Tonbridge Angling Society – Haysden 2012

Spring has now arrived and with the seasonal April showers dying down it was time to get back on the banks of Haysden lake in Tonbridge. Those who read this blog will know of my 2011 spring campaign for the elusive tincas that swim the 30 acre gravel pit. Although I was successful in catching one it was not the stamp of fish I was targeting however, a fish caught from Haysden by design is not to be grumbled at. There is no close season on Haysden which makes it the ideal place to wet a line whilst the time ticks forward to the magical June 16th.

Haysden is tough going, large, low stocked and with the adjacent river flooding its banks who’s to say what could turn up. That’s what I love about the lake, it offers the chance to catch an uncaught monster that’s never seen a hook, or does it?.I have no idea of the stock and although I have stumbled over snippets of information its generally on the carp front. I sent a few emails to some likely people that will know of tench being caught from the lake but am yet to get a response. I guess the only way to find out if a double is on the cards is to catch one.

19/05/12 – My first spring session on Haysden begun (at 3.30am) and my tactics were to be similar to ones used last year. I tied up both rods with short supple braided hook links attached to method feeders. One rod would be fished with some rather large genetically modified scopex corn in hope of separating the larger fish and on the other plastic sweetcorn. I prepared 8 kilos of spod mix which included prepared and cooked mixed corn, sweetcorn, layers pellets, breadcrumb and molasses.

I settled in a swim next to the boat yard which I had not fished before. With my marker float I begun to build up an image of the topography in hope of finding some steep gradient shelves where the tench would be feeding. I had done some image research on Haysden with the help from a brilliant fishing tool Google Earth and knew this section of the lake was extremely shallow but dropped of suddenly at approximately 60-80 yards out. Unfortunately I could not reach this spot with my small reels and so had to settle for placing two baits fairly close together at around 50 yards on the bottom of a shelve that dropped from 3ft to around 6ft. Almost instantly I began to get bites and my bobbins twitched up and down. I knew the bream would be an issue and hoped to just wade through them until a tench picked up the bait. I am always confident when catching bream that tench will be feeding close by and unlike carp fishing where a strategically placed bait gets picked up by a snotty and ruins the session catching bream on a tench session is not such a bad thing.

I ended up with eight bream to around 5lb including some lovely bronze specimens but no tench. At the end of the session one of the yachts that sail the lake came in slightly too close. My rod whipped round and I struck into a good fish?. It wasn’t until the boat turned direction quickly and sailed of that I realised I was attached to it!. The line on my reel poured of and I tried to stop it with my hands which was a big mistake as It burned my palms. After 100 yards of line had been ripped of my spool I manged to tread on it and with a huge ping the line broke and fired back at me whipping past my head. So the strange session ended with eight bream and a 300lb boat!.

23/05/12 – After my last Haysden session where I managed to hook a boat I decided to change swim to a nearby bay secluded in one corner of the lake. This is the last fishable swim before you enter the bird reserve and it looked like it could hold a fish or two. I awoke at 3am, picked up my mate and head down to the lake. I had prepared around six kilos of mixed corn, pellets, bread crumb and molasses and planned to find some distinguished features to fish to. I am not usually a big fan of spodding but accepted this would be the only way to get the particles out to where my baits were to be positioned. I managed to find a small shelf with the marker rod and positioned two baits bang on the money. I was quite amazed at how shallow the bay was, at 60 yards out it was 3ft two foot the average depth?. Not ideal tench topography but with the wind pushing in and warm weather I thought it was worth go.

The fishing was extremely slow all day and I only managed one small bream. The monster tench still elude me but I am sure with some more effort I will get my reward.

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