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Posts Tagged ‘Tench fishing’


The first episode of this new series was aired yesterday evening.  It was always going to be difficult to try and capture that magic quality of Bernald Venables’ inspirational and best selling work, however for me, that’s exactly what they did from the outset.

Summer tench fishing brought back some very fond memories of my own youthful entry into angling.  John and Sam’s approach was one of simplicity.  From the opening scenes of that misty dawn, with the sun just breaking through the haze and a beautiful Barn Owl, spectre like in it’s soft and quiet passage across the still waters of that peaceful lake, just captured the bewitching power of fishing again for me.  The excitement was almost tangible as they crouched behind the rushes watching the tench feed in the margins, with those tiny pin prick bubbles fizzing on the surface.  And to see the rapture on Sam’s face as he hoisted out that monster tench was a joy to behold, only to follow it up with a fish of a lifetime, was just sublime.

I can remember vividly my early forays into stillwater angling as a kid.  The excitement of seeing bubbles and fish swirling and rolling as I sat next to the waters edge so full of anticipation and genuine excitement.  I fondly recall my late father taking me to a lake in Horsemonden where my Uncle was the local gamekeeper and fishing for carp.  I would have been just about 8 years old.  It was incredible.  We threw some pieces of bread out into the mirror like surface of that lake and soon a throng of small carp moved in to hoover up the fee offerings, slurping at the surface in their eagerness to ingest all there was to offer.

Out went a piece of bread with a hook firmly buried into its fluffy folds and then the singing line and the powerful bend in the rod as a fish fought for its freedom.   Well for me, that was it.  I was as hooked as those carp and the passion for angling flourished within me.  It wasn’t long before I was fishing my local mill pond and I was an avid reader of any sort of angling publication I could lay my hands on from Dick Walker to Mr Crabtree, inspiration abounded.  Soon I was fishing small floats next to lilly pads and feeding maggots or sweetcorn or worms.  I can remember the excitement of the float dipping and the rod bending as a small roach jagged on the other end.

I can also recall the first time I spotted a really big fish, a carp cruising out in the middle of the lake.  So enraptured was I by this leviathan that I was forced into fishing an area that was strictly speaking out of bounds.  I tied on a thick twig which gave me some extra casting weight and baited the hook with some bread.   I waited, the tension building inside me like a pressure cooker.   The carp was still there and circled my ‘float’ when suddenly the stick bobbed and started to shoot across the surface!  I struck and the rod whooped over in an alarming arch.  The power of the fish was phenomenal and I held on for dear life.  Sadly of course my experience and skill at playing a big fish was non existent and so the outcome was inevitable, the line broke and the monster carp sank into the gloomy waters of the old mill pond.  I have never forgotten that first encounter with a big fish and I am delighted to say that I have relived that moment many times in my angling life and hope to for many more times to come.

It was then, as I grew older, that my desire to catch bigger and more varied fish took me to my local lakes in Frant.  Here I learned to leger baits like bread and luncheon meat and I even started to stalk the resident carp with pieces of crust.  Here I fished with my lifelong friend Jules and we even ventured into the exciting boyhood adventures of night fishing.  Wow these were great times, when life seemed so simple and every day was an adventure.  I can remember waking up one morning and there perched on it’s hind legs staring at me from the end of my camping bed was a mink, just sat there looking at me before it scuttled off in search of food.  We caught lots of grass snakes and even the odd adder in our landing nets and had many, many wonderful days just exploring the lakes, watching and learning.

One winter’s day I found a swan snared up on a small island out in the middle of the lake on some fishing line.  I was quite distraught at this sight and was in a quandary as to what to do.  Obviously this was long before the advent of the mobile phone, so there was no option of calling for help.  I felt there was only one acceptable solution.  I had to go in!  I stripped off, despite the chilly conditions and just jumped in.  The water was freezing and took my breath away instantly.  I could hardly breath as I made my way slowly towards the swan, taking in shivering breaths of air which seemed to stab my lungs, such was the iciness of each breath.  The swan was obviously exhausted from it struggles to get free and put up no resistance at my attempt to untangle it.  Soon I had managed to snip away at the line and the swan was free and I emerged cold and dripping from the lake.  I had to stay like that all day until my dad came to pick me up and I recounted my story to him.  I think he was quite proud of his little boy that day and again it’s such a fond memory of my youth and of my late father.

So to me this first series of ‘Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing’ has offered so much more than many of the modern angling series of recent years.  It’s simplicity and youthful exuberance reminded me of simple days spent chasing mythical monsters, of balmy evenings under an umbrella waiting for a bite, of misty summer dawns and the heat of the sun as it shone down at us from clear blue summer skies  and when catching small tench, roach and carp seemed to fulfil all of my childhood requirements and fuel years of dreams about catching fish.

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Well, what happened to all of that lovely, unseasonably good weather we were having?  The winter has certainly bitten back with a vengeance.

Over the last few weeks we have still been attacking Marsh Farm.  Plenty of tench showing, despite the cold weather.  Most of the tench range from about 3-5.8 pounds, so a very good average.  A fair few crucians coming out as well.  Numerous fish in the 2-2.15 bracket.  Sadly no 3s as of yet but it’s still a little early.  The crucians are being even more tricky than usual, probably due to the low night time temperatures keeping the water temperature down.  They are just such finicky biters sometimes, they can drive you to distraction.

I have persevered with the worms but also tried king prawn.  I just cut slivers off and fish it on a 14 hook.  Thinking of trying some float fished paste.  Big lumps on a fine wire 6 or 8 hook, fished in conjunction with a very small waggler and no weights.  I’ll just use the weight of the paste to cock the float.  Bites should show very easily and the float will offer very little resistance, if any.

We’ll see how well it works soon.

 

 

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Another week has passed and I found myself on the banks of the Marsh Farm lakes in search of crucian carp and tench.  The weather has been just phenomenal lately, with temperatures rising to 20+ degrees.  Sadly the nights are still rather chilly, with the odd frost keeping the water temperatures down a little.

This week I was joined by Geoff and Dan on Tuesday and Kevin and Geoff on Wednesday.  Tuesday was a total failure for me.  I lost a good tench and missed one bite.  Geoff and Dan fared much better.  Dan was first off the mark with a nice crucian of 1lb 12oz and he followed that up with another of 2lb 8oz and a couple of tench to 5lb 9oz, so he was pretty chuffed with that.  Geoff found a few crucians, taking four to nearly 3lbs and a tench.  When we left a frost had just begun to form and the ice was beginning to march relentlessly over  everything at ground level.

The following day saw another scorching day and a slightly milder night.  I decided to fish two rods, one on a feeder and the other a float as normal.  Using an open end feeder I fed a nice black groundbait, with chopped worm and prawn and fished a large king prawn on a bait band.  This rod ended up accounting for 3 tench to close to 4 pounds and one that I lost at the net, plus a few missed bites.  I was quite pleased as it was a new rod.  A Fox Duo-Lite Specialist with a 3/4lb Avon top.  It has a lovely through action and is just perfect for tench fishing.  I’m really pleased with it.  On the float rod I persevered with a small piece of prawn but was getting very little attention.  Eventually I gave up with the prawns.  I was getting some very delicate bites, barely discernible.  I was certain they were crucians and so changed to worm.  First cast and at last a decent bite.  It was a nice crucian of 2lb 12oz.

A little while later the float slid silently away and this time something much bigger was on the other end.  The fight was powerful and dogged but eventually I coaxed the fish into the waiting net.  I could see it was quite a big tench.  On hoisting it out of the water I could now see it was a heavily laden with spawn female.  She was not shedding any spawn at all and so I weighed and photographed her.  Had she of been shedding spawn, she would have gone straight back without any fussing.  I was keen to get a weight and photo as it is the biggest tench I have caught on the float.  I was over the moon and she was in lovely condition, just a touch on the plump side.  As the saying goes “Who’s been eating all the pies? You fat bas…. ” uhum anyway back to the action.  Well actually there wasn’t anymore really.  I missed half a dozen bites I guess and left around 11.30pm.

7lb 8oz Tench

7lb 8oz Tench

Both Geoff and Kevin caught a few roach and rudd but sadly didn’t find any tench or crucians.  Still with their track record, it won’t be long before they get stuck in to a few.

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