Monday 25 March 2013

A Round Up On The Season's Highlights.

 For me it has been a fantastic season and probably one of my best to date with the capture of some specimen fish of a variety of species, the season starting on the Barbel front and after a slow start I started to get amongst them taking fish to 8lb +, I did have an early start on the Roach this season to try and locate the shoals I so desire with one Roach of 1lb + banked but they played tough early doors plus a couple of 5lb Chub also landed which was a bonus, because they must have been at bottom weight due to spawning.

 July was spent chasing more Barbel around as we had a mixture of weather of rain and nice warm sun, again Barbel over 9lb were landed, August: After a nice break to Greece I got back to the fishing and started bagging up on the magnificent Roach that I craved so much, with 2 sessions within a fortnight bringing no less than three 2lb + Roach and a back up bag that would make the most ardent of Roach anglers bubble with joy, it certainly made me a very happy man, plus even more Barbel.

 September I spent the first two weeks with plenty of sleepless nights with the impending trip to the Hampshire Avon Royalty Fishery for the first time and when it came around the trip was much more than I ever could have hoped for and in the great company of a few friends as well made the trip so much better, the week for me was dominated by the events of the first night that I fished, when I sat in the top of the Pipes swim after a long day of roving with the centre pin I got the best prize ever in the shape of a 14lb 6oz Barbel, the biggest Barbel I had ever seen physically, by far the best experience I've ever had in my piscatorial career, I had to battle the beast for 17 minutes before I'd even seen it, for me that put into perspective the sheer magnitude of the capture.

 Also in September I did have another decent Roach at 1lb 14oz and a nice Thames Perch a shade under 2lb, October I did manage some good fish but nothing monstrous with Barbel to 10lb 8oz and a few other species of fish but the specimen's weren't playing much and November was much the same with again another double figure Barbel, plus a few Brown Trout around a couple of pounds, December a few more quality fish did show with a good bag of Roach being caught all just under the 2lb bracket to a 1lb and a half with an 11lb 1oz Barbel caught on my favourite tactic, rolling.

 The new year brought some good fortune as the temperature took a dive, I got amongst the redfins and recorded a capture of the best bag of Roach I've ever had and to many of which may never catch, it is what makes it so special to me as the captor, three 2lb + Roach in one sitting plus a few pound Roach may be something I'll never do again, the sight of 3 large redfins in my hands is arguably in the top three of my all time angling memories, but I did also catch my share of Barbel from a couple of different rivers, a Wey 9lb+ and a Thames 11lb+ in which were both pretty good going considering the conditions I had to contend with, the start of the year also bought my youngest brother Chris a new pb Barbel of 9.10 whilst trotting breadflake.

 Feburary was dominated by my quest to catch a 5lb Chub and I made a couple of trips to Buckinghamshire to the Wolverton stretch of the Great Ouse but even for all of it's big Chub credentials I only managed one Roach, plus I even tried closer to home and still no joy but that's fishing, so March soon came about and the season was only two weeks from closing so my efforts were stepped up and it paid off with two Chub, 5.4 and 5.7 coming to the net within an hour of each other, I guess it doesn't matter how hard you try, they will only feed when they are ready, everything else is either futile or practice, but the very next session I continued my quest for Chub but I was greeted by the large frame of a 12lb 6oz Barbel and a collection of smaller fish, the 12lb Barbel was something of a surprise and it was a true lump ( looking alot larger than it weighed ).

 Overall a truly great season with some fantastic fish..... the weather though was atrocious, let's hope for something better this up and coming season weather wise eh! oh and the fish let's hope for another great season. Tight Lines....

Sunday 24 March 2013

Recall: My Barbel chart from 2011-2012 season.

Barbel caught since October 2011.

2lbs + 2
3lbs + 4
4lbs + 5
5lbs + 3
6lbs + 11
7lbs + 13
8lbs + 4
9lbs + 5
10lbs + 2
11lbs + 1

Total caught since October stands at 52 Barbel.

04.10.2011 - 4lbs 0oz, 6lbs 1oz
05.10.2011 - 6lbs 0oz
13.10.2011 - 7lbs 14oz
21.10.2011 - 8lbs 1oz
23.10.2011 - 7lbs 2oz
28.10.2011 - 6lbs 14oz, 7lbs 1oz, 9lbs 0oz
10.11.2011 - 6lbs 13oz, 6lbs 7oz
14.11.2011 - 6lbs 4oz, 7lbs 6oz, 9lbs 8oz, 7lbs 3oz
30.11.2011 - 3lbs 14oz, 6lbs 4oz
03.12.2011 - 10lbs 9oz, 4lbs 10oz, 2lbs 3oz
04.12.2011 - 8lbs 13oz
06.12.2011 - 3lbs 10oz, 3lbs 4oz, 2lbs 0oz
09.12.2011 - 7lbs 15oz, 7lbs 0oz
18.12.2011 - 7lbs 9oz, 5lbs 15oz, 4lbs 6oz, 8lbs 4oz
23.12.2011 - 6lbs 1oz, 8lbs 2oz
02.01.2012 - 9lbs 2oz
20.01.2012 - 6lbs 2oz
23.01.2012 - 7lbs 3oz
15.02.2012 - 7lbs 5oz
24.02.2012 - 11lbs 12oz (PB)
27.02.2012 - 7lbs 8oz, 4lbs 2oz, 10lbs 6oz, 6lbs 5oz
01.03.2012 - 4lbs 4oz
03.03.2012 - 3lbs 3oz, 6lbs 8oz
08.03.2012 - 5lbs 11oz
09.03.2012 - 5lbs 2oz, 7lbs 7oz, 9lbs 5oz
13.03.2012 - 9lbs 15oz
14.03.2012 - 7lbs 5oz

Total for that season from October was at: 321lbs 10oz.  3 Doubles.

Friday 15 March 2013

My last flowing fix.

 Today being the last day of the season I felt like I had to get out and do some fishing but I didn't want to catch anything substancial that would shadow yesterday's fantastic session for the Barbel, so my brother Chris and I dug a few dozens worms from the old dear's garden and a tub of leftover maggots and had a slow walk to a local lake to try catch one of the elusive Perch that inhabit it.

 A couple of laps around the lake though we unfortunately drew a blank using both worm and maggot in all of the likely spots and after a couple of hours we decided to go on our back up plan and head down to a very urbanised piece of our local river in search of some silver fish, but before we did that I left the gear with my brother and went for a jog upstream to try and find a spinning rod I left behind by accident in one of the swims yesterday and my luck was in when I entered one of the swims it was laying right in the middle of the path in full view, it's been a lucky season for me.

 But back to the fishing, Chris and I decided to just build a swim and sit in it, so lots of maggots were trickled into the swim to get them feeding and after a while I started to get bites on the float which at first must have been fish that weren't overly confident because the bites were very quick and too quick in fact to connect to but as the evening progressed the bites became more consistent and easier to hook. After an hour or so we had wrapped things up for the river season where we both had a mix of fish.

James: 4 fish- 1 Roach, 3 Dace   ( Winner )
Chris:  3 fish- 1 Roach, 1 Chub, 1 Dace  ( Runner up )

 A true urban Roach and not a monster but fun all the same.

Chris with a Dace at 7oz, biggest of the session.

Thursday 14 March 2013

A great finish to a great season.

 With the season drawing to a close on Thursday, I wanted one last trip out for the Barbel before I change tact and head off to the lakes in search of other quarry, today I used the same tactic as I usually do as it works so effectively even in this late part of the season, rolling meat is by far my favourite method when fishing rivers and over the last 9 months I feel I've come on leaps and bounds with the technique, but no where near perfection.

  I got on the river quiet late by my standards, roughly 11am but I wasn't planning to be out for long due to training in the evening, 5 hours I felt was enough time to do some good fishing, with the passing snow showers and constant wind over the last few days today was a stark contrast with plenty of nice warm currant bun and the wind had died off considerably, much better for fishing.

 Over an hour had passed and plenty of walking with no fish spotted and plenty of rolling had been done but nothing was on the feed but the one thing I love about rolling and roving light is that if you don't get a bite in 3-5 rolls then move on unless you see them, I had reached a nice looking swim with a deep gravel run that was ideal for rolling and it wasn't long before I saw a Barbel on the clear sunlit bottom roughly 5lb, seeing the Barbel doesn't always mean you are going to catch them and this small but wiley whisker proved that can be the case, 10 minutes of constant casting into the run and no take I thought I'd leave it and come back later. What happened next will stay in my mind for a long time to come.

 I crept up to a swim just downstream and spotted a good sized Barbel probably around the 9lb mark laying up on the sandy gravel bed, needless to say I got into a position to cast and rolled the bait straight up to it when it turned right at the last moment and ignoring it, then I lost sight briefly of the bait and then my finger felt a slight pluck followed by an almighty wrench around then noticing a huge Barbel storm off with me in tow, on 6lb line and that silly match rod again I was connected with a big Barbel and started to feel understandably nervous about fighting such a large fish on let's face it very puny gear designed for Roach!, but the lighter the gear the more exhilarating the encounter and I certainly found it exhilarating, long powerful and meaningful runs, up and down river for a good 5 minutes, the longest 5 minutes I think I've ever experienced in fishing.

 That five minutes had come and gone, my net submerged and waiting as a thick set, oak brown Barbel glided in, immediately I knew it was going to be the second biggest Barbel I've ever landed.

 12lbs 6ozs of pure brilliance, a very happy me and still smiling now. A massive Barbel and a massive result, the colour of the Barbel is one of the best I've seen, immaculate bronze flanks.

Head nearly the same size as a set of Avon's.
 I could easily have packed up then but my last Barbel session I couldn't finish after about hour and a half, so after I had weighed, photographed and revived the specimen beast I sat back and took stock of the capture and spoke to James snr ( dad ) to let him know what I'd caught, 20 minutes later I decided to have another cast in the same swim but further down and on my first roll in about 6 feet of water along the far bank I had another take within seconds, I was connected to another good sized Barbel but it hung low in the water and didn't see it until it was ready for the net, the session was getting better, if it could, on the scales she went 8lbs 15ozs another quality fish.

Another pristine river prince.
 The day didn't finish at that either, I managed another two Barbel both in the 5lb bracket and one of those at 5lb 4oz was the one I saw earlier in the day that didn't want to feed, but the persistence paid off with that one which took my total to 4 Barbel for the day at over 30lb in weight.
 A day I won't forget in a hurry and it's these days on the bank is what makes fishing so special for me, a 12lb Barbel is a big fish one that I will remember for a long time to come.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

At last.......A Decent Chevin.

 For the last couple of weeks at work I have been looking forward to doing some serious fishing and un-interrupted, so I could spend the last 4 days of the river campaign in search of some specimen fish to see out this already ground breaking season.

 Today's target was one of which I have done some serious searching for and as of yet haven't picked up any real big ones and I didn't think it was the best of days weather wise, for the whole session I was constantly bombarded by strong gusty winds and snow which made fishing quite difficult in regards to presentation and not to mention my hands.

 Because of the cold weather I wasn't planning to stay out for long and it wasn't long before I was connected to my first Chub (3.10), it was good to get a fish on the bank and after that fish the swim died off and I had to move on, the next swim screamed Chub with a deep pool behind a fallen tree and I managed to cast a lump of bread flake under float straight up against the tree and trotted it around the pool and it must have been about 4 or 5 casts before I got an enquiry, when the float slightly dipped I struck into it and was met by quite a powerful fish that lunged a few times into the tree line and it took a bit of battling to keep it from ploughing through the branches and breaking me off, but after a couple of minutes it came up from the depths and rolled up on the top, as soon as I saw it roll on the top I knew it was a 5lb + Chub so I grabbed the net instantly and it slipped straight in.

Finally...... 5lb 4oz. A pukka result.

 It's taken a long time to finally catch one and I've fished plenty of good Chub waters since the new year and not managed one until now, once I had taken a couple of pictures and weighed it I moved swim-further up river to try to find some more, the swims today seemed to be only chucking up one fish each.  My next swim looked about as Chubby as it could possibly get.

 It wasn't long in this swim until I got my first fish out of this swim, within five casts I had two Chub to 4lb 6oz which was a short but chunky fish and the other was just over 3lb, then the bites started to dry up when I deepened up the float and held it back in the flow, after doing that for a couple of trots I got another take which felt pretty strong in the flow and a powerful fight for a brief period then it just plodded around in the current until it decided to come in, it was another lump.


A very short but thick and deep. 5lb 7ozs.
 I had waited more than 3 months for a 5lb Chub and now I had caught two in a day, so typical of fishing but grateful that it has, on the scales the latest of the two Chub went 5lb 7oz and not to mention the biggest Chub of the season and with only 3 days to go, it took about 10 minutes to get my camera working before this picture, it is getting on a bit ( 7 years to be exact ), time to get a new one, but unalike the other swims I started to build quite a large bag of Chub with 12 in total coming to the net, with a majority of them around the 3lb mark but the longer the day was getting the more unbearable the cold and the wind was becoming, it got to about 4 o'clock when I had decided enough was enough, I had reached my target now and a couple of Roach before the end of the season would be great. Until then........tight lines. Back out today to do some more fishing, make hay.
  The only other angler on the river.........

  Unfortunately couldn't get closer to the Kingfisher perched on a branch shaking off it's feathers.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Spring Rolling and Roving.

 After the recent sessions on the Great Ouse and on some of my more local rivers in the south of England and not really catching many of my targets I decided to do go fishing for a different species that I haven't targeted very much over the last couple of months, this year so far I've had a Barbel from the two tributary's of the Thames and also the Thames itself with the biggest at 11lbs 9ozs, so with a good start to the year and with the season coming to an abrupt close I needed to get out for a session of light roving.

 Normally Sunday's is the one day that is strictly used to spend time with my girlfriend but today I decided to head out early so I could get over to central London at a decent time, my plan was simple, start at the top of the beat and walk down to the bottom, today's bait was a few cubes of meat and half a loaf of bread.

 The session started off well on my first cast and rolling I managed to snag up on some submerged debris and lost my hook and my last 2ssg shot, great start!, so I tackled up again and carried on rolling but no joy, the next swim down I found a couple of fish one being a big Chub which was sat side by side with a Barbel of about 9lb, needless to say I cast out and the Chub ignored it and the Barbel nailed it, I managed to bump it, where it must have just hit the bait rather than swallowing it.

 One failed attempt, I moved down further where I was scanning the river bed in the bright sunlight which was illuminating the bottom showing almost everything and that also included a Carp that was laying up behind a fallen tree, where the river was so clear I had to stalk the Carp for a little while and remain very low it surely would have spooked, I flicked a few bits of bread out in the water held up behind the tree and watched them swirl around the eddy, where the Carp started looking at one and then hoovered one up and quickly chased the rest down and ate them too, all the while I was getting more confident that I'd catch it, so I cast out about 4 foot in front of it and it gained that distance in a matter of seconds and sucked up my bait, the fight that ensued was typical of a river Carp with a crazed scrap and charging around aimlessly for about 3 minutes, after tiring it out I slipped a lovely Koi Mirror Carp into the net.

6lb 3oz of solid river Carp albeit not native.

 A lovely Carp but not a Barbel, so I decided to head down river and keep trying, with the knowledge that I have of my local rivers I did get the opportunity to catch a Barbel when I found a shoal of them laying up on a gravel run, on my second roll through I got a pluck on my finger and I struck, Barbel on but I had to try and draw it away from the shoal so it didn't spook the remainder of the fish, for once a Barbel did exactly what I wanted and it charged up river and frolicked around until it came in.

5lb 5ozs, not a beast but a good fight all the same.

 After releasing the fish which spent 5 minutes recouping, I sat back and watched the Barbel feeding on the gravels for about 20 minutes whilst I waited for them to regain a bit of confidence, when I felt the time was right I cast back out and within 30 seconds my rod slammed over and I was in again, the waiting paid it's dividends, this Barbel felt a lot bigger and when it came up river closer to me I saw it was a bigger but not a large one, ie: a double. A couple of minutes later I banked a pristine 8lb 10oz Barbel, a couple of photo's aswell for a good fish, my first over 5lb for a few weeks.

A real winter powerhouse.

 My targets for the remainder of the season will be hopefully some Roach and maybe even find some Thames Bream and try to bag up on them as March is always a good month for them to feed in mass.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

My return to the Great Ouse

 Last Saturday I decided to head back to the Ouse in search of Chub, when I got there accompanied by my brother Chris I noticed that the river had come down drastically and lost all of it's colour since I was there two weeks ago and I must admit, I really fancied catching a few fish, the conditions were perfect if not a little too perfect, for the Chub I think a little bit more colour in the water may have been an advantage but you can only fish what is in front of you at the time.

 So we both set about roving around me after anything on the float and Chris was hunting down the Pike with a collection on spinners and sprat on the float, it wasn't long until I spotted a couple of Pike to about 6lb but Chris didn't manage to persuade them to feed and my chance of a landing my first Ouse fish came when I trotted a piece of bread flake in a back eddy which was taken by a nice Roach of about 6ozs, task done - a fish off of the Ouse on my second trip and not necessarily a beast but I was happy with a fish.

 As the day went on I persevered with the trotting and feeder fishing bread, fishing every snaggy swim and run that looked like it would produce a fish, with a good walk put in up the whiting's beat in search of Chub I bumped into Trefor West and an angling partner of his, Ray, who gave me some very interesting information on the river and the Whiting's beat in particular, Trefor had a 4lb Chub earlier in the day but apart from that one Chub everyone on the beat had blanked and the time was passing really quickly for me and it was becoming more and more difficult to see where my next bite would come from, meanwhile Chris was still chasing Pike with no joy and another two or so hours passed with no more bites we both decided to pack up and head back to London, but vowing to come back next season to try our hand at catching "the impossible", or so it seems for me, a 5lb+ Chub not to mention that the Chub here go up to 8lb, with also a good stock or sixes and sevens to be had. But until next time.

A very Chubby looking swim, they were there! I know it.

A glorious day in the end, even managed to take a fleece off.

Sunset through the arches of the Wolverton viaduct, but no Chub and one Roach for my troubles.

Blackwater Returns.

   Throughout my teenage years I spent many thousands of hours targeting Barbel in low gin clear rivers and really hammered home my love for...