Everything was in place by ten thirty, loose feed catapulted out to the clearish band in front of me, with the hook baits spread along it. I settled down for what proved to be another night lacking in visible or audible rat activity, save for a young one scuttling across the front of the peg.
Thursday morning dawned still and warm, a mist forming over the water as I prepared my first brew of the day to get me moving and put more bait out, freshen the feeders and start scanning the lake.
|Brew number one|
With the level down almost two feet there was an emergent weedbed straight out and slightly to my left. It wasn't long before I spotted fish moving in it. The binoculars revealed fins breaking the surface. Paddle shaped fins that looked like they belonged to tench to my eyes. I wasn't sure, but I got the feeling the tench were spawning. As the day brightened carp appeared in the weed. At first I thought they had moved in to eat the tench spawn. Looking back I'm not so sure. They weren't thrashing about, but at times during the day, and the following days, they appeared to be following each other closely and rolling around a bit. Maybe they were spawning. Carp were reported to be spawning in another part of the lake, so it seems likely. Other than that all was quiet and still.
|I've never seen all my reel handles and bale arms lined up before so I had to record it for posterity!|
The hot weather had returned and again there was a multitude of damsel fly nymphs emerging. A female chaffinch that took to visiting my peg, as did a reed bunting, found them to be a suitable meal for her offspring when they had left their shucks and were green and soft-winged. The larvae are tenacious critters. They climb high, and cross dry land and all manner of obstacles to find a suitable place to metamorphose from drab scary looking mini-monsters into the bright glittering damsels we see on the wing.
|Damselfly exuvia on the bivvy door|
The first evening came quietly and by dark I hadn't had a sniff. I rang the changes of baits, fake casters, real and fake maggots, pop-up boilie and fake corn. All to no avail. And not a tench seen rolling. The second night passed much as the first had - just one rat sighted before I nodded off.
Friday was almost a repeat of Thursday. The two differences being the wind picking up and putting an encouraging ripple on the water, and something fishy picking up two buoyant Enterprise maggots and making off with them causing the middle Delkim to do its job at six thirty in the morning. Alas those plastic maggots had somehow managed to mask the hook point and the run stopped with no tench to be seen.
Long hot days with no runs coming along can be hard to fill. So I alternately played around with the camera, ate, drank tea and slept. The short nights and the heat sap your energy even when doing nothing strenuous.
I was going to head for home after tea, but I couldn't be bothered packing the gear away. I felt like another night outdoors for some reason too. This time I saw no rats and slept like a log. By dawn the wind had eased considerably and I was able to catapult out the last of the seeds accurately. The maggots were well on the turn, and the milk had turned a bit further. Carp were back in the weed and I thought I saw a tench roll just beyond my baited area. Yet again it was t-shirt time by eight thirty. Nothing seemed to be likely to happen, so I packed away the gear at nine thirty and left.
Will I have one last try? It might be too late. The weed is shooting up, there was the beginning of an algal bloom forming, the elder is in flower and the trees are as dark-leaved as if it were early July. Perhaps it's time to start bream blanking. Or maybe wait for the rivers to open and go catch some river pigs?