Last week’s trip to the north west saw plenty of action for Nash Peg One’s Paul Garner, with eels and tench the target…
Two more wet nights on the bream lake was not the start to the week that I was hoping for, but at least the tench were a little more active than on previous visits and the odd fish was getting caught from the top end of the lake. Perhaps I am clutching at straws, but any activity is a good sign in my book, and with only a few weeks now to catch before the lake shuts for its close-season, it’s just a question of grinding on and hopefully getting a result.
Close friends are starting to question my sanity for fishing this place, but even though each session is almost inevitably a failure, the challenge is still exciting and I can’t wait to get back each week for another go! Still, at least there is an end in sight and with the thoughts of mobile fishing for massive tench just around the corner, I am going to stick out the bream fishing right up to the bitter end!
Fortunately, the rest of the week went a little better!
The latter half of the week saw me off on a two-day sojourn up to the North West to shoot a couple of magazine features for the coming months with Jimmy Coffey and Bernard Anderson of the Nash Peg One team. The plan was for Jimmy to fish the first day on a very prolific commercial fishery, before I would join Bernard for the night and following morning on Warrington AA’s Grey Mist Mere.
The first part of the trip went pretty much to plan, with Jimmy putting together a good bag of fish on the Method feeder. Fishing a deep peg, it was the ideal venue to look at how to use different types of pellets on the feeder to fish different depths of water and to get different break down rates.
It was actually a fantastic day, with the sun shining almost from dawn until dusk, and was strong enough to give my balding head a mild case of sunburn after I left my cap in the car. Some people never learn! After so much rain it was lovely to have a decent bit of light for the pictures and as the evening approached we called time and I headed over to Bernard’s tackle shop for a coffee and stage two of the plan.
Grey Mist is perhaps best known for its stocks of carp. In fact I can remember reading about it way back through the writings of Paul Selman, but alongside these the lake also holds a great stock of specimen tench, and also some massive eels. Bernard knows the lake really well, living within casting distance of its banks, so I knew I was in good hands and we would have a good night.
The plan was pretty simple. We would fish the night for the eels and then swap over to the tench in the morning. Because the eels on this lake seem to be of the narrow headed variety (which mainly eat invertebrates rather than fish) we would actually be using quite similar maggot feeder tactics for both species. This suited me down to the ground as I wanted to try out some new eel rig theories, mainly revolving around using semi-fixed bolt-rigs and short hook links to try and reduce the number of deep hooked fish.
As darkness approached the indicators started to twitch and between darkness and 1am when I wound in for a few hours sleep the indicators kept on moving. In fact, it was the indicator on the free-running ‘control’ rod that kept going, while the bolt-rig was a lot more quiet, except for the occasional screamer as an eel hooked itself and steamed off, doing a good impression of a carp! Unfortunately, none of the lake’s bigger eels put in an appearance, but we had plenty of action and it was more useful rig testing.
As dawn broke I stuck my head out from under the titan, decided to switch over to the tench rigs and then I must admit got my head down for a couple more hours. The combination of the previous day in the sun and the late night had left me knackered. After breakfast though I was up and at it and after a quick pack-up Bernard and I moved further up the lake where the tench had been showing well.
I am not sure about flavouring maggots for eels, but for tench a good dose of Scopex No1 and Intense Sweetener normally does the trick and so I cleaned off the bait and flavoured it up. Tackle was simply two inline bolt rigged feeders with five-inch fluorocarbon hook lengths and four maggots on a size 14 hook. I know a lot of anglers use braided hook lengths for tench, but these are too prone to tangling for my liking.
The morning passed quickly, and with the rods out I spent some time photographing a Great Crested Grebe that was nesting next to our swim. She was obviously sitting on eggs and every now and again the male would return with food or building materials for the nest.
As mid-morning arrived so did the tench and a quick flurry of activity resulted in three fish, the best a cracker of 7lb 4oz. Great sport, and I am sure we would of caught more if I could of stayed all day, but with a lunchtime pack-up necessary to get back down the M6 before the Friday night rush, I had to call time. A great trip though, and hopefully I will get another chance to fish this lovely mere again in the future.
Many thanks to Warrington Anglers Association for allowing me to fish Grey Mist Mere. Please check out there website here