I arrived early, before the sun did, at the tench lake. The surface was half covered in the scum that accumulates in very still conditions, with it covering the far side of the lake from me. Conditions during the previous day were hot and humid, and nothing seemed as if it would change. I suspected that the fish would feed early, if at all, and concentrated on getting a baited area set up some fifteen or twenty yards out. I chose to fish fairly light, with four pound line and 12 hooks ( small for me!). Maggots, that ever reliable tench bait would be on the hook. The first cast produced a bootlace eel, but the second fish was a scrapper, a very good tench of 6-10, which after only a brief journey into the lilies, was landed, photographed and returned safely. A kingfisher flew past about this time, returning a minute or so later, speeding a foot above the water. The light was still insufficient to show the electric blue of the bird, but its identity was obvious.
Three other, smaller tench were landed, and three lost over the next three hours or so. One lost to the lilies, one to a hook pull and one to a careless angler from the past. A few fish in this lake have damage to their mouths, caused by people who do not take proper care when unhooking their fish. Consequently, what I thought was a hook pull was not. A small piece of tench lip remained on the hook after I reeled in, following the loss of the fish. I must have hooked into a remnant of a lip. Some say that carp anglers are to blame, anglers who care only for their precious carp. I suspect it is more general than that, just anglers eager to get the hook out quickly, but not skilled enough to deal properly with a deep seated hook in a tench's tough lip. I appeal to all anglers to take their time unhooking fish, and if they do not have the skill level needed, then they should stay with barbless hooks. I had intentionally put out a few floating casters on the edge of the scum, and two or three carp were nonchalantly sucking them in. One carp, maybe a little over nine pounds, but under ten, came as a bonus fish, having taken my legered maggots. It fought well on the tench gear, and I struggled for a while to contain it in a small clear area amongst the lilies. It prompted me to try four casters, next time in, and another slightly larger carp quickly took those, giving a reel screeching bite. The baitrunner was overpowered, and the reel revolved rapidly in reverse as the carp scorched off towards the horizon. It too was eventually played in the lily gap, but made a final and successful bid for freedom into the deeper stalks. Bites predictably dried up as the sun rose higher.
It's Ashes time again, and I wonder if, whilst sitting biteless, I should plug in and listen. My memory has, so far, been unable to remember to find the headphones and spare battery pack that came with my new-fangled mobile phone, and until I do remember, the test matches will remain well away from the lakeside. Whenever I mention cricket, someone pops up and throws in the Brian Johnston commentary about "The batsman's Holding, the..." You know the one. But few remember the far more subtle, and far ruder comment made by commentator Alan Gibson, who said
"This is Cunis at the Vauxhall End. Cunis, a funny sort of name: neither one thing nor the other." A very clever comment, and I forgive him the crudity. But poor old Cunis, I bet he has suffered from that remark.
But no headphones today, so I spent the biteless moments watching the great crested grebes. A month or so ago they had 4 tiny chicks, which spent much of their time riding together on mum's back, whilst the male bird brought them an astonishing number of small fish. The female did her guard duty with immense dedication, but did not fish herself. A month later and the four chicks are
|A Small Fish is Offered to the Piggy Back Chicks (Last Month)|
Things were different on the Sunday pond: a couple of herons jousted for position, but otherwise all was peaceful.
A Heron, Flying over the Sunday Pond. .