Slow day at the Braybrooke Office. No tench!

September 1, 2020 at 7:43 pm

With the morning free, I promised myself a few hours tench fishing at Braybrooke’s Jeanes’s Pond, heading back to the same swim, hoping to improve on the two tench and half a dozen small commons and a small mirror, that I caught two weeks ago.

Last time, I chose this swim to shelter from the sun and to be out of the wind, but today there was only a hazy sun and no wind, in fact there was quite a chill in the air left over from a cold clear night.The first change was no surface bubbles, but hey, the bread punch and my tench mix of crushed hemp and carp pellets, plus hemp seed would soon change that, wouldn’t it? Er, no. After an hour, there were only a few pin prick bubbles and just four small roach in the net. The rig was the same, a 2 gram antenna float to bulk shot 12 inches from the size 16 barbless hook and a No 6 tell tale four inches from the hook. The depth had been set to a single shot under the float and a test with the plummet proved all was the same.

I had started on a 6 mm punch to avoid the very small roach, while offering the larger bait for the tench and carp, but this was not working, so went down to a 5 mm punch. The bites so far had been very fussy, barely sinking the 6 mm of exposed antenna and had missed six of the ten fish. I would have said that they were crucian carp from the nibbling dips and bobs, but the ones that I hit were all small roach.

What to do? Change tactics, or keep plugging away. Too set in my ways to change, I kept feeding; a small ball to the left, while fishing to the right, then visa versa, a typical winter method, when the fishing is hard. Hold on a minute, this is supposed to be summer! Two weeks ago it was a fish a chuck, now look at me struggling for bites. The concentrated feed was having an effect, the roach were more numerous and getting bigger.

The next change was from natural slice to steamed and rolled bread, this giving a more dense pellet. The bites improved. The roach had been blowing the pellet in and out of their lips, giving the slight dips and raising of the antenna. They did not seem too interested in feeding, but now the float was holding down long enough to strike. My catch rate went up to two out of three bites.

At about 11 am, there was a massive disturbance under the surface, throwing up a burst of bubbles through my swim, either a pike, or a large carp. The bites stopped. I got out the tea and sandwiches and waited, then waited some more. Time to pack up. The float went under and a better roach was fighting hard before being brought round to the landing net.

I kept going, at least the roach were feeding again, even if I may have to wait until next year for another tench. I would only be in my wife’s way if I went home now. Give it a bit longer and I will be in time for lunch. The float held down and the elastic came out. Something was fighting back. Get the landing net ready, the fish rolled on the surface long enough to be swept into the net. One of the small commons that have appeared this year.

There were no more where this came from. The sun was on the water and the bites dried up. This time I did pack up. The bailiff came along and told me that the club’s top match winner had struggled in a swim three pegs away the day before. This made me feel only slightly better.

Not a disaster by any means, but did have one dry net. The one that I brought just to put the tench in.