Bread punch tench new personal best

May 12, 2018 at 4:07 pm

On the way to the local garden centre with my wife this week, we passed a sign to a country park not far off our route and decided to check it out. It was free entry offering, wooded walks, picnic areas, a cafe and as we discovered, a lake, where pinned to a tree, was a sign saying that day fishing permits were available from the cafe. After our walk we of course needed a cup of tea and stopped at the cafe, where I found that the day tickets were a very reasonable price.

Loaded down with plants from the garden centre, my wife had her afternoon sorted, while a fishing trip would give me something to do. There were frozen bread slices and liquidised bread in the freezer, so bait was not a problem, and after lunch gathered up my tackle, then headed back to the country park five miles away.

The cafe owner was not a fisherman and had no knowledge of the fish in the lake, “I just sell the day tickets”, so it was going to be a case of suck it and see. With only a pole, I went to the dam end of the lake expecting deep water, but plumbing the depth revealed only two feet at 6 metres. Opting for a shallow pond waggler rig in my box, I mixed up wet, sloppy bread crumb and laced an area 5 to 6 metres out with the feed, and sat back waiting for a bite. There was no surface activity and thought that it might be a long wait.

In my rush to get away, I had left my landing net pole behind and improvised with a keepnet attachment for my tackle box. At only half a metre long, landing a big fish could be difficult.

A minute after the float had settled, a tell tale ring, then a dip warned of some interest in the 5 mm bread pellet, before it slid from view. A lift of the pole and a jiggling fight as I slid the pole back to release the top two sections, bringing a small roach to hand.

The roach were gathering round the feed and it was one a chuck, although another ball of feed seemed to bring smaller fish. Going up to a 7 mm punch, I cast to the side of the feed and got a better roach that required the use of my improvised landing net. It meant breaking down the pole each time to the top two sections, but it worked.

Next cast, the float stayed down and the elastic came out of the pole tip, the fish taking a couple of runs in the shallow water, before my netting technique had a proper test.

A chunky pound bream. This session could be interesting. Going in blind to a water is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like the extra challenge. I am always confident that the Bread will sort out better fish. The next bite proved this, when solid resistance, followed by an elastic stretching run towards a snag to the right of my swim, saw me pulling hard in the opposite direction. The water was boiling as the fish turned and rolled, the wide tail of a bream showing several times before I began to bring the pole back to the last two joints.

A five pound bream. Another test of my netting skills, the size 16 barbless holding firm in the corner of its mouth. Casting in again, the float cruised under and I was in for a repeat performance, these big fish having only one option, run!

These were large bream for such a shallow lake, this one going off with the bait like a carp from the off, running time and again, before succumbing to pressure from the elastic.

The next few fish were quality roach, the bream possibly put off by the commotion of the others. The lake was certainly full of good fish, first impressions belying the reality. The next fish was a mystery, it was bouncing the elastic like a big roach, giving little resistance and I was down to the top two sections with the net ready, when it suddenly woke up and made off in a straight run toward the middle of the lake. I held on against the strain, the elastic in the two sections extending many times its length. Not expecting big fish, I had picked up the pole I use for big roach and rudd with a No 6 elastic, while I should have brought that with the size 12-18 elastic to deal with bigger lumps. Too late now, this was an epic battle, constantly pulling hard to keep the unseen fish from the snags. I was able to get the rest of the pole attached, which gave me more control and leverage, but knew eventually that I would have to break down to the top two metres of pole to land it. I had still not seen the fish and now assumed that it was a carp. Getting weaker, it began to boil in the mirky water close in and with three sections plus the elastic out, I pushed the pole back over my head in an arc, forcing the fish to surface toward the waiting landing net. I was shocked by the sight of a massive tench, open mouthed as it slid over the net. It was in and I lifted it over the bank edge.

Shaped like a barrel, this spawn filled tench had taken forever to get in, no doubt due to that massive tail, fortunately the hook came free from the hard lip with a short jab of the disgorger. Put on the scales the dial went to 6lb 8 oz. Two weeks ago at a club lake my personal best tench had gone from 5 lb to 5 lb 8 oz, now I had topped it by a full pound from a day ticket water. Phew! I was ready for a cup of tea and a slice of homemade banana fruit cake, my hands still shaking as I poured from the flask, spilling half a cup.

I made up some more sloppy bread and threw it out. I doubted whether much would be hanging round after that disturbance, but after a few more roach, the elastic came out again as another bream went through the motions of escape.

By comparison to the tench, this was a doddle to get in at around three pounds and I added it to my crowded keep net. It was now close to going home time, the Friday afternoon traffic in this area tailing back a mile to get to the motorway and I was going to try  a longer less congested country road route back. I had started fishing at 2 pm and made 5 pm my target, but I was in a just “one more fish” mode as it approached. The roach were still coming, when the elastic came out again, this time there was nothing to shout home about, a small bream coming to the net at a leisurely pace to be the last of the three hour session.

With effort I pulled the net from the water, hooking the scales to one of the inside lifting straps, registering 28 lbs of fish, which included a pile quality of roach.

My attempts to take a pic of the net contents proved impossible to capture, but the size of that tench cannot be denied. I returned these as carefully as I could, hoping that next time my expectations are not too great. The new longer distance route, cut 20 minutes off the shorter congested route, so it ended up a win win sort of day.