I was back after a big tench again, and yet again things were going wrong. My first week of fishing ended abruptly with the cut to my hand. Now all my other days off were wiped out because of a meeting and Tracey going abroad on a Hen Do, leaving me looking after 3 dogs! This is the trouble with having to book my annual leave for the summer nearly a year in advance. If anything crops up I’ve had it.
Anyway, my gear was ready to throw in the car so as soon as Tracey was back I zoomed off to at least grab a couple more days chasing a green giant. I’d intended to arrive at first light, the best time to spot any fish activity, but a motorway closure soon put paid to that. After driving for ages through an endless amount of tiny villages, I finally returned to the motorway. The sat nav’s time of arrival had gone up by about 1 hour. You couldn’t make it up. To relieve stress, I spotted a McDonalds drive through and went for a coffee and bite to eat. A few minutes later wouldn’t hurt any more now. I went to get my card out of my pocket, but there was nothing there. I’d only left all my cash cards at home! Luckily, I had a £5 note on me, thus avoiding the ‘slow lap of shame’ in the ‘Drive Thru’. I got a coffee and carried on. It was then I looked at the fuel gauge with horror. It was below half a tank and I still had about 80 miles to go. I was going to turn around and plod home, but I’d had enough of things cropping up. I was going tench fishing even if I ran out of fuel!
I arrived with just over a quarter of a tank of fuel left, but more importantly the lake was almost full. At least it took the stress out of choosing a peg. I went into where I’d blanked last time out, but this time with no rolling fish I had a really good cast around with a marker float. I chose to fish on the nearside of the gravel bar this time. On top of the bar it was 6-7ft with lots of scaggy weed, but at the bottom of the gravel slope it was silty and clear, dropping from 11 feet to 13ft, before a there was a bed of Canadian Pondweed. Hopefully the tench would patrol this area.
I spombed out a 4 lots of hemp and pellet, then fished a couple of feeders over the top. One was full of maggots, with maggots on the hook, the other was chopped worms, with hair rigged worms for bait. It was then time to get the kettle on.
In summer, when I go fishing at a daft early morning time, I really struggle to keep awake these days, as was the case on this trip. In between snoozes, I would fill the feeders up to keep some fresh bait going into the swim. I’d just looked at my watch at 5pm, thinking I was going to have another blank day when it happened. The alarm bleeped and I looked at the rod. The tip was bouncing from whatever had caused it, when the alarm went into overdrive as the bobbin dropped, then lifted up as a fish had obviously hooked itself.
I lifted the rod to feel something on the end. I had to remember what to do now, it’d been so long since I’d had action when after tench! After a few seconds loads of coots scattered as my line cut through the water. ‘Don’t tell me I’ve hooked a duck’ was my initial thought. I felt something ‘thump’ a couple of times, before it kited steadily to my left. Whatever it was didn’t feel very big, nor powerful and I was wondering whether it was a bream or a big roach. The kiting became a real problem because the reeds extended a long way from the bank. I leant as far forward as I could, but the fish reached the reed stems. ‘Don’t tell me I’m going to lose it without seeing it’ was my next thought. After a short stalemate the fish came out of the reeds and fought in open water, about 10 yards in front of me. I saw a deep flank twist and thought it was a bream. I had my polarising glasses on my forehead so slipped them over my eyes, where I could see big paddle fins. It was a tench!
Now I suddenly realised if the tench was so deep, it could be a pretty big fish. This put more pressure on me but luckily, after some steady pressure, it wallowed into the net with no problems at all. I tried not to get too carried away, but it felt a good weight, and when it was on the mat I kept saying to myself ‘that has to be a double, it’s got to be’ After all, it was almost as deep as it was long.
Out came the carefully zeroed Reuben’s. It seemed wrong to bundle such a stunning fish into a sling, but this sport is almost always a numbers game in one way or another and it was time to put a number to this stunning specimen. The needle sailed round well past 10lbs before coming back to settle on 10lbs 5oz, what a fish, and a great way to end my tench jinx of recent times.
A carp angler came to have a look and even he was impressed. He offered to take some photos which led to a bit of awkwardness. I had to decline, I told him ‘I’ll sort it out after I’ve cast back in’ The trouble is I’ve had a few shocking photos of big fish taken by carp anglers! I didn’t want this to be in the same bracket. If the photos were cocked up, I wanted it to be my fault.
I went to put her in a sack, when she went mental on the bank, giving me a real beating and covering me in slime! She didn’t really fight in the water, but she was now! When she was safely secured in the margins for a couple of minutes, I sorted my camera out and managed to get a few quick shots before slipping her back. I hoped she’d make someone else as happy as I was at that moment. Isn’t it funny how quickly your fortunes can change in fishing?
The rest of the day went without incident, but I wasn’t bothered one jot!
The next day I was up at first light and saw a few tench roll, but not over my baits. I repeated the same feeding routine that I’d done on the first day, then it was just a case of steadily working the swim, hoping a few more tench would come along.
At midday I had another screaming bite. This fish felt in a different league and I suspected a carp to be the culprit. It charged off, then came running at me at speed. It was heading for some sunken branches to my right and I had to give it everything the 8lb hook link had to keep it away from sanctuary. I managed to turn it at the last moment and bring it under the rod tip. Well blow me, I could see it was another tench. What a scrap this had given me.
I managed to get it into the net at the first time of asking and at first I thought I’d got another double.
I soon realised it’s dimensions weren’t quite like the first tinca, but it was a stunning fish. It was a mixture of greens, golds, yellows, browns and black, not to mention the little red eye. What a gorgeous fish. The scales said it was 8lbs 14oz, another cracking specimen.
I should have let the carp angler take the photos of this fish because my efforts were pretty poor! I shouldn’t have left my dark top on because it doesn’t contrast well with the dark tench. Never mind. I was still having a session to remember.
A short while later I missed another bite where the worm had managed to fold over the hook. Ah well, you can’t win them all. Incidentally, all 3 bites came to the worm rod and not the maggots. Maybe I should have changed the maggot rod over to worms too, but I couldn’t complain with my lot. 2 tench for over 19lbs was more than I could have hoped for. Now I just had to try and get 190 miles back home on hardly any fuel. And my phone had ran out of battery too!
The journey home was a white knuckle ride, but by not going over 60mph, these modern diesels showed what they can do. I arrived home with fuel to spare! I was stunned and it shows how much more fuel we use when going 70mph. For once all my decisions had gone for me and lady luck had smiled on me.
That’s it for my real specimen tench fishing, though I may fish for them on a local lake with a traditional closed season. Roll on June the ‘magic’ 16th when I can fish there and also all the rivers and drains! Tight lines