Another hot, still day had pushed the water temperature up to 19*c by the time I arrived at “The Marsh”. The lake was empty so I had the pick of swims and opted for 'the point' on the east bank. I was happy, as I'd whiled away the hours at work, this was the spot I'd wanted to fish, I had what I wanted to do all worked out. I used 10mm boilies, balanced with fake corn on 10” coretex hooklengths with heli rigs. To my left was a tiny bay of about two feet deep that is shaded with Alders and fringed with reeds. I baited the entrance to this with a carpet of hemp, attached a PVA bag of hemp & hemp pellets and dropped this on the spot. To my right about twenty metres away is an area of emerging weed. I baited the edge of this with about a kilo of mixed halibut pellets, filled a PVA bag with more pellets and plopped this rig on the edge of the growing weed. Two rods out and fishing, now it was time to assemble the rest of my tackle and prepare for the night.
I laid out the unhooking mat between the rods with the landing net on top. Erected the bivvy and sorted everything out ready for the night ahead. The last trip a fortnight previously had swept away the cobwebs and for once I felt better organised than ever before. Time for a fry up, now where's me lighter? Bugger, no lighter = no food! So much for being organised! After an hour I had a couple of blips on the alarm of the hemp rod. Probably a liner, despite the back lead. This place is absolutely teeming with silver fish making the use of maggots and corn for Tench, sometimes impossible. Another hour passed and hallelujah! I found an old lighter in my bag, sausage sarnies were on the menu after all!
By 2130 both rods had been recast with fresh baits and the groundbait had been topped up. A good sized fish rolled to my right, over the area baited with pellets, a good sign! It was virtually dark, stars were pricking out of the sky and bats were swooping around all over. With nothing else to do I settled down into my kip back and chilled out, eyes closed listening to the sounds of the countryside around me. Will a fish disturb me tonight?
Around midnight I was startled awake by a sharp pull on the right hand rod. Maybe a liner but possibly an aborted take? Something told me it was the latter. I dozed a while longer but was awake by 2am. I decided to check the right hand rod, no tangle. I rebaited, fresh bag of pellets then the rig was dropped back on the spot and I got back into my kip bag. I couldn't sleep, somewhere out there came the sound of a motor. It sounded suspiciously like a chainsaw....at 0215 in the morning???? Who? Were? and Why? The mind boggled....
Sleep overtook me once more until a few bleeps on the hemp rod roused me around 0500. The dawn chorus was in full flow and the first cuckoo of the year was calling enthusiastically. I rolled out of the bag and went through the drill of rebaiting and re-groundbaiting both the rods. It was a bit chilly so I climbed back into my bag again, disappointed the dark hours had failed to produce but still optimistic that the early morning period might see a fish appear.
By 0830 I was up and about again. I'd pretty much conceded defeat but kept on trying regardless. The left hand rod was cast further along the bank towards an overhanging tree and I set up a float rod baited with fake corn which I fished on the area I'd been baiting with hemp all night. I did have a bite or two on this rod but these were missed and Rudd were almost certainly the culprits. The sun shone strongly and I sat cooking breakfast, reflecting on what I was doing wrong? Last spring I'd learnt the hard way that although maggots, casters and corn are very good Tench baits, in this water they won't last five minutes before being decimated by the shoals of sliver fish. I've almost been forced to go with the boilie approach but this has worked on every other water I've fished for Tench. Are my rigs just not hooking the fish? I'd prefer shorter hooklengths but these may see my hookbait disappear into the silt. Questions, questions.
One of the regulars wandered around for a chat and informed me the lake had been busy earlier in the week but nothing of note had been caught. Despite the warm weather this spring the fishing had been slow. Maybe I'm not doing much wrong? Keep faith, keep doing what I'm doing? Time will tell. By midday the sun was high and it was becoming uncomfortably hot. I had a proper sweat on by the time I'd lugged all my gear back to the car. It'll probably be another couple of weeks before I return to the Marsh and I've got plenty to think about until then.