Canterbury Tales Part Five - Season targets and a few suprises

Thu 30 July 15


It was Christmas day when winter finally arrived, it had been distinctly autumnal up till then but on Christmas day I went trotting for a couple of hours, I had 3 nice roach on flake,but as afternoon became evening, it started to feel very chilly. This was to be the theme for more or less the remainder of the river season, No snow here in sunny Kent, no record breaking cold temperatures, just a colder than average winter with very few milder days. With this in mind the early months of the year were spent targeting roach, chub and pike.

It was early January when I headed down to a local mid Kent fisheries lake for an afternoons pike fishing. After spending 2-3 hours in a swim with not so much as an indication on deadbaits or lures. I wound in, picked up one rod and stalked a deep spot in between swims using a sardine as bait, I thought I’d give it half an hour before it got dark. 20 minutes past, the wind was uncomfortable, and the drizzly rain that went with it was irritating to say the least but just as I was thinking of packing in I had a small indication,the line tightened slightly,then another! I hit the bite quickly and the rod bent, this was no jack pike!!.

The fight was a good one,and I was obviously aware that id hit the bite quickly so was taking things a bit carefuly,it was only when I chinned the fish I and lifted her from the water that I realized id hooked a bit of a whacker, 27lb 1oz of pike,hooked by one single hookpoint in the scissors-a proper surprise- its amazing how a nice fish stops you feeling cold.

As the season marched on towards its conclusion, I spent most of my time either roach fishing or stalking chub. I had some nice chub to over 6lb but the roach fishing was great for me last season. I had a few fish over the magical 2lb mark,mainly on float fished breadflake. it was early February that provided me with my best fish of the season and a new pb of 2lb 10oz.

It was a bitterly cold day,strong north easterly wind, hail, sleet and snow showers and the air temp remained below zero all day and I’m pretty sure it was winters coldest day in my area. I tried a few areas in the slightly up and coloured river but settled on a near bank crease line formed by the decaying reed line and started off trotting flake,but alas my fingers got too cold to trot so I decided to stret peg instead. The first bite resulted in a bumped fish,gutted !!,on days like this opportunities can be scarce but another chance was to come!!.

just as another load of hail/sleet made its way horizontally to earth in strong wind the float went under again,at first I thought chub as it took lne and made its way towards the middle of the river,but then the familiar fight of the roach began,and it felt a goodun,as it hit the surface I saw big red fins and after a little bit of squeaky bum time as the fish went over the net she was mine,,a new pb roach of 2-10 ,once again I forgot about feeling cold..

I did manage one afternoon for barbel too right at the seasons end too and had a nice fish of 10-08,then close season came, it was time to think tench !!

Tench are my favourite species,and a double figure tench has been on my wish list for a few years now Early spring is also a great time of year to be out on the bank,nature is waking up all around,days getting longer ,yes I love the tench season,i also like to do a bit of carping too in the spring and on the two mid Kent lakes I fish, there’s always the big perch to have a go at.

Spring was slow in arriving this year,temps stayed on the cool side till well into May. Things were a bit slow on the tench and carp front too, and it was the perch that provided the action to start with. I had some nice fish topped off by a brace of a new pb 3-15 coupled with a 3-08 10 which I landed minutes later on one afternoon trip. these fish were taken on red maggots fished with a little black cap feeder,several other good perch were caught in early spring and a surprise eel of 4lb 14oz,fish don’t come much more stunning than gravel pit perch !!

It was may that the tench really started to wake up,lots of fizzing on the lake accompanied the overdue warmer weather and a fair few tench to well over 8lb graced the net,things were looking up!! I don’t do long sessions, just a few hours when I can,so tactics were basically a couple of Spombs filled with hemp and red maggot, cast to the chosen area, with red maggots in conjunction with a Korum grub feeder over the top. This was for two rods for tench,, I’d use a little ledger rod, an old Daiwa Ivan marks feeder that had been given a makeover by my mate Mark Plank to fish a little feeder away from the tench spots,this rod was to target the perch or anything else for that matter—6lb line,a little feeder and maggots on a size 14 hook.

May became June,and on a session on the first day of June, I had a little knock on the light ledger rod, which looked like a little bream pull, then two minutes later the rod nearly flew of the rest. I picked it up and gave line for what seemed an eternity, Eventually, I pulled into a very heavy and unhappy fish and a long old fight started. It was a fair old time later that a new PB carp was landed, a common of 30lb 5oz. I was planning to try for a 30 after the tench sessions were done but this was not quite how I’d planned it, it was all a very pleasant surprise.

I planned a further four tench trips,the first was a couple of days after the carp PB capture. I started off catching a new PB bream of 11lb 5oz, then a tench of 8lb or so,then I had a proper screamer on the right hand rod! I thought I had hooked into another carp but after a good scrap my first double figure tench was in the net and the scales settled at 10lb 5oz. At last it was mission accomplished, happy was a bit of an understatement. Then after waiting all that time for a double figure tench the doubles then came like buses.

The next two trips bought fish of 10-06 and 10-08 along with a few other decent sized fish, and then they started spawning. My tench seasons were now over just in time for the rivers to open again!

That’s the great thing about fishing for all species,there is always something to fish for!

Tight lines