At the start of the New Year I promised myself I was going to spend Spring fishing for tench and bream. In particular I wanted to fish for tench on a lovely little mill pond where I learned to fish all those years ago. When I first started fishing it you were lucky to see a tench caught. In fact I never was fortunate enough to catch one. The water at the time had a lot carp in it and this didn’t help the plight of the tench.
Then after a visit by Dr Bruno Broughton it was decided that the majority of the carp would be removed to help create a more balanced fishery. Since that point the tench thrived but I seemed to be spending less and less time fishing there. In fact in the last 10 years I have probably fished there no more than 5 times. Two of those times were last August and I enjoyed some great sport on the waggler. This is what made me more determined to fish it this Spring.
I arrived just after 4pm armed with a new pole that I have recently bought. It’s nothing special at 8.5 metres long but I thought it would be a good place to try it out and try and get used to it. I know nothing about pole fishing so when I bought it I asked the man in the tackle shop to setup it for me with some suitable elastic and pole rigs. Rather than fish it at full length I opted to leave a section off just in case I hooked into something that required me to go chasing after it. For bait I took a bag of prawns and a pint of maggots. More than ample for a few hours fishing. The maggots were purely to get the tench rooting around and the plan was to mash a bit of prawn up and fish a whole prawn over the top. I chose a spot between two trees that produced a bit of shade and is a favourite area with the match anglers.
On my first cast, although technically i’m not sure you cast out when using a pole, I put double maggot on to see if I could get a bite and hopefully get used to the pole before hoping to get some tench. Immediately the float sailed away and I hooked a small rudd that came off while unshipping the pole. Next cast I managed another only this time it stayed on the hook.
Third cast I decided I could handle the pole without any problems so decided to fish a piece of prawn on the hook. The float had barely settled before it dipped under the surface and I struck into my first tench of the season. I carefully shipped the pole behind me finally breaking it down when I got to the last two sections before unhooking a lovely female tench around the 2lb mark. The whole setup had performed perfectly.
From that moment on I had a fish virtually every cast until I had landed 13 tench. The water was fizzing with every cup of free offerings that went in the water. On many occasions the fish were taking the bait on the drop. The biggest would have been around the 4lb mark. I had also had a couple of decent sized rudd and a couple of small perch. The good thing about fishing prawn is most fish will take them and generally they are a better stamp of fish.
At this point the bites tailed off. Well I say tailed off, I was now having to wait between 5 and 10 minutes for a bite instead of a few seconds like it was before. It was a good time to have a sandwich so I brought the float to rest in the edge in about 18 inches of water. Just as I reached down for a sandwich the float shot off and started to drag the pole across the dam wall. This turned out to be the best fish of the evening around 5lb in weight. After slipping her back I did manage to grab a bite to eat before resuming fishing at 7 metres.
I continued to pick up tench but not with as much regularity and on a few occasions I got snagged which I found odd because the water is mostly free of snags. I couldn’t work it out at first. The area where I was snagged was fizzing as the tench tried to make it’s escape. I kept applying pressure from various different angles before eventually the fish came free. When it did come free the line and fish were covered in silt and decaying leaves. I came to the conclusion that the fish were diving into the deep silt to escape capture. It’s something that i’ve never come across before and on a couple of occasions they managed to successfully evade capture.
I decided that when I caught 20 tench I was going to call it a day. As is usually the case I was stuck on 19 for what seemed like an eternity when in fact it was probably about 15 minutes. There was still another hour of daylight left and I could have continued fishing and caught more fish but it had been an exceptional session and I was more than happy. It had been great fun catching on the pole but give me a waggler setup any day of the week. The pole does have it’s advantages in that with the use of a cup you can keep your bait in a very tight area. It’s also great for controlling a float when it’s windy, which it was last night.
So all in all a cracking start to my tench campaign. I don’t think my next trip will be anything like that and i’m not expecting any record breakers but it’s a great place to go and get a bend in the rod or pole, depending on what takes your fancy.