I arrived at Ryton to find a few anglers around the picnic table area and I saw another one round the back of the island. With another angler marching up the bank alongside me, I decided to backtrack and take up the Information Desk (peg 1).
I then proceeded to screw things up for the next 3-4 hours! I couldn't seem to settle on a tactic and I couldn't buy a bite either. I was also becoming more and more infuriated by the number of Carp I could see milling around on the surface a fair way out - too far out out for the gear I had brought.
I decided to stick it out on the float line that I had groundbaited and eventually dropped a leger rig close in alongside it. A Roach of about 3oz attached itself to my leger rig, albeit not registering a bite. Later on I did manage a Tench though, which went exactly 4lb. Well that's what I thought! Later on I rembered I hadn't zeroed the scales for the net (first time I can recall doing that!), so I'll deduct 14oz for the net and settle for 3lb 2oz instead.
I even managed to make a cock up with the photo - forgetting to notice the slight incline where I took my place while the timer did it's stuff. I figured I might as well edit my head completely out - something that has often been suggested in the past I might add! Oh well, it's enough of shot to prove I actually caught something.
The second session on the Saturday had a bit more purpose about it. I arrived slightly later than planned at 8-30 and to my surprise I had the place to myself - not a single car in the car park either. As it turned out, I never saw another angler all day - quite odd given the decent weather and it also being a weekend.
I marched round the back of the island, as I figured that the ramblers might be plentiful and I wanted a bit of peace. I settled on Roger's peg, which I hadn't fished this year. I had spotted some bubbles a good way across to the left of the swim (which would be attacked with a leger rig), while a few bubbles were also showing close in directly in front of the peg and would be attacked with a float rig.
I was in two minds as to whether I should ball in the groundbait. Would it spook any fish that were already seemingly in front of me? Or, would they simply move on anyway if I didn't get some bait into the swim? Should I go for a softly softly approach? I guess this is the real art of fishing - knowing exactly how to extract the best of the situation, by feeding it correctly.
I mulled it over and decided to ball it in anyway! I eventually figured that if there were plenty of bubbles on the leger line, then I always had that back up if things backfired on the float line. Being optimisitic I recalled previous sessions from last year where the groundbait really got the fish rooting around. I was hoping for the same here and if it meant spooking fish for the first part of the session, I'd take the risk.
I started the session confidently, but 2 hours in (of a planned 4-5 hour session) and I was starting to think the Ryton jinx was going to strike me again. The leger rig wasn't producing for me, while the float rig was only giving the occasional hint of a bite, but nothing worth that warranted a strike. Bubbles were not appearing on the float line either, while the leger rig wasn't producing either.
A small Tench of about 10-12oz got me off the mark and came as a bit of a relief. There definitely seems to more of these smaller samples in the pool this year, which has to be good for the years ahead.
A further Tench followed soon afterwards, this one being around 2lb.
I then missed a decent bite on the leger rig and things seemed to be heading in the right way. It then went a bit quiet again, but I was more confident now.
The next fish was very welcome though - my first Ryton Rudd. These infuriating red finned creatures have eluded me all year at Ryton, but at last I had caught one - a fish of about 6oz. Next cast, another one took the bait, albeit it slipped off the hook on the way in. I went on to catch 3 more Rudd, all of which were in the 10-12oz stamp.
I had a couple of token 3oz Roach before I finished off the day with 2 more Tench which went 2lb 12oz and 3lb 3oz. I did remember to zero my scales for those!
I'm not sure where the Perch have gone this year. I don't seem to be attracted to them like I have in previous years. Maybe they are more interested in gorging themselves on the smaller fish that have turned up in numbers this year.
Although I had better results at Ryton last year, I still think it's an ever improving venue. I think the cold start to the year has made comparisons a little difficult too. There's definitely a better head of fish in there now and more variety with the Rudd and a few more Roach. Judging by the numbers of Carp I saw towards the middle of the pool, they are still there in healthy numbers too. It will be interesting to see if the Pike fatten up a bit this year - a decent twenty must be on the cards with all the extra food in there now.