Session 21 – In Search Of Tench, Bream And Barbel…

Tuesday, May 22nd, I set off at 0600 for a return visit to the club pool (AA-B) that I visited last Monday (14th May) to see if, in fact, the warmer weather had kick started the tench and other species into action.

The pool looked glorious on arrival at 0630…

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… and I was surprised to find that two others were already there and fishing … on the pole… on pegs 5 (where I fished last week) and peg 7. And another arrived about half an hour later and elected to fish peg 4…. but apart from another two people who arrived early afternoon, just walked along the bank and then left again, that was the full complement of people I saw.

Peg 7 man moved around 1100 over to the carp pool alongside this pool. Due to this move I assume he wasn’t catching but as he was hidden from my view by trees I can’t be certain about that. Peg 5 man was catching well it seemed – nothing mega and not sure of the species as he was unhooking the larger fish whilst still inside the landing net and then releasing directly but it looked like all perch and carp from my position, possibly small roach/rudd too – and he left around 1130. Peg 4 man I didn’t see catch anything and he moved to the carp pool around midday where he remained, and still was when I left for home at 1530.

As for myself … I elected to fish peg 25 (an old favourite that I’d not fished for a season or so). This is on the east bank and the bank has tall trees behind the pegs as well as lining the pool – thus this side of the pool remains in shade until mid/late afternoon and, as seen in the photo, this peg also features a patch of lilies off to the right hand side.

As usual the first thing I did on arrival was to prefeed the swim so that it would allow the water to settle and be working to attract whilst I was setting up my gear and arranging my area. This feed consisted of about 0.5Kg of liquidised bread, coloured yellow, with hemp, maggot, wheat, maize and small feed pellets added and was placed at the outer corner of the lilies (basically where the rod is pointing in the photo)….

Method for the day was float fishing using the ‘lift method’ …. basically, a bodied antenna float is set slightly (6” or so overdepth – varies slightly depending on the actual depth of water) and overshotted slightly so that if the float is set underdepth it will be completely pulled under by the shotting. The shotting is arranged so that the bulk shot matches the body of the float (ie the float stands upright with the antenna completely out of the water) and the bulk placed anywhere on the line between the float itself and half the water depth. Finally the ‘working’ shot is added about 4”-6” from the hook – this is the shot (one shot is best but often you’ll find that you may need 2 or more shot tight against each other) that is applied to make the antenna completely submerge if the depth of the float is set too shallow and ideally needs to be ‘just sufficient’ – you do need to allow for the tow of the water when doing this as it can make quite a difference to the weighting needed – a very static water may let you use 1BB but the same water in a breeze could  possibly require 2SSG in some cases, a case of experimenting and changing until you get it right. So, in action, say the water is 4’ deep, you’d set the depth between the ‘working’ shot and the float to be around 4’6” – cast out and then place your rod in 2 rod rests (needs to be held still, can’t do that by holding in the hand) – at his point, with slack line from the rod tip to the float the antenna will be standing fully proud of the water – you then slowly tighten the line – and as the line tightens then the float will sink lower into the water – tighten until the float is as you would like it in respect of amount of tip showing. Now, you get a bite… one of two things will happen … (1) as the fish takes the bait it may lift the ‘working’ shot off the bottom and thus take weighting off the float – and the float rises in the water (hence ‘lift method’) and you should strike if possible while the float is rising or (2) if the fish swims away from you then the float will disappear under the water as per usual …. of course, you may find the float rises and then dives under as the fish lifts the bait and then swims away… Anyway, YouTube (eg YOUTUBE VIDEO contains a good explanation towards the end using a drift/windbeater type float) and Google are good sources for further info, just search for ‘lift method’ – or ‘laying on’ of which ‘lift method’ is a form of.

My float was a light loaded bodied antenna of which the float’s own loading dealt with the ‘bulk shotting’ aspect and a 1SSG shot along with an AAA shot supplied the ‘working’ shot. The water depth on this particular pool is around 4’ all over so by the time I’d made adjustments to ‘fine tune’ my set up I had the float set at around 4’6”.

Line was 6lb mono, and I used hooks to 6” hooklengths of 6lb braid – starting the day off with size 16 baited with 2-3 maggots, but then varied over the day and I used size 12 (worm and bunches of maggots) and size 8 (luncheon meat, bread and prawn).

Over the day I loose fed (catapulted) a few maggots every few minutes and added small balls (golf ball) of the liquidised bread (red coloured) with a few particles added.

Bites were made on all baits except the bread – but by the time I tried bread the bites had dried up appreciably on the other baits anyway… and the best bait of the day was definitely worm (most bites, least time between cast and bite)…

Bites were frequent from the start of the session until around 1130 when they died down – then a bit of a flurry for 15 minutes around 1330 – and then spurious between until I packed in at 1530.

In the end I caught probably 12-15 small perch to around 3oz plus 1 common carp (ca 1.75lb) and 2 mirror carp (ca 1.75lb and 1.25lb) – and had a few hook pulls and a snap-off but don’t think anything lost was much bigger than anything landed.

SO… I didn’t get any of the tench, bream or barbel I was hoping for but we’ll see how the pool fishes over the next few weeks – as I’ve said before its generally a late ‘awakener’ and with the earlier cold weather through Easter, etc it may be that its ‘delayed’ a bit. AND, if you’re not  going to catch, then its just a nice quiet and scenic place to be anyway …



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