It was my intention to just fish the day for Tench and Bream but after checking the weather report it was all too tempting not to go for the night and catch my first Eel of the year. I know most don’t like Eels but for me they seem to be the only species with a bit of mystery to them and when you think about the levels they go to just to breed that alone deserves respect.
Reed Lake at about 1am the heavens opened and the rain was relentless but that’s what the weather report said would happen but with high humidity and the temperature in the 12 to 14 degree category I plodded on knowing it was perfect for Eels. On arriving at the lake I set up my TF Gear Day Shelter which thankfully because of the rain only takes seconds to erect. Organizing and setting up your coarse fishing tackle in the dark can be a right pain in the backside but after a few mishaps i was all ready to go.
It was a three rod set up; the two main rods were my new TFGear Banshee Commercial Specialists with the Avon top, fantastic rods, slim, great casting and they really do look the part, with this I had my new TFGear Power GT reel loaded with 8lb line. The rigs were fairly simple, a flat in-line 1oz pear lead with a 4inch 8Ib hooklenght with a hair holding to yellow pop-up sweetcorn the other was a free running cage feeder with a 4inch 8Ib hooklenght with two fake casters glued to the hair. The third rod was my TFGear 10ft Commercial Carp Rod and my small TFGear free spool reel loaded with 15Ib main line, this rod was intended for the eels and it may sound a bit over the top but if you are lucky enough to hook a big Eel and your fishing next to snags then you’ll thank yourself you had the tackle, an Eel is a tremendous fighter and will give it’s all before you have a chance to land it. The rig for the Eels was a 2oz square lead on a free running rig to allow minimal resistance, the hooklenght was 15IB korda N-trap braid with the coating on, I’ve found this to be great for Eels if you’re using worms, the hook a size 6 Drennan super specialist. Bait for the Bream and Tench apart from the fake baits already on the hair was a mix of live and dead maggots, hemp, casters and 4mm Halibut pellets, this was then added to the groundbait which was Cotswold Bait Creations Bloodworm stick mix, brown crumb and Cotswold’s liquid bloodworm with real bloodworm added to it, hook bait for the Eels was a nice juice Lobworm with the same feed as I was using for the Tench and Bream.
With everything set up and the rods out I settled down for the night with my rather wet clothes on not doing me any favors, still at least the temperature was high. All night my two rods intended for Bream and Tench remain motionless but the Eel rod was going all night with runs, unfortunately only one connected with a fish, a little bootlace Eel, still my first this year but nothing much happened at night apart from the rain hammering down.
As you can see by the photo the line marks on the Eel are another reason many people don’t fish for them as the small one’s are notorious for tangling the lineup. The morning came with a bit of a chilly wind so after rebaiting I got back into my sleeping bag for a lay in as I had only managed about an hours sleep, typically just as I got comfortable the Banshee rod sprung into life and I immediately knew it was a Bream as there not the best of fighters and a small skimmer hit the net. I replaced the Eel rod during the day for my TFGear 10ft float rod to see if the Tench would feed in the margins but the margins were over 10ft in depth, not good for Tench but good for Eels still I set up with an insert waggler on 6Ib line and a size 8 hook with a Lobworm. Throughout the day I was hit by wave after wave of skimmer Bream between 1Ib to 2Ib but no sign of anything bigger but I then the left hand Banshee rod was away which I had cast to a showing carp near some reeds. I connected with the fish but as it run the line went slack, Bugger! I lost it was pretty much the words in my head but reeling in revealed that I had in fact been bitten off by I would have guessed a Pike, never mind new rig made and out we go again. It was about two in the afternoon now and not much had happened apart from an untold amount of small Bream but the float in the margin was covered in bubbles so something had to happen and it did, as quick as lighting the float shot away and before I had a chance the fish run straight in to the snags. I could feel the line grating against the branches of the snag tree and the fish doing its best to escape but after a tense 5 minutes I managed to get the fish to open water and with a bit more pull a beautiful 3Ib 11oz Tench succumb to the net, Lovely.
With the Tench back in its home the skimmer Bream action continued keeping me busy which is always nice.
The float rod was away again but this was no Tench as the fish was doing its best to snag me by swimming backwards, so it could only be one thing an Eel. Again the 10ft float rod handled the fish very well and by keeping a tight line I scooped the Eel into the not with no tangles, a bit bigger than they have been at a pound exactly I was happy and considering it takes an Eel almost ten years to gain a pound again more reason to give them respect.
I was due to leave the lake soon and the swim had gone quite so I decided to take a walk over to Blue Lagoon Lake to see what was happening on there as this is another lake I intended to fish soon. Arriving at the first swim I was greatted by a wonderful side, Half a dozen of the lakes elusive carp were feeding in the margins, the Gods had thrown me a bone and I wasn’t going to give up the chance so I ran back to my swim and grabbed the maggot box’s, float rod, landing net and scales and unhooking mat. I set the depth on the float which looked about 2 feet and throw some maggots out to watch their reaction. Almost immediately they started to feed so I hooked a few maggots and cast out, feeding so fast they clouded up the bottom making it hard to see the bait and as a Carps tail broke the surface the float sailed away and with a firm strike the drag went into overdrive. At first I was adamant I was into one of the Carp but after a long hard fight which seemed to last forever I slipped the net under a fish I never expected to catch and have only ever caught one about 11 years ago at 1Ib, a Barbel. I was over the moon a 3Ib 11oz unexpected Barbel and a new PB what more could I ask for, Fantastic.
The day had come to an end but before I jumped on the train home I stopped by the match lake to see if I could winkle out a Carp to round the day off. Again float in the margins did the trick with a worm and a 4Ib 6oz Common Carp was banked within 5 minutes, what a great day.
If you would like to watch a video version see below.
Until the next time tight lines and best fishes.