Thursday, 31 May 2012

Linear Fisheries Tench...

.... Plus A Very Pleasant Surprise!

I made my second visit to Linear after tench before the weather took a turn for the better.

Andy and I were greeted by cool temperatures and light North Easterly winds when we arrived just before lunch on the Saturday.

I've fished many night sessions in the past but my last visit here was the first time I'd ever done forty eight hours on the bank. I enjoyed my extended stay. There was a pleasing rhythm to it. You are in no rush to get set up and after the first night is spent and the sun is well and truly up the next morning you don't get that sinking feeling that your best chance has passed. You have lots of time to watch the water in front of you and if the first night and dawn hasn't gone well then there's still time for a move and the renewed optimism that always brings.

During our slow circuit of the pit we chatted to some well-known anglers and Linear bailiffs and tried to gauge a place to settle. A little advanced weather research told me the wind would soon switch and blow Easterly into one of the bays on the lake, and would then stay in that direction for most of my time here. We pondered hard and then settled on a spacious peg in the windward bay where we could both pitch camp. Joe was going to be joining us later and there was a peg free to our left which we hoped he could occupy. Linear was busy and finding three pegs in a row in a likely looking area was too much to ask.

I didn't put any loose bait in but was soon fishing my maggot feeders. My plan was to cast around a little for the first few hours and (without the aid of a marker rod) find a long and short spot I was happy to fish over. Although the marginal slope was weedy, within a couple of casts I'd found the lower limit of the weed and was happy with my short spot. My long cast was more troublesome and I ended up going quite long - about eighty yards - and fishing over the top of a bank of Canadian pond weed which I think was sitting on a bar.

My overall strategy was to fish for a bream over a bed of bait at night and for tench during daylight hours. My first milestone in the plan was to get a bite.

I'll set aside the craic and the characters we met along the way but I was having a really good time. Everything felt right despite the first evening, night and dawn not resulting in even a single bite between Andy and I. Joe arrived on Saturday evening and the banter continued, in fact there were so many fish rolling in the peg in the bay we'd left for him I recall saying, "He was $h1t if he didn't catch from there". I went round to see him at just gone five a.m. the next morning to wake him up and to tell him they were still rolling and that he was, "Now well beyond $h!t". Within  an hour of me going back to my peg he'd had one double figure bream and a second bream to back it up. :/


On Sunday morning I had a stockie carp and Andy hooked and landed a proper wood-carving of a fish which I'll let him tell you about. [At least put a photo up Andy!]. During the fight Joe offered comforting words such as; "So what's your carp pb Andy?" and "What strength hooklength are you using!?". Relentless.

A large number of small carp have been stocked into this lake recently and they are making matters confusing for carp and tench anglers alike. The carp anglers are being kept awake in the night by bites from fish in the six to ten pound bracket, and tench anglers are crest-fallen when one is hooked and they were hoping to see a green back beneath the ripples. But these fish are no doubt future lunkers and will soon grow on.

Around lunchtime on Sunday I had my first tench which I didn't weigh. It was perhaps four pounds.

Over the course of the day Andy left, as did Joe, as did every other person on the busy lake and on Sunday night I had the whole place to myself. Both rods out long for a bream and an early night. I had three more stockie carp during the night and into early morning and then at dawn my first weigh-in tench of six pounds eleven.

Still with both rods out long I had another tench of six fourteen before I started to see fish roll over the bed of bait Andy had put down in his margin.

I first moved one of my rods back to my margin spot and within ten minutes I had two liners. I moved my second rod onto the same margin spot and that's when it happened.

After forty eight hours on the bank the margin swim I'd been steadily baiting kicked-on and in the next four hours I had the best tench fishing of my life. My personal best coming into this session was eight pounds eight ounces.

In that four hours I had tench of  (in chronological order): six pounds fourteen, seven pounds twelve, eight pounds three, eight pounds five, eight pounds nine, eight pounds five, and then nine pounds five! A new personal best!

I was over the moon when the first fish of eight pounds five came along as it was the best I'd ever had from Linear, but was jumping for joy with a nine pounder. Thankfully the swim next door was now occupied and so I have some half decent photos too rather than grappling with a self-take. The photo with me without my sunglasses on is the biggest fish.

The nine pounder fought like a carp and was on for way too long for my liking, but there was nothing I could do about it, it flatly refused to come ashore. Weighed and witnessed in a trusty Lanes Bait carrier bag *oh the ignominy* the largest fish was returned as the sun broke through the clouds and our recent warm weather began.


I had one further bite after the big one which within seconds of being hooked managed to deposit the hook into an old sock on the lake bed. The sock was covered in tiny mussels and in my opinion is actually shaped like a tench.

PB Linear Sock.


Invention's Mother

Since Linear I've had a couple of goes for big crucians on a local clear-water pit. Finding the bottom very weedy I was urgently in need of a weed rake.

A rummage around in my kit bag found just the ticket. I tied on this multi-tool affair and swung it out into the margin under my float rod.

It did the job nicely and after a dozen pulls through I was fishing over a clean bottom.


A Very Nice Surprise.

A number of fruitless efforts for the grass carp of Snitterfield came to an end last night when after feeding biscuits for an hour I saw a distinctive shape dashing about and taking my baits.

The net result was an eighteen pound six ounce fish which I believe I've caught and reported before on here. A second air-punching moment in two weeks, and a very nice surprise too.

Whilst fishing with my mate Dan we both heard an unusual roaring noise coming from below the reservoir. A hot air balloon rose silently over the ridge, making a great spectacle on a summers evening.


Here are our challenge scores this evening. Before I caught the tench from Linear Danny had been in the lead for some time.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

On Hope and Expectation.

The expertly crafted piece written by Jeff on Luck and Fortune was one of the most enjoyable posts I've read for some time; and if you haven't read it yet, I commend it to you.

I enjoyed it because it resonated in my thoughts for days afterwards, and revealed an aspect of our sport to which I'd given little thought before. I cast my mind back over trips past and could easily pick out the truly lucky events from those where I'd forced fortune's hand through my own efforts - a four a.m. swim move because of a quiet previous night which lead to the subsequent capture of a big fish cannot all be down to luck? But it also thrust home the difference in perspective between Jeff and I, and made me think that I too should make room for the unseen forces at play. Sun, wind and rain are obvious elements the fisherman encounters, but maybe there's simply more to it?

I'm a scientist - obsessed with the mechanisms of fishing and their effectiveness. Always on the lookout for a pattern, a trend, a formula or some other collection of data which will achieve my end.

Jeff is an artist. You can tell that within a minute of meeting him or looking at his eye for a photo. Our perspectives on things naturally differ, and with that variety comes enrichment.

But this post isn't about the differences between a pair of semi-pro loafers like us, it's about another couple of characters who since reading his piece I've identified as accompanying me lately: Hope and Expectation.

I have to mention Hope first as he's the one who shouts the loudest. He keeps you awake the night before you go and wakes you up before your alarm. Flamboyant, imaginative and persistent, Hope is good company to have around. There is always Hope.

Expectation on the other hand fails to get over-excited easily. Sustaining himself purely on a diet of experience and hard-nosed optimism he is tough to kick out of bed in the morning, but when a plan falls into place and everything is going 'best case scenario', Expectation becomes so strong that there is little need to resort to Hope.

Think about the first time you fish a new venue. It's hope that's shouting in your ear as you look at the water and try to pick out a likely spot. Expectation struggles to get a word in edgeways. Once set up and quiet though, Hope is easily distracted and if nothing has happened within the hour he'll quickly wander off and get in someone else's ear. It's only then that Expectation will sit by your side. 

Expectation will tell you one of two things. He'll either confirm that everything looks good for a bite and affirm confidence in your approach, or more worryingly he'll niggle away that something's not right here:  either it's the wrong weather or the wrong method etc. etc. Believe me, if you're going to achieve anything noteworthy then you may have to ignore Expectation for short periods in order to do so. 

Now here's the rub. If Expectation is whispering positives you'll sit there all day, perhaps biteless, perhaps not, but it'll be enough to keep your feet on the ground in front of you. But if he cocks a snook and leaves you then I guarantee you'll be either moving, changing tack, or making for home tout suite.

If you tell me you fish 'More in Hope than Expectation', then you're doing it wrong. That is unless Hope has hooked-up with Luck on that day and then the extraordinary is truly on the cards.

If you fish without Hope then you're standing still. It's either time to take up golf or better still go and have a bite-filled day on a commercial somewhere and recharge.

Personally, I welcome Hope with open arms as it's he that keeps me coming back year after year, but Expectation is the one I've come to rely upon as the years tick by.....


And now to some fishing!

A recent trip to Snitterfield was fruitless for crucians but bumper for plump roach down the edge. Switching to surface tactics in the evening I caught a mint twenty pound two ounce common off the top. Although I was hoping for a grass carp any capture of a twenty pound common carp is still special to me and so I went home happy.

20lb 2oz Snitterfield Common Carp.
1lb Snitterfield Roach
Here's a tip for you: when fishing for grass carp and you hook a fish, look out for the tail appearing about three foot behind where your line enters the water! If it does then you might be in luck. The carp's tail above was a mere two foot back.

Whilst hoping for a silver bream I hooked a carp on the canal - my first one in years - it had an enormous paddle on it and kept me and my 2lb hook length occupied for over ten minutes whilst it charged about the pound.

And finally for the sake of admin, here are our Challenge scores this evening.