A long awaited trip the this famous Tench lake here in Sweden. The lake has a long history amongst anglers here for big, specimen Tench and the lake record stands over 9lb. Here in Sweden, given the harsh winters and relatively short summers, the species does not grow as large as it does in countries further south and a 6lb fish can be considered a specimen.
Having never fished the venue before we were not sure how to approach the fishing and brought a lot of gear and bait to cover all eventualities. Andy Shaw and I set off at midnight with a fully loaded car, in good spirits and looking forward to the fishing. After a difficult commute due to thick fog and deer on the roads we eventually arrived at 2am and had a look around in the darkness. The lake was a typical eurtrophic lake, with dense marginal vegetation and extensive lily pads. Fishing from the bank would be difficult and we only found one area suitable, though we were heartened by bubbling Tench in the swim and returned to the car and awaited a little more light. We were soon on the lakeside and opted for legering method feeder, a method we have had good success with in the past. This was a mistake as the lake proved to be thickly weeded under the surface and we decided we had to float fish. The next few hours proved frustrating as we struggled in which weed, whilst fish bubbled away in the swim. We were casting over backside vegetation and waterlilies and it took us a while to realise we had to think more carefully about our shot arrangement on the line. By 8am I had caught one decent Perch and loads of small nuisance fish, Rudd and Roach. We decided to head back and collect the keys for the boat we had hired and returned.
Once in the boat the whole lake was open to us, though with a few fish still bubbling in our swim we decided to row around and left the boat in the lilies the lake side of the swim. We needed no anchor, the boat was still and we could now fish under the rod tip if we wanted. I putt a single AA shot 6 inches from my hook, I now knew whether the bait was an the bottom and if the bait was taken and the shot moved, it was registered by the float. Bait was a large prawn to deter small fish. After a short time I struck into a sinking bite and felt solid resistance. The fish dived straight into weed and after a short and subdued fight Andy netted my first Tench from the lake, a superb, deep fish. It was fin perfect and pristine and I knew it would be a Swedish PB before I weighed it. When I did. the scales went around to 5lb. 6oz. I was well happy.
After this things got easier and we gained confidence in out fishing. I quickly had three more Tench, around 4.5lb, 4lb and a 3lb Male. These all fought like stink. Andy missed a couple of bites as the sun rose, before the bubbling stopped and small fish began to destroy our baits, even a large prawn eventually succumbed. We decided the give the searing heat a miss around 11am and went to rest for a few hours.
Andy with a nice Perch of around a pound and a half...
We returned around 4pm and had four hours left to fish, as Andy had to leave at 8pm. We were both exhausted, though some food and refreshments had perked us up. We fished as we had earlier and it wasn't long before Andy struck into a bite and after a spirited fight netted another good Perch. A bonus fish, though still no Tench for him. The heavens now opened up and we watched out floats from under a large Korum brolly and hopped it would stop. Andy had a number of small fish before striking into another, only to find his rod arch over as a Tench dived for cover. The fish was very strong and after a short and brutal fight it made cover among some pilings and was lost. We both felt it was a big fish and it was tough on Andy. An hour later it did and we got into the boat and began to fish. Some time passed before andy float went under again and the strike connected with what he thought was another perch, though as the fight went on and I became convinced it was a Tench. It bored heavily under the boat, though eventually I netted the fish and its size was noticed, another 5lb fish. It was relief for Andy and I duly took a few photos before were both tried a few other areas with no joy. Typically, as we were packing up the fish began to appear, bubbling everywhere, the evening was coming and the fish were feeding. It was hard to leave seeing this, though we had no choice and decided we would have to come back for a full evening session. The venue had left a serious impression on us, a stunning location to fish in. We will certainly be back...
Andy's reward for persisting was a stunning Tench, another immaculate dark fish of 5lb.