New territory

The plan was to switch to a bit of tench fishing once the weather had warmed up, and at long last it has... but boy has it been wet as well!

We're fishing a lake in Bedfordshire, which Gary and myself had a go at for the pike a couple of seasons ago, and said then that we'd return to target the carp.

So with us thinking about a venue to target tench, this club water started to climb the list. With double figure bream and tench, plus some good sized carp, this seemed just what we were after.

Our first trip was a couple of weeks back, and we arrived mid-afternoon, heading for the more open side of the lake. I say that, as there's a long island that runs down the lake, more over to one side than the other, leaving a narrower channel around the back of the lake, and a big expanse of water on this side, which we thought would more likely hold the bream.

With a four rod limit on this water, it's a busy bank

With a four rod limit on this water, it's a busy bank

This venue is a large water, and so has a four rod limit, something which I've not had a go at before. I've obviously used three rods for carp, and again on certain pike waters, but that was single species fishing, and we were going to try to cover a few options, as this was our first exploratory session here.

Both of us were using two rods for the tench, with Gary trying a maggot feeder and a cage feeder on his two, whereas I'd be ledgering artificial sweetcorn on one, and a pellet on the other. All these baits were fished over a bed of groundbait that was spread across an area at the bottom of a deep trench that ran in front of our two adjacent swims.

Next two rods were going out long distance. Gary fished a pellet with a small stick, while I tried a boilie and a bag of chops, both placed on clear spots out of the weed. Hopefully the bream would move through the area, or at worst, the carp or tench.

That left our last couple of rods, and as I said we were covering all bases... so with a river running around the back of the lake, and with the weather starting out quite muggy... it was a couple of big popped-up lobs that also ended up in the trench, that we hoped might give us an outside chance of an eel! 

So, we were going for just about everything that swims! And with all the different set-ups, rigs, baits, it took a fair while getting all those rods out. But once sorted, the kettle was fired up, and with a hot cuppa in hand we enjoy a quiet evening chatting, and watching the water.

After all this you're probably waiting for the big payoff, and so were we, but as dusk fell, we heard the first few spots of rain tap on our brollies.

And as we both nodded off the rain was getting heavier. In fact it didn't stop all night, it was just a question of what level it was at... downpour, bucketing... or flipping monsoon!

It was still coming down when we woke, but not as heavy, even though everything was sodden, and the worse thing was we hadn't had a touch. So all that effort and nothing to show for it... actually I did catch, a jack, that picked up my lobworm! Not that it made the walk back to the car any drier...

A welcome sight, not that he looks that happy... that's the tench, not Gary!

A welcome sight, not that he looks that happy... that's the tench, not Gary!

We returned last week for our second session. This time we moved to the far end of the lake, on a little out cropping of bank, opposite the end of the island. Our thoughts being it would be a good place to possibly ambush the fish as they moved round the lake in the narrower channel between us and the island.

We'd also become a bit more focused on what we were after, setting up just for the tench and carp. Gary was going maggot feeder on both his tench rods, and I did the same on one of mine, but decided to try the other fishing a strawberry mini-boilie. These rods were put out either side of our respective swims, which then left room for our carp rods to go up the middle towards the island.

It seemed like the rain wasn't going to leave us alone this week either, but we were hoping it wouldn't put the fish down as it seemed to last week.

Anyway we were dodging the showers as we set up, and things were looking good when Gary's alarm started screaming, as one of his carp rods ripped off. But it stopped just as suddenly, and we could only think that it had slipped the hook... but it was a run. And with fish topping in front of us, our hopes were high.

A grey start, but with regular baiting the fish are definitely in the area

A grey start, but with regular baiting the fish are definitely in the area

Gary sets his alarm for 4am, to get us up to rebait, and with that we go for some shut-eye.

There's heavy showers during the night, and when we rise to refill the feeders it's still drizzling. But the rods are reset and within the hour Gary's away again. This time it stays on, and I'm ready with the net.

It's our first tench from the water, well done mate! It's not huge, a male, about 5-6lbs, but it's what we're after, and with a few liners before we leave, we know that the fish are in this area. With the weed coming up in big clumps through the channel we're planning on doing a bit of 'raking' next visit, which should give us some good areas to attract more tench.

The weed is getting thicker as the weather improves

The weed is getting thicker as the weather improves

As it happens I can't make it out this week, as I'm doing my bit with the kids, but Gary gets back to the lake, and sets up in the same spot. 

I'm kept up to date with regular texts, of fish moving, raking, a lost carp, and then one of them turns out to be a picture... he's had an eel! It goes 4lb 4ozs, caught on maggot... well, they had to be there, perhaps there's a monster to be caught?

He always catches when I'm not around! Gary's 4lb eel

He always catches when I'm not around! Gary's 4lb eel