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.
BACK SHOTTING DISCUSSION
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.
BACK TO THE SESSION……
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.
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??