Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Things That go Beep in the Night

It's that time of year when I pack away the pike rods and try for something else and as usual, my choice was going to be between tench and bream. It's been a cool, wet spring so far and coming after a particularly cold winter that made me decide to go for the bream first. Tench are certainly catchable just now but I really prefer to do my tenchfishing in warmer weather when I think they are much more on the feed.

It was to be a two-night session this one, monday and tuesday nights to be precise. The carpers that occupy this lake 24/7 seem to favour wednesday onwards so I expected to have my choice of swims and I wasn't disappointed. There were two other anglers set up when I arrived but it's a big lake with room enough for thirty or more so I got the swim I wanted and it was well away from the others. I did get some company as I was setting up though. A family of swans arrived with the cygnets riding shotgun on their mother's back, it was comical to see them hopping on and off as if they were getting the bus home.

The tackle was in a bit of a state to be honest. I hadn't had time to sort it out beforehand and I decided to do it on the bank after the usual rigmorole of plumbing, putting out a marker, clipping up, spodding (for two hours) and setting up the bivvy etc. etc. By the time I'd got everything done I was quite surprised to find that it was after eight in the evening, no wonder I was feeling hungry! Creamy chicken and mash for tea, that was lovely and with the rods out I could settle in for a peaceful evening.

Noises in the Dark
I was fishing three rods, one with maggot and the other two with mini-boilies and corn fished on helicopter rigs. All three were set up with tight lines and heavy bobbins. This makes for quiet fishing since line bites are often not detected this way but it had another advantage. Tench and bream give quite different bites when you're fishing this way. The strong, bold tench always scream off, stripping line from the baitrunner and making the alarm scream but the bream give drop-back bites and often take no line at all.
Sure enough, at around two in the morning the indicator on the middle rod fell slowly to the ground. I pulled into the fish and knew at once that this was a big bream.
12lb 5oz and my biggest from this particular lake, I was well pleased. It had taken two mini boilies hair rigged on a size 12. I put that one back and immediately had a take on the other rod. Sadly though it didn't stay connected when I pulled into it.

The rest of the night passed uneventfully and the day dawned cold and windy. It's normal to pick up a tench or two in the morning when bream fishing this lake but for once this didn't happen and the indicators held motionless for hour after hour. I was pleased really, because as the day wore on it got wetter and wetter. The showers turned to steady, heavy rain and by mid afternoon thunder and lightening paid a visit too. I managed to dart out in between the lengthy showers to bait up, recast and tidy up the general swim but it was never long before another burst of the wet stuff had me running for cover. It was awful, I felt like a prisoner.

The only bright moment of the day was when a green woodpecker came down and started foraging in the undergrowth nearby. These birds are very shy and hard to spot but I even got a picture of this one - albeit a poor one.

Disappointing Conclusion

The rain stopped shortly before dark and the sky cleared which meant that the temperature plummetted. It was a cold night alright and I had to stay wrapped up in the bag all through it. Just one indication, almost certainly a bream since it was a drop-back but by the time I got to the rod it had stopped. I reeled in to try and find out why - it was obvious, the hook was blunt. I must have turned it on a stone whilst reeling in and not spotted it. Attention to detail Eric, that's what catches fish!
I suppose it could be the combination of lots of cold water entering the lake and a cold night that put the fish off. I rather think though that it was just the old bream enigma that did me. No-one has ever really got to grips with this species, though some may claim they have. Does heavy baiting work? Who knows, it didn't this time.
No tench again on the final morning. That's very unusual for this lake but at least it means I made the right decision in going for bream in the first place. I ended up with a good fish, albeit just the one, and that's better than a blank.

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