Saturday 27 October 2012

Mission nearly Impossible

Over the last 2 weeks I have been out fishing on a couple of occasions but I have been unsuccessful in my pursuit of some late Autumn Barbel, the sessions have been both during the day and at night but the Barbel have been very difficult this year to locate and when having the leaf fall has made fishing pretty difficult to say the least and a bit tedious at other times but you have to be in it to win it as I keep getting told.

 So the plan was to do what I usually do and stay light as possible and move around and find the fish, when you've had a couple of blanks you sometimes think to yourself that, am I doing the right thing or are the fish not feeding or have they all gone on holiday!, but you know the tactic is right and the fish will almost always feed and holiday to where?? 100yrds up or downstream. After assessing that in my head it was time to get to business and my day was to start off on a bad note, to shorten the story a Chub nicked the bait out of a Barbel's gob (about 7/8lb), which I landed at just around the 3lb mark, an hour later, I lost a setup on a snag washed down in one of the spate's, then about 45 minutes after that I hooked a quality Barbel of around 8/9lb, within 2 minutes of hooking it, the swine ploughed through a snag and broke me off! wasn't best pleased to say the least but the day was still young, oh around 15minutes before that happened I lost a Chub when I forgot to slacken off the clutch, what a dope I never managed to do that in all my years of fishing.

The Barbel bait thief. 

 Time for some composure.....Losing that Barbel made me more determined to actually land one I put the rod down for 10minutes and just get it out of the system and moved swim, cast out and after about 10-15 rolls through a couple of still quite weedy runs a Barbel cruised out of the weed and nailed the bait, I did play this one with a bit of calmness and let it hammer around the swim in the added water but making sure I persuaded it to avoid the snags, with it tired I reached for the net and the drought was over, mission nearly impossible achieved, just. 6lb 9oz of lovely late Autumn Barbel.

But the drama didn't cease there unfortunately as I carried on fishing to maybe have a go for another not being greedy but felt I deserved it, so my wish came true but unexpectedly it has to be said when I was talking to Stu who had met up with me a while after I had the 6.9, I rolled a bait down a gravel run, I lost sight of my bait momentarily not expecting a Barbel to take it, but one of around 9lb sat there with my bait in its mouth and I felt a little tension then I saw the Barbel rise up in the water and when I saw it was good fish disaster struck, when I started to play it the hook pulled where it must have been very finely lip hooked, it was becoming a day of things I've never done before, as I have never lost 2 Barbel in 1 session and as Stu can vouch for, I wasn't best pleased but who would be??.

 I did pack-up a while later as I was deciding whether to go back out for dusk on the bottom using the secret big fish rig, but with another 5 hours of night fishing done and no joy it was home time and with this cold weather coming I doubt the Barbel will feed much until they get used to the cold weather settling in, then it'll be a case of waiting for the mild spells then go after them, I think it is time for some predator fishing now it's turning cold. Esox Lucius watch your backs I'm coming.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Make mine a double

Yesterday morning I woke up with the intention of going fishing for a Barbel off of my local river in which I have'nt had one from for over a month, too long in my book so the challenge was set and 6.30am I left home with my trotting rod in search of a beard.

 The weather was perfect for rolling as the sky was clear and sunny, the river was low and gin clear so spotting them in the shallower water was fairly easy once you located them amongst the runs of weed, but I didn't have long unfortunately because I had a match with a 1.30 ko so I had about until 11am and for the first hour of so I was getting plagued by Chub between 2/3lb keep grabbing the bait everytime I tryed a swim it's although every swim yesterday was crammed with Chub don't know where they've been hiding but come the winter they will be one of my target species especially the 5lb+ variety.

 As the morning progressed I did start to find the Barbel held up in little shoals of 2 to 3 per group but mostly ignored the bait with the occasional bit interest but no clear cut chances, they are starting to wise up!, around 8.30ish I did manage to find a feeder and with a very accurate cast between two runs of ribbon weed it landed straight on her head and sucked it in with no hesitation, Barbel on and immediately seemed like that it had no idea that it was hooked because the fight was very uncharactistic with a slow plod around for a minute or two and she was in the net.

An old 6.14 Barbel ( room for plenty growth ).
The Barbel I had would easily be recognised because it was blind in the right eye, may that excuse the fish for it's pathetic fight?, certainly didn't hinder it's attempt of eating my bait that's for sure.
Time was pushing on and with that in mind I moved on upwards and kept rolling to find another fish by around 10am I did and it turned out to be a Chub of about 3lb all morning I had avoided catching them but this one obviously was very hungry, so I unhooked that swiftly and slipped it back in and next cast same again I rolled through and a Barbel about 6lb nailed my bait, nearly taking the top of my finger off!.
 2 minutes later it was gone........ "oh you f*****", not the ideal outcome but I know it wasn't fail hooked because I watched the bait disappear into it's mouth, so I came to the conclusion that it was finely lip hooked, such as life, but when I hooked that fish it spooked a few fish out the cover and one of the fish was a real lump an easy double I reckoned it to be between 11/12lb massive frame so my pallet was well and truly wet after seeing that but losing that fish seemed to have put the rest off. The rest of my alloted time passed and it was time to pack up and play some football, it was our league cup first round at home so another cup run this season beckoned.
Later on that day...........
 We bloody lost that game and I was an unused sub much to my disappointment and after scoring last week in a 3-1 win at Redhill Town I thought that a start was on the cards, evidentally not, so after being very fustrated for the middle of the day I'm going fishing again.
 So for the evening and night I was to change my tactics and use my nearly secret Big Barbel rig as I call it, as it was the same rig that caught doubles last season and my 14lb 6oz Barbel off of the Hampshire Avon in September, it couldn't fail, could it? only the next few hours would determine that so I got set up in swim number 1 and prepared myself slowly to make sure everything was right and I was starting in the swim that I saw that big Barbel in earlier in the day, so I was in with a chance of catching a good fish tonight and I had to wait nearly 2 hours for my first fish, my rod slammed around very confidently and Barbel number one was on, but was it the big one?, I wasn't sure it was because it stormed around 20 yrds downstream then upstream 20yrds absolutely mental stripping line off my spool and I was powerless to do anything to stop it, so I had to left it fight itself into the net which it did. 7lb 6oz of a pure powerhouse, you can tell it's getting cold the rusky hat is out.
 Re-baited and back out for another fish in the same spot and primed with all the trimmings, when about half hour approached my rod tip started to shudder and then slowly pull around but not too much, so after about 10 seconds I thought it must be a couple of leaves when I leaned into pick up the rod it slammed around again, perfect timing I thought and fish number 2 on, straight away I knew it was a bigger fish the fight was so different much slower and more powerful than the first ( if that was possible ), whilst I was playing the fish I was talking to Stu on the phone during the take and the fight (phone tucked into my hat) giving him a running commentary of the battle, twice it came up towards the surface and dived back down and holding the bottom but on this rig she was always going to be  landed I haven't lost one on this rig yet.
 The net was ready and so was the Barbel, I guided it in first time put onto the mat it was the double I saw earlier in the day, a massive frame and a lovely specimen for sure, so without hesitation I got the scales out still on the phone to Stu at this point, on the scales she registered 10lb 8oz after deducting my net, happy days!!!.

 A lovely fish for sure with space to fill out aswell just like the Barbel in the morning, clearly they've got plenty of feeding to do between now and March next year.
It took a while for the fish to recover but for the scrap it produced you have to take care of them and allow as much time as it takes for them to expell all the gases built up during the fight or they'll keel over, when it did recover it swam off nice and strong upstream and with that I packed up and headed downstream to fish a few other swims, I walked about a mile or so down and came to a known swim for me and set-up and cast out and within 10minutes I was in again the set-up was really doing the business, a couple of minutes later Barbel number 3 was on the bank.
A pristine kindergarten resident at 4lb 7oz.
I packed up immediately moved further downstream to a swim that I haven't fished much due to the lack of time available to me recently before today's trips I hadn't been Barbel fishing in over a month excluding the Royalty week, but I spent a good hour in the latest swim without as much as a sniff, it was starting to get very cold so I packed and went home a happy bunny.

Monday 1 October 2012

Short weekend sessions.


 On Saturday my brother Chris and myself decided to go out for a brief session in search of a Chub or two, not knowing that the river was coloured up due to a bit of rain that stayed around, I didn't get to stalk the Chub as planned so it was a case of fishing the spots that we know they frequent and within a few minutes Chris had a Chub on around 2lb 8oz and as he was fishing that swim I popped up river to have a look to find something to have a cast at and in the shallower water I could make out a sizeable shape sat on the bottom behind some debris, seeing that sat there I went back down to grab the rod and get some bait, back into the swim first cast and waited for about 3 minutes and the rod thumped around stripping line off of the centre-pin like a Barbel which I knew it wasn't, but the fight was very refreshing for a Chub considering they normally come in like a plastic bag off of the bottom.

Chris and his Chub.

My Chub at 4.1.
 As we had a couple of Chub we decided to head down river and have a go in a few other swims rolling a bait through but didn't seem to get much more of a response and towards the end of the session put a bait out and maybe wait for one to come to us but our plan didn't pay off and packed up early after just a while on the river.
Yesterday again my brother came out with me to have a go for some Perch to a known spot between us guys in the family up in Elmbridge on one the River Mole's relief channels and the spot was a big wier that has a huge slack in the inside and main flow on the far side, the target were the Perch that shoal up here and some of them are massive, well over 3lb and a good head of 2lb + fish aswell and not to mention it is littered with jack Pike and a few decent Pike and Zander.
 Chris had chosen to use a spinner through the wier and I had chosen to use a dendrobeana on a perch-bobber on the pin "Bernard Cribbins style" of fishing and poised for a soldier to take my bait, I cast tight to a overhanging bush as it was in the ideal position to find a Perch and my logic didn't take too long to pay off as the float started to dance around for a moment or two before it slowly went under by which time I had pulled into it and a wee stripey kited around the swim before coming in, first one in of the day about 6-7oz.
 The first not a biggey but it was a start and Chris swapped over onto the float and worm aswell to try and catch some as he didn't have any joy on spinner after about 20minutes on it, the next cast for me produced something I have only caught once before and that was a Ruffe, a very pretty coloured fish with tints of metallic flashing off of its flanks, how it took my worm is a mystery!, it must have waited until it got whittled away before it took the bait.

As the session went on Chris and I had quite a few Perch all around the 8oz mark but nothing bigger and after about an hour of Perch coming out I had another surprise in the form of a Rudd, on a worm?? never done it before but there you go first for everything I guess.
After pulling quite a few fish in we were both surprised that pike hadn't taken any of our fish and we knew they were there as 3 or 4 took fish off of the top the biggest looking around the 12-13lb mark, but as dusk was approaching we decided we had our fun and headed off home, I'll be back at some point for the big Perch I know they're there it's just getting through the small hungry perch or locating the bigger Perch in the wier as it is deep and a vast piece of water to fish.

September 2012 Barbel stats.


6lb 6oz


7lb 7oz, 7lb 2oz

Total weight of Barbel caught in September was at 20lb 15oz.

8 Years in the Making.

   So we find ourselves finally able to get back on the rivers and thank god for it too. I don't mind stillwaters and canals now and aga...