The first session of the week came on a day of strong westerly winds that were cold to sit out in but in the shelter it was not too bad. I settled for the swim by the bush again as nothing could be seen in the murky margins and the pads were still yet to be seen. The late afternoon went by without a sign of fish but by evening the wind had dropped and the sun emerged from behind the clouds just in time for it to disappear below the horizon. The fish then began to show, a few rolled out in the middle and a few round the edge. In fact fish were rolling close to both baited areas.

Suddenly the rod cast 40 yards out screamed off. I had thought something was going to happen as a fish had rolled heavily twice over this spot moments before, I was not though expecting what showed next. I connected with a good weight but all did not seem right. Sure enough, moments later the fish responsible for the take splashed untidily on top, without doubt it was a pike, a good one at that. The pike continued to splash around on the surface as I gained line and soon I could see it was coming in sideways. When the pike was only 10 yards out I could clearly see the line was wrapped around its middle, the baited rig was trailing a few feet the other side, I had somehow lassoed a pike. As soon as I began to weigh up the situation though with an almighty roll and leap the pike was gone, it had managed to unravel itself leaving me to stand and laugh, it was a good fish though, perhaps 18lb.

After that fun I recast and settled back for more action. I had to wait until around 11pm when, after several line bites and fish rolling around the bush, I finally had a good take. I was on the rod in a flash and connected with that thumping feeling of a good tench. I had changed to 6lb mainline and hook link as I had, I think, caught one of the better carp from the water when I netted a 16lb mirror a few weeks previous. I had no trouble with it on 8lb line and with a lack of snags and pads, I thought I may get better bites from the large tench whilst waiting for the carp to start showing. This fish was no carp though and before long a nice tench was in the net. It was clearly a male tench, it's huge spoon like pelvic fins showing as it lay upside down in the net. It was not as big as I had hoped the males might be as it just spun the scales round to the right side of 4lb. Still I was happy with the fish as winter was still refusing to leave.

All went quiet after the tench and the line bites did not return until the early hour of 3am. This time they were on both rods as fish patrolled up and down, I suspected bream as these were now becoming a bit of a problem. Finally one of the line bites turned into a real bite and I struck into a solid weight; a bit of 'up pumping' and a fish rolled on the surface in the pre dawn gloom. Sure enough a bream rolled over on its ample flank and rolled into the net. It was another of the male bream all covered in spawning lumps and bumps and nearly made 6lb. I was happy with the first bream I caught from the lake in early April when it went over 7lb but these smaller males were nowhere near as nice and were a little like peas in a pod. Still I gave it the respect all fish deserve and watched it swim away strongly a few moments later. The rest of the session was quiet but as I packed up fish started to roll again.

A couple of days later I was back and found a guy just packing up. He said he had caught a 6lb 11oz male tench which I found hard to believe. The male bit certainly was unlikely but of far more interest were his stories of the carp he had seen. This particular day had been a sunny one and, in his corner out of the wind, fish were visible in the edge where he had hooked the tench and, he said, had hooked and been snapped up by carp. This was more encouraging so I quizzed him about his tactics, maggot and corn over hemp, a simple link ledger in the edge. I decided then with May virtually here it was time to start baiting up heavily with more natural baits to get the carp munching in the margins, the time was nearly here.

However that master plan would have to wait for this session as the cold wind still howled around. Back near the bush I found a marginal stretch that had possibilities, so I dumped a few pounds of trout pellets in there but left them to it to get used to it. This spot would wait for the next few sessions. I returned to the bush swim and dropped the baits in as usual. This evening the fish did not show as much and even the line bites were few and far between.

All was very quiet until 3am when the rod by the bush screamed off, no pre-warning liners this time. I grabbed the rod and thrust it under the water and held on as a good fish thudded around right under the bush. I held on as I slowly gained line, suddenly a good fish crashed right under the rod tip so I let off some line. The fish continued to fight hard so I was convinced here was a carp. However as the fish tired and I saw it a few times, I could see it was a tench. I consoled myself with the fact that it surely must be a good sized one but as I netted it and got it on the bank I could see it lacked length. It was a more rotund female tench than some I've caught but it spun the scales round to 5lb 10oz, a good fish none the less.

There was no dawn success this time so I packed up with just the one fish, my thoughts on now setting traps and stalking tactics to get these elusive carp, some decent spring weather willing of course!
Have fun!