Nov 7, 2017

Tinca tinca

     Being as the year is almost at an end again, I'm well overdue for a few blog posts. So I'll take you back to the spring of 2017 to begin the process of getting caught up. 
     The spring was full of the usual suspects. I made a few early trips for Lahontan Cutthroats and some nice smallies as well:

     I'm running out of new species close to home though. There are a four likely targets within a couple hours drive: longnose sucker, longnose dace, grass pickerel, and tench. I've tried and failed more times than I care to admit to catch each of them.
     I had a close call in May when I was trout fishing at a nearby high mountain lake and noticed some dace spawning in the shallows. It took a while to get them to bite since they were busy, but my hopes and dreams were dashed, when after a fight that was surely ferocious in scale, I pulled up the first one and his nose was decidedly not long. Some day I'll get a longnose, but it was all speckled dace that day.

     The next week, I heard a rumor that the tench were running shallow and catchable at a lake near Spokane. I'm not one to pass up an opportunity like that, so off I went. I've visited this lake four or five times in the past hoping for a tench but hadn't had any luck. 
     The first fish I spotted in the shallows were some pretty little largemouth bass:

     I harassed the bass for a while, then continued on the hunt for the tench. As I walked down the sidewalk on the edge of the road I began seeing them. Once I found them, and the sunlight was right, I could see dozens of them rooting around in the weeds, or just cruising around. So then began the process of getting one on a hook. Tench (Tinca tinca, which is almost as fun to say as Lota lota) are native to Europe, where they are pursued mostly with bait, like corn, boilies, or even garbanzo beans. However, there's no bait allowed in this lake, so that made things a bit more challenging. A buddy who lives nearby recommended some little tube jigs like those used for crappie fishing. So I began trying to put my jig in the right spot without spooking them in the clear water. I was thoroughly ignored the first 20 or 30 times I tried, but then one of them swooped over and grabbed my jig! So I of course got too excited and promptly broke it off.
     I began the process over again. It took 10 or 15 more tries but I finally got another one interested. A very confused jogger who couldn't understand what I was so exited about, kindly took my picture to officially add the tench to the list. 

     I finished the morning with a total of four tench landed, the biggest of which weighing in about 3 lbs. So now I'm just down to three nearby species (three arch nemeses??).  There are still plenty of critters in salt water though, which is where my next adventure would take me.

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