Saturday 30 June 2012

Jungle Warfare Part Three

 After a long week at work, I've been looking to do some fishing so whilst on the train home from Bromley I had decided I was going to have a couple of hours out on the bank, with the weather nice and warm and plenty of sunshine it was perfect fishing conditions so I had to take advantage.

 Bearing in mind it was only a short session I did end up with two Chub to 4lb 2oz, one Eel at about 10oz and another pristine Barbel of 7lb 13oz and what a scrap it was aswell, putting up the usual standard of fight that keeps me coming back for more!

Another spawned out fish

Back out in the morning in search of some quality Roach and Rudd if I can find them.

Monday 25 June 2012

Jungle Warfare Part Two

With the day before being a success on the Barbel front at last, I decided to leave the specimen gear at home and go out for some flood water fun with the smaller species, the water was a lovely slate grey and I knew straight away it wasn't going to be easy and I didn't have long out as I wanted to be back in time to watch England hopefully beat the Italians but as I'm writing this now on Monday we all know what the outcome was unfortunately.

 The day before I made my way through the maze of overgrown shrubbery and created a couple of little swims that I could just poke myself into and hide away, so I decided to trot for the day in those swims and mainly fishing the slacks where the fish were probably sat up out of the main flow and within my first couple of casts I latched into a good fish, although I was using maggots anything was possible and this fish felt a Barbel with big powerful charges through the flood water it was easy to think it was a Barbel and then until after about 2 minutes it gave up, by which time a big Chub rose to the surface and this was a chunky fish a real lump for this river. I couldn't wait to weigh it as I knew it was going to close to a river personal best which stands at 5lb 6oz, but my 'pb' hadn't been beaten with the needle resting on 5lb 3oz.

A real Chub at 5lb 3oz (My prize).

 I did also have a small Brown Trout and a small Roach both about 4oz, nothing special and that was it for my very short but productive session. Maybe 2014 world cup we'll win it :).

Jungle Warfare Part One

Yesterday I set out in the vein hope that I would'nt get too wet and was on the hunt of a Barbel or two, the last outing that I had in search of Barbel did'nt exactly go to plan due to the fact that shoals of them still had'nt finished spawning, so they had other things on their mind rather than putting a bend in my rod and playing the game.

 I decided to try a few spots that have'nt been fished for in a while maybe even this season due to the amount of hymalian balsam that's towering over the banks and I started with my usual tactic to persuade a fish and ended up spending another hour doing the same thing with no enquiries. I was starting to think that the Barbel were still not on the feed and was becoming quite fustrating that I could see them but they were'nt picking up.

 After moving down stream a little bit I bumped into a couple of Carp both Koi's, one pearly white Common and one multi coloured Common, first cast and I hooked into the white one which gave me a proper scrap taking me through the ribbon weed and burying itself amongst it, but it was no match for me and it was in the net. Last season I tryed a few times to catch this one.

4lbs 10oz

 So not what I was after but the Barbel fishing was proving to be difficult, this was a welcome net wetter and apparanlty enjoyed its photo shoot aswell, behaving really well for a Common Carp. With the water still with a bit of colour I moved down stream to the lower reaches that don't get fished as much and was alot more overgrown aswell so I bullied my way through the dense vegetation and set myself up at about midday in a very swift part of the river and out went a bottom bait just holding bottom with the flow just occasionally kicking it up in the water to hopefully be seen by a Barbel as this spot seemed to have all the perfect Barbel swim attributes, overhanging trees, swift deepish water and tons of gravel and weed to hide in and not before too long I got my first take in the swim and it was no doubt a Barbel immediately, with a powerful take downstream I had my work cut out and the gear was put to the maximum in the fast water, my gear being a grey's prodigy TX float specialist 11ft and a shimano exage 4000 loaded with 6lb diawa sensor, this sort of gear on this river is great fun and within 6 or 7 minutes my first decent Barbel of the season was on the bank.

A pristine 8lbs 1oz Barbel (spawned out)

With that swim now well and truly battered I moved up river a few meters and crept through the 8ft high stinging nettles to get to the river (reminded me of a scene from predator 1) and again the new swim also had the same sort of features but the only difference was it was deeper and the flow was more powerful in the inside edge so I put my bait out on the edge of the fast water and as my bait touched the bottom my rod ripped around and I was in straight away to a Barbel not a big one but big enough to tear through the water with consummate ease but without the engine to match and within a couple of minutes I landed another Barbel at 4lbs 4oz, with that gone back in downstream to try and preserve the swim, I cast back out in the same spot and I did'nt get a touch for another 15 minutes but then out of the blue like a lightning strike my rod slammed around and I thought I hooked the bottom, this definately was a good fish and all I could do was hold on as I could'nt gain any line on it, this was fighting very hard and staying low to the bottom, it was using every bit of depth available to it, about half way through the fight I had to wedge the rod between my hip and elbow against my side so I could give my wrist a brief respite, 2 minutes later she came up off the bottom and I was surprised not to see a double because it faught like one, but was still a cracking fish which weighed 8lbs 3oz, another 8lb+ Barbel very nice.

So happy to be catching them!

Another brilliant Barbel and another move after releasing her fighting fit, by which time Brian had appeared whilst I was fishing upstream and decided to hang around with me for a while, whilst we talked I had a bait out in one of the more popular swims on the river and after about 3 last casts I did finally get a take of a Barbel and with a spirited fight put up I managed to land Barbel number 4 of the day at 5lbs 11oz another welcome fish, a far cry from last weekends effort!

ps. cheers Brian for taking the piccy! (thumbs up)

What's more the rain did'nt materise either, just imagine if I had taken notice of the weather forecast and decided not to go out. All that fun would have been missed out on.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

The miniature great rod race

Today I woke up and switched the television on, to be met by the great rod race which is hosted by Matt Hayes and Mick Brown and after just watching 10 minutes of it whilst eating my breakfast I had decided that today I was going to try and catch 7 different species of fish from the river starting at the middle reaches of the river and down, hence my post title.

 The possible targets were: Barbel (small ones)
                                            Brown Trout
Out of 10 species I only managed 5 of them, with me also locating some Perch that are very rare on this river and losing one at the net, also hooking a Common Carp but slipping my hook almost immediately, so I still would have fell short but ill give it a better go when I give myself a bit more than 3 hours!, Not to mention though it was a very enjoyable trip with 36 fish caught in total.

19 Roach in total to 11oz.

4 Dace in total to 9oz.

11 Chub in total to 1lb 7oz

1 Gudgeon less than 1oz.

1 Barbel at 5lb 2oz. (spawned out)

 The Barbel caught was the last fish of the day and so far the biggest landed but plenty of big ones seen but before I caught that though I had encountered one of my biggest fears in the form of a 6 foot plus polish c*/t that hooked a Chub of about 3 1/2lb who didnt have a landing net so I helped him land it with mine and then he said thank you for landing it and I asked him, "are you going to put the fish back", then came the reply of "nope I'm taking it home for dinner", absolutely seething by now I told him " you are putting that back now and I'm contacting the police and EA to have you arrested you fish nicking polish c/*t", and then he said why do you care? with that I said " because you do it your country 1000's of miles away does'nt mean you can do it here go sainsburys and buy a Trout", after another minute or so of me slating him off bearing in mind he was much bigger built than me, he took the Chub to river and released it to fight another day and hopefully keep populating the river to restock and recover from the battering the river has taken from the foreign scum that feel its acceptable to take our sport and fun from us for the sake of a fish full of bones that probably tastes of crap or mice :)!!.

 ARRRRRGGGHGHGHGHGH. Go home and go to hell Tony Blair for opening up the flood gates to these sort of people, since 2004 when they joined the euro and had access to our borders and the gov getting paid £117,000 per immigrant that came here between 2004/09. But this is a double edged sword as later on in the day just after I had that Barbel, I bumped into a polish man who was Chub fishing aswell and he hooked a cracking Chub well over 4lb and I helped him land it and asked him the same question that I asked the other polish man and he said, "no", its going back, with which I said, "thats the correct attitude", with which I took a couple of pictures for him and slipped the Chub back to live another day, it's not all of them, but the majority do give the poles and so on a bad reputation.

 I'll give the miniature great rod race another go and hopefully achieve the full 10 species.

Opening Day pm

 Back on the river but not the local, tonight me and brother Richard (the piking pirate) decided to visit the River Thames and go for some predators in the hope of catching one of the big specimens that lurk in these waters. We had an array of spinners, spoons, plugs, lures and shad's to try and tempt some Pike to the bank and within 20 minutes Rich was into a Pike on a red twin tailed shad after just changing to that shad from a spoon, goes to show the Pike won't just hit anything, about 5 minutes later and we finally got to see the culprit in the dark of the night when it slid into the net, the Pike was just over 5lb what a disappointment considering the fight but it was a Pike so Rich was happy regardless and no sooner he put that fish back he cast out again and started to retrieve the shad he had another take and same again another 5 minute fight ensued, another Pike landed slowly getting bigger at 7lb 10oz, I was getting thrashed good and proper.

 I did'nt get my first take until almost an hour into the session whilst using a spoon and the fish on did'nt feel big and turned out to be a Perch of about 8oz. The session after that Perch took a nose dive and I set up my feeder that I brought up just in case this happened and it took a little while to locate the Bream but when I did find the fish the night became more enjoyable with a string of Bream upto 5lb.

A Bream of 3lb which was'nt the biggest but better condition.

 But that was it then no more silvers or predators for the rest of the night.

Opening Day AM

 After three months of waiting and amazing amount of impatience, the time had finally come to turn my recon into catching, so my plan was for the early part of the 16th was to target the Barbel and hopefully open my account pretty early on, but the fish unfortunately weren't feeding as avidly as I'd hoped and over the coming hours that came and went and still without a bite, I waited for sunrise and changed the method of approaching my whiskered friends.

 After another couple of hours of searching for a Barbel the task seemed like it wasn't going to be a foregone conclusion that I thought it would be, but my persistence paid off at about 9am, when I trotted a bait through an over-hanging tree I had a powerful take and ended up with a small Barbel.

   2lb 7oz

 So I did have another cast into the swim and had another take straight away which turned out to be another Barbel but even smaller at just over a pound, so after putting that fish back I moved off down stream, asking myself (where are the big ones!!).

 Next swim and the target was still the Barbel but as they do the Chub are almost always first to the bait and this Chub was a decent fish which when banked turned out to be 4lbs 5oz (a good first Chub for the start of the season), but when I had weighed it I noticed something coming out of its rear-end (not being filthy or anything) and curiosity got the better of me.

Initally what I saw

It was a MOUSE!!!! (badly decomposed and stank!)

 I've never heard of Chub eating mice but this was proof that they really will eat anything. Madness indeed and after that the mood changed back to normal and finished up with another Chub around 2lb 8oz and then it was time to get some sleep, homeward bound.

 But as I had packed up and walking downstream on my way home I peeped into a couple of swims that in the closed season I had seen spawning in and what did I see when I looked onto the gravels?,
you guessed it, Barbel spawning! thats why they are not feeding hard they've still got some business to do. Video of the Barbel below just after they were spawning and there were also 5 more above me out of the video blocked by the bush.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Fish Recon

Some pictures of a few suspects not well known in this river and also some of the more usual species.

 A Tench feeding on the gravel, very rare on this river.

Also a Pike! only 1 or 2 of these in the whole system
extremely rare, around the 6lb mark.

2 Carp spawning, there was another 2 with those
that broke off to feed.

                                           A male and a female Mirror Carp ready to spawn.

Friday 1 June 2012

The elusive wild brownie

 As you can tell by the post name I was after the elusive Trout that call this river home, armed with my fly-rod and assortment of flys I tackled my normal Trout beats in search of one as I haven't done very well on my recent travels but I have caught an array of different fish albeit not my target species from Carp to Chub on the fly.

 Today though the conditions for Brown Trout was definitely more in my favour and only within the first half an hour of fishing in my first spot I had caught a little chublet and 3 small Trout to about 8oz which is the normal stamp of fish to be had in this stretch, so I had cracked my target species and all of which fell to a black buzzer that are very common food source for these Trout, but I was to get an extremely big surprise further downstream whilst scoping the bottom and under over-hanging trees when I spotted a big Trout sat in a gravel hole under one of the trees.

 So now that I had found a monstrous Brownie to cast to I picked my spot about 15 metres up river and walked into the water in the edge and cast down past the hole the Trout was in and then began to retrieve the fly and draw it above the fish when an almighty splash appeared and my little 9 foot brook trout rod hooped over bending double almost literally and the fun began with a continuous powerful charge around the swim and up river, showing no sign of giving up I was beginning to worry about the hook hold as I was using only a small fly maybe size 14, so I was enjoying the fight at the same time anxious about it fighting so hard and just wanted to come in as quickly as possible and within a couple more minutes of nail biting stuff the beast decided to head straight into my net first time, much to my delight and after a fair few blanks for the spotted friends I had landed the jackpot.

 This was a big fish and when I got her on the scales, she went 5lbs 12oz my second biggest ever Brown Trout what an amazing specimen it is aswell, also the colour of the fish was perfect and hardly any blemishes, what a beast, I think now those trips I blanked whilst looking for Trout have made this even more impressive. 

A hen fish.

Revived and ready for release, Thank you Mrs spotty.

What A Start!

   Since the river season ended I've taken a 3 week hiatus from fishing, work as usual the excuse! Storm Kathleen however was predicted ...