There is no other way to start writing this other than by saying its a little more than overdue. And it is with good reason may I say! I have had at least ten days in which I could have sat in front of the computer and put finger to key, but frankly I have been in a bad place filled with discomfort and pain. Should I have attempted to get into the writing zone over this time I feel sure this little piece may have read like the inside of a Radiohead album sleeve; miserable and macabre. You see the day after the session of which I am about to write I was begrudgingly attempting to finish of our all new and recycled raised bed veggie patch.
As it had turned out to a classical English bank holiday weekend of pissy rain interspersed with moments of blazing sunshine we found ourselves retreating in and out of the house as the showers came and went. After one such interlude Jacky and myself attempted to pump each other up for one last push by voicing such war cries as 'lets have it' and 'come on, ends in sight' 'arraghhhh.' Moments later only fifty feet from the house I nonchalantly bent over to pick up a small brick and ping! My back went like a plump cancan girls knicker elastic.
Ever since this internal snapping of only god knows what, I have spent most of my time prostrate. The thought of even trying to sit up straight has left me with a feeling of impending dread. But as they say time is the best healer and now here I find myself sitting at the key board with a slight niggle in my lower back and a walk that would not look out of place in a Monty python sketch, trying to scratch about in a mind numbed by lashings of pain killers, attempting to recall something I feel sure would have been a lot better should it have been served fresh.
I suppose the gutting thing is that the session the day before my unfortunate twanging was amazing. It was heaving with rain of course, but this had deterred all others from the sodden sandpit. Leaving me the whole lake to myself.
By my own admission I had been a bit lazy by my standards, not bothering to go out and buy a few pints of fat red magics to ply onto old red eye, and instead just grabbing a bag of Halibut pellets from the shed to soak in a little water the mould around my feeders.
This turned out to be the best decision I made that weekend as after firing one onto the slope of a gully and the other on top of a plateau I only managed half a sip of whatever I was drinking before a rod was off.
The first three fish were mental little males in that 2-3lb bracket but shortly after the last one of those was released and the rod recast I got a slower take. When playing a fish with a second rod in the water I always assume that if the other one starts going that the fish has crossed the other line. But when it happened on this occasion a quick check confirmed the tench I was playing was definitely to my left and the the rods slowly bleeping on the alarm was bending to the right.
Should I have been fishing with a companion I would have called for them to pick up the running rod but all alone in the rain there wasn't even a dog walker to appeal too, so it was just a case of keeping a watch full eye on it whilst I reeled in the first fish as quick as then with that in the net get on the other one as soon as.
All went well and soon enough two chunky examples of both genders of tench resided in my net. Looking at them both there in the water it hit me. They both looked around 4-5lb and my current tench fantasy is a double so these two combined would equal what I sought.
10.2lb was their combined weight according to the scales. The deep shouldered male was 5.11lb and the slender female 4.7lb and it made me realise exactly how big a ten plus tench really is...massive
The next taker of my crude but seemingly effective method feeder rig was getting along the right track for sure. It was one of those plodding around fights, where she just kept swinging right to left and back again. In the net it was one of those fish that looks the next size up from everything else.
Perfectly proportioned apart from an empty lower half past her pectoral fins. A few weeks ago she would have been well over seven if not bigger. But today post spawning I was still very happy with 6.9lb.
With the rain battering down I knew I was going to get a bit damp but an hour of the fish knocking the method balls around the bed of the lake kept me from the shelter of the umbrella and constantly striking into non runs. A few more dry pellets into the bucket and the breakdown rate of the method balls was adjusted enough to provoke another small male to surge off with my bait.
The last fish of the session really ran me around and in the net turned out to be a super long thin female which looked quite young. With her long length and big head she is one to watch out for in the future as if she gets on the food she could well end up being one of the biggest in the lake.
Eight fish in four hours and maybe five missed or aborted runs was quite a good performance from this lake, and not only that but the fish seem to be getting their condition back much quicker this season. Which would be great if I wasn't about to abandon this venue when the season kicks in later this week in favour of the rivers and any other places I can't access until the glorious 16th.
Hopefully I may be somewhere near fitness in time for the fast approaching whistle but if not I know it won't be long till I cast again into sparkling streams of running water, and good luck to everyone else once that clock turns twelve on Friday night.