Monday, 19 May 2014

Everything except the terrapin.

I lay warm and curled up in the quilt next to JB and listened to the wind driving the rain into the window beyond the foot of our bed. One of the trio of alarms it takes for me to get up had already gone off and woken me. Waiting for the following two I kept peeping over the edge of the quilt in a vain hope that the rain would miraculously stop now I was awake but it never did. All too soon the two chaser alarms came and went and still I lay there ruminating on my reason for getting up. I must have been mad thinking I would go out fishing in this weather. At this point I must say I am by no means a fair weather fisherman, but I am a fisherman who hates getting wet before I've even started. As long as I can get entrenched in a moment of dry I am happy.

My only opportunity to get out this weekend had already morphed form a crucian session to a tench fishing session as the wind and rain hardly seemed conducive to fishing delicate float rigs and certainly was not the classical crucian conditions I wanted. Still laying bed I was torn between the dry warmth of my current position or damp morning and maybe a cold fish. It was a memory which set me right though! Somewhere from the back of my mind I conjured the recollection of a session on the same water on a very similar day. That day I was the only one who ventured to that lake and it really paid off. I remembered even under the brolly I got wet the rain was driving so bad, but the pay off was worth it as I caught loads of really big old tench. After psyching myself up I quietly whispered out 'who dares wins' so as not to rouse JB and dived out of bed.

Two weetabix and a stop at the shop later I was sitting in the car waiting for the rain to momentarily stop so as I could make a break for and run the deserted path to the vacant area I wanted to fish. Eventually and conveniently the rain stopped and I made my move.

All set up and ready to go the previous visit here to Ryton pool came back to mind. So I opted to fish one rod short over a few loose balls of bait and fish the second as a prospecting rod at range out in front of the island where the wind was battering into. It was a slow start in truth but I was confident I was in the right area and that bites would soon enough come.

Even though the small silver fish were obviously finding my baits it took two hours for the first run to arrive. I half wondered if it was the tow of the water that was lifting my bobbin on my prospect rod at first. But after letting it rise slowly right into the buzzer the line carried on moving and began taking from the reel very slowly. Low and behold it was a fish and not a bad one either! Being as it was my best tench of the year so far I thought a nice tench selfie was in order and that's when I realised that I had neglected to put my camera in my bag for the first time in years! So for this session I was going to have to rely on my ageing phones camera.

The pictures didn't actually come out half as bad as I thought they might. But I've enough experience of sods law to tell me that today I would probably regret not having my proper camera to hand...and only too soon that was confirmed.

Even with the wind trying it's best to hamper my cast I managed to deposit the feeder back within reasonable proximity to the previous successful cast and it worked a treat within fifteen minutes the alarm bleeped into life and a second tench was on and this signalled a run of six more fish of around three to five pounds and culminated in a broad six plus female.

The close in line quite literally lay dormant as all the action seemed to be coming on this occasion from literally the centre of the lake. That was until I had a very stuttering take again on the long line. I had only just picked up the rod and bent into a solid fish when the inside line whizzed off. I was in half a mind to try and pick up the second run, but the fish I had on seemed to be developing into something a little more serious. The second run luckily became a dropped run which was terribly convenient as the fish I was playing was not playing ball. I really wanted it to be a massive tench but I knew it wasn't one in reality. A few people have asked me why I take such a large net tench fishing on Ryton in the past. So here is my answer... 

At nearly sixteen pounds this classical Ryton football would have never fitted into some the nets I see people using when tench fishing on this pool. My right hand is actually hiding how much this fishes gut hung down. Other than the slight nick in its dorsal fin it was absolutely mint top to bottom and thank god I had no one fishing to the right of me as the little bugger kited right into the bank and would have wrought havoc if anyone would have been fishing there.

Really after catching a mess of tench and that carp I was thinking I should be making tracks as I was already a bit overdue leaving. But I couldn't help chancing one last cast into that over productive area and thank old Isaac I did. I had just nipped down the bank to speak to another angler quickly when my alarm receiver bleeped once. At hearing that single bleep I made my way back to the rods. Nothing happened for a while but I still hovered, the thinking it would go off any moment. Slowly the bobbin rose then dropped back six inches sending the alarm in spasm. Thinking it was a drop back I struck and felt some solid resistance. I was waiting for it to steam off as I suspected a second carp had found my bait, but it just slowly started to come closer with pressure. My next thought was it might have been a decent tench, but the tench normally bang their heads a lot in Ryton. My next theory of what I had hooked was a bit out there! There have been a couple of terrapins caught by anglers in this pool over the years and on was even quite a large one as well. As my quarry got closer I was really getting quite perplexed by its identity and wouldn't of been surprised if a snapping mouth with my hook in it appeared out of the water.

I know it's a bit of a Loch Ness monster type photo. But this is one of the Ryton terrapins I took a few years ago.
What actually surfaced was just as surprising as a terrapin... It was a bream! and a good one at that. Now it might sound weird to be shocked at the presence of bream in anywhere, but at the tench dominated Ryton big bream are like hens teeth. According to legend a small shoal of less than ten big old bream have been in this pool for donkeys years and they very rarely get caught, hence my shock.

This one certainly fitted the bill. It was practically blind in both eyes through age and scales that stood as tall as they were wide and long. Even being as obviously old as it was it was in relatively good condition. Back in its prime I am sure this fish would have weighed in as a double. One thing that I did notice was that unlike all the bream I caught last week, it showed no signs of spawning tubercles if it was a male and was carrying no spawn if it was a female. So can only assume it was well past breeding age.

I have to say I was really honoured to catch such a Ryton rarity and it seemed a perfect way to finish a great session.

I think it is worth mentioning that on previous visits to Ryton, I had bumped off a worrying amount of the fish I hooked. After examining the rig on each occasion I had found that the hair rigged fake plastic corn bait I had used was folded round into the bend of the hook. Although it wasn't masking the hook in any way I fear it being twisted into the gape of the hook may have interfered with the hook penetrating or may of helped the hook pivot out of its hold. So I made a tiny and simple modification to my rig by way of adding a small section of silicone tubing that was threaded onto the hook link and then hook before tying the knot-less knot. I feel this certainly helped towards my success on this occasion as not one single fish came adrift during the fight and every hook hold was either in the bottom lip or corner of the mouth.

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