You’ve been at the lake for two nights now. The fishing has been hard, but a few have been coming out and you’ve seen some on the bank so you feel you’re still in with a chance, even though you’ve been fishing at this particular venue for three months now without a fish. You’ve spotted a few around the margins, some of them have been beasties, and this has given you the confidence and motivation to stick at it.

The weather hasn’t been too good over the last two days, but last night the wind picked up, swung around and there is now a good strong south-westerly blowing right in your face. The night passed uneventful and you’re lying on the bedchair looking out across the lake. Suddenly one of the usually quiet buzzers screams out, the bobbin rises and falls with great speed as something, as yet unknown makes off with the bait. You throw back the sleeping bag, charge out of the bivvy (pausing momentarily to look at your boots knowing you’re not going to stop to put them on) down the slippery wet bank in bare feet, grab the rod and sweep it back in one motion. A ‘kick’ is felt at the other end. A kick, yes but not the kind you remember. "Carp used to fight back" you think to yourself as the offending fishy swims towards you. A little tussle is received as the fish nears the net, but only token resistance. "Sh**, it's a tench" are your first thoughts, but then you see its size! It's safely in the net, up the bank with it and onto the unhooking mat.

Now, you might be the sort of angler who is now thinking " 'into the net, onto the unhooking mat'? I would’ve unhooked in the water and put it straight back!" Or as some animals might have it, "I would’ve nailed it to a tree!". If you thought, "how big was it?" then you probably have the same opinions as myself. As it was, the tench was 8lb 8oz, and I personally thought that it was a magnificent specimen, yes I caught it using equipment designed for stopping large carp in their tracks, but it was caught fair and square nonetheless. I knew when I started fishing the lake that large tench and bream were present. I as with many others also knew that these specimens will take boilies as readily as the carp, more-so if the truth be known. So although I can understand this particular fishy being a ‘nuisance’ to some anglers, the question is was it a fluke? If it were a new British rod caught record would you have claimed it as such, knowing that you hadn’t actually targeted the species?

In every aspect of specimen angling there are ‘nuisance’ fish, If you have ever been barbel fishing, chub can be a pain. Roach and rudd when tench fishing, zander when piking, pike when zandering, tench and bream when carping, eels when fishing for anything (I apologise for any indignation felt by the National Anguilla Club!)

The question is, do they count? Yes I realise that even a large tench is completely outgunned when caught on carp tackle, not really a fair fight, but at the end of the day I don’t really want a fair fight, I don’t want the odds after actually hooking a fish to be 50/50, I like to land them!

When I go barbel fishing I know that there are also chub, roach, perch, bream present and on some stretches tench and carp also. I am also aware that the bait I’m using will be acceptable to all of the species present. Once when barbel fishing on the ubiquitous ‘Upper Great Ouse’ I had a rip-snorter of a run, not unlike that of a barbel, after quite a tussle a wide back broke the surface, my heart leapt into my throat, "a massive barbel" I exclaimed loudly, it turned out to be a 16lb common carp, lovely I thought, a personal best river carp, what a result. If you’d been a die hard barbel angler after that elusive personal best, would you have put it back without weighing it? Photographing it?

As another example to make the point, an angler fishing a match is catching bits all day, suddenly he’s attached to something a bit larger, on the gear he’s using, it takes half an hour to land it, a 7lb mirror carp. That fish is regarded as a bonus fish, not a fluke. Admittedly there was probably more skill in landing the fish due to the light tackle he was using, but he knew the carp were present before he started so he knew he was in with a chance of a bigger fish.

Maybe the anglers I’ve chatted with just don’t like tench or bream, maybe I’m making a fuss about nothing, anyway I’ll continue to keep an open mind and continue to appreciating all the fish which come my way.

Beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep, dammit, another snotty, mutter mutter.