Spring Tench and Crucian Carp

Another week has passed and I found myself coarse fishing on the banks of the Marsh Farm lakes in search of crucian carp and tench.  The weather has been just phenomenal lately, with temperatures rising to 20+ degrees.  Sadly the nights are still rather chilly, with the odd frost keeping the water temperatures down a little.

This week I was joined by Geoff and Dan on Tuesday and Kevin and Geoff on Wednesday.  Tuesday was a total failure for me.  I lost a good tench and missed one bite.  Geoff and Dan fared much better.  Dan was first off the mark with a nice crucian of 1lb 12oz and he followed that up with another of 2lb 8oz and a couple of tench to 5lb 9oz, so he was pretty chuffed with that.  Geoff found a few crucians, taking four to nearly 3lbs and a tench.  When we left a frost had just begun to form and the ice was beginning to march relentlessly over everything at ground level.

The following day saw another scorching day and a slightly milder night.  I decided to fish two rods, one on a feeder and the other a float as normal.  Using an open end feeder I fed a nice black groundbait, with chopped worm and prawn and fished a large king prawn on a bait band.  This rod ended up accounting for 3 tench to close to 4 pounds and one that I lost at the net, plus a few missed bites.  I was quite pleased as it was a new rod.  A Fox Duo-Lite Specialist fishing rod with a 3/4lb Avontop.  It has a lovely through action and is just perfect for tench fishing.  I’m really pleased with it.  On the float rod I persevered with a small piece of prawn but was getting very little attention.  Eventually I gave up with the prawns.  I was getting some very delicate bites, barely discernible.  I was certain they were crucians and so changed to worm.  First cast and at last a decent bite.  It was a nice crucian of 2lb 12oz.

A little while later the float slid silently away and this time something much bigger was on the other end.  The fight was powerful and dogged but eventually I coaxed the fish into the waiting net.  I could see it was quite a big tench.  On hoisting it out of the water I could now see it was a heavily laden with spawn female.  She was not shedding any spawn at all and so I weighed and photographed her.  Had she of been shedding spawn, she would have gone straight back without any fussing.  I was keen to get a weight and photo as it is the biggest tench I have caught on the float.  I was over the moon and she was in lovely condition, just a touch on the plump side.  As the saying goes “Who’s been eating all the pies? You fat bas…. ” uhum anyway back to the action.  Well actually there wasn’t anymore really.  I missed half a dozen bites I guess and left around 11.30pm.

Both Geoff and Kevin caught a few roach and rudd but sadly didn’t find any tench or crucians.  Still with their track record, it won’t be long before they get stuck in to a few.

Upper Thames Chub

A couple of times a year, and far too infrequently, I get to fish with great mate John Kemp.  It’s something I always look forward to.  I think we both have the same outlook on fishing, which is basically enjoy the surroundings, the friendship as well as the fishing.

Anyway, we had another trip planned to the upper Thames in pursuit of large chub.  It’s a spot I particularly like and still holds some stonking chub.  A couple of years ago John caught his Thames monster here, a magnificent chub of 7lb 2oz.  So we know it still holds the potential to throw up a real whacker.

Upper Thames

The forecast was pretty grim and yet we seemed to miss the worst of the weather, which is exactly what happened last time.  The only thing this time was the wind.  It must have been gale force at times.  Nevertheless we fished on in brave fashion.  As always we started in the big weir.  John tends to fish a small cage feeder with liquidized bread and flake on the hook and I use a large piece of crust anchored a few inches off bottom.  If the swim allows, I will throw in a few balls of liquidized bread as an attractant.

My fishing tackle collection is very simple.  I fish 6lb line straight through to a size 6 hook. I slide on 2 Drennan Grippa Stops and then loop over a piece of line and attach the appropriate amount of shot that’s required to just hold bottom.  I use the size 2 or 3 ssgs.  I vary the distance from the hook but generally its 4 or 5 inches.  If its really cold then it will be just a couple of inches from the hook.  I then use a big piece of crust.  The crust helps to balance the setup, so that it’s easy to move the bait with a twitch, in fact often the bait will move of its own accord.  Once you have cast out, keep a nice bow in the line so that if the bait does move, it will travel downstream in a straight line and act far more naturally.

After a couple of casts to get the weight right, I flicked the crust out into the weir pool and put the rod on a rest.  It was a tight swim but a good angle to attack the pool.  The bait bumped a couple of times and then that tell tale knock on the tip indicated a chub.  One more knock…..yes then the tip pulled right round.  This is a typical chub bite on crust.  The strike was good and the fish on the other end felt heavy as it plodded upstream.  For a minute I thought maybe this was not a chub but then it headed for the snags on the inside and I thought, yes it’s a chub.  It finally broke surface and I could see it was a decent fish.  Once in the net I realised it was even bigger than I thought.  I called JK and he came down to assist.

I though it looked a good five but inside I was thinking it was bigger.  Well it turned out to be a good fish and weighed in at 6lb 1oz and is my first 6lb Thames chub.  I jumped up and down a few times and shook John firmly by the hand.  This was one of the highlights of my season.  I haven’t caught a 6lb chub for some years.  I used to fish for them almost exclusively and now rarely, so I was absolutely chuffed to bits and so was John.

6lb 1oz Thames Chub

John wandered upstream and I followed a couple of bite-less hours later.  We opted to move upstream where there were lots of enticing marginal swims with deep water and loads of cover.  We slowly worked our way back down towards the weir.  During this process I managed 2 more chub, which both weighed 4lb 13oz, despite being caught a few hundred yards apart.  John also tempted a couple of fish, including a good 4lb+ fish before we ended up back in the weir.

We finished here about 7pm.  John took another nice chub that was in the region of 4.8lb and I sadly couldn’t tempt another fish.  Still what a great day.  Beautiful scenery, I saw a wild deer, plenty of bird-life and great company and all the chub were fat and healthy and in mint condition.  Oh, and we never saw another angler as usual. Lovely chubbly