Heatwave Tench a bonus among bread punch silvers at Braybrooke.

June 14, 2023 at 12:36 pm

While the rest of the UK benefitted from cooling rainstorms, my part of the country had to sit and watch the clouds pass us by. The first evening of forecast storms had my wife and I rushing around the garden securing plants, as a mini whirlwind drove large droplets 0f rain in our direction. Then it stopped, the black clouds depositting their loads to west of us, causing flash flooding.

I had intended fishing the next day, but once again the forecast was for an Amber Alert of heavy rain and a possible month’s rain in one day. Good news, our water butts were nearly empty. We kept our eyes on the sky, where were the clouds? They passed to the east of us this time

So, today we checked the forecast. Nothing. Blue skies and daylong sunshine. The plants will have to wait, I’m going fishing. The local pond at Braybrooke recreation ground is well shaded, with tall trees lining the hollow formed by brickmakers scavenging for the rich red clay, to produce bricks, for use in such iconic buildings as The Royal Albert Hall.

There was only one other angler fishing, when I arrived at 10 am and I settled down on the Point, which juts out into five feet of water. The shade extended half way across, with a cool breeze blowing from the east to my left and I set up the pole to 4 metres, with a heavy 2 gram antenna rig, bulked a foot from the size 14 hook, set just off bottom. Having had a successful session the week before, with a couple of tench in the lily fringed swim opposite, I made up the same groundbait mix of liquidised bread, ground hemp and pellets, with a sprinkling of strawberry powder. There is a defined drop off here and I put two decent firm balls into the five foot deep swim.

First cast the float dipped a couple of  times, then slowly sank, the juddering fight indicating a nettable roach, that had taken the 7 mm pellet of punched bread.

The surface was covered by fry and small rudd and the bulked shot had done its job of punching through to the bottom. The bites took their time to develope, but waiting for that slow sink of the antenna was the gaurantee of another roach.

Fifteen minutes into the session, another roach bite met with a solid resistance, which was definitely a tench, a short run was replaced by a tumbling fight, stretching the pole elastic as it plunged deep toward the middle. It turned and ran toward the bush on my left and the line went solid. It had found the roots. I let the line go slack, keeping an eye on the float. The float moved off, heading round the corner of the Point and I put on tension again, drawing the pole back round. The fight was on again, the elastic stretching out toward the middle. I slipped on another length of pole, which gave more control, when the unseen fish came close to my bank. It rolled, a good sized tench was ready for the landing net.

A chunky 3 lb 6 oz male tench hooked firmley in the lip.

“I’ve got my beady red eye on you!

The downside of catching  tench is the slime. My line was now coated in this thick jelly-like substance and I spent the next ten minutes unpicking a tangle.  Success. A cup of tea and a sandwich and I was ready to fish again, following another ball of feed with the float. The wind had picked up and the antenna dragged under in the drift. Another tench? The elastic came out of the pole as I lifted, but it was solid. The hook was snagged. Bringing the pole in, I pulled hard on the elastic. The 3 lb hook link broke. Having survived the tangle, I felt that I had got off lightly. A new link was looped on.

Casting out to my left to avoid the snag, the antenna popped up immediately, and I was playing a decent rudd to the net.

I decided to replumb the depth out at five metres, setting the bait to fish on the bottom, then putting into the area my last couple of balls of feed. Small rudd and roach were now being swung in and I decided to mix up another stiff mix to draw in some better fish. It seemed to work.

As the sun rose higher, so the shadow reduced, finally reaching my fishing line and I began to catch more rudd, intercepting the bait midwater.

My hopes of another tench had gone. Even in my protected area, the heat was getting through and at 1:30 I called it a day, despite still catching one a chuck to hand. This roach being my last.

Not a pretty rig, but it works on this pond, where there are shoals of very small rudd ready to grab an angler’s bait; also I think that the punch scores over the maggot, as it is a bigger bait attracting better fish.

Proof of the pudding, a decent tench amoung a net of roach and rudd, all in three hours fishing.