Its been a tough last month resulting in very little fishing, but lots of think of fishing.
At the beginning of the month I was struck down with Bronchial Pneumonia which had me off work and laid up for best part of ten days, even the thought of venturing out after old esox was enough to give me the shivers and I hung up the pike rods three weeks earlier than planned. The pike season this year hadn't been kind to me and with a couple best part of a month taken away with trips abroad, the results were dismal and whilst I caught on nearly every trip, the best for a 14lb fish, but I did learn alot about new venues.
Last week I was feeling better and after sorting out some online trolls, I started to prep the tench gear for a early season trip. Must task was bait and whilst I can get god quality maggots, casters are a different matter. So I turn my own in the utility room. They turn within 2.1/2 days and were spot on.
So with maggot, casters, worm sorted, plus the usual change baits and ground bait sorted, the rods to and tackle were packed.
I decided that i just wake and go, well that was the plan. I woke, fell back sleep and final woke at 6am.
By 7ish I was on the water and settle into a new swim with the light wind coming across me. My usual reed swim was taken by an overnight carp angler, but I was in an area that I felt confident with and that is half the battle.
In order to ensure I didn't become to static, I only stuck two rods out on alarms, an inline bolt rigged maggot feeder with three plastic maggots on a hair and a worm on the 90 deg rig along the close margin. Each had a few expro balls laced with crushed casters, hemp and red added to give the tench something to crunch on. The maggot feeder was to be brought in and topped up ever half an hour only to be cast back to the baited area.
Next up was the usual breakfast brew and porridge, it was chilly, could have been a pike day, but with the birds singing, daffodils out and willow firmly budding up, spring was certainly here.
Neither rod saw much action for the first couple of hours, but I felt confident as a hardy matchman was catching roach, bream and a surprise rudd steadily in the corner swim on the waggler.
The maggot feeder rod alarm then sounded and the bobbin rose to the top and with no fight what so ever a blank saving bream came to the net. This was soon followed by an other bream and it was soon evident by the numbers rolling that they had muscled their way in over the baited area. Now whilst I do like specimen bream, on this particular lake they don't grown much above 7lb, so they not a target species.
A new area was selected some 15 yards from the bank, this was within underarm casting range and soon the maggot feeder, plus four balls of laced groundbait was deposited on the money.
The morning drifted by and the wind changed direction, grew in strength and had a real chilly feel to it, the extra coat was required and I hunkered down in the chair. It certainly now was piking weather.
The worm bait was left untouched and got changed over to a 10mm strawberry boilie topped off with a piece of buoyant corn, plus a PVA sock of freebies was chucked along the margin.
I was eager for lunch time to come and the hot food was very welcome along with copious amounts of tea to keep the bones warm.
The mini boillie rod alarm "one toned" then ripped off with the baitrunner spinning, but I connected with nothing, by the speed, of the run, I reckon it was one of the carp taking a liken to the bait which is always a danger on this lake.
A few more casts of the maggot feeder and the alarm bleeped, the bobbin rose, baitrunner spun and the rod tip started to bounce. This was no bream, but could have been another carp lunching on the baited area in the margins.
The new Harrison Chimera 12ft, 1.3/4TC tinca rods built for me by Dave Lumb at D.L. Specialist Tackle as a birthday presented from my wife last year, whilst christened with a few bream and one carp last year hadn't had a tench on the other end. I was dearly hoping it was a tench and I wasn't disappointed.
The tench rolled on the surface before taking line and the rod took a lovely progressive curve along the blank. It absorbed the power of the tench via its paddle tail beautifully and I felt assured that the hook won't full.
With the net extended, the tench slid over the rim. Result, first tench of 2016 season and a nice conditioned one to boot.
It was hooked clearly in the corner of the mouth and was soon unhooked, weighted at 4lb 6oz, and released.
The tench was very pale, and not the usual spring coloured tench green, but the water was very coloured and I expect that when the water is clear and the lillys/weed have grown up it will darken up.
With the wind getting chillier, the pesky bream moving into the shallow baited around were the tench had been hooked, the bobbin was twitching and alarm beeping constantly. During the remainder of the day, a further three bream in the 3-5lb bracket decided the fake maggots too tempting and more wet sacks were played to the net.
The mainline was covered in slime, a sure sign that a large shoal of bream had descended onto the onto the dinner table and by 16:00 I'd had enough and headed for hope a happy tenchfisher.