Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Bye Bye Tench

...well for this year anyway. I had my last tench fishing session today and found it quite a struggle. The longed-for weed has arrived in abundance making the lake barely fishable even with the heavy tackle I'm using, but that wasn't the only problem. Having caught quite a lot of tench this season I thought I could get them to dance to my tune but they knew better and the fishing was hard. The tench were there alright, rolling right over my bait all morning, but they didn't give me any indications, not even line bites and it was a frustrating time as I tried to work out what was going on.

I came to the conclusion that either they have wised up to the rigs I was using or that they had become wary of the bait. I didn't have any casters and so had laid out a bed of maggots in the swim topped up with a bit of hemp. Maggots and hemp had worked well enough all season and I was sure the fish were taking the free offerings today but they wouldn't take a hookbait. With nothing else to use for bait i was a bit stuck but I did have one trick up my sleeve.

I stood up and walked over to a flat bit of bank where the grass was a bit thinner and started to tread up and down. This sets up vibrations underground which drives worms to the surface. It's a defence mechanism that the worms have against being eaten by moles, if the worms come to the surface then the moles won't get them but in this case, the angler does and before long a three inch worm emerged at my feet. I hooked it on, tipped the hook with a plastic maggot so that the worm wouldn't wriggle off the hook and cast it out. I didn't want to fish the worm on a semi-fixed rig as I think fish need to have a worm in their mouths for a moment or two to make sure they get the hook inside so I had slid the stop up the line making the inline feeder free-running and fished the bobbin on a long drop.

The effect this change had was immediate. I started to get short pulls and twitches on the bobbin, maybe just small fish or maybe something bigger. A friend stopped by for a chat and as we solved the world's problems so the bobbin slid smoothly up to the butt ring and I struck. I had a few anxious moments as I pulled what was obviously a sizeable tench through the thick weed but I got there in the end and was relieved to put the net under a nice 8lb 3oz fish, totally spawned out.

Another worm dance brought another bait which was also sent on its merry way to the tench feeding ground and soon I followed the eight with a male tench of five pounds or so. Another dance and another worm later I hooked and lost a fish before then obtaining a nice big lobworm and hooking that on. I should really have put a bigger hook on for this bait as a size ten just isn't big enough as I discovered to my cost just a few seconds later when the bobbin slid up and I struck into thin air. Doubtless either the large worm had masked the hook or the fish had only grabbed the end of it.

Things slowed up, both in terms of the fishing and of the worm gathering and before long I lost a rig whilst trying to retrieve it through the thick weed. That was enough, I didn't retackle, the day was ended and so was the tench fishing for 2012. Onwards and upwards then, what's the next challenge?

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