With the bank deserted and silent I took the time to actually watch the water for a while before deciding where to fish. Undoubtedly there was fish all over the area and it took no time at all to spot signs that the resident tench were once again on patrol and feeding. In the end I decided to fish the southern most swim and my reason for this were purely down to the aesthetics of the swim.
|Flat calm summer night, those lily pads and a slow sunset, that's just angler porn.|
Everything was going to be the same bar one change, the rig! It might sound odd that even as happy as I was with the bold bites I have been getting from the tench using a small piece of quill, blob of tungsten putty and a size 8 hook set up lift float style, that I still felt a change could bring me even better fortune. You see the tench bites are so obvious it wouldn't matter what float I used. But the thought that maybe just maybe if I fished and baited one area long enough a rare crucian carp might happen along had crept into my head and this was the perfect night to fish a lighter rig as there was hardly a breath of wind.
It was Jeff and Keith (when Keith still fished) that extolled the virtue of this rig to me, and I think it was Phil Smith who advocated its use to them before that. But whatever the provenance it works amazingly well. The rig comprises a sensitive Drennan antenna float with the very last cocking shot positioned as close to the lake bed as possible and the last two inches of line to the hook on the bottom. By doing this it works just like a lift float and registers lifts and dips, both of which I strike at. With tench the float shoots right out of the water and with crucian it generally rises slowly up as the weight is taken off that last shot. In the water on this occasion with these conditions it was working brilliantly and looking a treat!
Only problem was that the sensitive presentation was working a bit too well and that combined with the increase of silver fish the lake seems to have going on at the moment meant I had a busy night. The hungry little mouths were up for anything no matter how big. I started off fishing double caster before quickly moving onto a grain of corn... them two grains of corn... then a red worm... then half a lob worm and finally a whole worm. It really didn't matter what I cast out in the end as they ate everything I chucked and truth be told I just couldn't get past the horde to try and catch a tench.
A few days later I was back on an impromptu session and the conditions though good had changed. The wind had picked up and the light set-up had no chance of working with the wind imparting some hardcore tow on the ninety acres of water. So back to the heavier lift float I went. The smaller fish were about and even in some pretty torrential down pours they stick their noses in quite a lot. It was as I took a moment to stretch my legs in a momentary break in the weather that I stood high above my swim against the trees and sighted random puffs of muddy water. The tench were certainly about it was just any normal signs were being masked by the heavy ripple cutting across my swim.
The fish seemed to be lingering off the edge of my baited area and as so often with fishing a small change in the location of my hook bait brought an instant reaction by way of a classical lift bite. Even in the heavy ripple I saw the two nervous twitches of the quill before the float sailed up lolling over to the right in the wind.
The result was another big long female that battered around the shallow margin destroying the swim entirely. Though I didn't care one bit as catching yet another stunning Coombe Abbey tench was the perfect way to cap off what had been a bit of an arduous session which I spent sheltering under my new brolly hiding from what can only be described as some biblical showers.
I had to go back the morning after the night before. Having a fair about of bait left over and some unmixed bait stashed in my bag, I once again had deposited as much bait as access to back onto the areas I was fishing at the end of the session thinking the fish would undoubtedly be around come the dawn.
My prediction was right and upon arriving I crept up behind some cover and straight away spotted three tench within on feet of the bank. I truly thought I was going to be home by eight. How wrong was I! Even though they had certainly come back in overnight and were definitely sticking around with persistence they did not want to get their heads down at all. No fizzing no puffs of silt and defiantly no bites occurred a all. Not until the sun broke over the trees behind me. I thought it was going to be a wash out in truth as the sun normally hitting the water kills the fishing, but toady was different.
The moment those warming rays spread over the shallows the fizzing started. The only thing I could fathom was that the water had cooled with the previous days showers and the cool night had kept the temperature low. Then with the water being so shallow the suns rays penetrating it must have just sparked them back into action.
I missed the first bite somehow and then the second one was a bit of a weird rising and sliding at the same time. I was only in contact with that fish very briefly and I suspect I'd actually foul hooked a passing fish. Happily though it seemed that the very slight commotion hadn't cleared the swim. A bit more baiting and waiting and finally I received a clean and definite bite. This fish went insane when the line tightened and luckily I had set the clutch light enough for a gudgeon to pull line off of it, because the first charge in made out towards the weed in the centre of the lake had me thinking I had a monster on. Of all the tench so far this one was fought the hardest and really made me think it would be my first male that I would find in the bottom of my landing net. Wrong again! it was probably the smallest one of this Coombe campaign so far but what she lacked in length she made up for in depth and sheer determination.
So my one-tench-a-session vibe continues as does my constant baiting of the spots for now. I know some people might question my willingness to keep bating the swims and repeatedly going back for single fish sessions and truthfully I have questioned it too. But every time I think about it I come back to the same conclusion that this is Coombe and I am putting good fish on the bank every session which as far as I can recall from my experience is unusual. So as the former terminator of California once said "I'll be back"