As I write this I feel like I’m treading water until the 16th of June, when we can fish the rivers and drains again. My local rivers (most within walking distance from my house) are perfect for spending the odd hour or more chasing all kinds of species. I’m still spending most of my spare time putting wardrobes, beds and plenty of other things together in one house and clearing another out, but I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. All these chores are very frustrating because at this time of year I’d love to be trying for a few tench, preferably with a whopper or two sprinkled amongst them! I have managed a few trips to the fishing bank though, including another blank chasing tench in deepest Oxfordshire.
I had a few spare days where nothing needed doing so I headed to the Linear complex of gravel pits. I wanted to catch a few tench, but I knew my old mate Dai Gribble was there so it would be nice just to catch up with him again. As per usual, I never had a sniff of a tench, but had a good catch up with fellow Tenchfisher Dai, and a few other anglers.
I can’t wait for ‘Tench Time’ next year, I’ve had nothing but bad luck with the species for a few years. There’s a big head of good tench in the Linear waters, but in the handful of trips I’ve had there, I’m yet to hook a tench! I’ve caught big roach from both Hardwick and St Johns lakes while after tincas, but I try to catch those in the cooler months.
This time I fished on Manor Lake, but it was dead for the time i was there so I came home after 24 hours. Even Dai managed only one fish from Oxlease Lake and he can catch big tench out of his bath! There was a good number of fish caught on Oxlease for those in the right pegs, but a change in the wind saw them drift away to the other side of the lake, where carp anglers were already fishing. And there lies the problem with fishing busy waters like Linear. Quite often you can see fish, but the place is so busy you can’t get close to them. This makes me wonder where to have next years campaign. Last years ticket gave me access to big tench which were in 3 large pits, but they were tough fishing, though there was always plenty of space from which to fish. There were also a few smaller pits where numbers of quality tench could be caught. Now you can see why it’s appealing!
Sywell is always special to me and is another option. I haven’t fished there for 7 years, and it’s tougher than ever, so I’ve heard, but there’s still some good tench to be caught from the place. The big attraction, for me at least, is that it’s almost devoid of anglers. If you see a tench roll you can move to it, or if a favourable wind is blowing into one bank, again, you can move there. While I was fishing Sywell my tench PB increased every season until it levelled out at 9lb 12oz.
I caught quite a few 9lb+ tench from there, but always had to stop tench fishing towards the end of May as I was playing cricket a few days every week. With 20 / 20 hindsight I wish I’d carried on fishing into June as the tench bulked up and went over the magic 10lbs mark, but I didn’t realise just how tough the fishing would get. I always thought they’d be there in reasonable numbers.
At least I should have more fishing time next year, because you can’t catch if you don’t fish! I did avoid the blank at Manor with a jack pike getting my hopes up by snaffling my worm! The swine also helped me make my decision to come home as on release, he thrashed hard and did a 360 degree back flip, but catching my fingers with his teeth in the process! A nasty gash was the result that wouldn’t stop bleeding, and it stung a bit too!
The rest of the days were spent walking the banks of local rivers and that’s why I can’t wait for the 16th. The water was crystal clear in all 4 of the rivers that I walked. Most of the water was devoid of fish, a far cry from years ago when there were numerous roach and gudgeon to be found in all areas. I did see some fish that almost made me want to get the ‘shad’ gear out and start straight away!
I saw 4 shoals of big roach, small in numbers, but there were enough around the 2lbs mark to make my pulse quicken! I saw big dace that I never knew existed in one river and lots of chub with what looked like some very special ones. I was in an area that was so overgrown it’s probably never been fished. You can’t park nearby and its a job just to get to the river. When I got there I thought I saw a carp, but realised it was a chub! I don’t know how big it was because I don’t see too many big chub, never mind get to hook them so I can get a good idea of the size. All I can guess is it must be 6lbs at least, but hopefully larger! Despite me having bushes for cover and it not seeing me it was very skitty. It definitely knew I was there. Soon it was joined by 4 shoal mates and they looked a good size too. They all acted nervously so I think they’ll be tough to catch. It’ll be fun trying though!
I also saw large perch in 3 rivers so I’ll have to try for those. Again, some were miles off the beaten track, but these look like they’ll be far easier to catch. I thought I saw the mother of all roach, but I’m pretty sure it was a roach bream hybrid, though it will have to be checked out.
There were a few shoals of small to medium sized roach in 3 of the rivers too, which hopefully bodes well for the future. They were sunning themselves close to the surface, but behind one shoal lurked a dark assassin!
This photo was taken with my camera phone, but I might venture out with my normal camera if we get a nice sunny day when I’m off work. It’s nice to see quality fish in clear water and i’d like to take quality photos of them too.
The only other fishing I’ve been doing is the odd evening on the local canal. I’ve just been fishing a small ground bait feeder packed with goodies and casting it halfway across. In just a couple of hours you can catch some lovely bream to over 4lbs as well as the odd silver bream and roach. Time prevents me from trying to get the full potential of fishing from this canal, but there are special fish to be caught.
My mate Martin caught roach to 1.9 last year and I’ve heard of a few ‘2’s so that’s a possible target. I had a go for big roach in the canal a few years ago, but only caught them to around a pound, but I did only give it one evening!
The chub grow big in the canal too. 7lb fish have been caught in the past, with a few ‘6’s reported. I’ve had the odd pleasure session after chub and have landed a number of 4lb fish and the odd one of 5lbs. Again, I don’t fish here half as much as I should, and most of the canal is neglected these days.
Simple wagler and caster tactics produce most of the chub and roach. A lovely way to catch quality fish.
I might have the odd evening on the canal before the rivers and drains are fishable again, but hopefully I’ll be reporting some good fish on this page in the near future. I’ve put the leg work in and located some lovely specimens. Lets hope I can catch them, I can’t wait!