Monday 24 June 2013

Chub fishing, re-post of an old post.

 This post was originally posted just before the end of the 2011-2012 season, nothing new added.

Post originally titled Chub Fishing.

This year ive been on form with the captures of specimen sized fish of different species and today it was'nt any different, but starting from the beggining, the session got off to a good start with my first fish being a 4lbs 3oz Chub and was quickly followed by another two Chub slowly getting smaller 3lbs 1oz and 2lbs 14oz, then i got a couple of surprises, one being a Dace and the other a redfin!.

Not beating any records but been a while. 4oz

 I used to catch alot of Dace and Roach on this river but over the last 5 years they have all but disappeared and Chub have just ruled supreme, Chub are a good species to fish for but i'd prefer a 20lb bag of Dace-Roach mix anyday, but anyway back to the fishing and the next cast was met with a very forceful dive downstream, so I knew this was a good fish and then it came in like a sack of spuds, 20 seconds of energy.... hmmmm, that's why I love Barbel fishing, when I landed it though I thought I had a 5lb + fish in the net, it looked every bit of 5lb and was very nearly that, at 4lbs 15oz.

Picture does'nt do this fish justice! 4lbs 15oz.

 After that Chub I did have another Dace at about 8oz and two more Chub around the 2lb mark, so I headed down stream to carry on the exploit and into my next swim, which was a nice deep hole about 5 feet deep and a big boulder in the middle of the river directing flow either side of the river leaving a massive eddy in the middle and this is where all the fun was, within four casts I had four Chub between 2lbs 11oz and 3lbs 9oz, which was then followed by another Dace about 6oz, then after a bit of a lull for around 20 minutes I just kept feeding maggots into the swim as this was my preffered choice of bait for the day, with the wait over, it was time to cast back out into the eddy and had a take first trot and straight away I saw the fish and I know there are very big Chub here and this was one of them, my river pb was from this swim not so long ago of 5lbs 6oz and this fish looked bigger and after a couple of minutes fighting it was in my net and I could find out if I was right, but before weighing it, I just took a couple of moments to take in the sight of this immense Chub, my biggest ever from this river.

 5lbs 10oz what a Cracker!!!! a new river personal best.

 This Chub as far as I know is the biggest Chub from this little system a big acclaim but I've never heard of a Chub this big out of here and I found small article about Chub river records in England and the official Chub record was 5lbs 8oz, 2 thumbs up for me!, but with that amazing fish returned I carried on fishing and within three casts I was into another fish and it was a Barbel, this was two in two trips now and this one was not as big but what a fantastic fight in the deep water, absolute fun indeed even if it was only 5lbs 11oz, this species of fish is welcome in my net anytime they like, my second Barbel this season.

5lbs 11oz of pure power.

 As time was starting to get on I then moved down to the Thames to have a bash at trotting for Bream and did only manage the one, it's been unusually quiet for Bream this year for me, the one i did manage was 4lbs on the dot (not a beast, but it'll do).

 That's probably it for this neck of the woods now for a few month's, hopefully the Bream move back down for Hampton and up from Teddington and the little river gets some more water coming through some parts are far too low. Adios for now.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Still Playing Hard to Get.

 With my mornings attempt at catching a Barbel turning out to be a blank I decided to head off out for dusk and just sit behind a rod in the company of Stuart, who had been victorious on his 3 day trip to the Middle River Severn catching two Barbel average sized on his first trip up there, my tactic was a simple rig that comprised of a 18mm Dynamite Baits Halibut Pellet on a hair and a short 7'' hook-length and held in place with a ounce and a half lead, I cast out and the wait began.

 This stretch of river that I have chosen to tackle is notoriously tough and only holds a small head of fish and waiting 10-12 hours for a bite is very common and bearing in mind that a portion of the fish haven't finished spawning made it more testing, but Stu and I nagged away through the evening, it got about an hour and half through the session when I looked up at the quiver tip to see it starting to move about a little and then all of a sudden lurch down river, a typical 3 foot twitch of a take, straight away I knew it was a good fish as it stayed very close to the bottom and slowly dictated the fight to me as I couldn't turn it or anything and then disaster struck as it headed under a tree on the far bank I knew I was heading for trouble but there was nothing I could do and the inevitable happened when all of a sudden the weight vanished and massive clump of weed came skating across the surface of the river, damn it, I really dislike losing fish and that felt like a big fish too, it was too methodical to be a smaller fish, it knew exactly what it was doing.

 After 5 minutes of cursing myself for not trying harder to stop it from doing it and Stu going through the reasons as to why I lost, the bait was prepared and out it went back out in the same spot and the wait commenced again, if there was one positive to that disappointment is that it didn't cause a commotion and came off upstream of the swim I hooked it in, hopefully if there was anymore in the swim they would be contrite to still feed, I wonder how big it was and what was it that I lost it on, the line grated and loads of crap on the line hook and lead.

 By now the time was heading close to 2330 and I was thinking about calling it an night when Stu said he was going to have one last drink then he'd be ready to leave and no sooner I said I was thinking about packing up my quiver tip bounced and then the centre-pin started to have line torn off of it as a Barbel headed down river with my bait, after a good scrap for around five minutes I reached for the net a slid a long, lean Barbel in, a sigh of relief was breathed.

 A long skinny and spawned out Barbel of 6lb 15ozs, a very welcome fish considering the facts that I touched on earlier on, after a couple of pictures taken by Stuart I slipped her back and off she went none the wiser, back to the Roach I think over the next week or two and also maybe a trip to the Royalty come this week, weather permitting.

Playing hard to get.

 The last week hasn't presented me with much time to head out to the river bank, owing to my girlfriends birthday bash over the last 3 days and being rammed with work, although the first part only happens once a year and I'm not complaining either with the work, many are not as fortunate.

 With the spare time that I did find I went out in search of Barbel and Chub by deploying my rolling meat tactic that almost always favours me more than not, about 80% of all my Barbel over the last two seasons have fell to the tactic on all the rivers I fished in that time excluding the Royalty, rolling meat for me has been an education in itself as I haven't had anyone teach me and I believe I have almost got it almost down to a perfection but I think there is still room for a bit of improvement.

 On my walk up river to a spot I usually go just to set up I spotted a shoal of Barbel immediately spawning away on the vast gravel beds, the second shoal I've seen spawning in a week, but these I think were different bunch due to the size difference, the largest around 7lb down to the smallest around the 2lb mark, I stuck around a while to watch them create the next generation, then it was time to locate the fish that have already spawned, which must be hungry given the amount of energy expelled due to their efforts to re-populate.

 I was only going to fish a handful of swims and staying in a localized area with only two hours spare, it wasn't too long to wait when I got my first bump but it didn't materialize into a take so after a few more rolls with no enquiries I headed back down and entered the jungle which used to be a riverbank, reminds me of a scene from Predator with Schwarzenegger and the dense jungle when they open fire on the alien on their first encounter in the film, after beating my way through to the swim I finally found the edge of the river and after 5 minutes of being stung by nettles I got a cast in and left it to roll by itself around a small slack in the edge, it sat in the crease for about 2 minutes when I got quick pluck and then rod pull, I was in and straight away I knew it was a Chub and not long after a Chub about 2.8lb was landed and sent straight back.

 The rain started to come down albeit finely but it seemed to be getting steadier and more persistent, which was to herald my departure but just before that happened I rolled through a deepish swim along a run of weed and at the head of some ribbon weed and then I got violent take which tore the tip of rod around and as quick as it hit the bait the fish was gone, was it a pick up and drop or did it roll on it, testing the validity of the bait. Who knows! it had to be a Barbel though nothing else in this river possesses that power. But that was it for me and I was off home, just one Chub caught in that short session, the Barbel are playing hard to get so far, it will improve though once they get copulating out of their minds.

Plenty of streamer weed for cover, makes rolling a little more challenging.

Thursday 20 June 2013

How True is That.

 My mate Stu sent me this and how true is it aswell, a quality sentiment.


Wednesday 19 June 2013

The Rolling River.

 Barbel of around 3lb 8oz landed on my first roll of the season, well there's no point warming up as I didn't get a chance to, the take came totally out the blue and my first Barbel from that part of the river in 7 or 8 years, over the closed season I have been lucky enough to spot a small shoal of Barbel to around the 8lb mark which was something I didn't expect to see for a few years yet, due to the fact they were only stocked in early 2008, truly amazing.

 But when I arrived at the swim I was gutted to find it was totally void of the dense vegetation that I carefully crouched through to watch the Barbel and what they were doing, needless to say the disturbance that was caused by this put them on alert and they wouldn't respond to my rolled bait, two different fish did go up to briefly and backup away from it, which shows a minute interest on their part, so I will be back to try and extricate one.

 On my way down I did see a few fish and had a 2lb Chub rolling and a missed take off another, about a mile or so downstream I did find a shoal of 6 Barbel sat on a gravel run at the front of a depression which had a nice run of weed either side of it, perfect Barbel swim complete with an overhanging tree to give plenty of cover, on my first roll down the bait got caught on a stick that was wedged in a piece of weed and as I flicked the bait up to get it off the stick a beard came straight out from the shoal and snaffled the meat, oh how I have missed the scrap of a Barbel.

Biggest of the season so far at 7lbs 5ozs.
Off to a Barbel anglers heaven.
 3 Months is along time in angling and I hadn't forgot how well they fought but it reminded me of the power they possess, truly brilliant. I left the swim alone for a while and headed down river about a mile and half to find some more fish and it took along time to accrue another fish, with swim after swim being rolled through without a bite when I got another tug on my finger tip I struck into the fish and a small Barbel made off with the bait, within 2 minutes I had Barbel number three on the bank and yet another small Barbel of about 3lbs, good fun and they were certainly moving around but the bigger Barbel were hiding away more.
 I decided to head back up to where I had the 7lb Barbel from and giving it another go, it wasn't long before I got an enquiry on one of my first rolls through, but a take didn't materialize and it took about another half a dozen rolls until I got a take which firmly took the bait but it didn't feel like a Barbel as the fight was weaker but it knew where the snags were and did its best to snap me up but after a couple of minutes I finally saw it and a large Chub appeared from the overhanging tree and all but gave up, heading straight to the net, a proper warrior of a Chub with plenty of scars, I couldn't wait to put her on the scales to find out just how big it was.
 On the scales she weighed 5lbs 6ozs, a big Chub for a system like this, on the Great Ouse it's an average fish or even a little above average, I was extremely happy to have caught this fish, a proper Chevin, I hope to catch a few more of these this season and one off the Ouse would be great, after releasing this great fish back I did have another Chub of 4lb 1oz but nowhere near as impressive as the 5.
 For the evening I fancied having a go on another stretch and just sit behind a rod an hour before dusk and fish through to about 10pm which is the perfect time to have a bait out, but for the time I spent in my chosen swim I did get a reel turner on my centre-pin but struck and nothing, probably a Chub rap, so after a couple of hours I packed up but as I finished that my mate Stu called over who was in a swim above me so I went up to see him and watched the last 2 minutes of his battle, so I readied the net and did the honours, a nice slim spawned out Barbel slipped into the awaiting net.
Stu's first of the season at 7lb 7oz, fully spawned out and showing a few scrapes from spawning.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Trotting for Roach.

 The last couple of seasons I have targeted the Barbel on the first morning/day and not done as well as I had hoped but fishing likes to throw you curveballs just to keep you interested, on Sunday morning I headed off out the door at 4am as the sky was brightening up, around an hour it took to get to my chosen location and I was in for a shock when I got to the river and noticed how choked it was with weed, my heart sank as I went through swim after swim and almost every one was unfishable, I passed about 5 swims in a 80m walk upstream, nearly halfway up I decided to drop of the gear in a bush and grab the polaroid's, I was seriously hoping I'd find one ok enough to trot a float.

 All the previous swims had not even enough space between a run of weed to fish, 3 swims up from where I dropped the tackle I peered into the swim just like the last seven swims and expected the same when I was immediately greeted by a couple of good Roach, that was all I needed to see, all of a sudden the day got perky.

 I trickled some flakes of bread downstream and watched with anticipation to see whether the Roach would respond to the offerings and after the first six pieces went down untouched, a small Roach about 8oz came up and took one, which seemed to spark the shoal into a feeding frenzy, needless to say I was set up and out on my first trot and then disaster struck, my float sailed away and I hooked a Chub around the 3lb mark, when the Chub feed in these sort of conditions it seems to be the Chub that always win, poor Roach get bullied out the way by them as I was witnessing, on 5 or 6 occasions I see Roach or Rudd approach a piece of bread and a Chub take it off their noses.

 First fish of the season, a Chub, I think it's been that case for the last 2 or 3 seasons now, such a greedy species and other times they can be so damn difficult to persuade. It wasn't long though until I got in connection with my target species, when I cast down amongst the weed and trotted about 15m the float slid away in typical fashion and on the light trotting gear I was given the pleasure of a spirited scrap, just what I had hoped for and when it came close to the net I realised it was a little bigger than I suspected.

 A good quality Roach of 1lbs 10ozs, just what I wanted, a 1lb + Roach was for sure welcome and it was about 15 minutes later that I got myself another decent Roach, which again put up a good battle on the 3lb line that was in use, a shade smaller than the first one at 1lb 6ozs but due to the spawning unfortunately did not look in good condition with scales missing on both sides and injuries still bleeding a little, as soon as I landed it, it got weighed and went straight back to cause it no extra stress than it obviously has been through.

 But with that second Roach being banked the session took a nose dive in regards to action, the Roach totally switched off and the Chub were only feeding sporadically and I had them to 4lb 1oz which is a good size but not what the journey was for, but some of the Roach that I see in the morning were of absolutely specimen proportions, 2 to 3 dozen of them were 2lb +, I am hoping that the weed puts anyone else interested off of fishing it and telling by the lack of foot traffic and the dense untouched vegetation it will hopefully be ignored by everyone but me, not a team player come fish of this stamp.

 Later on in the day, I had grabbed a rolling set-up and went out to go for a late spring Barbel, but I drew a blank, the short session wasn't a waste though as Stu and I watched about 20 Barbel spawning for around 30 minutes, with 2 or 3 females followed by loads of males all competing for the number one spot.



Saturday 15 June 2013

Too Close for Comfort.

 A new river season in a couple hours beckons with an early start in search of Roach, for the last few seasons I've almost always gone out for Barbel but this year I'm going to head out in search a specimen redfin, but with that all planned out I still had a day to go and with a mornings errands all sorted I decided to go for one last escapade with the fly rod for a Brown Trout, when I left the rain had held off for a while but the wind was still blustering at times to about 30mph, not ideal fly fishing conditions but I still went ahead with it.

 Before I did that I arranged to meet Stu at our local tackle shop to stock up on coarse gear for the coming weeks and had a chinwag whilst I did my shopping and ordered a new Wychwood carry case for my fly rod and a load of other little bits, we parted company as Stu was off to get his gear all prepared for midnight and I headed off to the river to do some fluff chucking.

 On my way up river I was greeted by a rain and hail shower that lasted 20 minutes or so, luckily enough I found a dense enough canopy to hide under whilst it passed, was like watching paint dry waiting for it to go, so close to fishing but I wouldn't dare step out into it. After the deluge I headed off up again and started to just cast on the long straights hoping to pick a Brownie off when I saw a small riser about 15 yrds downstream so on the next cast I aimed for where the fish rose and when my fly reached roughly the same area a pair of rubbery lips opened and my daddy long legs fly vanished, seeing that I struck instantly and the rod slammed over and hooked into a strong fish which by looking at the lips it definitely was no Trout, I tried to apply pressure to whatever it was but on a 4lb leader, I didn't stand a good chance in banking it when all of a sudden the fight turned into a glide upstream and straight towards me, it turned out to be a Carp, the fly munching culprit was within seconds sat nestled in my landing net and reviving.

 A chunky, extremely powerful little bundle of fun, 6lb 14oz Mirror Carp, it was nearly as wide across the back as it was deep, river Carp mostly remind me of rugby balls. After a mile or so walk I was approaching my usual fly fishing beats, but I wanted to head up further and just fish a couple of spots rather than every swim like I normally do.

 I've always liked fishing this spot as the Trout sit just down stream and I cast down to them but unfortunately nothing rose here so I moved just 10 meters upstream, when the most surrealist thing happened and as I'm writing this I'm still counting my blessings, as I left the swim that I took the picture above in I walked about 10 paces away from that swim when this happened.....

........ A sharp gust whipped up as I was walking away from that tree and a loud crack followed by more cracking and then an almighty crunch as it hit the deck!, just a matter of seconds and this post may never have gone up or I would have been seriously injured, on the second picture notice the tree in the swim pic 2 above this one, someone today was watching over me, no doubt about it. As I took these pictures a old fella came sprinting over to see if I was okay and said he had seen it all from his kitchen window whilst he waited for his kettle to boil, understandably rattled from what just happened I composed myself and had a quick chat with the man, who was donning a dressing gown and slippers about the certain purchase of some lottery tickets as whilst my luck was in I should take advantage of such good fortune, far too close for comfort.

 Very bloody lucky indeed, if I had hooked a Trout or had a rise I would have stayed in that swim and would have been wearing a 2 tonne tree as a hat, but my luck was in, so I headed upstream away from the trees and went upstream to carry on looking for a Trout to cast at, it wasn't long until I did find one and on my second cast I hooked and landed a nice 2.10 Brownie, as I got it in the net the fly fell out in the net ( I can't say I haven't my fair share of luck already, I must have been I credit for some reason with someone upstairs, hope I haven't used my seasons allowance before it's even started), a decent fish and a good fight too as usual and it's what I've come to expect every time I catch one. Bottom picture is the brownie back in it's watery home sulking.

 Again it was time to move and I had decided to just have a go in a couple more swims and call it a day, but in one of those I did have a bit of joy and was re-united with an old friend from a few weeks ago, about 100meters downstream of where I caught the last time and also looking a little thin from when I last caught him, but I didn't weigh it and one quick picture and straight back in the river.

The battle commencing.
 One the best looking wild Brown trout I've ever seen, exactly what they should look like, lots of spots, lovely brown colouring with a yellowy underbelly with a set of needle sharp teeth. But the fun didn't stop there because within 5 minutes of releasing that one I had another on the end, not as big as the first but a good scrap all the same and a nice brownie about 2lb or so was on the bank again I didn't weigh it and took a piccy and sent it back to join it's fellow Trout.

 Such good fun the Brown Trout but now it is time for me to pursue the other river species and leave the Trout to feed and rest up ready for December and January next year for the spawning months and populate even more on top of what is now becoming quite a decent head of fish, it's a shame the other the species aren't doing aswell in regards to their populations in this neck of the woods.

 I did have one last piece of action and unfortunately ended up with me hooking a Trout and a decent one at that based on the power of the take and it bust me up by biting through my tippet and robbing my fly :( .

 That lost Trout was my last action of the afternoon and I spent the rest of the afternoon spotting different quarry down river, a range of Barbel, Chub and Roach were what I was looking for but only saw a shoal of Barbel that were of any quality.

 I see them and they can't see me and that's how I like it but what I've found with Barbel is that they are quite tolerant of seeing you as I have had many Barbel whilst standing not right out in the open but they know I'm there for sure, but if I can sneak up on them, then great, a certain tactic is in mind for this swim and it looks good, with the largest fish around the 8lb mark but I believe there were larger tucked under the weed, in the famous words of Arnie....... I'll be back.


Sunday 9 June 2013

Specimen Hybrid.

 After a lovely break in Cyprus for just over a week, we had a little bit of a downer on the return flight when our original plane had been cancelled and had another flight organised for us but with a 7 hour delay which wasn't ideal and I hate airports nearly as much as hospitals, due to sheer boredom that they provide you with, so midnight came and went and we had only just boarded the plane, 1am was just arriving ( Cypriot time ) and we had just taken off so I guessed we would get back to the UK for around 4.30am GMT which went if I was to go asleep I'd miss most of the day so after dropping off the missus I shot home and grabbed a rod and my gear and headed off out in search of a early morning Carp.

 It didn't take long for me to find them but they were playing very cautiously which made life for me a little more difficult and partnered with the fact the wind was blowing an absolute gale, the fishing was slow going but as soon as the wind eased off at around 730 I got my first enquiry in the form of a rip roaring take on the float and I was locked into battle with a good Common Carp that fought very well and showed me what I've been missing for the last few weeks, about 5 minutes later a spawned out female was sat reviving in the net.

I hadn't changed the timer on the camera so it was two hours earlier than stated and a nice fish at 16lb 5oz, Carp in this lake tend to average 14-17lbs so this one was standard fish but plenty of 20lb + Carp do live here and only a couple minutes after putting back the 16lber a large Common around the 25lb mark cruised straight through my swim but it showed no interest in anything I did and after a while it exited stage left.

 Some of the Carp and Bream were feeding in shoals of 15 -20 and I saw a couple of monster Bream aswell to what could have been 12-13lbs, if I manage to snare one of those it will be a new personal best! I'd love to catch another double figure Bream and I've never had one from here either and only ever heard of 1 getting caught and that went 12.4, so I know they get big but nobody wants to catch them apart from me as far as I can make out, but I'll be happy being the only one targeting them, more for me!!.

 The fish did carry on feeding and after around an hour n half I had another Common, a shade smaller than the last at 14lb 1oz, but again well proportioned and much better condition than the first probably due to the fact this one hadn't spawned yet or only a little bit because it looked very plump still, but the session chucked up a very interesting curve ball in the shade of what I thought was a Bream, but I'm almost certain it is a Roach-Bream Hybrid, the first I've had in a very long time and at the weight of 4lb 13oz which was by far the largest hybrid I've ever seen or caught, I was over the moon with this fish, but a small element of doubt is in the back of my mind that it may not be, if anyone knows a more concrete answer please let me know.....


 This water used to be very well known for it's Hybrid's and extremely large Rudd, but over the last 15 years they seem to have all gone but this one has thrown a spanner in the works on that theory, silvers have always struggled against the constant predation of the cormorant colony that can hit 80 strong, a water of this size would probably get cleared of anything under 10'' in a matter of weeks rather than months or years, going back to the "hybrid", another reason why I believe it is one simply was down to the fight, it actually fought which Bream don't really do and try their best to impersonate a plastic bag being dragged in. I really hope it is a Hybrid because it is a special fish if so. After the excitement of that fish and releasing it back to the unknown I packed up and headed off.

Camping Gudgeon.

 Just a quick update before I put my latest post up, a couple of weeks ago before my holiday to Cyprus, Stu - Chris and myself headed down to my local river to carry on some the hard work we have been putting in and this time was no different. With a plethora of crud and peoples disguarded possessions that no longer served their purpose so, naturally in London it ends up in the river or in the bankside vegetation awaiting to be thrown in the river by someone else.

 In the river on this occasion we extricated 15m of blue tubing, 4 tyres, 2 bikes, a black Aprilla moped, half a patio table, 2 tents, 2 Gudgeon, untold wood and other solids along with around half a ton of a mix of miscellaneous rubbish (mainly plastic carrier bags).

 The two Gudgeon were very lucky to survive because we didn't notice them until Stu had dragged the tent up the bank to the rubbish collection site, when a Gudgeon starts flapping about on the floor which then got Stu looking to see if there was anymore and sure as, there was another pristine Gudgeon about the same size as the first one, they both got re-released back into the system to live on, also below is one of the items that made us all chuckle, as to how someone could walk in them!!, and how did it end up in the river?

This Gudgeon was hiding in the tent that is in the foreground of the picture.

Stu hard at work clearing a safe path through to Chub heaven, a scene of many fishy crimes.
Hopefully we will manage maybe one more clean up before the river season starts and then it will then remain business as usual.

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 ...