Tuesday 27 November 2012

Floodwater Barbel Fishing

 Whilst at work yesterday I was pondering on a couple of trips around the south for various different species of fish, one being the large Crusian Carp that inhabit Marsh Farm, knowing that the fishing is brilliant during the spring and early summer I will definitely be having ago then probably sometime around May or June but also enquiring about a winter trip there in search of the Tench and Crusians. The other 2 trips are visits to the River Wey for the Barbel and also the famous Walthamstow Reservoir for the enormous Bream and Carp, but them sessions will have to wait a little while until the time is right but on to the present.

 As the title suggests, today I decided to have a go at fishing my local river whilst it was very coloured and pretty high by it's standards and I don't normally fair well in these conditions but I fancied giving it ago and I wanted to roll meat for the daylight hours, so I started my day in a swim that I walked past initially but thought about the conditions and the big slack that is created by a tree up river on the inside edge and I'd run a rolling bait along the crease and after my third roll I got a pluck which I hit and my rod lurched over and fish on, I really didn't expect it but that's the way it can go and in the extra water it fought very well and didn't give up at all which was fantastic and after I managed to set up my net whilst playing my fish, a short chunky Barbel was banked.

                                                                A lovely 7lb 1oz Barbel.

 After I caught that Barbel, I had a few more rolls through but with no more pick ups but I know there was more in there, for a little while after I just had a nag with Jeff Snr who had a nice 9lb Barbel last night and then headed up river to another good looking swim that was pushing through alot of water and again I rolled a bait through the swim in the slack water bordering the fast powerful water and I got a very slight pluck on my finger and slowly flicked it as I thought it was caught up on a bit debris on the bottom and then the rod got tugged as a Barbel tore off downstream with my bait, a good fight ensued for around 3 minutes when it came up to the net and a Barbel between 8 and 9lb rolled over and headed back down to the bottom where it hit something and shed my hook, I was totally gutted to say the least and that's the fifth Barbel I've lost this season more than any other that I can remember, disaster.

 The rest of the short afternoon passed and dusk fell without another touch, at about 6 Stu and I headed up river for an hour and put a bait out and within 5 minutes Stu's rod slowly bent over and he struck into a Barbel, jammy sod!, a good fight followed as usual so I did the honours in netting it and taking the photos and weighing it.

Stu and his 6lb 13oz beard.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Mrs Spotty and Family

 For a while I have been contemplating on a return back up to the upper reaches of my most local of rivers in search of Brown Trout as it has been nearly 6 months since I last visited this stretch but the weather in London has been rather drab to say the least but I was thinking that the rain will colour up the very clear chalk water and give me some cover which may increase my chances of success.

 Unfortunately rain was forecast for the entire day so I knew it was going to be a wet one so I packed my little wychwood roving bag with only the absolute basics, which consisted of a couple of wire stem floats, pack of hooks and shot, plus my trusty Avon scales and camera with tripod, with today's chosen bait being a small loaf of Warburton's, around an hour or so of travelling I finally got to the river to see it up a few inches and also fairly coloured, immediately I felt confident but whilst I headed along the river downstream no Trout offered themselves up which was pretty rare as I tend to get a riser from a couple of the so-called 'banker swims'.

 Around an hour had past and I finally hooked into one on the trot from a very shallow gravel run but it didn't fight much and it turned out to be a very young Trout of around 3-4oz, next cast and I had another at 1lb 2oz a very silvery fish that did fight alot better than the baby, I moved down to the next swim and had a take straight away off of a Trout around 3lb but I missed it which annoyed me alot but oh well! it happens.

The tiny one.

 Another hour had passed and I'd caught another 4 brownies ranging from 1lb 1oz to 2lb 3oz, one of which was a lovely colour as shown below.

 Up this part of the river the fishing is quite limited due to the amount of bank side vegetation that is still present so there aren't as many swims as there could be so long trotting is a great way to capture the fish that are in the swims you can't access just like the next one I had that weighed 2lb 7oz which gave a fight like a bullet train with very strong runs and tail walking about 5 times before slipping into my net.

The day was fast becoming the best day I'd ever had in regards to quantity of Brown Trout in one day and as my session on the Trout beat came to an end I had managed to get my count to 10 spotty's, 9 over a pound plus which was mind blowing but the larger fish remained visible but too clever today but I'll catch them at some point one of which was well over 4lb but I know they are still around which is fantastic news as they do provide a great sport on light gear as was the case today for me.

One on the end.

Another pound plus Trout.

Back home after a good scrap.

A well coloured Browny, most are silver!
 After clearing the beat I took a hour and a bit stroll down river to try and catch a Barbel but the further down I got, the more the river had risen and coloured up I knew it was going to be quite difficult to catch one so I briefly popped into a known swim that holds Barbel quite often but for around 30 minutes my bait remained untouched by fish in general and the lead pulled around down stream constantly, but to break the monotony Brian from pikeblog came down for a few minutes to chat who had also had a pretty baron day but the conditions down this end of the river were not great and deteriorating rapidly so after Brian and Dan had gone home, I packed up and moved further downstream to find a swim with a slack in it to avoid the fast paced current and debris coming down with it, so I decided to put 3 swan shots on and roll a lump of bread around the slack water and on my 3rd or 4th cast I got a little pluck on my finger tip which I hit and the rod hooped over emphatically, I said to myself it was a Barbel without a doubt and after a couple of minutes of it steaming around the deep water it rose to the surface and into the net, on the scales at 3lb 13oz it wasn't big but I didn't really care but with the rain still coming down if not harder than it had been I couldn't take any pictures as I didn't want to risk damaging the camera.
 The little guy released I cast back into the same position not really expecting my rod to hoop immediately again but it did and I was connected to a fish that felt bigger than the last and in the dark I couldn't see the fish which held on the bottom the entire time until I got it up to the net and when it rolled over just in front of the net it dived straight back down to the bottom nearly pulling the rod out of my hand, a minute or so later she was in the net and my second Barbel within 10minutes banked, at 7lb 7oz it was a very good conclusion to a great day, I packed up and left absolutely soaked like a drowned rat.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Tutoring the art of Barbel fishing.

 After a couple of weeks of not being able to get on the bank due to illness/work I finally managed to wangle an afternoon off and although I'm still not well I couldn't resist a few hours fishing on the river but over the last month or so my youngest brother Chris has been champing at the bit to better his personal best Barbel which is a fairly modest 6lb 12oz caught many years ago, so me being a good eldest brother we got prepared to find a Barbel for him.

 Whilst travelling to one of our many local rivers I was going through the basics with Chris in regards to basic watercraft, tackle, bait selection, presentation and if it came down to it, the playing of the fish all of which are important especially if you have forgotten just how powerful Barbel are.

 As soon as we turned up to the river we noticed that the leaf fall was still in full swing and the river was littered with leaves making static bait fishing nearly impossible and that left us pretty much with a moving bait method but initially we started on the bottom but quickly discovered that even a 3oz lead in my case was only prolonging the inevitable with 5 minutes of my bait being out my line turned into a washing line and pulled out of position.

 For over an hour we persevered in a few swims and we did see a couple of Barbel which did make us feel good about catching one but the leaves looked like they were dictating the state of play, so Chris, Stu and I headed down stream and Chris put on a stick float with a couple of AA shot and a small size 14 hook at around 3-4 foot in depth, I pointed to Chris where he should cast it, right along the creases and work the creases down the run and after doing that about 6 trots he got a perfect take, with the float sliding under very confidently and he struck and a Barbel around 7lb came straight up in the water and held in the current with Chris understandably nervous his chance had come to beat a long standing PB he played it quite cautiously and after a good scrap especially after it saw the net and tired it out she headed straight into the net.

 Stu and I both looked at it and knew it was a definite 7lb+ Barbel, so to end the guessing she went 7lb 15oz and a happy Chris then held his prize for some photo's with a grin.

 So with that lovely looking Barbel released fighting fit we decided to head down river further and sit up in a slower deeper stretch hoping to avoid the leaves to the most part but unfortunately we didn't manage anymore fish but the objective was to get Chris a new PB Barbel and he succeeded, top fishing shorty.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Specimen Barbel......

......Please apply within for photo shoot, at last I managed to get out and do some fishing, all week I had been trapped at work doing all the hours god throws at me and in truth it was becoming a little laborious and I needed to break the cycle so the best known cure for that is a good old session trotting/rolling for Barbel, a technique rarely used on rivers these days the later of the two not so, I turned up at the river and it was down but still carrying a bit of colour but still tons of leaves on the bottom and washing down, fishing static would have been a waste of time.

 A couple of hours had passed and only had spotted a solitary Barbel and a big shoal of Dace and Roach of which unfortunately did not want to feed but there is plenty more river to search, but when I did finally get a take it was a good size Chub which did fight quite well by Chub standards and at over 4lb was worth the wait and it wasn't long before I did get another take which was alot more powerful which could only have been a Barbel and as I hooked it rose up towards the surface and rolled, with a big flick of the tail it stormed back down to the bottom and straight through a snag which my line grated across and in time the line parted and a Barbel of around 7lb broke free, disaster again.

 I stayed out to fish through dusk and into night, so I plotted up about a mile or so downstream and was joined by Stu who stayed with me as we nagged, dusk had came and went without a touch but after an hour or so I had a quick bounce on the tip but nothing substantial, another hour had passed and Jeff snr had joined me and sat down and we started to talk when Stu re-joined the party and Jeff cast out upstream of me with his trusty MK 4 Avon rod and carried on talking and I decided to stand up and stretch my legs and momentarily turned away from my rod when it slammed around and got ripped out of the rod rest and was literally being dragged down the bank about 5 foot to be exact with Stu and Jeff both laughing at what had just happened but I did latch into the fish, bearing in mind all that happened in about 2 seconds, but I was in to a barbel for sure and it felt like a good fish with a constant powerful run that made my arm ache and after 5 or so minutes I reached for the net and scooped the Barbel in first time, in the dark I couldn't see it was a big fish but when I got it out of the river and put it on the bank we all knew it was going to be a 9lb+ fish but when I slipped the hook out and picked it up I knew straight away it was a double, with Jeff guessing around 8-9lb I knew he was way out and Stu guessing around the high 9lb region, so on to the scales to end the speculation and she was weighed on 2 sets of Avon scales both registering 11lb 7oz, minus the net it was 10lb 8oz another double and my first from this stretch and an audience to boot, commence the photo shoot!

Photography by Stu.
An absolutely pristine Barbel and a massive paddle on it as well no wonder why the fight was very strong and on my secret rig again it's really doing the business this season 6 Barbel and 3 of those are doubles weighing 10.8, 10.8 and 14.6. To say the least I headed home very chuffed indeed, Jeff and Stu heading home as well to warm.

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 ...