It's been over a month since I've been able to spend any more than a few hours at the Marsh buthere at last was a free weekend. The day before I'd taken a bit of a detour and had a quick look around. There were a few anglers about as usual but the swim I'd fished last time out was empty. If this remained the case the following day I'd be happy to fish there.
At home on the Saturday morning, I took my time boiling up some seed mix and slowly getting things ready. Friday had been wet, wet, wet (with no connection to that truly awful pop band) but Saturday was mainly bright and dry albeit with the occasional shower. There was a stiff south westerly breeze too, keeping the temperature a little lower than it should be at this time of year.
I arrived in the early afternoon expecting to find the car park full as usual but there was only one other angler on the lake and he was fishing an area I didn't fancy. All my previously made plans went out of the window as I was spoilt for choice. I took a slow stroll around but couldn't make up my mind. I noticed the other angler using a bait boat to place his tackle on a spot which is otherwise impossible to fish. I suppose this is legitimate use of the dreaded bait boat but even so I can't help thinking it's kind of cheating.
Eventually I settled on a swim, one I'd christened “The Cauldron” last season due to the massive eruptions of bubbles that always occurred whenever I fished it last season. This swim covers a large bay and is full of features; overhanging trees opposite and lined with lilies. I took my time setting up, putting the rods out first then getting the bivvy organised. The weather had been a mixture of sunshine and showers, with more wet weather forecast I needed to keep my kit dry. Wind was a fresh South westerly which blew down the lake turning the water over nicely.
By 1430 I was fishing with three rods. I cast a method feeder baited with a 15mm pop up to the overhanging trees opposite then an inline rig baited with another pop up and a PVA bag of mixed pellets was dropped into a spot where the trees meet the lily pads. On my third rod I float fished fake corn and maize in front of the marginal lily pads, ground-baiting with seed mix and a bit of loose maize.
The afternoon was bright and pleasant but a bit humid with all the moisture around in the air. Once again the lake looked a picture in it's green summer suit. The only problem with my feature packed swim was which ones do I cast baits to? There are just so many places to drop a bait but eventually I devised a plan for intercepting fish moving in and out of the bay. The overhanging trees opposite would be a natural bottleneck for fish entering the bay so I'd keep a bait here and bait it up with a load of 10mm boilies. This would be a difficult cast after dark (NO to a bait boat) so if, heaven forbid I had a take I'd drop it onto the margin spot which I'd been baiting with seed mix. The other rod I'd fish to the pads at the bottom of the bay, a comfortable cast at any time. How I approached things the following morning would depend on how the night went.
The afternoon passed without a fish of any sort showing any interest. I'd hoped to while away the time by listening to the cricket on TMS but rain was affecting play down south. In the early evening rain swept over the lake too but luckily I was well prepared for it, my cheap & cheerful bivvy is surprisingly waterproof. While the rain came down I took the opportunity to enjoy a brew and a fry up in the comfort.
Once the showers had blown over I was treated to sunshine again and I enjoyed the scene before me. Warblers of some description (probably reed warblers???) darted amongst the Norfolk reeds, a Kingfisher zipped across the bay landing on a dead branch for a perch. A family of ducks took residence in my swim but made baiting up difficult. Around 2030 I got everything sorted for the night as planned. The inline rig landed bang on position by the overhang, who needs a bait boat? I continued to use the float rod to fish the margins and kept a constant trickle of feed going in. Every so often the bubbles that give 'the cauldron' it's name would erupt. Last year these would drive me mad as I was sure a Tench or Carp would pick my bait up at any second. Now I've sussed that most of the time it's shoals of silver fish moving onto the feed in the silty bottom. As if to prove my point I had a twitchy take on the method feeder around 2100 which resulted in a Rudd of about 4ozs hooked fairly in the mouth...on a 15mm pop up!!! This is no longer funny!
This is no longer funny!
I continued fishing the float rod until it became too dark and being mid June it was passed ten o'clock by this time. As the light faded two mice scurried around my feet, tidying up spilt bait. Everything was sorted for the night so I decided to get into the kip back and get my head down. The night was cloudy and mild but thankfully dry. The fresh wind didn't seem to drop at any point. For some reason sleep didn't come easily. I kept drifting in and out and kept getting short pulls on the method feeder rod but no definite takes. The dawn chorus commenced in the reeds around me at about 0230 which didn't help either.
Eventually I dozed off for a couple of hours, waking again in growing light at 0430. This was a good time for fresh bait so I recast the method feeder across to the overhanging tree and dropped the inline rig close to the pads in front of me. I changed the bait on this rod to Maize, balanced with fake corn and topped the groundbait up before climbing back into the kip back. Surely I'd be woken up by a screaming take and a nice fat Tench?
View from the front door
My anticipated alarm call didn't occur. At 0745 I was awake once more, realisation dawning that once again, my best chance of a Tench had been and gone. I woke myself up with a brew and a fried breakfast. While the sausages were sizzling I recast both rods, the method feeder landed perfectly by the tree again. I tried to tell myself I was still in with a shout, for an hour or two anyway.
By 1030 I was loading the car, another blank recorded. Bloody lake, there;s no bloody fish left, the bloody Otters have eaten them all!!! Of course this isn't true. There a few very big Tench and some decent Carp in there, it's just me, I can't catch them!! Back to the drawing board!!!