- Venue: The Tench Lake, Orchard Lakes
- Swim: Using my numbering system (which starts from the south bank peg) Peg No. 9
- Time: 09:00 to 11:00
- Weather: chilly and overcast early doors with a wind blowing down the lake, by the afternoon it was a pleasant afternoon
‘It’s the same old story’, well I think I have to agree that had Billie Holiday been singing abut my fishing over this winter she would have been on the money. There is a predictability to my sessions since the start of October:
- Any river session – pound to a penny it will be a blank.
- Mudeford Woods – some small rudd or roach to start with with and, on a good day, something that needs the net towards the end of the session.
- The Tench Lake at Orchard lakes – small perch.
Perhaps it is a sign of my lack of adventure or of my limited ambition, but I headed to the Tench Lake at Orchard Lakes for one final session before access on club book lapses for six months. Anyway what is wrong with targeting a few small perch before the warmer weather starts and anyway based on the previous evening there was the outside chance of a bonus tench. In fact I had left the gear from the previous evening on the car overnight, including the margin rod still set up, so all I had to do was plumb the depth when I arrived and I was up and running:
- Tackle: The short carp margin rod, 4lb line to a size 16 hook to nylon
- Method: Over depth float fishing with a SB small insert waggler
- Bait: Red maggots (with Predator Plus added), prawns and brandlings
- Ground bait: Loose fed maggots
Previously I had fished nearer to the wider end but there was a chap fishing the end bank and it seemed a bit unreasonable to plonk myself only a couple of swims from him so I set up towards the narrow end. There was a fairly strong wind blowing down the length of the lake and stupidly I hadn’t attached the float with a quick change adaptor and the small waggler only just about coped with the chop on the water. Added to that it was a quiet start and it was a worrying wait until the float finally slid under and the first small perch was landed.
Ever since I started following https://stevetheangler.com/’s example and numbering my posts (well it does help me work out if I’m getting value for money out of my club books) the 13th session has struck me as one that is likely to be a blank. Which was a further reason for picking a safety shot venue, although It was still slower going than a few months back. However, in total I caught five perch, one on prawn the rest on maggots whilst worm attracted no interest at all. I missed a few bites and this time only had one perch drop off the hook. That happened whilst a chap called Martyn, a fellow Ringwood member was chatting to me. He had just arrived and was walking the lake selecting a swim and we had an interesting chat, basically agreeing things seemed tougher of late. It then went quiet and I wondered if carp or tench had pushed the perch out of the swim and tried a couple of casts with hookable pellets. Unfortunately for some reason these had gone soft and I had trouble getting them to stay on the size sixteen hook but even so I contrived to miss a really positive bite in the short time that that I managed to keep one on the hook for. The bite didn’t seem typical of a of carp, tench or perch bite, so quite what I missed I’m not sure.
I was working in the afternoon and had set myself an 11.00 deadline and, for once, applied the Mick Neary (of http://calamitymn.blogspot.com/ fame) approach that when I said eleven I meant eleven, rather than getting drawn into one more cast and then …. From a quick email exchange I know that after I left Martyn picked up tench of 2lb and 4lb, so they are in there.
Lessons learnt; probably not a lot of take aways from this one although it was a good reminder to use a quick change float adaptor. Additionally I guess it was one step forwards one step back on the pellet front. The step forward was the missed bite, because my lack of confidence in pellets means I often only resort to using them when other baits aren’t working. This is fishing’s equivalent of trying a new batsman against the 1980s West Indians and then discarding him when his scores are low. At some point I need to give pellets a fair trial and try them when the going is good on my standard baits. This bite, however, came when bites had dried up on maggots, worms and prawns. The step back is that in little over a week since I last used them the hookable pellets had become difficult to hook. Possible reasons are the hook was too small (a size 16), on the day they had become too warm, they have disintegrated overtime (they have been in the ruck sack since about October) or a combination of some or all of these factors. Maybe a spell in the fridge will reconstitute them.
Next steps; the rest of the week is fairly busy up to the end of Sunday and I’m not sure of the wisdom of heading out on Easter Monday so I think it’ll be the middle of next week before I head out.