Monday, 28 May 2012
This tench fishing is so hard this year. I've been getting up well before dawn four or five days a week now since the middle of April and as the year advances, that means I'm getting up earlier and earlier. I'm now at the point where I set the alarm for a little after 2am so that I can be on the bank and fishing by 3.30 but its taking its toll. I love the early mornings but it's all too easy to cast in, sit down and drift away back into dreamland sitting in the chair - hardly fishing that!
Has it been worth it then, all this early rising? Well no, not really. I've had fourteen tench so far, most of them 7lbs or bigger but with only three over 8lbs. I was really hoping that by now the really big fish might start to show but there's been no sign of them. There might be a host of reasons for that, the cold spring being foremost amongst them but things may be changing. The sun finally came out in the last full week of May with temperatures hitting 80 degrees and while that was the event I've been waiting for, instead of improving the fishing it actually made it worse!
I fished six mornings in a row last week and the sum total was two eels, two mediocre tench and a 10lb 7oz bream. Strangely, it's the bream that may be one of my problems though. The area I'm fishing is well known to produce big bream at this time of year and many anglers try their luck, some of them experienced and some of them less so. Now the standard approach for big bream fishing is to "fill it in", that is, to pile loads of feed in and wait for the bream to arrive. That's not always the best approach and in particular, if the bream don't arrive, it can be a disaster. Day after day different people are turning up, throwing in loads of bait of dubious quality and then going home fishless.
That kind of behaviour really mucks the tench fishing up. I'm fishing for big fish remember, with a low stock density, and if just one or two of these big fish move into the area, with mountains of uneaten feed lying around, then the likelihood of those one or two fish picking up my hookbait becomes very remote. With this in mind, Denis and I have been targeting different areas of the lake in an effort to get away from the bream blankers. The first two sessions produced lots of line bites but only one eel on the bank, a fish of 2lb 11oz. The latest session was more fruitful however when, amid the line bites, I had one proper bite which produced a very spawny 8lb 2oz tench.
That's still well short of my target for the season but the fact that it was there and willing to feed is very encouraging. What's more, this was the first fish I've had this year that's showed signs of carrying spawn. It looks like the warm weather has brought things on after all, it's nearly time for the big one I think!