Saturday, 2 June 2012
It might look to the casual observer that all I'm doing in targeting these tench is piling in the time. It's true that I'm fishing hard just now but there's far more to it than just sitting there and waiting. Things are happening all the time while you're fishing and it's vital that you take note and if necessary, make changes. two little rig changes that I've made this past week have made my catch rate go up and have led to quite a good catch, including the best tench of the year so far.
A couple of times I've had short takes which have amounted to nothing. I'm fishing self-hooking rigs which should always result in a fish running off at speed, giving me an unmissable bite but from time to time my rigs have failed. It happened once to often this week and I've made the simple change from 3" hooklengths to 5" hooklengths. The theory is that the fish aren't quite getting the hook into their mouths before they are encountering the weight of the feeder, so they pull, move the feeder just an inch or two, and eject the hair-rigged bait.
This translates to a couple of bleeps on the alarm and a bobbin that either jumps up and stays up or drops down a little. If the bobbin jumps up and then drops back to where it started then I'm not too bothered, that's just a line bite, but if it moves up and doesn't come back down, that's a missed opportunity. The rig change has certainly made a difference, I've had no more of these little experiences since making the change. There's always a trade-off here, make the hooklength too long then there's always a danger that the fish will eject the bait on feeling the hook in which case it won't give you any indication at all and you won't know there's a problem. That's why it's better to start off short and gradually get longer until you find the winning combination.
The other little change I've made involves the use of braid as a hooklink. I've been fishing one method against another, using two rods and while one one rod I've stuck to my more traditional monofilament material, I've been using braid on the other. The thinking behind this is that I want a material that will stand up to the weed as it gets thicker and 20lb Whiplash braid is both very thin and strong. Braid's floppy though and this can cause problems with the hair rig. On occasions I've had the hair loop around the hooklink above the hook, thus presenting the hook backwards to the fish. This also results in short twitches where the fish picks up the entire rig but doesn't get hooked and so just drops the lot.
My way around this has been to abandon the double plastic caster approach I've been using and switch to a single plastic maggot threaded along the hair. The maggot can be pushed up flush with the hook so that no spare line is left to loop around the hooklength and thus make the rig more efficient.
The difference these two changes made was immediately apparent and gave me quite a good catch of fish yesterday. The day started poorly with just an eel in the first couple of hours but after 7am the tench really got on the feed and I managed six of them in all. These went 5lbs 5oz, 6lbs 7oz, 7lbs 4oz, 7lbs 5oz, 8lbs 6oz and a very nice fish of 9lbs 2oz. Just for good measure I added a surprise common carp weighing 12lbs 6oz which led me a merry dance and briefly fooled me into thinking I'd hooked the mother of all tench.