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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


27/06/2018 - My First Day of the Season

First tench of the season


My First Day of Season

I left home around 0400 hrs on June 16th to fish a still water in Cambridgeshire, arriving at the waterside I was greeted by a very strong wind blowing up the lake into the narrow weedy neck of the lake with lots of Norfolk reeds on the far bank, I reckon there was only one place to fish, that’s the narrow neck of the pool, where I could sit facing into the wind, with an overcast sky conditions looked good for crusting. In the calm area of the lake half a dozen anglers sat motionless beside their three rod buzzer set up.

Time for Breakfast

I put the kettle on for a badly needed brew, also my small stove was set up so I could make an omelette, along with a couple of sliced of homemade wholemeal bread with a covering of butter. I also threw in a few bits of bread which was immediately swamped by masses of Rudd, in minutes the bread had gone, I put in more bread which ended up quickly being devoured. As I sat enjoying my breakfast I spotted several carp nothing big, but big enough to pull my string and bend the stick.

Catching Tench

I spotted a tench roll, the perfect fish to catch on the first day of the season, it was followed by another fish, soon bubbles could be seen. I threw in some corn, then stopped quickly, realising it was a weedy water, getting out the rake I spent ten minutes raking a lot of weed out of the swim. With that job finished, I fed in some corn and chopped worms. I set up a my Andrew Davies Kennet Perfection matched with a centre pin with 6lb line then attached a porcupine quill float with a size 6 hook, using a plummet I found I had about three feet of water. The tench were back feeding in the raked pitch, pinching on a single AAA shot six inches from the hook I baited with half a lobworm, within a minute the float suddenly moved across the surface then disappeared, soon my first fish of the season christened the wonderfully made landing net with its greenheart arms by Watermole. In an hour I had 9 tench from 2lbs 8 ounces to 3lbs, nothing big but most enjoyable to see the float keep disappearing, it all ended as quick as it started. Time for a brew, as I sat watching the water I could see the carp cruising between the weed beds and Norfolk reeds, I threw in some crusts, but the rudd devoured them in seconds.

Catching Carp

I sat there for some minutes trying to think of a way to fish a bait for the carp, before the rudd devoured it. I sat thinking back over similar situations where I needed to defeat rudd and roach, then realised the answer was given to me by Dick Walker in Still Water Angling in 1953. Where Dick described fishing crust an inch off the surface. Having taken off the float, shot and hook I attached a size 4 hook. I put in a rod rest so the rod was poking out over the bankside vegetation which also offered some cover baiting with a bit of crust I lowered it close to the surface of the water. I then threw in some crusts to encourage the carp to cruise close to the bank. Sitting there quietly I watched the carp cruising around as I did so I kept a supply of bait size bits of crust going into a small area in front of me, ready to lower the hook baited crust onto the water surface should a carp approach. Ten minutes later I had my first fish approach the area mopping up two small bit of crust on the way, two clicks of the check on the reel had the crust sitting quietly on the surface taking off the check I sat holding the rod, a minute later the fish approached then sucked in my offering, as the line moved I set the hook, immediately the line was being pulled off the reel as it fought for its freedom but after a few minutes I bullied the fish into the net, a common about 6lbs. Over the next three hours I had ten more fish the best estimated around eight or nine pounds. The carp then departed the area, I sat among the wild flowers (see pic) drinking tea hoping the fish would get over their fright. They didn’t on this occasion so I slowly packed up having had a great day, not only was the fishing good but throughout the day I heard the cuckoo calling, it was certainly great hunting for the green woodpecker as they were about in profusion, I did notice several ants nests which the wood pecker favours for its food especially the succulent grubs.


Rod poking over the vegetation

.Crust above the surface of the water

One of several carp

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Martin James Fishing
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