Monday, 25 June 2012

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.


  1. Lovely koi, James. Would love a fish like that from a river. Must be great sight fishing. And good old himalayan balsam, I used to fish a small tributary of the Lee which had loads of the stuff growing on the banks. Spent a lot of time popping them seeds when I wasn't getting bites!

    1. Cheers mate, really, what do the seeds do?, i did'nt think the himalayan balsam was anything but a pest. Myself and a couple of other anglers have watched that fish grow from a little fish 3-4 years on its nearly 5lb.

    2. The seed heads explode if you lightly squeeze em, sure that's Himalayan balsam? It is an invasive plant though I understand. That's quite incredible that that koi has survived really. I've had a couple golden Rudd from the canal here, wonder if they occurred naturally. Full of jack pike though so doubt they're still knocking about!