Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Winning the psychological battle.

I left the house under the cover of darkness Sunday morning with the expectation that it had potential to be one of those days. My hope was that four days of lingering double figure temperatures might be the spark the tench in the pit needed to get there heads down. And maybe, just maybe Luck and Fortune would play their parts today, as I would play mine.

We set up quietly in the half light and were cast out before the sun rose through the trees on the opposite side of the lake. With the mist clinging to the water it looked every part a classical tench fishing morning.

Fishing on temperamental pits like this quite often turns out to be a psychological battle in your own mind. I myself have taken some serious kickings from this particular water since I began fishing it. This year alone I have taken only one fish so far. But if you want a chance to land a monster then you have to take the bad sessions on the nose, and forget all about those waters where you get runs all day from the thousands of small fish; sit stoically taking whatever comes your way because that next run on the right lake could have double figure written all over it.

Although I have put all my tench fishing faith into one rig this year a thought that something different may help on this session had crept into my head. So I split the swim down the middle using my old faithful method ball on one rod and something a bit different on the other.

A first hour with zero action had me beginning to think it could be one of those hold fast types of days again. That was until one of Andy's rods rattled away connected to a nice tench. Within thirty minutes it was off again and then a different psychological battle began. Ever had to sit next to a companion whilst they rip up the lake catching fish after fish whilst you can't buy a bite? Well I have! On this lake. In the two swims we were fishing. Sitting next to Andy. It's not easy to smile and congratulate someone through grinding teeth I tell you.

But I stuck it out, regularly recasting my left hand rod until finally the bites came. I was standing half way between both our swims nattering when the left hand rod went into melt down which heralded arguably one of the best two hours fishing of fishing in my life.

The first tench pulled the scales round to 6.3lb

An accurate cast back onto the same spot produced instantly a big finned 3-4lb male

I could barely believe it when after ten minutes on the alarm it was off again attached to a bigger 4lb+ male

What happened next shocked me even more. I had hit that sweet spot for a forth time on the trot and I had felt the feeder bump down and was just sinking the line when the rod juddered forward. A fish had nobbled it just after it hit bottom and what a fish she was. She was as long as I am wide and if only she had been on the feed for a while, because she had the potential to be eight or more pounds. Though 6.8lb was still very nice.

Just as I prepared to swap my method rod over to the killer rig, that one too hurtled off with another 4lb+ male

I stuck with my decision and changed the rod anyway. I had it just over my head and was about to let rip when the other rod went off again and this one felt heavy. She plodded around the swim slowly until she appeared in the clear water long, deep and perfect.  I was well made up when the dials revealed 7lb on the nose.

It then quietened down for a while until Andy shrieked there was a snake in front of him. Lucky for me I still had my camera out and managed to get a snap of a jewel of a grass snake before swam confidently into the tree between us, away from all the coots which had taken an interest in it.

The fish had seemingly disappeared back to god only knows where. So I started having a little mooch around looking for potential summer swims with some depth in close where I might ply some lift float fishing later in the year when the weed growth is to thick for lead tactics.

It was when I returned from my brief jaunt that Andy pointed out that a chap on the other bank who had arrived a few hours ago was now digging into the fish. I sat and watched for a while and came to the conclusion that the fish had migrated across the lake a bit. We were fishing on the flat water side, but he was in a nice ripple.
Straight away I recast a rig as far as my Avon rods would allow and within ten minutes I had a brief run followed by a total drop back and my strike found me attached to a chunky 5.6lb tench which on the way in found a major snag. But my luck held firm and out it came and straight into my net

This time I relocated both rods at range and soon enough one of them melted away. This one had been in the wars, and had undoubtedly had a run in with a pike over the winter. The bite mark was pretty much identical on both sides though scarred the lil fella seemed no worse for ware and scrapped all around the swim trying to get into any snag possible.

We had initially set a time limit for 11am but that went out the window. Then 12 noon was batted around until we got into the fish again but in the end we ended up sticking around for another hour until hit a double header which had to be the end off it or we would have still been there now.

Looking back that was one of those sessions when everything was on my side. Hope, expectation, luck and fortune, oh, and of course a bit of skill on my part. As for the psychological battle, it will certainly be easier to stick that out next time it's slow on this lake. as I now know fully what it is capable of.


  1. Now THAT'S what May tenching should be like! Good arra's squire, you've given me some hope, if teh lake ever re-opens that is....

  2. Great session fishing there, it is a fact that the rewards come to those that persevere. Well done!

  3. It came good, at last. Now for an eight, or a nine, or a ...

    I found a way to remove tench slime from clothing Dan. Wet it, and rub it. Or is it that bream slime from Lucy's Mill a year in?

  4. Great session Dan, I am looking for a local Tench water and I have a feeling that one is quite close to home......

  5. Very well-done. That's the way to share unique information with some real pictures.