Session 32 – PBs, Glass Ceiling Breached, Snakes .. And Lost Fish

Monday, 3rd July, saw Liz and myself heading off for a tench session at a club’s pool (KFAC-DBP) … a 19 acre estate lake which contains tench, perch, roach, rudd, eels and pike … no bream or any kind of carp though. It had been a while my last outing – two weeks or so – due to getting old (neck paining and creaking) and also due to a family bereavement, the loss of an aunt to cancer….

Anyway, back to the tale of the day…

It was to be our first proper tench session of the season and the chosen pool was a prime tench water and so we set off full of optimism for the day leaving the house at 0700, and arriving at the site’s car park at around 0730 to find three other cars already there… however, it seemed that the occupants of two of those cars had decided to fish one of the other pools that are on the estate (carp pools) as it appeared that there was actually only one angler on our pool – but as Sod’s Law dictates he was in the swim we had been intending to fish .. but clouds and linings as that swim was a far way round the pool but to me the second best swim is the nearest and so we plonked down there for the day.

We both tackled up with our two 11’ 1.75lb TC ledger rods with 8lb main line – Liz used maggot feeders on both her rods with maggot, sweetcorn, etc as baits, myself I catapulted out a groundbait (crumb, particles, dead maggots, etc) carpet before tackling up and then during the day fired out 5-6 golf sized balls of the same every 30 minutes or so and then fished standard 1/2oz bombs on sliding link swivels. Baits used over the day were bread, maggot, paste, meat and maize.

Over the day we only caught one tench each and a number of small (3”-4”) rudd – in fact the rudd were becoming a nuisance that I stopped using maggot and changed to 2 pieces of maize on that particular rod which stopped the rudd ‘problem’…. HOWEVER, both our tench were new PBs! And both were 4lb 4oz and captured within 15 minutes of each other – mine on bread on a size 6 hook, Liz’s on sweetcorn on a size 12. And – I broke a ‘glass ceiling’ that I’d been under for the past 4 years or so of my PB being 4lb 1oz despite catching numerous 4lb 0oz tench and at least one of 4lb 1oz each year! So now Liz and I are level on PB tench – our next tench target – to outdo the others! LOL!

And despite only landing one tench each we did have several more takes missed on the strike and, in fact, we hooked into other good fish but lost them. Liz lost one when it buried into the bottom weed and did the ‘hook release’ (though chub generally get the kudos for being masters of this operation I find tench are even more adept at it!) and we both lost fish due to the lines being ‘cut’ in my opinion… Not intentionally cut by a fellow angler or other human source I stress but seemingly by swan mussel shells lying on the bottom of the pool as these have razor sharp edges that can slice a line easily. Symptoms – no pressure on line, barely taut most times, when line gives and the end of the recovered line shows no wrinkling or other deformation, etc that would be expected when breaking at its elastic limit but generally a clean edge as per cutting with a sharp knife or with scissors…. I’ve had this happen over several years at this pool even to the point of using a 12lb braid hook link on a 8lb mono line and still the braid was clean cut! Possibly, could be due to pike attacking the feeder/lead as the pool contains a large head of ‘jacks’ and I’d always thought that pike teeth were like needles made for purely gripping rather than cutting but have now learned that the teeth are pyramidal in section and the angles are actually razor sharp…. However, the number of ‘happenings’ tends to lead me to the shell cause really…. and I have a plan to try to alleviate the loss of fish if so… :)

We packed in fishing at 1630 and by 1730 we were well on our way to our local hostelry for a welcome pint (or two) before heading home. Interesting topic of conversation came up whilst there – was I going to have my ‘wake’ there!!? The decision was ‘yes, OK but I won’t be able to make it personally as I’ll be having a meeting with some flames at the time’…. So my post-crem do will be at the Jolly Crispin, Upper Gornal … and half my ashes will fertilise a new willow tree at a pool of one of my clubs and the other half a new willow at another :). Things we talk about, eh??

Oh yeah, and at the pool we had a snake swim along in front of us and then come ashore and sliver into a bankside hole under some tree roots… only second snake in the wild I’d seen… although I’ve handled snakes at the local zoo on an ‘event’ there. Think it was a grass snake, quite numerous there it seems, but not too sure as there are also adders and smooth snakes known to be in the area.

Right, next outing – a two day (34 hour) club competition – called the Golden Maggot after a TV show of the 50s/60’s I believe – and similar in style to the Matt Hayes’ ‘Rod Race’ TV series whereby a task is set to be accomplished with a given time limit. In our version, the task is to catch as many different species of fish, solely from the club’s own waters (one pool is excepted as classed as ‘too easy’ but all the other club’s river, pool and canal waters are allowed), in the 34 hours that lie between 0800 on Saturday 8th July until 1800 hours on Sunday 9th. We meet at 0730 on the Saturday at the starting point (pub car park!) where we receive a card/plaque that has to appear in all the photos that are used to record the claimed species – 0800 off on the road … fish, as you like (eg fish all 34 hours, fish a few hours, go home, return next day, or even just fish one day for an hour)… 1600-1800 Sunday, return to starting point with photos to claim your species… OK, so you’ve got until 1800 on Sunday to lay your claim (or even later but every 15 mins or part of that you’re late you get one of your species deducted from your count) but in case of a draw in numbers of species claimed then the first back to claim gets priority hence the check-in starting at 1600. And, as they say, size doesn’t matter in this comp….  :)

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