Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Summer at last

The evening following the capture of that first Tench of the season, Shelley and I popped down to the lake for a short evening session. We had the place to ourselves again so I dropped into the same swim again. I hurriedly spodded out a bit of seed mix to the edge of the pads before dropping a pop up boilie on top along with about 20 free offerings catapulted out. On a second rod I float fished pop up fake corn in front of the reeds again, well I would wouldn't I? Groundbait here was a handful of seed mix thrown beside the float with every cast. It was a beautiful summer evening with a light breeze from the south east and we sat sipping tea, chatting and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Shelley was fishing a whip, baited with maggots but the evening was quiet fish wise. The Rudd shoals were conspicuous by their absence but the odd Carp was showing by the lilies, no sign of any Tench though. As the sun began to dip Shelley's first bite resulted in a nice Roach of about 8ozs and from then on the Rudd moved in giving her a bite a chuck. I had a few Rudd on my float rod but after one or two these nothing more than annoyance, taking my bait on the drop so regularly I couldn't settle my float in position over the bait I'd chucked in. By ten o'clock I could still see my float but the Rudd were becoming a pain and the temperature had dropped below the comfortable in our shady swim so we packed up and head home.

The week that followed was glorious, very hot with clear sunny skies which is all very nice if you don't want the Tench to spawn just yet. However as I arrived at the lake at 5am for another short session I was sure they must have done just that and would be considerably lighter than they had been a week ago. I chose a swim on the southern bank for three reasons; firstly it was one I'd never fished before and secondly I'd read that Tench like to spawn amongst the roots of willow trees. The trees around me weren't willows, oh well... The third reason was I'd dreamt about fishing this spot the previous night, well you never know...

On my tramp through the swamp to reach the swim I disturbed a Jay which departed through the woods and announced my arrival by making a right old racket that sounded like a car alarm on a still night. Its shrill cries rang out sounding oh so loud despite the almost constant chatter of birdlife. I arrived at the swim and it looked good, nice overhanging trees on both sides and a small bed of lilies in the middle. On the left I laid a carpet of seed mix beside the tree and fished a 10mm boilie balanced with a bit of fake corn. I also chucked in a few boilies as free offerings. To the tree on the right I used the chod rig with a PVA bag full of pellets and a pop up boilie as bait. I chucked about thirty free offerings here too. In the middle, at close range I float fished a piece of fake corn and used some more seed mix as groundbait.

Within minutes the bubbling started, first over the right hand rod and then the left. Following my experiences fishing 'The Cauldron' I tried hard to ignore this but it had to be a good sign surely? By 6.15 I had activity all over the swim. There was loads of fizz over the right hand rod, the float was misbehaving as Rudd tried unsuccessfully to eat the fake corn and despite the line being pinned to the lake bed by back leads I was getting short pulls and taps on the tip of the left hand rod. Things looked really good and I couldn't help feeling confident but I have been here before...

Ten minutes later I saw a strange disturbance of water amongst the overhanging trees to my right. This was followed by a trail of bubbles moving quickly towards me, past me and away into the overhanging trees to my left. I've seen this before at other venues so I was 99% sure what was going on. I continued to watch the water to my left and sure enough an Otter popped his head out and slowly rolled back under again. This is the first Otter I've seen in this part of the world, a beautiful sight that I should feel privileged to have witnessed. Fantastic if you're a wildlife fanatic but as an angler I can't help fearing for the fish stocks. I sat back in my chair and scanned the water which now seemed devoid of life, surely my chances of catching anything were long gone now?

At 6.35am I had a proper take on the right hand rod baited with a pop up boilie and bent into a proper fish. Obviously a good sized Tench moving with power and pace now that it was free of spawn! No, it was a Carp. With the methods I'm currently using I suppose it was inevitable that I'd connect with one eventually but the thought hadn't entered my head until it rolled in front of me showing off its golden mirror scales. It gave a good account of itself on a short line but not being a Carp angler I like to bend my rods and soon had it in the net. It was a strange looking specimen, short & podgy, a bit like me? I know many people rave about Carp but I could never describe this particular fish as a thing of beauty despite the pretty scale pattern.

Twenty five years ago I did a lot of Carp fishing, back then 'forties' were still a fish of a lifetime and we had to drive for an hour to have a chance at catching a 'twenty'. Twenty five years ago a fish of this size would have well and truly made my day. Nowadays match anglers often land bigger fish on a pole and this fish would not even be worth mentioning in a conversation between 'proper' Carp anglers. I grew to dislike what 'Carp fishing' became through the nineties and beyond but I've discovered that I still like fishing for Carp, if that makes sense? Here at the Marsh I just enjoy catching whatever comes along and I thoroughly enjoyed catching this Carp which may well be the first of many. However, I would have been blown away with a Tench of the same weight!

With the rod cast back out and everything back to near normal the swim looked like it could yield me another fish or two. There was still bubbling by the tree on the right, sharp pulls on the left hand rod and Rudd were still trying to eat the plastic corn on the float rod. A 'fish', maybe a Carp or possibly a Tench rolled close to the float but didn't pick any of my baits up. As the sun grew higher and the day got hotter so the bubbling fizzled out and fish activity dwindled away. Even so with the banks beautiful in full summer bloom and framed by the trees all around me the lake looked an absolute picture. It didn't look like I was going to catch anything else but packing away just before 9am was still a wrench.

No comments: