids were able to explore their surroundings while I got my stuff ready.

Before I rigged up the Tench rods I done something I thought I'd never, ever do; I used a spod. After discussing things with one of my Carp fishing pals I'd been convinced these ridiculously named lumps of plastic are not sold in adult shops but are just the job for baiting up. Half an hour later I'd come to the conclusion that the whole procedure was tedious and labourious but I had to admit I'd managed to put about two kilos of seed mix, maggots and casters out accurately and effectively. Maybe I should get a bigger spod? Now for the Tench rods; I fished a helicopter rig baited with a 10mm boilie, balanced with a bit of fake corn and cast this right on top of the baited area. The other rod was the chod rig and a 15mm pop up cast just out of the baited area. On both rods I used “Grippa” type leads with a lump of groundbait moulded around it. By this time Madison & Isaac had grown tired of whipping in Rudd and demanded supper so with everything ready for the night out came the stove for sausage and bacon sandwiches.

The sun slipped beneath the horizon and the sky gradually darkened. The kids and I crept up to the car park for a minute or two to watch the rabbits scampering about in the field then we settled back into our chairs to watch the aerial display put on by hundreds of bats. I set up a float rod, baited with a piece of fake corn popped up a couple of inches off bottom. This was fished a rod length out and to the right in front of a bed of Norfolk reeds. The float dipped a couple of times but on both occasions Rudd were the culprits. The children retired to their sleeping bags and when it became too dark to see the float, so did I. I lay back feeling confident, I'd put a nice bed of Tench food out, positioned nicely on the corner of a large bed of lily pads. I had two good baits fished on rigs that gave me confidence, surely tonight would be the night?
I slept easily but was awoken by the occasional bleep occurring on both rods, unfortunately nothing developed on either. At 4am I awoke to find the sky was light enough to make recasting easy so put two fresh baits out and topped the swim up with around twenty more boilies before climbing back into the kip bag. Why hadn't I caught? At 7.30am I was awake again and asking myself the same question. The children were awake now too so the three of us emerged from the tent. Once again I re-baited and recast both rods then set the kids up with the whip. I sneaked my float rod out too, just round the corner in front of the reeds and out of the way. Two palm sized balls of groundbait joined it along with a couple of handfuls of red maggots and the last of the casters. A fish rolled over my baited area by the lilies, almost certainly a Tench and bubbles broke surface, maybe I still had a chance? The kids amused themselves with the whip, taking it in turns to catch Perch, Roach and the inevitable Rudd while I busied myself with breakfast. We all enjoyed a nice cup of tea while the sausage and bacon sizzled.
I kept an eye on the float and noticed bubbles in the vicinity but I've seen this so many times here lately that I hardly paid it a second thought. At around 8.30am the float rose slightly then began to slide away. I was expecting yet another bloody Rudd and for a few moments that is what I thought I'd hooked, a Rudd but a good 'un. However the rod hooped over and stayed bent! I was attached to something half decent that took a few moments to realise it was hooked. The fight was unspectacular apart from a few deep boils, It dawned on me that I was actually into a Tench but at first thought it must be fairly small. The longer things went on the bigger the fish seemed, especially when it tried to get into the marginal reeds. Surely I wasn't going to actually catch it? I drew it over the net and “YES!!” It, or should I say 'she', was mine. A beautiful dark green fish, full to bursting with spawn. Would she be a PB? No she wasn't but only a couple of ounces under. That'll do for me!

We resumed our postponed breakfast. I re-baited all three rods and carried on fishing for a couple of hours more but no other Tench took pity on me. At long last I've broken my duck with the Tench from 'The Marsh'. I'd spent all week plotting & planning the fishes downfall on my boilie rods then go and catch one on the float which I'd chucked out as an after thought! We packed away the camping gear then tidied up the fishing tackle before taking a slow stroll around the lake. First through the trees where Isaac carved a path through the stinging nettles with his light sabre. Then we sploshed through the marshy bog and walked on through the field to complete our circuit. “Happy fathers day!” said Madison. “Have you had fun?” asked Isaac. “Too right I have!”

1 comment:

T. Brook Smith said...

Looks like a terrific time, Michael.