For me the end of the river season marks the beginning of my fishing, it’s a time for me to look at different venues and new targets. At this time of year two species are very heavy on my mind and that’s Tench and Bream, for the fighting qualities spring Tench are a fantastic quarry at this time of year, hungry, eager and ready to test your fishing tackle. Bream on the other hand are not really noted for the fighting ability’s but the willingness to feed and the impressive sight of a big bream is enough to get any coarse anglers hot under the umbrella. This year I have opted for a change of tactics to hopefully increase my chances of reaching my targets and that is to target two species of fish using the same fishing tackle and bait, hopefully this will put some more fish on the bank, the logic behind the idea being that if ones not willing to feed then maybe there other is and if they are both feeding then some PBs and red letter days should be coming my way, well that’s the theory anyway.
Venue and Aims
The lake I’m fishing today is Reed Lake on the Mid-Kent Fisheries ticket, plenty of Tench and Bream to be caught and with it’s deep margins should provide some great sport for both species. Tench are noted for being great margin feeders but bream are not, I hope that the deep margins 5-6ft straight down will give the bream some more confidence to feed close in. The aim today is to catch my first Bream and Tench of the season, now you can never guaranty that you’re going to catch a monster so I’ve decided to set realistic targets that can be achieved. For the Tench its 3Ib and for the Bream its 5Ib, this may not sound big but being my first time fishing this lake its best to keep the targets low until you get to know the venue, if you do catch a monster it make the victory even more sweeter.
Again it seem as though the weather man has got it wrong “warm and sunny”… far from it. The average air temperature was around 8-10 degrees C and the water temp around 9 degrees C, wind direction was southwesterly and blowing around 15-17mph, pressure was still high at 1020mb going down to 1016mb by the evening. Really it was quite chilly with cloud cover all day.
Fishing Tackle, Rigs and Bait
I’m using my 10ft nan-Tec float fishing rod, what can I say apart from amazing and it’s the only rod I’ll use for float work in the margins. Seeing as Im targeting two species I needed to average and balance my tackle out to accommodate both fish so with this in mind I set up an insert waggler on 6Ib main line with a bulk shotting pattern to get the bait hard on the deck before the small Roach and Rudd had their way with it. The hook needed to be a bit of an all-rounder so I picked a size 16 Drennan wide gape hook which I can use for all the different hook baits. Bait wise maggot, caster, red worm and sweetcorn either on their own or cocktailed depending on what is working at the time. Loose feed was a mixes of all the hook baits along with hemp and 8mm Halibut pellet, this I hoped would attract both species into the swim.
Getting down to the lake just before dawn ( no trouble with the public transport this time round )I set up the fishing rod and plumbed the depth to around 5ft but I allowed about an inch over depth. After mixing my bait, I balled up and threw out 10 handfuls of the loose feed and left it to stew for about an hour. My first three casts produced thee small Rudd, these can be a nuisance when fishing small baits such as maggots so I moved the bulk shot closer to the hook to get the bait through the skimmers on the surface. Eventually the float settled and the bait reached the bottom, after a while I got the first signs of activity in the swim with small pockets of bubbles hitting the surface. It was around 3 hour into the session before I got my first proper bite, the dull shake of a bream as I struck really put a smile on my face as it’s the first of the season.
The action continued with more small Rudd, Roach and Skimmers up until about noon then the swim went dead. I feed some more loose feed and grabbed the opportunity to have some lunch while taking in the surroundings. It was some time before the fish started to feed again so I opted for red worm with a red maggot on the hook to see if it would induce more takes. Sure enough the float slide away and another bream around the 2Ib mark was placed into the keepnet. The action really started to hot up with more 2Ib bream gracing the bank, until the float rose up and the slowly sunk below the surface; classic Tench bite. As I struck the fish sort refuge in the reed close to me but with applied pressure it was back out into open water, spinning around in circles like it was confused it hit the surface and the red eye and olive green body of a Tench meet my gaze. Carefully I slipped the net under and banked it, weighing the fish at 2Ib 15oz meant that I was just one ounce shy of my target but who cares my first Tench of the season is always a special fish to me, regardless of its size.
I was happy enough to pack up then but my targets were still there to be met so with more loose feed and more persistence, small Bream were quing for the bait but as I stuck into a really positive bite I knew straight away that it was a bream but was unsure as to how big, it just hugged the bottom for a while before coming to the surface, and I then knew I had hit my target. On the scales it went 5Ib 7oz and I was very happy to have hit at least one of my criterias for the day. The next cast hit the water and before it had time to settle, the float lifted again and I connected with what felt another 5lber. It slipped into the net and weighted just over 5. Could it get better than this?
With the day at an end it was time to weigh the fish in the keepnet and get a quick snap before heading of home. Now I know that I had a good day but when the scales went around to 25Ib 8oz I left the lake with a beaming smile that I’m still wearing as I write this.
Until then tight lines and best fishes