Session 18 – A Smooth Ride To The Tench Pool

Wednesday 23rd April, it was back to the tench pool. And the title alludes to the actual approach on the good half-a-mile or more of dirt track once you leave the tarmac road which, as the people who know the pool already know, is normally a test for 4-wheel all-terrain vehicles with plenty of reject factory tested Land Rovers strewn all down the hedgerows… OK, I might have over-exaggerated there a bit but… :). Anyway, today it was more undulating than back breaking with good souls having filled in the pot holes with hard core… 🙂

Anyway, to the fishing….

I arrived earlier than normal today as I needed to to go out this evening and had several jobs to attend to (some of which my lovely partner, Liz, rang me to say she’d done for me before she left for work :)) but also needed to put tackle, baits, etc away, bath, and prep/clean equipment I’d borrowed from a friend in order to return tonight. So, as it was, I had baited the swim and was tackled up with my float rod to make my first cast at 0730. Usual swim, peg 11, usual setup – lift method float, 6lb line, size 12 hook. Baits today were worm and worm&maggot cocktail.

The day started off sunny, still and quite warm…

2014-04-23 Barlow's Pool 01 2014-04-23 Barlow's Pool 02

2014-04-23 Barlow's Pool 03

… but by 0830 the skies had become cloud laden, blocking the sun, and a cool breeze started up and it felt quite chilly despite an actual air temp of 14C all session long.

First bite of the day, leading to the only fish captured, a tench of 2lb 13oz, was experienced at 0915.

2lb 13oz Tench

2lb 13oz Tench

After that, action was very sporadic with possibly only 6 or 7 more, missed, bites occurring until 1300 when I packed in for the day – a little earlier than the 1400 planned but a light shower along with a dark sky approaching led me to think that showers forecast to commence at 1600 may be arriving early and as the action wasn’t exactly heartstopping I decided to pack away whilst all was still dry…

It was a quiet day in more ways than one too… Wednesday is notoriously ‘Pensioner’s Day’ – a day that all pensioner’s seem to ‘do their thing’ – eg weekly get together in the pub, go to theatres, and, errrrr, possibly go fishing even? Not here… not another soul spotted all session long. But then again, a couple of weeks ago I fished several of our pools over a week, actually fishing 5 days out of a possible 7 … and I did not see one other angler in that whole week either.

Don’t know when I’ll get out again – kitchen redecoration to be continued plus shortly off for a week’s holiday so we need to sort out the tent and check its all OK, sort out the gear needed for that week – inc sea fishing tackle – but thinking maybe a short canal session may be in the offing before the canals become a watery M6 with the summer weather arriving….

Session 17 – Party Time With Added Tench

Sunday 13th April, it was back to the tench pool, arriving at 0745. However, this time not to fish primarily as the main reason to be there was to join in the activities of the day as part of a work party tidying up the pool’s surrounds.

Basically, the work involved trimming of the grass/undergrowth on the pathways around the pool, trimming back bushes and reeds around the swims and platforms, and laying/re-laying slabs that made up the fishing stations on some swims. Also a large tree that had to be cut down earlier was to be disposed of by cutting up the lying trunk and branches into manageable pieces to be transported away for wood burners, etc. Anyway, all this work was completed by the team of stalwart fellows who turned up for duties – far too few really, as usual, though given the size of membership but saying that the team at our pool was around the usual size but there was another team dealing with a second pool – and usually working party day just has one team on one pool.

When we’ve had work party days before then all of our waters are closed to fishing from dusk of the previous evening to the party until dawn of the day following the party before. Which I agree is a good thing – why should people turn up and provide time to help their club and other members and find that others are quite happy to sit there at the waterside enjoying the benefits. And this is applied en bloc to all the club’s waters for the period stated be they being actually worked on or not.

But this session, people who attended and worked on the party were allowed to fish the water from noon onwards on the day… and I took advantage of that along with a couple of others who didn’t actually fish the tench pool but went on to the adjoining carp pool.

Anyway, as I say, come noon and I was tackling up in my swim (peg 11 again) which, during the course of the morning, I’d been feeding in passing with a hemp, chick pea, and wheat particle mix. And just before tackling up I mixed up some spicy breadcrumb with particles and maggots and introduced 4 large balls of this into my swim.

Tackle for the day consisted of my trusty 1970’s Hardy Matchmaker 13’ clone float rod with 6lb main line terminated with a 4” long 6lb braid hooklength with size 12 hook attached to the mainline via a swivel with snap link thus making it easy to unclip the hooklength to thread on baits – in this case worms which I thread onto a maggot needle and feed from tail, through the entire length of the body and out at the head, doing this prevents the worms wriggling themselves off the hook and also due to the suppleness of the braid they can wriggle freely and naturally. I fished,  as usual,  using the lift method. For indication, I used a 5AAA rated float, which actually cocked at dead weight (ie less that 1mm of tip showed above the water surface) with a loading of 3SSG+1AAA shot. This shotting was applied plus the required overweighting required for this method – another AAA shot in this case. However, I did apply this extra shot as usual below the float but taking a leaf from the pole fisher’s book I used it as a back shot placed 9” ABOVE the float.


In the normal lift method setup, the line from the rod runs directly to the float and directly from the float down to the weight that is lift method the bottom of the water. Now the use of  the laying-on/lift-method technique requires that the length of line between the float and bottom weight is slightly overdepth such that the float sits well up in the water or actually lies flat on the surface when the line between rod and float is slack. To set to the ‘action’ position the rod should be placed in rests (the rod needs to be held extremely steady, too steady really to be handheld even with a single rod rest) such that the tip ring, and only the tip ring, is ideally half submerged – out of the water and the wind can affect the balance of the float by pressure on the line, too deep and the strike is impaired – and then the line SLOWLY tightened during which the float will start to cock, get lower in the water, and then sink completely due to the overweighting. The point to which you need to tighten is the one where just sufficient amount of tip is showing for you to observe easily and not be masked by waves and ripples on the water. For this method, the line between hook and bottom shot is kept as short as possible – I find 3”-4” is about right, shorter and the fish can head butt the line or tail wash can flutter the line giving false indications, longer and the fish have too much to play with before indication is given and can eject the bait. Bites are indicated either by the float rising in the water as the fish takes the bait and lifts the shot from the bottom OR if the fish takes the bait and moves away from the float then the float will just disappear underwater – the stereotypical tench bite combines the two – the float rises as the fish picks the bait up and then shoots under as it swims away.



HOWEVER, there is a difficulty in practice to this ideal setup of line running from rod to float to bottom shot (possibly with extra load shot as needed to fine tune the float midway between float and bottom shot as in the diagram). Often when tightening the line between rod tip and the float its all to easy to actually drag the bottom shot rather than sink the float tip a little (pressure needed to sink the line twixt rod and float, water currents, etc all play a part in this) – thus re-slackening the line which then needs to be re-tightened… which can lead to pulling the bottom shot… and repeat a few times and the bait can be well away from where you intended, and had cast to. Hence, the use of a back shot. Basically, to do this, take part of the normal shot (I find about 1BB or 1AAA worth to be perfect) and add this shot about 6”-12” above the float – so taking my set up as described for this session – a 3SGG+1AAA float + 1AAA overweighting – I used the 3SSG as the bottom (tell tale) shot, 1 AAA slightly above it and the overweighting 1AAA shot was actually placed 9” above the float as the back shot. Now with this setup, when tightening up to cock the float as desired there is a leeway provided by the dampening effect of back shot hanging down and as you tighten you are actually just swinging this shot up like a pendulum rather than pulling directly at the float – and also the shot helps to sink the rod-float line without disturbing the float itself.


OK, then having baited up the swim and set up the tackle as described and discussed above… the session started…. and throughout I fed maggots into the swim every cast or few minutes.

First fish of the day came at around to worm and maggot cocktail just before 1300 but I had had a number of takes – ‘unmissable but missed’ type – preceding this. A nice fish, and, in fact, a new personal best for me but not only that but also a new ‘house best’ overtaking the then current best held by Liz by a staggering 1oz. A tench of 3lb 15oz.

3lb 15oz Tench. A new Personal Best.

3lb 15oz Tench.
A new Personal Best.

A little later this was joined by another tench of 1lb 6oz on straight worm – and I was still getting those unmissable-but-missed takes….

Again, a little later, another tench was hooked but managed to slip away…

I was still getting takes until around 1430 when the swim seemed to go dead for around 90 minutes or so without a single take despite casting to various areas within the swim. And then the takes started again as frequently as ever but I was unable to connect… So I started to consider… I noticed that the vast majority of bites were not of the ‘lift’ kind – more of a slide along and go under type. Possibly perch? And perch are notoriously shy of anything with resistance? Perhaps the sliding of the bottom shot along the bottom was too much resistance resulting in quickly ejected bait? So thinking along those lines I changed my set up slightly in an attempt to minimise any resistance at all on the take. What I did was to remove the AAA loading shot from between the bottom shot and the float leaving just the 3SSG as bottom shot and the AAA back shot – which combined supplied a ‘dead weighting’ to the float (ie <1mm of float tip showed if all weight was suspended). However, I still fished overdepth but only tightened the line until 2”-3” of float tip was showing which correlated to, with that particular float, that 1BB worth of weight was NOT supported by the float and was thus anchoring the bait to the floor – but if a fish lifted the shot then no weight would be felt until the float tip had sunk to its <1mm showing as until then the float would absorb that extra weight – thus it would effectively allow an almost frictionless and weightless glide away for a good distance.

And this seemed to work too, for on the next two casts, I had two more fish on the bankside. However, although the bites were as before, glide-and–dive’, the fish caught were not as thought they may possibly be, perch, but again tench, of 2lb 15oz and 2lb 14oz respectively. Unfortunately at this point it was time to  pack up and head off home…

So a good day – but again the only fish caught were tench – no bream, barbel or perch… perhaps they have been victims of the cormorants that are roaming our pool currently??

Session 16 – The Tench Continue Playing Ball…

Ok, today, Tuesday 8th April, it was back for a session on the ’tench’ pool for me. It was only a short session (4.5 hours) due to the weather conditions – cold breeze and bright sunshine which (a) made floatfishing difficult – due to the sun flashes on the rippled water making observation of the float a very intense affair and (b) chilled me to the bone despite only being one fleecy layer less than mid-winter – one of those breezes that bypassed all windproofing of the gear. Also the final decider for packing in was a large ominous black cloud approaching – which did arrive with rain whilst mid-packing down but had passed completely by the time I was done but luckily was not as dampening as it looked. In fact, the weather was all different in appearance than it actually physically was. Also, I set out half an hour earlier than planned due to the blue skies and bright sunshine luring me … and in my haste I left my mobile phone (and I was expecting early morning texts from my girlfriend who is over in the Algarve at the moment) and also left behind my weighing net and so had to improvise with my Korum Mat Bag as a substitute – which actually worked quite well truth be told.

Anyway, I actually fished from around 0800 until 1230 in my current favourite swim, peg 11, using my usual setups for this pool… 11’ Avon rod, 6lb line, 6 hook, prawn, legered and my 13’ Hardy Matchmaker clone, 6lb line, 12 hook, worm, laying on with a 5AAA antenna float.

Pre-tackling up I laid some bait out into the two swims consisting of particles and maggots in a spicy breadcrumb mix. And into the leger swim I also threw out a few prawns and mussels.

Results by the end of the session had all come from the laid-on worm rod with not a single indication of any attention to the leger rod’s prawn bait. And the 4 fish landed (all common tench) were, in order of appearance, 2lb 11oz, 2lb 13oz, 3lb 0oz and 2lb 8oz. I also lost one of around 2.5lb when the hook pulled just as it was coming to the net.

Not massive but a welcome sight nevertheless… but not yet seen any activity from the barbel or perch – or any of the other species that inhabit the pool.

Plans ahead – well, I need to do some re-decorating (in the middle of stripping the kitchen walls and ceiling at the moment) and need to return and finish that job but on Sunday 13th there is a work party taking place on this pool and normally on work party days all our pools are closed to fishing to everyone for the entire day but in an attempt to swell the really rather abysmal numbers that turn up to these work parties, it has been decided to allow the people who do so, to fish the pool from noon. So, as regular attenders (Liz and I), we’ll be there anyway but this time will take some tackle with us for an afternoon session.

Pics of the day:


Choppy water....

Choppy water….

2lb 11oz Tench

2lb 11oz Tench

Session 15 – Back To The B(l)ank…

OK, today I was off to a club pool that is a little distant but fairly near. In fact, our club has two pools on the site – the larger, upper, pool of 2 acres is the main fishery and is intended to become the club’s premier carp fishery in time – recently some 20lb+ carp have been added to the resident stock which had been caught, I think, up to 19lb. The other pool, smaller at 1 acre, has been on the backburner with the club since its acquisition as the larger pool is being sorted out first. This smaller pool contains small silvers and a large head of jack pike it is believed but I’m not sure that anyone fishes it as there is little access to the waterside and the few old platforms, that I assume were installed by the previous holding club, have rotted away. Liz and I fished it once for pike a couple of years ago but blanked…

OK, today I was off to a club pool that is a little distant but fairly near. In fact, our club has two pools on the site – the larger, upper, pool of 2 acres is the main fishery and is intended to become the club’s premier carp fishery in time – recently some 20lb+ carp have been added to the resident stock which had been caught, I think, up to 19lb. The other pool, smaller at 1 acre, has been on the backburner with the club since its acquisition as the larger pool is being sorted out first. This smaller pool contains small silvers and a large head of jack pike it is believed but I’m not sure that anyone fishes it as there is little access to the waterside and the few old platforms, that I assume were installed by the previous holding club, have rotted away. Liz and I fished it once for pike a couple of years ago but blanked…

The pool today…

Anyway, today’s session was on the larger, main pool. And I’m going to start this report with my reason, or you may say ‘excuse’, for my results of the day… 😀

Right, a bit about this pool… it’s HARD, damned hard at that! Matches are won on this pool with less than 1lb… often 16 anglers fish, 3 weigh in and the winning weight is 6oz! OK, so a few of them get broken by large carp on their pole tackle… BUT that would lead you to believe that the pool is devoid of anything but large’ish carp… WRONG!!! TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY! This pool is stuffed to the gills with plenty of silver fish inc plenty of roach over 1lb, good perch, etc, etc. In fact it is probably the most heavily fish populated water the club has – and as an analogy I would say in your pantry you have several tins or sardines – and this is the tin with the 2 extra free! When the people who advise on our fishery management did a netting to determine the population of fish, just on one sweep (and at the far, dam, end its too deep to net efficiently) , they couldn’t raise the net out of the water! Full of 2oz-4oz ‘sardines’ along with carp, a solitary 8lb bream, pike, perch, tench, etc. In fact, their advice was to stock with chub in order to cut down and control the numbers of the smaller fish. OK, then a pool so full of fish you can almost emulate JC and walk on the water but a blank is the usual result of fishing… what gives?

OK… besides all the fish there is an absolute abundance of natural food for them to live on… unlike commercials of probably similar stocking levels which require extra feed in the form of pellets, etc. when numbers of anglers drop (eg winter), there is so much natural food for them that they need not look beyond what they know basically… and in this situation they are pre-occupied with those food items and have no need to look for or want to experience new food items such as the angler’s bait. And really the only way for this to change is for bait and feed to be introduced by anglers so that eventually the fish will learn to accept these items… HOWEVER… Catch 22 rears its head… in as much as, as the fishing is difficult very few people fish there and so little bait/feed gets introduced… and as there is little feed/bait being introduced to the fish they are not getting introduced to sufficient quantities in order to get weaned over… Vicious circle!

However, having said that, the occasional red letter days do happen there from time to time… and it was in that frame of mind I set out this morning….

So I arrived at the pool at around 0800, set up in a location as seen in the photo above (peg 19) and spombed out a few loads of particles/maggots/groundbait to the intended fishing areas and then fished with two rods – both leger, 8lb line, size 6 hook – the right hand rod being fished with bread first then switched to meat towards the island under the overhanging bushes, the second rod out to the left towards an overhanging tree on the bank and baited with worm. Over the course of the day each rod was recast from time to time to various areas around but, by the time I packed in at 1400, not one bite had been had. There were signs of fish movement – at one point it seemed a perch attack was in progress with several fry scatterings in a period of about 15 minutes occurring.

So… the result for the day was ‘Fish:Won – Steve:Lost’…..

But I DID catch something… on packing up for the day and pulling my landing net in from the water, behold… 😀

2014-04-05 Frog 01
Steve:WON – Toad:LOST

Session 14 – Improving – And A New Personal Best!!

Today, I visited the club’s non-carp pool – which seems to contain everything except common (in all forms) carp, pike, and zander and exotic fish like catfish, sturgeon and alligator gar 😀 – and does hold gudgeon, eels, barbel, perch, roach, rudd, bream, crucian carp, chub, tench, golden tench,….

I started fishing at 0845, finishing at 1515. Weather was dry and for the main part warm and still – although the occasional cool breeze did appear from time to time.

On arrival I baited up two swims with particle mix and maggots and to the right hand swim I added a few prawns.

The left hand swim was floatfished, laying on method, using maggot, worm and worm&maggot cocktail as bait on a size 12 hook (Kamasan Animal eyed), and the right hand swim was fished leger fashion with prawn and mussel baits on a size 6 hook (Kamasan B981 eyed). Both main lines were 6lb BS virtually straight through – I say ‘virtually’ as I do use short hooklengths of the main line strength that are around 4” long – these I attach with size 14 swivels with snaplinks to the main line – basically it makes threading baits down on to the hook easier…

Over the day I had a number of bites on the float rod, all to the cocktail bait, and I managed to land 2 fish and lost one when the hook pulled free after a couple of minutes playing the fish. I also had two bites on the leger rod, one on prawn, one on mussel but these were quick short snatches and far too fast to be able to strike at.

Fish landed (and lost) were all tench – the best at 3lb 13oz  is my new PB – beating my previous of 3lb 10oz that was caught in the 1979/80 season!! J – the other landed fish weighed in at 3lb 9oz – and the lost fish looked to be of similar size.

I spotted a few cormorants circling early in the day (or possibly spotted the same cormorant several times)… 🙂  These are a particular nuisance at this pool as it is quite shallow (around 4’6” for most part and deepest I’ve found is 5’) and to try to limit the damage caused the club has strings over most of the pool so effectively each peg is an enclosed area… the idea of the stringing being that cormorants need a long length of clear water in order to take off and the strings prevent their doing so. The pool also gets the attentions of mink too as there was a mink farm not too far away that many years ago was targeted by the Animal Liberation Front and the farm was raided and the mink freed – to the detriment of all local wildlife… and the mink still roam… as can be evidenced by the empty swan mussel shells that lie in the margins, swan mussels being a particular favourite of the mink.

OK… that’s all for today… need to prep for tomorrow’s planned outing to yet another club pool, have my tea, etc, etc.

And got to get some DiaCalm… I always take them before fishing and I ran out yesterday!! 😀 So as I need to go shopping – it will be chip shop for takeaway tea then!! 😀

ARRGGGHHHHHHH!!! Just editing the photos of the day on the SD card – and they’ve gone and got corrupted and I’ve lost them all including the PB tench!!! No excuse… I used to work in IT… backup first… copy files and work on the copies NOT the originals… and I didn’t!!  😦

Just need to catch bigger tomorrow, I reckon. And where I’m going is where Liz caught her PB so I may be in with a chance… 🙂

Session 13 – Thanks, Gudgeon!!

Today, Thursday April 3rd I was at the club pool as planned in search of carp with a hope of a possible perch.

Weather over the day was generally misty/overcast although quite muggy with very little air movement and a few light showers.

I fished peg 9 today (for those in the know) as, before the dry winter of 2012/2013 and the drop of over 4 feet in the water level there, there was a large patch of lily pads in that corner and it was a good holding area for perch. However, the pads have not re-appeared since but I hold hope that perhaps they may come back soon. First cast made around 0830 and final wind in around 1500 as I wanted to get some shopping and need to prepare for tomorrow’s action.

I fished 2 rods, both leger, 8lb line straight through to size 6 hooks. One rod baited with bread and/or Yorkshire pud fished out from the bank, the other with worm or prawn fished closer the the bank near where the lily patch existed.

Plenty of 2”-3” lifts of the bobbins on both rods accompanied by beeps from the alarms throughout the session but nothing more brutal. There was a lot of evidence of the usual sardine sized fish of this venue being active – bits of bread thrown on the surface elicited the usual ‘piranah’ type water boiling – and I assume that the numerous twitches, etc were from similar sized fish whittling down the baits as the twitches stopped about 15 mins or so after casting out and when retrieved the hook was bare – both rods.

Anyway, needless to say I would have had a blank – had it not been for an unlucky 3” gudgeon that got foul hooked in the tail at one point.

So a pleasant, if unproductive, day out. And now I’m off to start sorting bait, food, etc ready for tomorrow’s trip to a waterside as per plans hoping for a varied selection of species but especially tench and perch J.

I also noticed, yesterday, that the grass verges along the main thoroughfare through our estate have been cut – a great hunting ground for lobworms although last year they were difficult to find, BUT I also noticed myriads of worm casts too now… and with the warm drizzly weather of the day it may be a good evening to go hunting. So, tiredness permitting, I hope to be down there with my torch later. J

Session 12 – In Search Of Grass Carp

Today, Wednesday 2nd April found me on the banks of our most distant club pools – 2 on the same site, both small being only capable of holding 8-10 anglers each. However, they are stocked with many fish species and the pool I fished today contains grass carp – maybe the other one does too but not seen them in there.

OK… so I made my first cast around 0800, having baited two swims… one to my left  with a particle mix plus dead maggots plus a breadcrumb based groundbait containing mango powder and garlic (for grass carp) and one to my right again with particles and dead maggots but this time the groundbait was a chocolate and dried blood one (for general fish).

I started off on the left hand rod legering a piece of Yorkshire Pudding as a pop-up about 12” off the bottom – and a great start as first cast, before the bobbin had been settled, the line flew out – only a small mirror of 15oz but looked good for the day. The right hand swim was fished with a piece of chilli sausage – and this was untouched for the day – and it was removed from the hook at 1530 when I packed in for the day.

The great start with the first cast bite was a bit of a letdown – and for the next hour the YP was untouched until, spotting surface activity, I took off the lead and fished floating YP pieces which put me into a grass carp of around 6-7lb (about the size of the one in the picture in the preceding post) but unfortunately the line gave way as I was about to net it which was upsetting. However, I persevered with the floating YP and had another 3 carp – 1 common and 2 mirrors – however, the largest was 1lb 12oz L

The day was very overcast, quite a cool breeze and several extended showers.

Yorkshire puddings – fantastic floater/pop-up bait! A bag, I think of 20, frozen YPs can be bought from Aldi for 49p – and each gives 2-3 baits, so good value. The advantage over bread is that due to being oily they (1) float extremely well, (2) are more durable – can usually make 2-3 casts with each piece and (3) when a fish takes from the surface not only does it disappear but also, due to the squeezing by the fish, it releases an oily film that flattens rippled water and provides another indication that the fish is holding it and it’s just sunk or been broken up.

No pics today – camera card was corrupted.

Tomorrow I’m off to another club pool – more local as only 5 miles or so compared to the 35 miles of today. So can go out later to get there at same time, leave at same time and back earlier. Target – carp.

Day after – yet another club pool – mid-distance – in search of tench, barbel, perch and bream mainly.

Day after that – club pool about 15 miles away – carp, tench, perch most likely catches.

Day after – rest/replenish stocks day

Day after – one of 2 possible day ticket waters – targets depend on which water.

Day after – back to the tench, barbel, perch, bream pool.

Well, that’s the plan anyway.