IT’S THE SAME OLD STORY The Tench Lake, Orchard Lakes, 29 March 2021 (Session 13_2021)

  • 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’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 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.

8 thoughts on “IT’S THE SAME OLD STORY The Tench Lake, Orchard Lakes, 29 March 2021 (Session 13_2021)

  1. You may find it cheaper and easier to get hold of some Sonu Bait Pro Expanders (cost about £3.99 for 500g) but they will last you a long time. If you get one of those small rectangular containers with a clasp on all 4 sides – usually readily available in Pound shop or similar- and put a few expanders in , I usually put enough in to almost cover the base, then add water almost to the top of the pellet, put the lid on and put in fridge for a few hours/overnight. They will last for several sessions if you return them to the fridge after each session and leave the lid on during the session, they will be hookable and castable. You may need to adjust the amount of water – the less water the less they expand but are firmer, it depends on how you get on with casting them. Any flavours can be added at the water stage. I would suggest 6mm would be a good starting size to try.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, we’ve a shed load of those containers in every size under the Sun (baking is another of my pastimes) so I just need to get some of the recommended pellets. I’m thinking of initially trying Green Betaine as a flavouring.

      As always thanks for the hints.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, likewise, we’ve a shedload of those containers … but I’ve tended to carry my baits that could be sealed (eg other than maggots/worms that need to breathe) in heavy duty sandwich type bags with clipped tops. However, over the last few weeks I’ve changed to the disposable cartons that you get from the Chinese takeaway on the grounds that (a) they stack well in the bag, (b) are cheap/free as come from takeaway, (c) get reused and so ‘eco/green’ and (d) hold less than a polybag but enough for a good session ie hook and freebies and so are more efficient – as they say any excess space soon finds something to fill it so minimal free space is good as leads to less weight to carry.

        The actual ‘Tupperware’ boxes that I do use tend to stay in the fridge to hold ‘stocks’…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, your hopes were met… again! 🙂
    Shame you didn’t get one of those tench though…

    Pellets dropping off ….
    I did a Google Search for ‘revitalising’, ‘recovering’, etc fishing pellets but drew a complete blank!
    One possible thought … and a thought only mind you, not tested…
    A light drizzle of oil – halibut probably more in keeping with original content but cooking oil would probably do – over the pellets with a rub in some paper towel in remove the excess … and place in a sealed tube in the hope that the oil from the surface would soak in and soften/’dampen’ the pellets making them hold together better?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this week has confirmed to me that any tench in March is a bonus fish (despite you having a fill of tench Brucie Bonuses in March) so I’m happy to settle for the perch.

      I’ll have a look at the pellets and try your suggestion – if not, well they’ll end up in ground bait.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you use method feeders at all? During my earlier carp outings I used to use methods quite a lot with micro pellets and a Guru method hair rig and Sonubaits Method boilies. Tench and bream love the tutti frutti flavour


    1. I own method feeders …. but I guess it is something I use about once or twice a season. I’m not set against them, just a bit float obsessed and my default feeder is a cage feeder.

      If I am to enter this odd world of pellet fishing I may I may need to get more adventurous with my approach though, so thanks for the pointers.


      Liked by 1 person

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