Monday, 29 July 2013


After a couple of settled weeks; mostly dry, hot and sunny weather we had a couple of overnight storms over the last few days. It rained heavily over Saturday night, the barometer dropped to 1004mb, its lowest level for over a month and the forecast for Sunday morning was dry and cloudy with a fresh south westerly wind. I had a chance for a couple of hours fishing in the early hours, before the children got up and the mayhem would commence. With the forecast conditions it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, provided I could drag myself out of bed that is. 

The alarm sounded just before 0500, I swung out of bed and sat there for a few seconds, should I just get back in for five minutes? No, that would be fatal I trudged through to the kitchen & put the kettle on. By 0530 I was at the far end of the lake with the fresh wind blowing into my face. There were a couple of other anglers present but the area I fancied was free and looked good. I cast a PVA bag rig baited with maize alongside the reed bed to my right then set up a boilie on a chod rig, the intention was to wait for signs of fish then cast to them. I didn’t have long to wait, a decent sized fish rolled off the tree line opposite, that would do nicely. First cast landed short but the second was bang on. This was just out of range for baiting up with the catapult but I fired 10 boilies along the trees leading up to it.

All I had to do now was settle back on my chair, make a brew and wait. A couple more fish rolled in the same area while the tea brewed and patches of bubbles regularly broke surface in the open water. There were definitely fish in the area but I’d been here too many times to get carried away. My thoughts were disturbed by a bite alarm, not mine unfortunately but an angler at the far end was into a fish. Judging by the length of the fight I guessed it was a Tench. I had short tugs on both rods but as I don’t go in for the modern trend of ridiculously slack lines I’m sure these were liners.

I’ve sat behind motionless rods here for so long that when my alarm sounded at 0610 it took a moment to realise what was actually happening, a proper take on the chod rig, before panic took over. I found myself holding a well bent rod with a nice weight plodding away on the other end, meanwhile my heart was racing, arms shaking and my legs were jelly and whatever was on the end was determined to reach the snags. The old and unfashionable 2.5tc Tricast took on a proper curve as I stepped backwards and tried to steer the fish into open water. I succeeded and the fish kited across me towards a bed of lilies but there was no way it was getting in there! I soon had it in the margins and I guessed I had a Tench on the end, this was confirmed when a large, dark paddle slapped the surface. It was a Tench and it was a very nice one indeed! After a couple of nervous moments with marginal lilies I dragged it over the cord, get in!

With the fish resting in the net I got the mat, scales and camera ready quickly. I wasn’t at all disappointed not to have a Carp in the net, I’ll never be disappointed with a Tench! On the mat it was clear this one was bigger than I first thought, long and dark with big fins and even with a spawn free empty belly it added a few ounces to my personal best! I have a tradition of very poor photography with Tench which unfortunately continued with this one too. One last look before slipping her back into the mysterious lake, lovely!

I recast and sat back with renewed confidence, there were other fish still rolling, maybe not Carp but there were heavy swirls from fish I’d be happy to catch. There were also clouds of bubbles breaking surface every now and again in the area too. Noise to my right and the Carper over there was into a fish which he lost in the lilies, he didn’t seem to give a shit so I guess that was a Tench too. Time passed quickly, I was startled by a couple more liners and sat on the edge of my chair hoping a fish would pick my bait up. I didn’t happened and by 0900 the bubbling and rolling had stopped, the kids would be up very soon so time to go.

At last I’ve finally managed to bag a fish on one of these short sessions. The conditions today were about as good as I could hope for but critically there were fish feeding where I expected to find them. Was this a one off, a lucky guess? Or, is this the first of many? Whatever, today things just clicked.  When will I be able to get back to the lake?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Where have the last few weeks gone? Summer is well and truly here now and long may it continue but with all the other warm weather distractions I’ve had little time to fish. The Ashes series has arrived with a bang and the thought of another four (nine!) matches like the first test is almost frightening. This match will be compared to 2005 and I’m not sure I could handle another summer like that! There’s lots to do in the summer, lots of time for socialising while the good weather lasts, parties, festivals, pubs…something has to give. 

The easy place just doesn’t interest me at the moment, it’s the Marsh or nothing. No matter how badly I fair I just love the challenge. I’ve managed two recent trips using differing methods at opposite ends of the lake. Both times I felt I was well in with a chance, I had fish in my area but on both occasions I couldn’t tempt them to take my baits. Every time I fish the place I get frustrated by my futile attempts but when I reflect I’m full of ideas for next time. I’m not going to moan about hot weather after the year we’ve had but… from a fishing point of view a brief change to cloud and south westerlies will help. Then it can go back to warm sunshine again. At this stage of the season the lake is quiet and peaceful and it’s a great place to spend my time. I’ll have one of those bloody fish yet!

I have managed to read a couple of good fishing books lately, both written about Carp fishing and both by Dave Lane. I don’t much like the “how to” type writing so Dave Lanes anecdotal style is right up my street, he tells a good tale too, just like Rod Hutchinson did in “The Carp strikes back” a generation ago. His first book covers his earliest fishing and takes us from water to water as he strives, mostly successfully to catch bigger Carp. He eventually finds himself fishing the Colne Valley and much of the book is dedicated to the famous Wraysbury and the equally famous Carp that lived in there.

The second book is called “A Flick of the tail” and this one features Dave fishing many different waters and catching huge Carp from most. The waters and the fish are well known in the Carp world, it’s a shame that Pike anglers aren’t able to write in such clarity. Along the way he dips in and out of fishing a mysterious water known as “The Mere”, for the huge “Black Mirror”. Both the water and the fish become Dave’s nemesis and the final chapter tells of the time when their paths finally cross. I really enjoyed both these books, the stories of trying to track down a handful of big fish in very large waters is similar to the fishing I enjoy, albeit for different species.

Big party plans this weekend so no fishing and I hope the warm dry weather continues a little longer. However the year is zipping past quickly and soon I’ll be looking forward to a bit of this…