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?

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