Tench, a common and a big crucian carp worth the soaking.

June 30, 2021 at 9:24 am

While my wife went off for her first appointment at the hairdressers since Lockdown began, I took advantage of the two free hours for a quick visit to my local Jeanes Pond, before the need to get home to watch the England v Germany football game in the European Cup.

Arriving at Jeanes, the pond looked good, although the forecast afternoon rain had already begun. I had no waterproofs, but was under a tree and the rain was warm. So far this season I had been unable to catch a tench and was prepared to foresake my reliable bread punch for sweet corn.  Adding a strawberry ground bait to my usual mix of liquidised bread and ground carp pellets was another diversion from my normal approach, but this additive had proved effective in my distant past and was retrieved from it’s sealed tin at the back of my fishing cupboard.

Intending to fish the shallow shelf in front of me, I only needed the top three sections of my pole, the top two containing a No 6 elastic. Float was a 2 gram antenna, with the shot bulked 18 inches from the size 16 barbless hook and a No 4 tell tale shot half way between. I plumbed the depth and set the float to fish 2 inches off bottom.

Damping down the strawberry mix to form firm balls, I put four into a metre square area 2 -3 metres out and watched in amazement as the surface in front of me began to fizz with bubbles. Although I had added half a dozen sweet corn to the mix, I started with a double punched 7 mm pellet of bread coated in the strawberry mix and dropped the bait over the bubbles. The float went down, cocked and lifted and I struck into a rudd at half depth.

These were good weight building fish, but after a dozen, or so, decided to switch to the sweet corn. Not a movement, just the occasional lift and bob. I loose fed some more corn over the area, followed by another small ball of feed. More fizzing and a lift and run bite. This time I was playing a better fish, seeing the silver and gold flash from a decent rudd, which danced around the swim before turning on it’s side for the landing net, but a last second fight back, saw it turn and shed the hook. Blow it!

Back on the bread I was not missing many bites, when the float lifted and sank, with the squirming resistance suggesting a tench, which stretched out the elastic with several runs and surface boils, but the hook held in the very tip of it’s nose and I netted my first 2021 tench. Hurray!

That was worth a cup of tea and a sandwich, nowhere near my PB, but a hard fighter on this elastic. Another couple of balls went in and dropped the double punched 7 mm pellet in over the fizzing surface. More rudd picking the bait up from the bottom. No roach today for some reason.

Back on the sweet corn and the same indifferent bites. The float was dithering in and out of the surface, when it went down with conviction and I lifted into a much larger fish, that seem unaware that it was hooked. A friend had witnessed the tench being caught and now began a guessing game as we tried to figure out what I’d hooked. Unseen, it bored deep pulling out elastic, until forced to change direction, once almost successful at reaching the roots beneath my tree. Then a flash of dirty gold, that looked as deep as a bream, before it dived again. We were both beginning to tire, it came close to the net, but was gone again. Let it go round again Ken. Next pass it was in the net.

This was a weird one, a two and a half pound crucian fan tail. I have caught them half this size in another local pond, but first time here. This is an ornamental pond fish, probably liberated, when a garden pond was filled in.

In this image the large fins are clearly visible.

Minutes later and I was in again, as a small common carp made off with the sweet corn, giving a lively fight until popping up for the net.

The rain had been increasing steadily, penetrating the tree cover and the hood over my cap was now sodden and hung on for a break in the weather, but a wall of rain was advancing toward me.

Back on the bread, a slow sink away of the float brought out the elastic, and I was playing another tench. It was strange that most people had caught their tench on meat, or sweet corn, but mine had preferred the strawberry flavoured bread.

I persevered with the bread, but only rudd were now feeding as the rain lashed down.

All the feed had been put in and the bread was getting wet. I was soaked up top, but my seat was dry with my legs covered by my bait apron. It was time to brave the elements.

I rushed around packing up, getting even wetter, but it had been worth the soaking, after an interesting two hours. I had learned a few things and been reminded of others, being rewarded with some quality fish in the process.

I arrived home soaked through, but in time to sit down with a hot cup of tea to watch an exciting game of football, with the young England side knocking Germany out of the European Cup, following a convincing two nil win. Again, Hurray!