Clint Walker - Mixed Results

A mixed week this time, with a couple of different targets sought, but with only limited success. My first visit of the week was to the new water I briefly mentioned earlier this month. It’s a weedy, overgrown, neglected pit, with crystal clear water, and a bad reputation, but it holds some hefty tench, and it was tinca on my mind when I turned up in the (very) early morning hours to try and plot a capture. It’s a city park lake, and with that the usual hazards must be considered, so I took only a bare minimum of kit, and kept a wary eye around me!

I wanted to fish the ‘lift method’, a classic way to catch June tench, and as the mist burned off the water, I was set up, my float semi-cocked by a BB shot on the bottom. A trio of red maggots adorned the hook, and a small number of their compatriots had been tossed over the red tip of the quill to settle on the bottom for added interest. I was ready for a proper lump! After an hour without so much as a flicker of interest, the float suddenly staggered in the water, then slowly rose up to lay flat! I struck into solid resistance, and a nicely conditioned tench of around 4lb soon lay on the mat, glistening in the morning sun; perfect!


Another hour passed, and despite a good number of plump tench rolling in the swim, I had no further interest, so opted to change things. I pieced together the feeder rod, slid a small method feeder up the line, and attached a short hook link. Wrapped in Spotted Fin Classic Corn feeder mix, with more gentles on the hook, the tempter was lobbed out to where the fish had been rolling and left to settle. Within a minute, the tip started quivering as the groundbait was investigated by something; seconds later, the tip pulled slowly around, and I struck into thin air! An unmissable bite missed!

I reset the rig, and the same thing happened again, but this time, the strike was met with a solid thump as a bigger tench moved off quickly. It took a bit to tame this one, and when I eventually got it to the net and lifted it from the water, I immediately put it back down again, the net and fish suspended in the margins, because this one was worth a photograph! I love big tench, and consider anything over 5lb to be a specimen, and so was extremely pleased to weigh my prize at exactly 7lb. It was an immaculate fish too, with a dark patch on the tail to add character, but in pristine condition with a tubby belly which almost matched my own! After a quick snap for posterity, the fish was lowered into the margin to recover, and it soon swam away with a defiant flick of the tail! One smaller tench followed, but as the sun rose higher, the activity stopped, and it was time to pack up. I was happy with three plump tench on my first visit, but now my appetite has been whetted, I’m after a bigger one… they are reputed to reach double figures!


A second session saw me crossing fields at 5am, heading for the canal to try and catch perch by ‘droplobbing’. It’s the same as ‘dropshotting’ but instead of a plastic bait, a real worm is used. I’m still surprised by the amount of dropshot anglers who have never thought of using a real worm (or even maggots for that matter) on the hook, but in my opinion, a worm should out fish any imitation surely? It’s one of my favourite methods, and after an hour ‘worm charming’ the night before, I had enough worms for a couple of hours fun… Except it wasn’t. Unusually, I couldn’t buy a bite on worm, and gave up after an hour of fruitless twitching, instead changing to a small white lure from the Rapture stable and moving venues.


First drop in, and my first fish, a feisty perch came kicked from the depths… and that was it. I walked the whole perimeter of the lake, and never had another bite! It was time to move on for the third time, and I set off for a rapidly drying River Churnet, of which only two small pools were fishable. No matter, I love small river lure fishing, and I was determined to catch! I’d changed my lure once more for a bigger paddletail and flicked it forwards into the flow to allow it to be dragged downstream before steadily retrieving it. Wham! I’d just about tightened the braid when I felt an almighty wallop on the lure, but it was so fast I missed it! After a morning struggling for bites, this was a setback indeed, as one chance is normally all you get in these tiny swims, but I cast out again hoping for another attack. I watched the lure move back towards and espied a dark shadow beneath! It was a trout, a fairly hefty one at that, and as it snatched at the lure, I missed it again! I know, if you are reading this, that no doubt you have advice aplenty, but it was just one of those days…


I moved upstream to a swim that I know has some considerable depth as in my days as a firefighter, I once conducted a rescue from the very same place! Again, the big paddletail was cast across the flow, and once again, unbelievably, I missed the bite which almost instantly followed! Enough was enough, so I fined right down to a 2g jighead, loaded with a microfry lure, and flicked it along the margin. Whilst I experimented with my retrieve, seeing how the tiny lure behaved in the barely perceptible flow, a flash of gold and a jerk at the rod tip saw me finally hook into a perch! At around 6oz, it certainly wasn’t big, but on an ultralight Sonik Magna rod, it was good fun. Others followed as I discovered a nest of perch to plunder right beneath my feet, the undercut bank providing great cover for hungry predators, and for the next twenty minutes, a string of river perch came to hand; great fun!


The sun was high in the sky, and I could feel sweat beginning to prickle my neck, so I decided to have ‘one last cast’ and deftly dropped the lure right by the sedges on the far bank. The tiny paddler was eased back towards me without result, but as I prepared to lift the rod, a small pike hit the lure with some force, right under my feet, and gave a superb account of itself as the last fish of the morning. Once again, it wasn’t big, a couple of pounds at most, but having struggled all morning, finding a throng of perch and finishing with an angry jack pike meant that I could return home happy. I’ve got a bit of preparation to do, as I’m spending all weekend at the Carp in the Park extravaganza in Northamptonshire. Hopefully I might just meet one or two fellow anglers there, and I’ll be able to talk fishing, even if I have to wait until next week before I can go again! Tight lines!

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