That's how many species I caught today...
According to plan I should have been bagging up on at least one and hopefully three target species; those that would get me points on the fishing challenge scoreboard, but I'm afraid nothing ever runs 'according to plan' with me. In the end I actually did manage to score two points, only I scored them for species that I have already scored for...
And that's no good, is it?
It all started off hopeful enough with a new fishery identified, researched and half prepared for. Packington Fisheries near Meridan was to be my port of call for the whole day; a fishery that boasted not only a load of well stocked lakes and ponds but also, and to my mind most importantly, a mile long stretch of the River Blythe.
I thought I'd start off targeting the chub and perch of the Blythe. I'd found reliable reports of these species being present in the kind of specimen size range and quantity that if all went well, would see me securing points for both by lunchtime, then it would be back to the lakes by three or four to have a go at the tench in 'Siblings', a lake noted for its large catches of said fish up to a very respectable 8 pounds each and a massive 80lb of. How could I ever go wrong here?
I was into both chub and perch straight off the bat. First cast of the stick float I caught a chub. Of about two ounces ~
I had three more like this and then moved one peg down where I had my first perch, a fish twice the size of the chub. Specimens, indeed...
...and One Little Duck
Whilst trying to up the magnitude of the perch I caught a gudgeon, and then another. In no time I had scored a redundant challenge point for them. Stylish, from a river, but useless to me ~
A Cup of Tea...
I moved on and on, getting more chublets for my efforts but without finding any adult fish. Suddenly I was into my fourth species — with a minnow ~
...a Knock at the Door
It was obvious by noon that I would have no choice but to ledger bread flake to get the large chub having forgotten to dig up some lobworms for the big perch.
I moved hither and thither, to and fro, settling into one peg after another until finally I had a two and a half pound chub from under some tree roots. So, with three pounds total weight of chub under my belt, I was on my way to a point ~
Comedy picture — no idea what went wrong here...!
Only I wasn't going anywhere fast. I chalked up species number five with one of these dreadful monsters ~
Man Alive! Number five!
The crayfish were not present in the numbers found just a few miles downstream at Coleshill. They weren't a problem, but the expected 'next' chub never materialised, and eventually it was time to pack it in, and go get tench.
a slightly 'technical' river swim
Siblings was windy and fresh in parts, still and filmy in others. I chose the still and filmy part when I witnessed a patch of tench bubbles erupting off the edge of a overhanging tree two rod lengths out.
Feeding over the top of the fizzing bubbles with red maggots, I then fished a home made waggler delicately set up and plumbed carefully for exact depth, with a small shot just two inches from the bait that is always fished just off bottom so that any contact, no matter how tentative, is seen as a clearly discernable dip or rise of the tip. I've learned that all the advice about dotting the float down to a mere blip is a recipe for severe eyestrain - I set my float up so that a good bit of tip is showing and strike either dips that stay dipped or lifts that stay lifted.
Guess what? I got distinct crucian bites from the off on triple red maggot, struck the tiniest lift and one duly turned up, followed by a further four more over the course of the next two hours ~
My advice with crucians is that you'll never even discover that they are there if you insist upon waiting for sail away bites. Of course sail away bites do happen when crucian fishing, but they ain't from crucians, they're from roach ~
... and Lucky Seven
After a while I started with the sweetcorn to try to kickstart the tench campaign into life. I got more roach than before and even got species number, hang on, let me count...
At the Garden Gate
I knew that the rudd were there, they'd been boiling over my free offering for the past half hour. I'd got away with it early on but now I was afraid that all loose feed was being intercepted before it got anywhere near bottom, where the tench are. That's summer for you, what can you do?
Not one bite on corn was from a crucian, who were either not fond or had moved off, all bites resulted in roach or rudd, except one. I thought it were a big crucian the way it tugged about, but it weren't no crucian, it were a little tench! Species number nine...
(The Doctor fish, thanks Keith!)
I hoped that I was off the blocks with the tench but couldn't buy another after. The bubbling had long ceased and the swim felt dead. Over in a corner I noticed some larger than normal swirls from feeding rudd. I set up a shallow float rig on another rod to save spoiling the delicate crucian rig and went over with some bread to investigate further.
I was fishing slow sinking flake on a drop of just a foot and guess what I caught? Not one but three of these slimy fellas...!
and finally, Gordon's Den
Bream acting like rudd! What ever next...!
And that was species number ten. Well 10 minus 1. Crayfish don't count.
I upped sticks and moved to another peg a little later. There, I caught another crucian and got another useless challenge point duplicate for them. Then an old fella turned up and began to fish the pole in the next peg along. He had three good tench in the two hours he fished, indeed his fish were more than good enough to get me a point, and all came from beneath the same bush.
I just had to to talk to him; concocted a viable excuse and sidled over to get the low down on the Siblings tench, from obviously, an expert.
And the answer was...
Hot diggity dang! Another thing, I'd omitted to bring...