Monday, 22 June 2015

Returning to the Tench Peg

Returning in search of tench after the perchfest was a no brainer really. I've been keeping it fed on a daily basis and had two more short sessions since, the first producing another footballer of 2-7-0.

The birdlife having become somewhat predictable with the breeding season in full flow, I have been hoping for a little more action than the odd bite, but, in my experience at The Stillwater, early morning is best for that elusive bite and I've been limited to p.m. to dusk stays. My luck at twilight has been minimal here so hope was one thing, confidence was another.

I managed to acquire some monstrous fresh maggots on Saturday and froze them down for feed but kept a few wrigglers for the hook. They were almost as large as the floating rubber ones against which they were set on a 12 to give a three inch pop-up on the lift float method.

On the tip I went for two helicopter rigs. One with a whole lob on a 10 and the other various hair-rigged baits by way of a change to see what else might be around or what might work. For the inquiring and alert reader, yes, I did just say 'hair rig', I appreciate this may be something of a shock and if you find yourself in A&E reading the tail end of this apologies are clearly in order but it's just an experiment and, as you will find below, currently actual hooked baits are leading 10-1 thus far (though they are perch, not the brightest of fish...sort of in the 'Food! Eat it!' category of intelligence really. Not like a roach...'Food, delicately presented? Oh good Lord no!'), but if you don't ask you don't find out, so find out I will.

The bites, now that I've given the game away, materialise in waves relating quite definitely to passing shoals. One wave an hour or so in a few days ago produced a brace of perch which, unbelievably to me, actually exceeded the brace of the last post. The first 3-2-0, then a lost fish on the float due to a wrapped-over live maggot (hair rig would've avoided that!), and then the third cast of the trio produced another hard-fighting fish of exactly 3lbs resulting in a ten minute brace of three pounders for precisely the same combined weight of the two I took the previous weekend at 6-2-0. Not the same fish though.

As dusk approached another burst of bites occurred. The first and third of which were lost fish inevitably due to the bony mouths of the quarry and the middle bite brought a mint one pound fish to the net and while on the canal he would be of some interest, here he was just a good looking shoal fish to be reintroduced without so much as a brief chat about his magnificence.

This weekend two brief, afternoon into evening, sessions added perch of 2-7-0 and 2-9-0 to the tally but I don't like the prospect of starting to catch the same fish and so intend to feed it differently now in hope of other species. It's a weedy venue and, having found a clear area, I don't fancy a move again and as the season progresses hopefully other shoals of other fish will move through this relatively shallow part of The Stillwater. There are a large number of fry in the area at present and, if they move, the constantly striking pike and the perch will move with them leaving other options. There is also a longer range approach to undertake if clear spots exist at any distance .

Are those tincas really out there?

Final tip...
Never leave the dog food bag unattended

Monday, 8 June 2015

This Contrary Life

Rodney's advice has struck again...

I have previously talked about my outstanding ability...dramatic do the right thing at the wrong time

Allow me time to explain, please, before you think, "He's gone all conceited on us".

The contrariness, or is it 'ossity? (I wish it were either option but suspect the corr-r-rect gr-r-rammar would be 'contrary nature') of my approach to angling has somehow got me by over the years to sufficient a level as to enable me to enjoy myself, at least.
Way back, it was practising for matches in really poor areas of the length that set me apart from the others, or was that 'the winners'? Probably. The idea that one could extract blood from a stone, or sticklebacks from puddle, appealed and yet often on club fishing trips I would hear people say that the best anglers perform best on the worst pegs because they can conjure a piscatorial rabbit from the concrete-lined flooded hat. Not true. If there are no fish there no one can catch them but the more there are, and the bigger they are, without reaching specimen proportions, the more the 'better' angler will catch and the proportionately less the lesser angler.

In the present day. I do tend to do what I fancy and, having quickly got the annual Highlands trip, resplendent with eagles, otters, divers, pine martens and wood warblers quickly out of my system this year, I took the considered decision to recommence my thus far terminally inactive Tench campaign back at the Stillwater.
Let's be clear (the water has been...part of the issue) this is no ordinary Stillwater, oh no. This is a Stillwater (almost) to end them all. A water where a bite means a P. B., for me at least with my weedy canal list behind me.

My only proper bite to date (pike excluded) produced a stillwater, in fact all waters, P. B. Perch of 2.12.0 for instance, but it can be long wait.

Tench probably touch 10lbs and so the idea to persevere through the summer when normally I would have my tackle tucked neatly away (don't go there!) is seemingly logical with the bloggers challenge to address too.

So Saturday The Dog, visiting from his Cornish hovel, goes back to his old cricket club and reels off his first century, carrying his bat through the innings and following up his last innings of 52n.o. almost two years prior.
The Dog. Not looking unlike bloggers challenge guru Russell Hilton here, it must be said.
Meanwhile I, being the ever-attentive father, am baiting the swim for a Sunday p.m. vigil (a word that nearly makes me think of Thunderbirds, nearly). Anyway, when I get back the grin is unbearable so I hide in the garage and fiddle with my worms. Lobs and reds were delivered this week and the reds, while tiny, I just imagined would wriggle like a bloodworm on speed when introduced to the water 
Saturday was also punctuated positively by the purchase of 'Ogden's Nut Gone Flake', the last Small Faces studio album. Oh what joy this has brought to myself and Parps! With Professor Stanley Unwin in the mix too. 'Deep joy' in fact. If you're under 40 this may well be leaving you bemused. I suggest you might engage with Google, but not forgetting to return for the contrary punchline below of course. This was all triggered by my reading a buke about yoof culture called 'Mod!'. Fascinating.

Anyway, back to the plot...

So Sunday morning I feed the new swim again and note it's enticing colour this side of the pond. Nothing topping, but that's quite normal.

Come 3pm, with various wrinkly family members deposited in various locations, (the sponging so and so's) I returned.

No flies on me...all in the air

The fly-infested wind was now off my back and I feared the colour may have dropped-out but no, so maybe the tincas were feeding? Mayfly, sedge flies, gnats, midges (aren't they the same thing?) and quite literally thousands of common blue damselflies were on the wing. One could not walk for flushing hoards/swarms/flocks/shoals(?) of them into the air
Bank space was so tight they fought over the landing pad at the tip of the float
Two rods were employed as normal in this post-match fishing era. One a lift bite method float rig on specimen float rod and the other a light feeder. That said the feed was introduced by catty but I had no bombs with me. I always forget something.

The sun beat down and land and sea swallows flitted and fallollopped respectively over head.

A reed warbler rattled in my left ear all afternoon and by 6pm it had reached a point at which I felt  I'd been at a washboard players’ convention all afternoon. An enjoyable one though with accompaniment from other warblers and Cuckoo-ing males, and indeed bubbling females of the parasitic imposter.

An hour or two in and the strangest thing happened.

The float quivered a couple of times and disappeared. Could this be an hallucination brought on by too much sun? I struck into a lump. A ragingly irritated head-shaking lump.

Fight it did, but other than the banging of its noddle no runs brought the clutch into play and the curve of the rod coped alone st surfaced, red fins evident, on its side and one very untench-like but very annoyed monster Perch slipped into the net.

Being still quite new to this game in relative terms I find it difficult to judge the weight of anything over two pounds. So after a couple of quick photos I weighed him with the net at 74 ounces. “That sounds quite promising I thought”, (riddled with expletives). The net went 21 ounces (soaking) and after applying, what was then, middle school maths I drew the conclusion this almost stripe-less fish was over 3lbs.
3.5.0 in fact.
Words fail. Occasionally. The scales left looking like a toy.
Obliteration of the previous P. B. was immediately evident and it had only taken 52 hours or so to get the bite. The change of swim was justified even without the Tench.

Two hours later I looked up from photographing snails to see the float antenna waggling about and struck into another fish that fought like a real beast and, as is the way of these things, fully expected a bigger fish of another species.  No head-banging just really strong surges of power. This fella turned out to be another overweight footballer of 2.13.0 though.
A proper stripy perch this one
Contrary again.
So, bloggers challenge testing tench it may not have been, but it was worth a thumping great stripy 54 points on the Stillwater score board plus currently 10 more for being the biggest of the season (so far, until Leo gets going). More than an unexpected bonus but it justifies the hours put in for the tench when anything you catch is this momentous

Roll on the next visit