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.