Three good tench and then it goes quiet (bream article, entry 202)

Now that the summer is drawing ever closer, even when we have a drop in temperature it’s not really affecting things as a far as fishing is concerned. The winter days, when movement of just one percent can make a massive difference either way are dim and distant, somewhere in the recesses of the angler’s mind. So a cooler day with overcast skies didn’t bother me in the slightest as I arrived at the gravel pit. In fact I welcomed the latter as bright sunshine is not ideal.

Although there were several carp anglers on the lake – there have been some good fish coming out lately – my favoured peg was free, so I dropped all the gear there and started to set up. Without rushing anything, my priority is to get the rods cast out and fishing. Unless it is raining then the shelter can wait until last.

That tactic worked, as within the hour I had a fish on one of the rods. It fought really well, so much so that I was wondering if I had connected with a carp. However it wasn’t, but it was a good tench just short of seven and a half pounds. Although I am technically on a bream campaign, the fact that I am catching tench is not a problem at all. And certainly the quality of the fish that I am netting means that you won’t get any complaints from me.

I think anyway that we should respect all fish regardless of whether they are caught by intention or not. It isn’t right when carp anglers talk (as they do on this venue) about throwing big bream into a nearby water where they will not survive, just because they consider them a nuisance species. I have voiced my disapproval on a number of occasions, asking people how would they like it if I did the same with any carp I catch.

After all I am not pursuing them so they are just as much a ‘nuisance’ to me as bream are to the carp anglers. Of course I wouldn’t anything with them other than return them to their rightful home, because two wrongs don’t make a right. But I’m sure you can understand the point I am making. If you want to only catch carp and detest other fish, then join a venue that has only been stocked with them. Or if you really do hate other species as much as some anglers appear to do, then maybe it is time to step back and re-evaluate.

Following the tench I had a hook pull within the hour, and a further sixty minutes after that the fish were still in the swim, confirmed by the second 7lb+ tench of the afternoon. And a short time later I had a third fish, again in the 7lb bracket. In less than three hours, from a hard venue, I had netted and weighed three tench for 22lb. It was a good start and I was looking forward to the night. However, can you believe that in spite of the flying start I had made, it all went quiet after that? Not a single bleep on the buzzer, nothing.

That is fishing for you though isn’t it? And rather than it be a source of frustration, that sense of total and absolute unpredictability is what makes fishing what it is. No matter what the conditions – whether excellent or grim – when we set out, the truth is that none of us know exactly what will happen by the time we have packed away. And one good thing about this session is that I got a good night’s sleep without any disturbances caused by bite alarms going off. Although I much prefer to be woken up every five minutes.

 (Originally published May 2007)

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