For a few days back in October a friend of mine, Yannick, made the journey over from the Netherlands to taste a little of what England has to offer in regards to angling. Funnily enough, Holland has pretty much every species that we do, however, certain species such as the Barbel and Grayling are not as widespread as they are here in the UK and makes targeting them back home a real challenge, so the plan was to target a different species every day that Yannick was here.
As time drew closer to his arrival I was watching the weather and river levels intently, this single aspect would make or break certain waterways and their targets, Barbel love a bit of coloured water, on the flip side the Grayling aren't so keen, finding feeding Grayling in the coloured water often proves fruitless unless you as the angler is comfortable with a maggot feeder approach and await the enquiries, I am not so comfortable with it. Not a purists approach in my honest opinion.
Thankfully as Yannick arrived at Luton for me to meet him we had our first named storm of the season (put sarcastically) where everywhere got a good drenching and the strong winds forced most of the trees to shed their leaves.........oh joy :), The plan was to find a couple of areas to drop some bait in and come back to them around dusk to see if any fish were home, the time leading up to that we went on a mobile approach. When covering such large distances between feeding pods of fish its the only way, my preferred method for certain.
After an hour or so of trying my Mark IV Avon was bent over backwards as a furious Barbel opted to head for cover rather than play nicely. The combination between my match aerial and 6lb line made for a great fight, not the biggest I've ever caught but a good reward as nothing up to that point was showing and the anonymity puzzling as I can often find fish, even with difficult conditions. Maybe 5lb 8oz I had a quick snap and off she went, this trip wasn't about me so continued on in search of more to give Yannick the chance to experience the fight a Barbel can give.
For around four hours we continued to search but our efforts weren't rewarded like we thought they would be, with dusk looming we both got prepared for a couple of hours of static fishing. Knowing that dusk is often the best time to get an opportunity if its going to come we prepared everything and got a bit more bait out so that the baits were in the water for "prime time".
Not twenty minutes later, the outside quiver tip sprung into life and slammed around, like a snake poised, Yannick was on it and his chance of a Barbel had materialised! The only question was would it come to net and surrender?
|Never in doubt !|
Not long after that Barbel went back the heavens decided to open, we kept our minds focused for another hour without incident, with that we decided to beat a hasty retreat to my house and we got ourselves warm with a firm eye on the next day!
A nice early start and we were in the car on route to the Hampshire Countryside for a days Grayling, this was one trip I was thoroughly looking forward to as I haven't fished for the Lady of the Stream much of late, conditions weren't terrible but plenty of rain was in the forecast, along with 18mph winds the forecast didn't disappoint and was bang on......by 11am we were battling the elements, cracking on early doors to get the best fishing done was order of the day and after slow starts for us all Brian, who joined us two caught a couple of stunning specimens to a smidgen under two pounds and after finding his feet Yannick got amongst the bigger fish with the best weighing 1lb 12oz which turned out to be his personal best and he delighted with that!
For me, the trip wasn't as successful as I hoped for but to see the boys catch well I was more than happy.
Oh and a few out of season Trout also made their presence known....
After a swift trip back to London we planned our next days fishing and although I knew we had a lot of rain I fancied a trip to the tidal Thames for a days predator fishing, something that I thought would be great fun, just one issue with that particular plan was that I hadn't envisaged the river was heaving through and coloured more than I thought it would be.
Not to be deterred, the boat got set up and off we went, in waters that maybe we shouldn't have......it was more like a washing machine than a weir pool, but we were there and to fish, to begin with we fished the little slacks amongst the rolling water in the vein hope of a take. With small Chublet on the business end it was a matter of time.
Out of the blue around 2pm my float slipped under and I was met with a solid Pike, followed by another within just 5 minutes. Things were starting to hot up and not after long the flying dutchman also got his reward for the constant roving around.
|Not the biggest there but mint condition.|
As always is the case on the Thames action usually comes thick and fast in little spells, we knew bites wouldn't come much easier and had to make the most of it. For us though bite time appeared to last just 20 mins and all four runs came off a patch of maybe a meter square! such was the precision required to get a fish, crazy as its not a small area to work, to get it down to an area that small and catch for us was quite incredible as has we not found that tiny area we would have blanked, no doubts about it.
The last day before Yannick was due to go home was spent targeting a species of fish we have many of here, but in the Netherlands they aren't as prevalent, that species...the Chub. For us, they are in practically every waterway from the far southwest of the country to the lower regions of Scotlands and Northern England.
For me four pound Chub are dead easy to catch and I know many places to target them, so, with that knowledge I "expected" us to catch a hat full. Obviously I was chuffed when on the second trot of the day resulted in a nice Chub around 3.8, that was exactly how I wanted it to start, for the next 4 hours bites came steady as did the Chub, a nice bag of fish up to 4lb 4oz was a good day, however the larger fish remained elusive as I know it does fish over 5lb and some in excess of 5lb 8oz, luck of the draw I suppose. Not bad for a first time!