April Blog

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Mixed results this month as the waters seem slow to wake up; Spring hasn’t really sprung as I would have liked, and I am still waddling around the sodden banks in an assortment of winter clothing. It still feels a long way from the thermos flask taking its summer break. Still, nothing ventured nothing gained, in my humble opinion time fishing is time well spent, even if I’m blanking!

03.04.18 Cheshire Mere

An afternoon session, my second on this Cheshire mere since the rivers closed, and part of the early phase of my Spring/ Summer Tench campaign. Last months initial foray was a frigid and futile experience with a water temperature of 5C and a bone chilling breeze, but today I felt slightly more optimistic about my chances. It was overcast but there was definitely a slight hint of spring in the air, the ducks were bickering over territory, the trees were full of buds and the daffs were out in force. However, with a water temperature of 6.5C and the lake seemingly devoid of fish activity I was quickly brought back down to earth.

I fished maggot feeder on one rod onto a small plateau of 11ft surrounded by water of 14ft depth, the second was a worm rig fished to an overhanging tree in 11ft of water, allegedly a known hot-spot. Unfortunately the fish weren’t aware of that fact and the highlight of the day were 2 slow but sure lifts of the bobbins, presumably passing carp oblivious to my lines, and somewhat though provoking considering I had back-leaded and presumed they were flat on the bottom. That was it apart from a couple of plucks on the worm rod, all told a disappointing outcome to a promising day. I resolved to try a different venue next week, my reasoning being that the improvement in air temperature should have a quicker effect on shallower water; I had somewhere in mind but it doesn’t have the Tench potential of this place, maybe I should try for a carp?

10.04.18 Cheshire Flash

As previously mentioned, after last weeks blank, some thought was put into this choice of venue, since the upturn in the air temperature wasn’t having the hoped for effect on the deep Cheshire mere I will be targeting for most of the close season.

This long narrow water, known locally as a ‘flash’ is the bi-product of the subsidence caused by salt mining. They are quite common in Cheshire and are generally quite shallow, so I was banking on it being warmer. In fact it was around 7.5C which was pleasing.

The depth was a fairly even 4ft all over the flash and there were few features of note, so the one big overhanging tree was like a magnet to me. First I needed to do some negotiating with a couple of carp anglers opposite, I fully expected them to be fishing across to the feature, but they were really nice lads and had no objections to me walking round to the far side and fishing next to the tree. I’m not a big fan of long casts and fancied my chances of controlling and landing a carp from a potentially snaggy area were far higher if I was fishing at close range. I use my barbel set-up for carping and have never had a problem with the fish I hook. I think the 3lb test carp rods are really for long range casting and I much prefer the margins where 2lb test is more than enough.

After a quick lead around I couldn’t find any depth changes and the bottom felt firm so I catapulted a patch of hemp and a few micro pellets just off the tree and under-armed my boilie and rubber corn to the hotspot and left it to its own devices, with the butt close to hand knowing I would have to be on the rod fast should I get a take.

I had a maggot feeder rig already set up from last week so with Tench on my mind I lobbed it out 30m to the right, put both rods on the alarms, then sat down like a crouching tiger waiting for action!

An hour later I had landed 5 bream to 5lb on the maggot rod, and after scraping the slime off my kit once more I decided to forgoe the pleasure and swapped it for a second carp rod down the right margin, close to the reeds in 3ft of water.

An absolutely glorious sunset was underway (see header photo) when the tree rod went off like a train, I was on it like a snake, gave it plenty of side-strain and once away from the tree it was plain sailing, a common of 11lb. Only small admittedly, but I have been struggling, so it was very welcome. With the bream it was a decent afternoon, capped off by the wonderful sight of a barn owl patrolling a hedge line just 20m away, lit up fluorescent pink by the epic sunset…magical!

Mic flash

13.04.18 Cheshire Mere

Back to the search for Tench, this time I headed for a swim I haven’t fished before and found 13ft of water at 30m. a bit of leading around didn’t reveal any major shelves or depth changes so I just stuck to a comfortable distance, and with the aid of marker elastic I clipped up for accuracy. A couple of hours into the session and my first Tench of the season fell for the red maggot rig….only to spit the hook just under the rod tip. Such is the clarity of this water I had a good view of the fish before disaster struck and somehow the loss didn’t seem so bad. I estimated it to have been around 5lb but who knows really.

Soon after away went the maggot rod again, this time I played it like my life depended on it and felt uncharacteristically nervous. I was a relieved man when it finally slid into the net so I weighed it, despite knowing it wasn’t anything special for this water. Still, a nice fish at 5lb8oz and because it was my first of the campaign I took a picture for posterity. So nice to finally get off the mark.

5lb9oz Lymmvale 13.04.18

Just as night fell and I was starting to pack up my second of the session arrived, again on the maggot, slightly smaller but no less welcome. I settled for a mat shot and didn’t weigh it, but was quietly satisfied with my lot as I made my way home.

5lb Lymmvale 13.04.18

20.04.18 Cheshire Mere

After catching a couple last week it came as a bit of a shock to go back to square one with a disheartening blank. It was a lovely breezy, sunny day and the water temp had risen to a most promising 13C, so to say I was looking forward to it was an understatement. While having a short walk round looking for swims I came across a lovely big carp tearing up the shallows looking for leftovers from a presumably recently departed angler, which gave me even more cause for enthusiasm.

carp lymmvale

I won’t bore you with the details of this sorry blank but the bailiff informed me that half a dozen tench were caught by an angler at the far end of the lake, and to really add insult to injury a carp angler 150m to my right had a couple within plain sight, while I kept working my swim and watched motionless bobbins all afternoon, waiting in vain for the cry of the Delks.

It was all a bit mystifying, especially as I was in a swim that really delivered for me last year, and I fished the same in-line feeder rigs and red maggot bait which were successful last week. Maybe I should have moved, but it was the age old quandary, last week the fish came on at dusk and I had built up my swim expecting the same, so just kept holding on in expectation.

I will just have to put it behind me and try again next week, but be more willing to move in search of Tench instead of expecting them to come to me.

27.04.18 Cheshire Mere

I couldn’t let last weeks blank stall my Tench fishing so I climbed back on the horse and returned to the same water, its wasn’t a difficult decision as the place really got under my skin last season and I find myself drawn back to it. I headed for a different area I hadn’t fished before and again there was no sign of fish activity, so in effect it was chuck it and chance it. A light but deceptively cold breeze blew in my face and it rained consistently for the early part of the afternoon; it was still very un-spring like and I was glad of my fleece and waterproofs.

I had a lead around and found around 12-14ft of water over a reasonably solid bed at 35m and little discernible change in the topography of the bottom anywhere in front of me, so I stuck to this comfortable distance and fished the usual inline maggot feeder with red maggots as bait. This was about as much as I could reasonably discover with just a straight lead.

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Looks lovely but it was bloody cold!

 

On my left was a large bush protruding over the water and I found at least 14ft at the end of the end bush; the shelf must have been virtually vertical to go from 4-5ft near the side to that depth just over a rod length out. I decided to fish a straight lead just past the end of the bush, and by casting from the far right limit of my peg I could get my bait almost in front of the tree. My thinking was that the constant winding retrieval, and recasting of the longer range feeder rod wouldn’t disturb the margin swim as much if it was fished as far to the left as possible. I double back-leaded to ensure the line was pinned down just in case I had to bring a fish in on the other rod in a quite constricted swim between the bushes either side. In the end it didn’t matter a jot as I didn’t have a solitary peep all afternoon from that near swim; I dare say something would have come over the nice bed of feed in the depths of the night, but I would have long been home by then.

The maggot feeder rod however, after a long period of inactivity, finally sprang to life at dusk and produced 4 Tench in 5 casts, a brace of 5’s and 4’s, and as suddenly as the action began, after the 4th fish it ceased just as abruptly. Apart from one battle scarred warrior they were all handsome looking fish and boy, they didn’t half fight! Coming up through 14ft of gin clear water I could see them boring for the depths over and over, and these were only modest in size, but on appropriate gear they are fantastic fighters pound for pound.

 

27.04.18 Lymmvale2
As pretty as a picture, perfect spring Tench

 

27.04.18 Lymmvale3

My theory is that the Tench haven’t really switched on yet because the water temperatures are still relatively low and are just feeding for a short period each day, in todays case around an hour, which leaves anglers with the conundrum of whether to stick it out in a seemingly barren swim in the hope of just catching a feeding spell, or to up-sticks and chase the fish. Today by sticking put, I had something to show for my efforts, unlike last week.

Hopefully the weather will really pick up now and I hope May will bring the same Tench results as last year. Considering I had never fished for them before I did well and caught a couple each time I went. More of the same this year please!!

Tight lines!!

Dave

 

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March Blog- Goodbye rivers, hello stills

Danesford 13.03.18

Well what a month March has been… and for all the wrong reasons! First there was the spiteful ‘Beast from the East’ to contend with, bringing prolonged sub-zero temperatures and significant snowfall, then after eventually petering out it left a legacy of snow melt that detrimentally affected the rivers, potentially right up to the end of the season on the 14th of March.

For me this end of season ‘last fling’ has become something of a tradition, a treasured week when the rivers have usually warmed up, and the days have lengthened sufficiently to stir the Barbel from their winter lethargy. It is a time I, like many river men, book a few days off work and have a final attempt to catch a Barbel or two before the season finishes, however this years trip was in serious jeopardy as my chosen river, the mighty Severn, looked set to breach its banks .

The consequence of all this was icy water temperatures and volatile levels, which made for very hard fishing. Many experienced lads just hung up their Barbel gear until next season but I still clung tenaciously onto the forlorn hope that the rivers would come good for me for the last knockings of the season.

As if this aggressive weather front wasn’t enough, yet another nasty weather pattern arrived soon after the rivers closed, named the ‘Mini-Beast’; it caught me by surprise arriving almost without fanfare, yet bringing another coating of quite severe snow-fall. Fortunately this was just after the rivers had closed so it didn’t feel as bad as the original ‘Beast’, but it still had a negative effect on my enthusiasm for the transition to the stillwaters.

09.03.18 River Dane

Once again I have the river Dane to thank for providing some sustenance during this Baltic blast. I have had just two blanks on this lovely little river all winter, once with bank high snow melt and the other at the peak of the big freeze (and if I’d had my wits about me I wouldn’t have blanked that day either because I lost a fish off the hook…Doh!).

I target winter chub on the simplest of set-ups using nothing but bread and cheesepaste for bait, and so far they have been very obliging. Despite the cold bright conditions and extra coloured water the river was carrying, today was no different as I managed to extract 5 fish, all 3-4lb+.

3lb12oz Dane Manor 09.03.18

From the 6 swims I tried 4 produced a fish, and I think mobility is the key in order to find where the fish are located; often they can be in the most unlikely looking of swims. The chub were feisty and generally in lovely condition, but anybody going there expecting record breakers will be disappointed, a 4lb fish is a decent specimen.

4lb Dane Manor 09.03.18
Typical Dane Chub, a worthy adversary on light tackle!

 

The stretch is not overcrowded and I usually have it to myself which suits this style of nomadic fishing, but today I bumped into an old mate and sometime Dane regular Graham. I spent a very interesting and enjoyable hour chatting, and if I’m honest, being educated, because this lad knows his onions when it comes to Barbel fishing on small rivers; we discussed everything from home-made paste to centre pins. He was determined to catch a Barbel but I had convinced myself there was no chance, so I left him near dusk and managed my fifth and final Chub from my 6th swim before heading home.

Season Finale on the Middle Severn

As mentioned in the introduction, traditionally I spend the last few days of the river season down on the mighty Severn but the conditions and forecast almost put me off this year; levels were close to breaching the banks and the temperatures hadn’t recovered enough to instill confidence. In the end I was glad I went; a nice social with a mate the first 2 days, then on my own for the remains of the season, fishing venues between Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth where I was based.

11.03.18 Club water- Middle Severn

Cressage 11.03.18

The first day I travelled from south Manchester with hope in my heart to my destination a few miles downstream of Shrewsbury. As I arrived just after dawn to meet up with my mate, I was surprised to see snowdrifts still in evidence, but not so surprised to peer through the mist and see water almost at the top of the bank; a temp of 5C didn’t bode well either but we both worked hard in likely looking swims and in the end managed a brace each, my mate had an 8 and a 7 and I managed a 5 plus a splasher to finish. Lobworms proved the most effective bait and I was glad I’d had the foresight to secure some before setting off.

 

7lb Cressage
Even a tiddler felt like a result that day!

 

Under the circumstances I was satisfied with the return but I was really hoping the level would fall and temperature rise over the coming days, which in hindsight turned out to be just wishful thinking.

kriston fish
Kris’s best fish

 

12.03.18 Club water- Middle Severn

A good night in the pub followed by a substantial kebab seemed like a good idea at the time, but left me feeling a bit jaded for the Wetherspoons brecky the next morning, I could only manage the traditional, not the large so definitely below my best. Nevertheless I polished it off and felt better, and we were soon back on the bank and raring to go.

If anything the river had risen even higher overnight, but on a positive note the water temp had also risen slightly to 6C. Neither of us were familiar with our chosen venue with water at this level, so we walked it first to asses if it was even fishable. I was pleased to find a couple of near-bank slacks that looked reasonable and I thought they might at least give us a chance of a fish; one in particular really looked the part. We both wanted it so a coin toss settled the issue in favour of my mate and I wandered off dejectedly to do my best elsewhere.

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There’s a river in there somewhere

 

The problem with fishing bank high rivers on unfamiliar stretches is that you don’t know what lies below; I found out after working hard for a bite in a couple of swims for several hours, and when it finally came the fish found some submerged feature to lodge itself in. I count myself fortunate that after giving it slack line it decided to swim out and I manged to land it. It was just a splasher and the reality was that I would have surely lost anything more substantial. My mate was due to leave early so I jumped into his vacated swim purely because the swim was relatively snag free. He had caught one around 7lb, which was also encouraging.

I fished feeder upstream with pellet on the hair, and straight lead downstream with double lob worm, but I wasn’t getting any action. I decided to stick it out to the finish as the swim certainly looked good, but the lack of indications hardly filled me with confidence. Consequently I was caught napping by a rattling knock on the worm rod which had me jumping off my chair, but it didn’t develop any further. After a few minutes with hand hovering over the rod handle I decided to move the bait slightly to see if the fish could be tempted to bite; I drew the lead just a couple of inches then put the rod back on the rest and immediately it yanked over and battle commenced. Battle is an apt description as the fish fought like an athletic 7lb’er but with far more substantial weight behind it, using the enormous volume of water to its advantage and charging towards downstream trees. I was very relieved to turn it and get into the slack in front of me, but disaster struck and it found a snag and was stuck fast. I gave slack line and waited until I felt a few tugs, tightened down and was relieved it drew free. Just the last couple of lunges and it was in the net!

As it rested there in the murky water I could see it was a good long fish, but it was a bit thin, so when the scales registered 10lb14oz I was more than happy; a new middle Severn PB for me when I really didn’t fancy my chances, can’t be bad!

 

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New Mid Severn PB

 

I still had the scales in my hand when I heard the sweet sound of the bait-runner screaming on the other rod, after all that time without a bite a double hook-up…you couldn’t make it up!! Priority was the fish on the bank so I jammed the landing net into the bank and ensured the fish was in good deep water and that it had righted itself before I pounced on the other rod and wound down to feel another substantial fish; sadly there was to be no happy outcome to this tale as after 30 intense seconds frantically turning the fish away from snags real and imagined, and with the fish just yards in front of me the hook pulled and the battle was lost. I have had exactly the same experience before on the Ribble with a double hook up, the fish left to roam while prioritizing the fish on the bank has time to loosen the hookhold and somehow sheds the hook close to the net. It’s an absolute gut wrencher, but in this case my disappointment was mitigated by the fish still resting in the landing net and I didn’t shed too many tears over my loss.

Once I had stopped shaking I continued to fish on feeling rather smug with myself, until once again the lob-worm proved to much to resist for another nicely conditioned Barbel of exactly 9lb, this one was as fat as butter; it put up a decent account of itself but nothing like the previous specimen. Soon it was in the net and a nice looking fish it was.

9lb0oz Cound 12.03.18
9lb on the nose

 

That concluded the action for the day but I was still a very happy lad driving back to my digs, making plans to re-acquaint myself with the hospitality of the ale houses of Bridgnorth.

13.03.18 Danery

I have never done particularly well on here but I know a couple of decent flood swims and I had the pick of them when I arrived to an empty carpark. I chose the nearest swim, not because I am a lazy git but it looked so good with a completely still margin that dropped rapidly to 12ft depth just a couple of yards out from the bank. The crease was about 5m out so I placed both baits on this line and hoped for the best. Upstream was a feeder with some oily groundbait and pellet, downstream was a lump of flavoured meat to start, which I soon changed to lobworm.

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It was slow going, neither rod picked up debris so I sat watching motionless tips. Even the lobworms failed to impress, so I wound in and had a wander along the length. I realised just how high the river was as I recalled fishing here last summer at normal levels. The whole nature of the swims change as the levels fluctuate; some become better, some worse, but isn’t it refreshing to have to rise to the challenge and read the conditions in order to catch your quarry?

I still thought my current swim had the right features so I stuck at it and finally the worm rod arced over and a splasher was in the bag. Two more similar sized fish followed during the evening and I decided to call it quits just before dark, but not before I had an inspiring chat with a departing local lad who had been a few hundred yards downstream; he told me about his technique of float fishing meat in the summer and the effectiveness over the standard pellet feeder approach…very much food for thought for the summer.

danesford splasher
Small but welcome

 

14.03.18 Club water, Mid Severn

The last fanfare of the season, always a sad day but one that has to be grasped and every last second of opportunity wrung out of it. I was heading for home and I am fortunate to have many waters to choose from in that general direction, however I just couldn’t resist having another go on the length I had my double from.

I had it to myself and grabbed the same peg and set up exactly the same as last time, but there was a subtle change to the flow. I checked the marker I had used last time and it was around 6″ lower and as the day wore on it began to drop quickly. It still looked great so I was confident of some action and I didn’t have long to wait as the downstream lobworm proved irresistible to a feisty 7lb’er.

7lb Cound 14.03.18
Athletic 7lb’er, tackle tester in a snaggy flood swim

 

That proved to be the pinnacle of the day; five more Barbel landed but all 4-6lb in weight. The water temp was still 6C but the river fining off was the catalyst for a fairly lively afternoon of improving sport.

I had mixed feelings about how the trip went, the conditions are usually much better at the tail end of the season so I had to be happy to have nabbed a few. Obviously the double was the highlight on the fishing front, but there is always more to it than just fish. I explored a few new areas and found some new swims with the river at the top of the banks; the social side was good and I re-acquainted myself with Bridgnorth, my favourite Severn-side town. What a pity that this was the end of the season, the conditions were improving steadily and next week would have been grand I’m certain.

The close season is a hot topic currently as the EA are conducting a survey of the impact of all year river fishing. Watch this space! Personally, I’m sure the dates we currently have are way off the mark and don’t align with the spawning windows of our river species, but I think the break benefits not just the fish, but the riverine environment as a whole  Maybe the dates just need to be adjusted, I will wait and see the scientific evidence produced by the EA before making my mind up, but the cynic in me can’t help thinking this is commercially driven.

That was it for another year on the rivers, time to take stock, have a short break from fishing, do a few jobs round the house, clean up the gear and prepare for the transition from Barbel and Chub to my bungling attempts at Carp and Tench fishing.

25.03.18 Cheshire mere

My resolve lasted 10 days then I cracked and I began my close season Tench campaign way too early…will I never learn? I bought some maggots and headed for my chosen venue, without too much optimism I have to admit. I recalled last season, brimming with enthusiasm for my first attempt at this Cheshire mere, and how I fished it a few times during March for a grand total of nothing. Thankfully everything clicked into place during April as the water warmed; it became a different story and I had a fantastic close season pursuing the Tincas.

I arrived to a plethora of bivvies all seemingly in the process of being dismantled, so I had a walk round the lake and chatted to the departing Carp lads only to hear a dispiriting tale of a busy wekend with just a single carp gracing the bank. Not very encouraging, but I was told a couple of tench had been caught so went and set up on a swim that did me proud last season. Unfortunately it was shaded and facing into a strong breeze, and without the week sun it was really nippy. I took a water temperature of 6C which was another dissapointment but not entirely unexpected.

I fished two 1.5lb test barbel rods, 8lb mainline with in-line feeders and short 6lb flouro hooklengths. One rod was baited with red maggots, the other lobworm tipped with a maggot, both about 35m out onto a small platteau a couple of feet shallower than the surrounding area. I was confident my baits were in the right location from last seasons experience, but I was still in 12ft of water and on reflection might have been better going for a generally shallower area that could have warmed up in the sun a little.

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My go-to tench rig for the summer. The rubber bead turns it into a running rig, remove it and it becomes semi-fixed. There is a buoyant rubber maggot on the hair to neutralise the weight, and I put 2 or 3 real red maggots on the hook. I usually fish a flying back-lead above the float stop.

 

As you may have guessed from my negative introduction I blanked, but I consider it a fact finding mission. I will definitely try one of the shallower areas until the water warms up. I was happy with my set-up in general and had a good look at a few of the pegs that I skipped past last year, so it was a worthwhile exercise.

So that was my lot for March, I shouldn’t harp on about the weather but it was absolutely foul and I really felt like I was on a hiding to nothing a lot of the time. Nevertheless as they say, you don’t catch sat in front of the telly…

Things can only get better, the current flurry of icy rain is purported to be the last this year and I am hoping for a steady improvement in temperatures and consequently an upturn in sport. April is usually a decent month…God knows we deserve it!!!

Tight lines

Dave

 

 

 

Magic May

 

 

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After a pretty average April on the fishing front things really bucked up this month. I increased my modest Tench PB to 8lb3oz and had multiple catches on 3 consecutive sessions, followed by my first ever Catfish, eclipsed by a bigger fish the next week.

The reason is simple, as mentioned previously I joined Lymm Anglers last month and the still water fishing has been excellent. I always fancied having a proper go for tench in the river close season but the waters I had available were either sparsely stocked or 50-60+ miles away. It’s great to get on a water in under 30 minutes that promises a fair chance of a double figure tench, quite a rarity here in the North West.

An unfortunate combination of events at work, completely beyond my control, have meant for practically the first time in my adult life I have found myself having to take prolonged time off. I don’t like it, but vowed not to vegetate and to grasp it as a chance to do some jobs round the house (and to get some fishing done). Obviously I would have preferred it to be in the river season but beggars can’t be choosers. Consequently I found myself on the bank at least twice a week this month.

01.05.17

I timed my arrival at this Cheshire Mere perfectly, to find a hot carp swim recently vacated. Where the carp bait goes in I figure the tench wouldn’t be far away. I am still learning about this water and it has been a steep curve. This session produced two lovely conditioned tench, biggest 6lb, and as it was only my second visit I was pleased, but I began to doubt my popped up mini boilie rig was going to be the most effective method here, plus the idea of hooking one of the huge resident carp or Catfish on a fairly light tench setup was a concern. I decided to get some maggots for next trip.

01.05.17
First Tench on a new water, big grin time!
04.05.17

A different peg on the same venue, following some plumbing around with a small lead I discovered a nice plateau 30m out, just a few feet shallower than the surrounding bed, but it seemed to be an interesting feature that I thought might be attractive to the Tench. As hoped it was a cracking session producing nine tench to 7lb and a lively bream full of spawning nodules, I began to feel I had a decent method now.

I fished an inline Drennan maggot feeder with a rubber red maggot on the hair, plus 3 or 4 real red maggots on the hook. The rubber maggot’s buoyancy counters the weight of the hook and it is important to make the bait float and act the same as the rest of the loose feed. I imagine the feeding tench blowing the carpet of maggots about, if the hookbait is anchored to the floor it looks different and doesn’t get picked up.

04.05.17 6lb04.05.17 bream

 

08.05.17

Back to the mere for more, I was so pleased to be getting among the tinca’s I felt like I had to get back there as soon as possible. Just a few hours remained of the afternoon but it turned into a real red letter day as the fish came thick and fast to the inline feeder/ red maggot method. A fantastic session, 10 beautifully conditioned tench and another decent bream, but the highlight was an 8lb3oz tench (and new PB) that frightened the life out of me as it came in like a wet sponge then turned into a turbo-charged dervish under the rod tip.

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I estimated the smallest fish to be 5lb and 5 of the 10 were weighed over 6lb. I did have a few dropped runs though, so I experimented with my rigs, changing the hair length and putting less maggots on the hook; so frequent was the action at one point I wound in my second rod for a while. I was a happy chappy driving home for sure.

08.05.17 8lb3ozpb tench
My PB Tench 8lb3oz, still plenty of room for improvement.

08.05.17 7lb tench08.05.17 5.5lb tench

 

10.05.17

For some reason I felt like I needed a change from the excellent tenching I had been enjoying, so I went to a different Lymm water and blanked miserably. There were carp cruising all over but not a touch for me.

Paradoxically that is the beauty of fishing, we never know what will happen each time we put the gear in the car, but isn’t that what makes it all the more joyous when we do have that next red letter day? My philosophy for all my fishing, especially rivers, is it was a new water to me and I left knowing more about it than when I arrived, so in my eyes it was a worthwhile trip.

12.05.17

I had satisfied my wanderlust so back to the mere tenching. I had hoped to try a new area but found it quite busy, so ended up back on a previous peg. The weather had changed and it was a bit colder and rainier than of late, with a sharp wind in my face it felt a bit wintery to be honest. However, the fishing was still decent, 6 tench to 7lb5oz. How ironic, last season I managed less than a handful of tinca’s all through the close season, now I’m moaning I only caught 6 fish in an afternoon! This water has really got under my skin and I’m struggling to find the enthusiasm to try others on the Lymm ticket.

12.05.17 7lb tench12.05.17 6.5lb tench12.05.17 5lb tench

17.05.17

As if to punish me for my ingratitude for only catching 6 fish the previous session I went back to the mere and blanked abjectly. I apologised to the water Gods before I left in the hope they would forgive me on my return.

19.05.17

A change of scenery and a visit to a pool reputed to contain Catfish, a species I have never before caught or even seen one on the bank in real life. My other club has an aversion to them so I was unlikely to come across them on their waters.

I set up for carp but fished Krill boilies just in case a cat might take a fancy (I read somewhere they like fishy flavours). Plenty of particles next to some lily beds just in the margin and a second rod across to a small island.

Well blow me if the margin rod didn’t fly off an hour later and I was attached to a powerful fish that proceeded to lay waste to the lilies and churn up my swim like a JCB. I was amazed at the fighting power when it finally surfaced and proved to be my first ever Catfish, (well a kitten to be honest) of only 6lb, but still a PB to boot. I didn’t want to mess around with it so just took a mat shot and weighed it in the net and slipped it back well pleased with myself.

An hour later the same rod was away and I was attached to something way more substantial, now I knew I was in a spot of bother, with my 2.25lb test barbel rod creaking to the corks, I was using a 12lb BS set-up and I gave it 12lb of stick to keep it out of the lilies but something had to give and it was my hook hold. It was abrasion resistant coated braid but it looked like it had been through a mincer on inspection. I concluded it was another larger catfish and decided if I was going to fish the water again I would need a more robust setup.

19.05.17 cat 6lb
PB Catfish 6lb, note to self…get stronger tackle!!

 

22.05.17

Back to see if the Gods of the mere had forgiven me…no they hadn’t! Yet another blank despite trying 2 different areas. I had some company in the shape of friends Matt and Jerry who had got there early and bagged a flyer. It didn’t fish well for anybody during the day, there were lots of carp showing but they seemed intent on getting ready for spawning; the shallows were like an aquarium, fascinating to watch all the same.

Things improved for the lads after I left with Matt having quite a time after hooking and landing 2 nice carp on his tench gear. Excellent angling to get them both in. The lads had a few tench as well so happy days (for them at least!).

Jerry tench 22.05.1722.05.17 Matts mirrori22.05.17 Matts koi

25.05.17

The loss of the Catfish was nagging me so I decided to try a return visit. I upped my gear to 15lb main line and more substantial braid and hook. The other rod was out in the open so I left that as it was.

Within an hour I had another small catfish almost identical to last weeks. I think it could be the same fish; I read they are very territorial. Later a 10lb common came on the other rod, but I had a feeling something was going to happen on my margin rod.

25.05.17 6lb cat
Same fish 6lb?

 

I persevered with the heavy gear, I’m not used to it really but I knew I needed to stop anything I hooked from ploughing into the pads.

Suddenly it was game on and I locked tight and held on for dear life, I felt a massive wrench and thought it had come off but it was the lead coming out of the lead clip; I think that was the best thing that could have happened as it was a clean contact direct with the fish after that, and a couple of minutes later and despite strimming quite a few lilies, I landed my new PB Cat of 14lb3oz. My arm is still hurting now from the power of that fish. I can’t imagine hooking a proper big one (the mere has cats to 60+!!!). Anyway, I’m more than satisfied to have caught one for now.

25.05.17 13lb3oz cat
2nd catfish PB 14lb3oz…Buzzing!

 

31.05.17

Last trip of the season and yet another blank on a new water. To be honest my mind is now on the imminent river season and I spent a lot of time with my lines on the bank chatting to other anglers.

IMG_0507

So I have enjoyed an excellent months fishing in general. Never mind the odd blank days, 2 PB’s in a month is very satisfying. I might get a couple more sessions in on still waters, but the river season is so close now I can taste it.

This year, due to leaving our holiday booking late (yet again) I have had to take the first week of the season to go to Portugal. I console myself by recalling that the early days on the rivers are usually a bit naff, however the forecast is for some heavy rain early June so it could be a missed opportunity. Oh well, might as well start this season as I mean to go on! Good luck to everybody on the glorious 16th!

Tight Lines

 

Dave