Thursday, 23 April 2015

Tench. Time.

Time is a strange concept i'n'it?

My whole angling life has been driven by relatively short sessions on a variety of venues, but groups of venues that have come in fads over the years. Warks Avon & Trent; The East Midlands/Anglian rivers and Lakes; Thames; South Midlands Canals; West Midlands canals and, now, various appealling waterbodies and courses of the Feldon landscape.

The earliest visits were often quite long by my more recent standards, perhaps eight hours or more. Then as club fishing kicked-in with the, then, Rugby Midland Red bus co. angling club, they reduced to 5 or 6 hours and, as time passed through open matches on canals in the East and then West Midlands to the past three seasons of increasingly short sessions around dawn and dusk, they went to four, three, two hours, sometimes even less...and rarely the same peg fished twice.

So the past month has seen a massive change of outlook and direction since the river season ended.

 I am now around 40 hours into what I hope to be a real, not fantasy, tench campaign without even so much as a nibble to show for it. Not consecutive hours I might add, but 40 hours' fishing the same peg in bursts often preceded by baiting visits the night or morning before.

They've been rolling and laughing at me, and the pike have been avid munchers of the inanimate as I've wound back in various contraptions of bait placement but not a proper bite to show for it

Metal crunching, feeder munching Automaton
When I first stepped-off the river bank onto The Stillwater the water immediately seemed quite 'warm' to the touch in comparison but I now realise that it had been heated by the sun in a manner impossible for a shaded, narrow, winding, deep stream and, in fact, to its inhabitants it was still inconducive to much feeding activity.

Now though, a month later, the water temperature is approaching that level at which it starts to be similar to hand temperature and, were it not at the same time wet, it would be undetectable

Comforted by the fact that others are not lowering the water levels by removing myriad tincas I have become, on the face of it, bizarrely content to watch motionless tips

Superficial this situation certainly is however as what this outwardly tedious, if not pointless, exercise has rekindled is my passion for birds. Having been a birdwatcher for as many years as an angler I have hopped-off the ornithological perch in the past decade, largely due to work and the boys' cricket commitments but, since the end of the so-termed noughties, also by an earlier resurrection of angling interest of course.

Here though, at The Stillwater, I have a specific view from the peg combined with the walk back and forth, and suddenly the local recorder finds himself inundated with sightings. Largely common or garden, yes, but the odd flashback to birds not seen or enjoyed for so long together with the returning migrants...and bats

Highlights thus far have been green sandpiper, the returning chiffchaff, then first willow and sedge warblers of 2015 for the location and flocks of twittering sand and, eventually, house martins interspersed by swallows, as well as departing goldeneye, regular barn owl foraging activity and then more arriving warblers such as whitethroat

Wednesday I was also able to wend my laden way back to the car park listening to the 'slapping' of common pipistrelles, the 'chip shop, chip shop' of Noctules, our biggest common bat at 16" wingspan (no, that's not a typo!), and the Geiger-counter-esque Daubenton's bat...that hovercraft of the natural they fed freely over the water, margins, carr and treetops. Their calls interspersed by the raspberry-like 'thrrrrripp' of the feeding buzz on contact with tiny and not so tiny prey

The, close to, two days of wider natural study has rekindled this naturalist and I am sure my friends and colleagues are sick of me ranting about observations but sometimes it just has to be shared to extract true value. I know I've seen it, but sharing it and making use of it in the written record adds an extra dimension that's been missing for so much time.

Buzzard and mobbers
Yes, tench time has its benefits, even when they are not quite ready...yet


Mouse training update:

'Big set-back when Monica went stiff and had to be ejected as she was becoming food for Potty. Well, it's just life (and death) in the FF&F study

Subsequently Potty became less trusting but, only tonight, a breakthrough that took us back in time and fast-forward simultaneously to the point at which she clumb (that word has a wiggly red line under it, I wonder why?) completely onto my hand for a black sunflower heart...irresistable to Pot-Pot are those

So we're back on course and I'll be able to imagine taking her to school in my pocket again soon


Bloggers challenge diary:

Only 7.5 more sleeps to the starting cast

Still time to book-on at:
and if you struggle with the link feel free to comment on this post accordingly and I'll happily let Russell and Jeff know


  1. I was thinking of dropping you an email to see if you'd had one yet George, but you've answered it here. Maybe you should go back to catching 2lb roach from the cut; seems a bit easier. :)

  2. Hmm
    I think I may need to go a few more years without a bite to compare with the time spent catching THAT Roach

    Nights are warming up though...

  3. May I join in the fun too please George / Russel?

    Will surely provide the required impetus to get out fishing and more importantly undertake the once very enjoyable task of writing about it!

    Keith .J

    1. You're in Keith! I've forwarded your note to Russ.
      It'll be great to have you blogging again. It's been an incomplete virtual world without you for too long now!