A lste tench rescues the session (tench article and video, entry 299)

A late tench rescues the session

After I gave the gravel pit a miss last week due to the weather, it was great to get back on there this time round. With the sun shining powerfully from a clear sky, it was difficult to imagine that just a few days previously there had been an overnight ground frost. No wonder the British people talk about the weather so much, it’s so changeable. Personally I’m not that fussed about the weather on a general basis. However when it comes to angling, due to it’s pivotal role, I do have more than just a passing interest in what’s going on.


Appreciating the wider package


Although I am first and foremost out and about because I love fishing, I also appreciate the wider package that being being at the water’s edge brings. My interests extend to birding, trees and wildflowers. And it’s the latter that really starts to come into its own now as life is springing up through the soil. The first thing that I noticed since my last session on the pit was that a clump of white dead-nettles had appeared in my swim.

The white dead-nettle is actually a member of the mint family and so while the leaves are very nettle-like, they don’t sting.You can grasp them, squeeze them and rub them and you won’t get stung. It could be a ‘good’ trick to play on someone. You handle the dead-nettle leaves then invite someone else to do the same, but switch them for real nettles. That’s the mischievous side of me coming out I guess and I wouldn’t do it really!


The white dead-nettle

Oystercatchers in the night

Many times the British wildflowers are referred to as weeds, but just as I don’t accept the term ‘nuisance fish’ neither do I use the word ‘weed’. Once you start seeing things through a different perspective, it really opens things up. Most people wouldn’t give a white dead-nettle a second glance, but on closer inspection it has a pretty white flower and the leaves grow alternatively from the stalk. I’m looking forward to the rest of the spring and summer as more wildflowers come into bloom.

One thing that always accompanies me on my fishing trips is my binoculars. The nature of my fishing is such that I get lots of time to look and listen to the bird life in the area. On this occasion, which was an overnighter, I heard oystercatchers calling in night flight over the pit but it wasn’t till the morning after when I finally got to see one on the shore of one of the islands. They’re common enough birds but not so in this area, and as I watched the progress of a breeding pair last year, I’m always interested in checking them out. So far there are no signs of nesting birds yet but I’m sure that in the next few weeks there will be.



The gravel pit throws up another tench


Dozing off in the afternoon sun

Once I set up in the afternoon sun, I found myself dozing off on the bedchair. One of the things I like about this style of fishing is that if I’ve had a busy week I can cast out and then lie back and take it easy. In many ways it’s a good way of recharging your natural batteries, although if you fish like this, you know only too well that you don’t sleep properly as you’re always just a split second away from the anticipation of a fish. Well I don’t anyway, although that wasn’t true of the angler in the next swim.

He certainly got his head down, helped along by the 9 empty large cans of lager on the grass by his bivvy the next morning. I’m a teetotaler, but if people want to drink that’s up to them, it’s not a problem to me. But when it comes to angling and heavy drinking then as far as I’m concerned, the two shouldn’t mix at all.

Leaving it late

With the water temperature pushing 11C I was very hopeful of a fish. But as dusk became dark and then the early hours drew in, I was edging towards a blank. I last looked at my watch at 1.00am and although I am always positive, I’m also realistic as well. And waking up in the morning with the sun beginning to rise on the horizon it looked like a definite no-show. But then, totally out the blue, I had a screamer on the right rod which resulted in a good fight from a good tench and a good end to the session!

This week’s video

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(Originally published April 2009)

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