Sweltering heat… with a thunderstorm thrown in for good measure! (tench article, entry 57)

It was a sweltering day as I drove to the lake where I have been doing my recent tench fishing. My present car, which I have owned for a couple of months, is the first one I have had with air-conditioning fitted. It certainly is a wonderful luxury when the temperatures soar.

And now I know why people drive in the heat of summer with their windows up. I used to think they got some strange kick in being cooked alive…now I know they just have air-conditioning fitted instead!

But sooner or later you have to get out of the car, and that’s when the heat hits you! It was a long walk to the peg I had chosen to fish, and by the time I dumped my tackle on the ground, I was positively drenched with sweat. ‘Roll on the winter’ I thought to myself – we’re never satisfied are we?

It was a very slow session, and apart from constant attacks on the bait from small roach, I ended up with just one tench. It was about 2lb+ but I didn’t weigh it, as it was quite clearly below 4lb, which is the first weight category that I log.

The hot weather had brought out lots of people though for a walk round the lake, and I got asked the usual question by a couple of folks who stopped to talk…’Do you eat your catch?’…I don’t know if you ever get asked that question, but I do on a regular basis.

With the hot spell continuing, it was back to the same venue as I returned for another session later in the week. This time there was a breeze blowing, and although it only created a ripple on the surface, hopefully it would not only be beneficial to the angling, but also to me, I thought to myself!

As always, the first thing I did was to bait up with dead maggots and corn, using brown crumb as the carrier. You would think that all the disturbance of lobbing in big balls of groundbait would kill the swim for a while, but I’ve found many times that I’ve cast out and had fish before the surface has even returned to calm. However, this time all remained quiet.

Within an hour or so of fishing I noticed dark clouds make their way towards me. With the noise of thunder getting ever closer, I knew a storm was on its way. Fortunately I remained on the fringes, and although I was caught up in a right old downpour, the thunder and lightning itself was concentrated elsewhere. As the storm eventually passed, and made its way north, its legacy was to leave behind a very refreshing atmosphere. However, within a short time, the powerful sun once more imposed itself and it was back to the intense heat. Still, it was nice while it lasted.

Following the storm, I caught the first tench of the session, which weighed in at 4-5-0. I had to wait a couple of hours for the next fish, which was 3-6-8. It did look as if it may crack the 4lb barrier, hence the reason for weighing it. But although it was a chunky fish, it lacked the length needed.

I had another three tench, which all came in a final half-hour flurry of activity right at the end of the session. This is one thing I have noticed about the lake – long periods of inactivity are broken by a short spell where multiple catches are taken. Obviously the fish move into the area, and this is evident as you can see the bubbles of feeding fish start to appear in the swim.

The final fish weighed in at 5-2-8, 4-12-8 and one just under 2lb. I did weigh the smaller fish, because for a while it looked as if I was going to catch a tench from every weight bracket, and I had the article title already sorted in my mind. Yes, I know that ‘5-4-3-2-1’ sounds a bit cheesy!

With the nights now starting to draw in, the sessions when I could fish till way after 10.00 p.m. (no night fishing on this venue) are but a distant memory. Still, I’m not complaining at all, as an all-rounder anyway I adjust my angling to the conditions.

I was intending to fish for tench only till the end of August anyway, as I have noticed from the past that the first couple of weeks of the season (the lake still follows the traditional season) produce the bigger specimens. Hence as I was driving home and weighing everything up, I was thinking about calling it a day with my tench campaign for the summer. At the time of writing I’m not sure whether to have a couple of final sessions, so as they say, you will have to ‘watch this space’ for developments!


Tench campaign

Fish caught…44

6lb+……….…2 (Best 6-12-8)
Up to 4lb…….18

(Originally published August 2004)

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