Saturday 29 December 2012

Roving for Big Barbel.

 An extremely busy christmas at work this year had severely cut out any hopes of getting out on the river until this morning when I decided on just going out really light and taking as little gear as possible, so I could move around quickly and cover alot more water.

 My aim today simply was to locate and bank a Barbel, being one of my favourites I like to fish for them as often as I can and today seemed almost perfect conditions for it, with my local river recently coming down after being almost out of its banks and debris 3 foot up trees where the river washed tons of rubbish, it looked very good still with extra water still being pushed through with a greyish tint that I always associate with good Barbel fishing.

 My first port of call was an old mill that has a deep pool that is practically covered with gravel and in the summer is used for spawning by the shoals of the Barbel that make their way up to the shallows at the tail end of the pool and I know they frequent there in the winter but thus far have struggled to conjure up a bite let or lone a fish but that's fishing and this session was no different when I spent around 30 minutes rolling a bait through and also static bait to see if anything was feeding.

 After a short walk down river I was peering into each swim to see if I could spot anything and straight away I noticed a very size able Barbel between 10-11lbs and I needed no time to decide on whether to fish the swim but the swim is very open so I had to get in very stealthily to avoid spooking the fish, cast one: rolled through, fish on, Barbel not the big one which turned out to be 3lb 9oz, cast two: rolled through again, fish on again, Barbel again but not the big fish but for its size fought very well and after a couple of minutes a Barbel of 4lb 2oz was banked and released, cast three: rolled through and a Barbel of about 7lb picked up the bait and dropped it immediately, cast four: nothing, cast five: I rolled it through same as the last 4 times and with all the commotion that the last 2 Barbel made I was surprised to see the big Barbel open its mouth and suck in my meat, then all hell broke loose and for 7 mins after that I was fighting a big Barbel that was a definite double but how big was anyones guess, second time of asking I landed her. Just what I expected when I first saw it on the bottom but not a long fish by any standards but very thick set and quite deep as well, after waiting over christmas to get out on the bank to have a go for a Barbel I got my wish and a double to!

(5th cast) A proper lump at 11lb 1oz and alot fatter than the picture suggests.
Plenty of joy so far and I was only in that swim for around 20-30 mins, roving downstream further I did come across a few Carp and as I was debating whether to fish for one when a Barbel flashed up on a gravel bar in front of me I put a bait just up above it and within 5 minutes my rod slammed around and a good sized Barbel was on the end ploughing through the swim, spooking another couple of fish out of the swim, a few minutes later a 7lb 2oz graced my net.

 After capturing that Barbel I did move downstream further but I didn't manage to catch anymore Barbel with 2 small Chub coming to the net, then the rain came back with avengence and the gusty wind also whipped up which put an abrupt end to my session and off home to watch Arsenal to see if Walcott will score again up front for us.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Christmas Catch Up

 Owing to a very hectic lead up to Christmas I haven't managed to update my blog, but I have managed a couple of short sessions.

Thursday 20th December:

 My brother Chris and I had an evening session down to my local river on a lower beat for some of the good Chub that inhabit it and not to mention the Barbel.

 The river was up and very coloured with plenty of debris coming down including a couple of 6ft plus pieces of tree that had been torn away from the riverside by the extra water and also smelt quiet awful too but Chris and myself didn't give up and spent about 4 hours out on the river trying different swims but we neither managed a clear cut chance to bank a fish with a couple of enquires that I imagined were Chub, Barbel or Roach passing across the bait, the only thing that worked out right was that the rain held off the whole time and as we entered our parents house with the gear the heavens opened up.

Saturday 22nd December:

 For a change of scenery again we decided to go to one of my local lakes in search of Perch and maybe a Pike that are very elusive but over the last few years I have passed the lake and seen Pike basking in the sun close to structures on the island, so again Chris accompanied me for a short spinning trip in the hope of catching a stripey or two.

 My set-up was a 6ft Shimano spinner rod with 6lb line with a 12inch 25lb wire trace in case the Pike were feeding and also a selection of Mepps spinners of different patterns and colours and as the lake isn't particularly deep we both decided to use spinners of weights between 3g and 6g.

 Chris above with the first fish of the day, the elusive Pike at around 3lb and a fat little git that has been eating all the fish, with a couple of scars on it as well which is a good indication that larger Pike are still about and unfortunately that was the only joy we had between us and again I blanked but just nice to get out even for just a short amount of time and relax, but it was quiet a surprise though that I did not manage to catch a Perch as we fished some extremely Perchy looking swims.

Devil's Coachhorse escaping for safety.
Thames Pike fishing soon with a couple of trips planned so hopefully a beast will come my way.
And also Merry Christmas to everyone and a Happy New Year.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Rapid Barbel Fishing.

 Last night my brother Chris and I went out for a short evening session in the hope of catching a Barbel and maintain my great season in pursuit of the species and on Saturday night it was no different with 2 good Barbel banked in a short space of 10 minutes in a 5 hour session, with your host hooked and landing a nice Barbel 7lbs 5ozs and only a couple of minutes after I released my fish back into the river my brothers rod then went crazy with an identical take as mine, with a wrenching take downstream thus hooking themselves automatically and with the deeper water in front of us we both experienced good strong fights with Chris's Barbel fighting a little better, with Chris's Barbel weighing in at 7lbs 7ozs he was again a happy man for sure.

 Recently I have been teaching my brother how to equip himself in regards to fishing for Barbel and now he has had 2 Barbel in 2 sessions both in the 7lb bracket, teaching the set-up of rigs that I use and also watercraft even at night and learning how to play the fish once they have picked up the bait.

 Also a brief list of the tackle used: Rovex 12lb braid for the hook link, Atomic Tackle 'grabba' size 6 barbless hooks, small swivel and on the hair a standard pellet ( Elips )

 Photos were taken by Stu who did join us for the evening to sit and chat the night away, also catching two Barbel himself at 7lbs 8ozs and 8lbs 1ozs, so a good night for all. Great pics Stu cheers!

My 7lbs 5ozs Barbel at 19:52

The teacher and pupil with a 7lbs 7ozs Barbel at 19:58

Thursday 13 December 2012

Pike Hunting

 Recently I have been trying to get out and hunt down a Pike and in the process finding a few new places to fish, so for the day I was to meet up with Jeff jnr for a days piking on a Thames tributary in the lovely freezing cold weather.

 Up at 5:30am for an early start as I had to meet Jeff before we set off on our way, the time in the car went by pretty quickly as we just nagged about fishing tales of the past and what tactics we would employ to outsmart some winter Pike, after about an hours drive we turned up to our chosen venue and had a scout around to spot anything in the margins but nothing offered itself up so we headed back up river to the swim we turned up and got prepped and ready.

 I set up first and cast out a whole sardine at around 2foot under my pike bob and allowed it to circulate around the swim which was a large back eddy that was offset to a main current on the far side, when my bob stopped moving so I gave it a little pull but nothing, so I recast closer in and about a minute or so later the float did the same, so I pulled into again when my bait rose a Pike rose with it at about 8lb but not realising at first that it was a Pike on I didn't strike so it spat the bait almost immediately and the Pike was gone and back down to the bottom.

 Losing that fish so soon gave us confidence that there were a few here and they were feeding so Jeff got set up with the same tactic and we both were lying in wait and for the next half hour we waited but we didn't get a sniff, out with the spinners and shads to try something different and again almost straight away I got a strong take when a Pike came from under our feet to nail my green and yellow Mepps, it has to be said the fight was pretty drab with only one half hearted attempt at a tail walk.

My little Esox 4lbs 7ozs.
 After landing that Pike again the swim went all quiet so we decided to head down river and try to find some Pike elsewhere. Jeff below wishing he had one that big or even just a bite!!.

  For another hour or so we tried everything to get a Pike or 2 to show themselves but it was fast becoming a difficult session and coupled with the fact it was perfect conditions for Pike, it was a little hard to take but just maybe they were not in the stretch we were in, in big numbers, as dusk fell Jeff maintained his hunt for an Esox but changed over to putting a half sardine on the bottom and watching the rod tip, plus I changed my tactic to going after a big Chub by casting out a big lump of luncheon meat with a 1oz lead in the hope of a fish, as the light failed Jeff called it a night as the temperature was dropping noticeably from a meagre -4C that it was for most of the day and I did get a couple of enquiries on my meat but it wasn't anything substantial and by 4:45 we packed up and headed back to London, not catching as many as we hoped but at least we saw activity which kept us interested throughout the day, maybe another time.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Rolling and Roving.

 Today I managed to get out and do some fishing nice and early, last night was quite mild and I hoped the Chub and Barbel were on the feed so I packed very light and only packed the basics but I did make an adjustment to my gear, which was the changing of my line as I usually use Diawa sensor but recently I have had a couple of line breaks and I have almost lost faith in it so I spooled up a couple of my Shimano Exage 4000 reels with 7.3lb line from Rovex XTS mono line to see if I could connect with something decent to give the line a test to see if this brand of line is any good and I employed my usual tactic of rolling.

 A couple of miles walking and popping in and out of swims I struggled to find a fish of either species but I did after about 2 hours of fishing, I hooked a Chub that put up a fight but very briefly that weighed 3lbs 2ozs, which is a good fish to catch that did save a blank on a day that it seemed was becoming more and more inevitable,  I decided to go back on myself and try again to see if I had missed one that was lingering about.

 So after along walk back and another hour or so had passed I was just thinking about packing up when my rod wrenched around in my hand, instinctively striking into a Barbel that wanted to fight and it did, very well it has to be said plus the line was doing okay and also I felt more confident that I would land this one, roughly 4 minutes of it scrapping around I reached for my net and she came in first time, after weighing, photographing she was released fit and it was time to head home.

6lb 10oz Winter Barbel.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Fishing Exploits 1st year.

 Today marks my 1st birthday of this blog and in such a short period of time I have had the pleasure of sharing some fantastic catches of fish from the smaller species ie, Gudgeon pushing the British Record size to Carp over 30lbs and bags of Roach that would make the mouth water, plus an amazing specimen Barbel from the Hampshire Avon, so far this season alone I have broken 3 personal bests, but fishing really is just at the end of the day a hobby that I enjoy and being away from the hussle and bussle that is life in London on a bank just waiting in anticipation for that next fish that could just could be.........Thanks to my audience for dropping in and tight lines for the future.

 Just a small collection of fantastic fish I've captured over the last year since the blog was created.

 10lbs 14ozs Bream.
 31lbs 3ozs Mirror Carp.
 5lbs 10ozs Chub.
 A brace of 2lb Roach, 2.0 and 2.2.
 5ozs Gudgeon.
 5lbs 12ozs Brown Trout.
 14lbs 6ozs Barbel.
 11lbs 12ozs Barbel.

Monday 3 December 2012

Rutilus Rutilus

  Another short session was decided on and my target as I said in my last blog was Roach and maybe one of the rare Rudd, with the rain over the night and during the morning the river was up quite abit and very coloured, today's tactics were simple and consisted of a 1oz tip on a feeder rod and 4lb line fishing liquidized bread in the feeder and flake as my hookbait.

 I got to my chosen swim and the rain had made the bank extremely difficult to get down and nearly slipped straight down the bank into the river and only just grabbing a tree branch to stop me going all the way down, a little bit too much excitement for a fishing trip I think so I made sure that once in the swim I wasn't moving until it was time to go, in position finally and out with the rod I had a Chub first cast around 3lb, not what I wanted but a good fight all the same and then on the next cast I hooked into a Barbel about 4lb but it was finely hooked and the hooked pulled fairly quickly which was a shame, I've not had a Barbel from that stretch before.

 My intended target didn't look like they were about and I had fished for around 2 hours before I changed tactic to trotting and the response was instant and I had a Roach on first trot through, a good fight from the redfin that used all the water available to it and only knew it was a Roach simply seeing the red dorsal fin cutting through the surface of the water and weight was lifted from my mind as I had pulled quite a few strings to get the day off and a Roach is what I wanted today.

A fantastic 1.14oz Roach
 A brilliant Roach to catch but the madness was not over either as for next 35minutes I landed another 4 Roach all between 1.9oz and 1.13oz I had hit the jackpot again and after an extremely slow start I had finally cracked and after I had landed the fifth Roach I had decided that was it for me as night was decending quickly, so I packed up and moved up river to do a bit of Chub fishing.

A pristine Roach of 1.11oz.

My bag of Roach 1.9oz, 1.11oz, 1.13oz x2 and 1.14oz.
So with dusk settling in I setup in my final swim and fished into the night after until around 5pm and landing 3 Chub to 3.7oz but nothing large. Below: my last hide out and waiting for a take.
I didn't manage a 2lb Roach but it was a fantastic hour I had the fish in and that was it but Feburary will be high time for some 2lb + Roach, until then I'll play the waiting game. 

Sunday 2 December 2012

An Icy Mornings fishing

On Saturday I ventured out for a short morning session and braved the cold weather to hopefully keep my good run of form going and but with this cold weather I was more hoping than expecting but I remained optimistic and deployed my usual tactic, the long trot.

The aftermath of a cold night.
 Briefly after I had set up I got a ripping take on the float and I was in to a Barbel that decided to fight extremely well and upon netting the small specimen realised that it was one the better coloured fish that inhabit this river system and unfortunately the camera didn't pick up the bronze colouring but the size of the tail also struck me for a Barbel at 4lb 3oz it was massively disproportionate which explained the strong fight it gave me.

Around 10 minutes after reviving that Barbel I cast just upstream and long trotted back down through the swim I was just in and down a fast channel of water when again my float buried itself and I was hooked into something a lot more substantial and as it came up river towards me on the bottom over the gravel I saw a huge shape shadowing the bottom easily into double figures when it turned back down river it hit something on the bottom and it escaped, it is fast becoming a common occurrence for me and that's got to be at least 2 double figure Barbel I have lost this season, I can't say I'm not getting the chances I just can not land them due to unforeseen reasons.

 Later on the session I did manage a good Chub also on the long trot which at first I thought was a Barbel when it started to take line but quickly gave up on the power and slowly came in, a quality winter Chub of 4lb on the nose but I thought it would go a bit bigger.

 Out in search of some big Roach and Rudd (2lb +) is the target, on Monday hopefully the rain does not ruin the days intended sport.

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 ...