The British weather! No wonder we talk about it so much, it certainly gives us plenty of variety to occupy our time. Here I was, walking to my tench lake at the height of summer, and you’d have thought it was late autumn. It was cool, breezy and overcast, plus the rain was persistent. Still, it meant that, apart from one other angler, I had the place to myself, so I shouldn’t complain!
As I set up in the late afternoon, I noticed a grass snake about two and a half feet long, making its way along the margins. I instantly stopped what I was doing and enjoyed the couple of minutes I was able to observe the creature, as it moved from right to left in front of me, oblivious to my presence.
Actually it was quite funny, because five minutes later three ladies came running across the field. As they saw me, they came up to me and one of them asked ‘Did you hear us screaming?’ ‘No’ I replied, ‘Why, what happened?’ ‘We saw a massive snake’ one said, with fear still in her voice!
Asking a couple of questions, I confirmed to them that it was just a grass snake (indeed probably the one I had just seen), and that they are perfectly harmless. I did smile to myself though at their reaction. My mind went back to the time I stayed in a remote house in South Africa that had a problem with a Cobra, which was under the floorboards! Now, that was something to be worried about – and I was pretty glad that my itinerary at that time meant I was there just the one night!
But back to the fishing…. Following my two previous visits, which had been action packed, this one was back to reality! I caught just the two tench, the first one shortly after 6.00 p.m. which weighed in at 3-15-0 and the second one a couple or so ounces heavier at 4-2-8. This one came at 8.00 p.m. Apart from that I had a few lost fish, one of which was big. That’s the frustration of angling, sometimes you only get one bite at the cherry. It also highlights the thin line between ‘success’ and ‘failure’.
And talking of bites at the cherry, I was back at the lake on Thursday for another session. I was hoping to improve on the first visit of the week. Weather-wise, things were still pretty much the same, apart from outbreaks of sunshine in between the rain and wind!
I had arrived a little earlier than usual, and I was fishing by 4.00 p.m. However, the early start didn’t deter the fish, and with fifteen minutes I had netted a lovely looking tench, that weighed in just under the six pound mark. It certainly put a smile on my face, and I was happy to catch such a nice fish. The fact that it was just below another weight bracket didn’t bother me in the slightest. However, the fight it gave, I was expecting my first ‘7’ from the venue!
The next one also put up a great fight, but that one was just a four-pound fish. A shoal of small roach then moved into the swim and plagued the session. They stayed around the remainder of the time, only when the tench came back into the area, did the lightning-quick bites stop. I did remedy this though by switching to boilies, which eliminated the problem.
From time to time I did go back to corn, and it was on such a switch that I caught the next tench, a fish that took the scales to 5-2-0. As I netted it, the boilie rod also registered a fish. Ironically, this one was the smallest of the session. I didn’t weigh it, but it was just a couple of pounds or so.
I also took my bird species for the year to eighty-one, when I added a Green Woodpecker. Just like the proverbial bus, I haven’t seen one all year, and over the next half an hour I saw several! (Although there could well have been a repeat sighting, I did see at least two different birds) The adding of new species is slowing down now, but with half the year to go I am hoping I can reach my target of one hundred.
The rest of the session was very quiet – apart from the shoal of roach that is! However, right at the death, I hooked the second best fish of the campaign so far, a lovely looking tench that weighed in at 6-4-8. Tinca Man had struck again! And if you are a football fan, you will know what the reference to Claudio Ranieri is all about. If not – and you are intrigued – e-mail me and I will gladly put you in the picture!
6 lb +………………..2 (Best 6-12-8)
5lb +……………….. 7
4lb +……………….. 7
Up to 4lb…………. 12
(Originally published July 2004)