I agreed to meet up with Keith on Thursday for my first foray into the unknown. I arrived quite a lot earlier than Keith after chipping off work early with the express intention of having a good look round and tapping up the locals for any inside info.
My first sight of the lake confirmed I had vastly overestimated the size of it, but the gin clear water and clean gravel that could been seen from the edge made it look rather nice. I did speak to a few natives and it seemed as I heard before that some accurate spodding was order of the day.
When Keith arrived I opted to fish an adjacent peg to him as during the few hours I'd spent exploring, peeping and generally grubbing around the lake I hadn't seen a single sign of fish.
I started by banging out 15-20 large feeders of ground bait onto a deepish area with a nice clean bottom then put a feeder rig baited with a few grains of corn on top. My second rod was rigged up with a method feeder rid and cast into the margins.
Over the next few hours my rods remained absolutely silent and I never even got the slightest indication of any fish moving over my carpet of bait. Eventually I spotted a couple of feeding patches that betrayed the subsurface location of at least two tench. It didn't take a few seconds for me to cast the method ball into the area. With still no reaction to my baits I was round in Keith's swim chatting away when the rod hoofed off like a it was attached to wild animal. By the time I had the rod in hand the fish had moved maybe thirty metres form the left to right and was not far off a nasty snag in the margins. Locking down the clutch I turned it back into open water and managed to get it into the side towards the waiting net manned by Keith. A large green side was all I saw as it rolled on the surface and snapped my hook link. Keith did the sensible thing and disappeared off to his own swim and left me cursing myself for not letting that clutch back off.
Later I had a second run which was dropped, and as evening closed in on my third screaming run off the night I made contact with a second, allbeit smaller fish, which turned out to be another tench which also came off in the edge.
I never expect to do really well on a new lake especially one like this with clear water and a natural population of fish which probably have no reason to ever eat an anglers bait, but this session had given me a glimpse into how the fish feed. To be honest I reckon that all the disturbance I caused whacking in loads of bait was probably detrimental to the fishing and searching them out with small parcels of bait worked much better.
I know for sure that the rods I brought along were far to heavy for the job in hand at 2 1/4lb. But I had convinced myself that I would be throwing large feeders long distances all night and the lack of give in those rods were directly to blame for the lost fish.
Two days later I went back with Andy to have another go this time opting for a couple of swims in a wooded area of the lake. We had arrived very early and there seemed to be signs of life in front of us. This time two method feeders went in. My hope was to try and pick off a fish here and there using the softly softly approach. If you can call method feeders softly that is.
My swim never sparked into life at all but Andy's on the other hand seemed to get regular visits from moving fish and in no time he had banked some very nice tench.
I was starting to wonder why my almost identical baits which were not that far off Andy's were receiving no attention at all. I decided to go off and have have a mooch up the bank in the area I had fished only a few nights before. Upon arriving I spotted Lee on the opposite bank and also two or three patches of tench fizz in the area id fished before. It was a no brainer and soon enough I found myself set up in the swim. For the next couple of hours I sat and watched the feeding fish move off round the corner ignoring my baits as they did.
I received news that Andy was still on the fish and made that difficult decision to move back to the swim which had produced nothing before, but I knew there were at least fish in the area.
It's not easy to stand watching as your mate mullers the lake whilst your rods sit idle close by, but as I did Lee turned up and reported nothing more than two liners/dropped runs as well as two other experienced anglers suffering the seeming same fate.
Finally whilst I stood nattering my right hand rod ripped off as a feisty male tench made it's bid for freedom.
The lighter rod I had brought this time performed admirably in subduing the savage diving runs and lee slipped the net under a perfect 4.4lb male tench.
Check the fins on that!
At last I had landed one! Not the biggest tench in the lake but a pretty damn perfect one as far as I am concerned. Whilst we were fishing I began to suspect that the fish that Andy was encountering were either moving along a specific route that didn't come as far up the bank as I was fishing or that they were following a bar which may have been a little further out in my swim. Ether way I did eventually get a run and I know for sure this lake will get a few more visits over the summer from this tench addict.