Friday 28 November 2014

Blanking Equals Success...The Second Instalment.

 Since my last post in regards to the Barbel I have been out on the bank a couple more times and I had spent hours leapfrogging swims in the hope of finding a shoal, for which I never did. At night it is a totally different ball game, day time is great when you can see Barbel but during the night you have to be either very clever and do your homework or just be lucky, I like to think I do my homework.

 So Thursday evening I made the journey out and packed as light as possible, nothing worse than lunking shed loads of gear around, my first swim that I had got into was very tight and steep too, but the swim looked perfect for it but at night everything looks the same, so I'd cast out a 16mm Dynamite Baits halibut pellet on a hair rig and the waiting game had begun. The plan was to throw out some handfuls of little pellets and fish the larger one over the top and fish for about 30-40 minutes and then move swim, three swims later after having done this I was starting to think about heading off home but I thought about fishing a swim further down which I had also baited.

 10 minutes or so after casting out my quiver-tip started to shudder a little bit followed by a vicious wrap which happened so quickly the centre-pin screeched as the line was torn off at an alarming rate, immediately I knew it was a good Barbel simply by the take and also the manner of the fight, for around 2-3 minutes I kept feeling the line grating on something downstream and thought the fish had gone through the snag but all of a sudden the fish appeared about 15 yrds out in front of me, at night it is tough to gauge much so I reached for the net and reached out to it as she glided across the surface, at first glimpse it looked about 6-7lb but I could only see the white stomach at a distance.

Biggest of the season so far. 10.10
 Not quite 6-7lbs......after resting her in the net she weighed 10lb 10ozs, a pristine and magnificent Barbel, after three blanks and numerous swims fished I got my reward in the shape of this pukka fish, well worth the wait for sure. This week's homework.....A*.

Second double of the season. Spot on.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Cov' Hoodoo.

Canal Zander fishing, not easy going.

 On Sunday a group of angling writers/blogger's made the journey to Coventry for a meet up to celebrate Jeff Hatt's birthday, a Zander fish in was decided on and I travelled up with Brian and Richard to have a go at those pesky feeder's. After missing our train at Euston and another £20 odd quid later we made our way to Coventry.

 The day planned was to fish until 6pm roughly and then retire to the warm pub - hopefully after catching a hat full or Z's, Richy and I were only fishing for ten minutes when he had already latched into a fish which turned out to be a jack Pike of roughly 3.8 when Jeff & Brian arrived, after meeting up with a few anglers whose blog's I have read for years we all split off into pods and fished a range of spots in search of Zander, I didn't have any joy throughout the day fishing wise and just watched on as a couple of Zander made it to the bank, Brian managed a couple 3.8 and Jeff had a 4lber, also a couple of others were landed by Danny who'd also hooked and lost a Perch in front of me which looked to be a good fish whilst drop-shotting.

Rick's Esox.

Jeff's birthday fish.

 Drop-shotting is something that I do need to take up as it looked to be the dog's bollocks in regards to presentation and life like movement whether it's a lure, jig or so on, I did pick up some tips that will surely be used at a later date, as dusk came and went the temperature dropped fairly quickly and as my ledgered Roach section lay dormant for over an hour the call of the cosy warm pub and a pint of Cider was to strong, I packed up and that was that, a tough day but no different from when I last visited the Cov', it seems to be my hoodoo and it's one I hope to crack soon.

A stunning sunset over the Coventry countryside.

A car outside my house after Monday night's frost.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Blanking Equals Success.

 During the week I had spent an evening on the banks fishing a tactic rarely deployed by myself (static), I find being mobile is the best approach to Barbel fishing, I have covered this topic many times in the past and a session during the week followed by a trip made yesterday morning were in stark contrast of each other, the evening session was spent in a couple of swims fishing pellet over a bed of small micro pellets in the vein hope of catching a Barbel but after 4 hours of fishing nothing materialized and I headed home without a touch. It made me think alot about what I was doing and I also re-evaluated my tactics and setup with the view to improving my static fishing catch rate, this blank will certainly bring further success and it was my first blank for Barbel all season which is astonishing to think, 19 Barbel in 11 trips, I think that's great going - I hope it carries on.

The selection.
My rig, which has been successful but not on that occasion.

 Fast forward to Friday morning and originally a dawn Perch session was planned but the heavy leaf fall has littered my chosen venue so fishing with a spinner was practically impossible so I bailed out on the trip and changed my gear over at home, swapping spinner for rolling gear, going light with basic gear I could cover a maximum amount of water. Spotted: What is great about sight seeing is the thrill of watching the Barbel swimming or holding position in swift current, then flicking or placing a bait upstream of my target and angling it towards them, as my bait came roughly 4ft from the two Barbel one left it's position and went straight for the bait, heart in mouth the bait disappeared and the line tightened up on my finger and struck immediately, a lovely fish of 7-8lb charged around in the pacy water, showing off its raw power, turning, flashing it's gold flanks and watching the pectoral fins and anal fin constantly changing angles to alter it's course through the water and using the flow to it's absolute maximum, such a great sight to see and after a good 5 minute scrap I finally got the chance to net the Barbel, good stuff.

 10 minutes later after allowing the swim to calm down I rolled a bait back down the swim to the remaining Barbel and it was almost as if the second one didn't know what was happening as the Barbel took my bait so confidently and I was locked into a battle slightly stronger than the first, fantastic stuff!. My first Barbel was weighed at 7lb 10oz and the second was weighed in at 7lb 12oz (pictured below), both were two peas in a pod, surely from the same batch of eggs, I was tempted to do a brace shot but the net would have struggled to hold both Barbel in so I released the first and the netted the second one.

At 7.12 this was the biggest of the two, identical to the first one.

 Then I had walked over a mile and a half before I had another positive take and this was in the form of a larger fish that made no mistake in nailing my rolled bait but the fight was rather disappointing as a large but short framed Barbel cruised to the surface after a brief bit of resistance, weighing at 8lb 14oz it was the best of the day and after another hour's rolling I didn't have anymore joy but rolling over static on any river, any day, any condition.

A chunky 8.14, 3 Barbel in 90 minutes is not bad at all.

 But over the winter my confidence in static fishing at night will surely improve as I start to bank a few Barbel, my target will be a 12lb plus Barbel but session's will be few and far between as my predator's campaign remains my primary target and as the flooded rivers drop and the colour disappears I will head back out for Pike and Perch but before then I will be off to fish the Coventry canal with Jeff Hatt & Co for Zander - for which better be playing ball tomorrow!!

Sunday 16 November 2014

Wrong Conditions.

 I woke up on Saturday with the view to go out for some specimen Roach and at this time of year they will be starting to feed up in preparation for winter, so I packed a very light tackle bag and some back up bait in case things didn't go to plan......and how glad I am that smelly baits were bought along, I got to the river and it was up a foot or so but had dropped considerably plus it was carrying a lot of colour due to the clay banks being torn away by the heavy rain of late.

 Straight away I knew the Roach would be very difficult to locate and with the heavily coloured water they probably wouldn't feed until it started to fine down, but for over two hours I did try a couple of swims where I thought they might be but I didn't have a touch, I had admitted defeat and I feel no matter how long I spent trying it was never going to happen. A mile and half upstream I knew of a couple areas where decent shoals of Chub congregate and in these "wrong conditions" Chub would be the only fish feeding, so the smelly bait was a block Wensleydale and it came to my rescue.

 First cast under the pin and my 7BB Avon trotter buried itself very confidently, I just love Chub for this reason, a certain blank for my intended target could be reversed into a successful morning's trotting, the take was met with a decent amount of force by Chub standards, the skelly charged upstream and struggled to get the line back on the pin with out any slack but I needn't have worried as it turned out to be well hooked in the top lip, first blood 4lb 12oz, not too shabby at all.

A good Chub nearly ready to surrender,

Base camp set and ready to go.

Got ya!, Chub do fight contrary to most anglers belief.

 For the next two hours the trotting ebbed and flowed as I would catch two in as many casts then nothing for 15 minutes then another brace would become attached and banked, the average size was great at more than 4lb with two over the 5lb barrier and when the swim died down and the remaining Chevin's cottoned on to the imminent threat of being caught - I finished knowing I had done well considering everything, after an exciting two hours of fishing I ended up with 14 Chub for a total bag weight of 51 lbs 2 ozs.

 Here are some photos of my backup piece of fishing, not to bad at all.

The larger fish of the haul between 4.2 & 5.5.

A brace of  "fives", 5lb and 5lb 5oz.

My biggest of the day at 5.5.

My second "five" of the day. 5lb 0oz.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

My Autumn & Winter Pike Challenge For 2014-15.

 Last season was my first real attempt at catching some Pike and I have to say that I had some fantastic trips in search of them which culminated in my PB Pike of 19.5, this lovely specimen was caught on the Royalty in October 2013, since then I have made a string of appearances on the magnificent fishery but not been as successful but more trips will be made to the Hampshire Avon as the weather gets much cooler.

 So far so good for the predators as a whole this Autumn, a new PB Zander of 4lb 7oz from Old Bury Hill and a PB Perch earlier in the season of 2lb 13oz, but a new PB Pike hasn't yet been found with my personal goal this winter is to find a 20lb plus Esox, I'm sure my want of a large Pike will take me across the country to many different fisheries - running & still in search of a fish that is still I believe the most exciting fish in our waters, over the last 2 months I have already been on the Wye, Thames, Avon ( Christchurch & Salisbury ) and a couple of other smaller rivers with varying success. Here is my current list of Pike so far.

    This list will be updated after every session that a Pike is successfully caught.

    Current total is at = 105lbs 14oz of 250lb being the challenge weight.

    Also 3 double figure Pike so far, target is 10 doubles and a twenty.

    Oct 18th - 11.9 ( Below ) & 15.1 ( Immediately Below )

Oct 11th - 4.8

Sept 12th-14th - 3lb, 2lb, 1lb 10oz & 14lb 12oz ( Below )

    Aug 23rd - 5 Pike to 3lbs

    Aug 17th - 2lb 8oz & 5lb 12oz

Sunday 9 November 2014

Blown Away.

On Saturday morning I had planned an early morning trip out for some predators and maintain my focus on a 20lb Pike and maybe a bonus 3lb + Thames Perch, so in order to embark on this trip all I had to do was wake up at 4:30am on a brisk autumn morning and go fishing, but unfortunately my body had other ideas and after an exhausting football match the evening before the alarm sounded and was switched off. 8:45am and I awoke without the aide of the alarm and by which time I had missed the best time to go out in search of my Esox so I had to re-buff my plans and decided on going out with the trotting rod armed with maggots to have a go at a few shoals of Dace & Roach.

It took a lot longer to get fishing than usual as the weather tried it's best to curtail the session before it had even began, but I'm no fair weather angler and this sort of blustery wet weather is what I like as not many other anglers would have the patience to withstand the barrage of leaves and constant attempts at mending the line as I trotted downstream to catch my intended target, the wind never eased once in the time I spent out but the rain did abate at times making fishing a little more bearable, when the fishing did take place bites weren't very forth coming with the occasional out of season Trout being banked and although most of the Trout were small to about 5oz, I did catch a couple of larger ones and the biggest being around 2.8/2.12 and in pristine condition, just a shame they are 2 months late but they were ravenous and getting to the bait before the awaiting Roach and Dace could, this scenario played out through a stretch of as much as 2 miles.

13 Trout later I finally caught something without an adipose fin, a Chub it was but not big at 2lbs or so, then I spotted what looked like a monster Barbel of 11lbs or so, with the tackle I had attempting to catch it would have been foolish but my head was saying go for it (I've caught bigger on lighter gear), so I cast out a bunch of maggots and bulked my shot down to keep the bait from moving too fast, then a hard tug followed very soon after casting but that Barbel still remained in position, so whatever I caught was not seen, a fiery scrap was being put up but it was short lived as the culprit came up to the net and a nice Chub of 3.10 lay on the bank, not a Barbel but who cares, by Chub standards it was a strong fight and normally those two statements aren't used in the same sentences, normally a wet plastic bag is more akin to a Chub fight.

Pristine condition.
A lovely weir pool but not much happening.

 As I pressed on downstream I did finally manage to catch some Dace but whatever I was doing they kept escaping my size 16 barbless hook as they approached the net, I lost six on the spin before I landed one and then it turned out to be a Chub......(sigh).......well I landed it, it wasn't really going to plan and my day was just about to get a little wetter as the heavens opened and I was soaked through within a couple of minutes of it starting, by which time I had decided to call it a day as the rain was so fierce it was penetrating my bag and the camera was getting wet, a trip not to forget but not one of my best, but after another good week of work it was nice to be out walking the banks surrounded by nature, a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning and with so many young Trout caught and seen it is very encouraging for the future after all without them there is no future and what a shame it would be.

Saturday 1 November 2014

Back In Time For Crumpets & Tea.

 6:30 am on a lovely 18c morning in November......yup it's almost like summer is rearing it's head or so you'd believe, normally by this time of the year I'm wrapped up in layer of clothes complete with gloves and my rusky hat but instead I was donning a light pair of trousers and a T-shirt, my ideal target was a Barbel but anything would do, just to get out of bed on a lovely morning and go for a wander with a rod would have be suffice, I arrived with a window of a couple of hours max so I got set and headed off into the woods.

 I walked for roughly half a mile before I spotted a few fish which turned out to be Chub but they were almost impossible to fish for so I aimed a bait past them into clearer water and hoped they would follow it out, the following four casts down nothing happened and the Chub stayed locked up in their little fortress, regardless of what I did they were not coming out but I continued to roll to a bait around in a deeper slack further downstream as it would certainly be a place to hold a fish or two whether it be Barbel or Chub, a second roll through this pool would prove absolutely pivotal as my fairly stout rod was shown up, 2.5lb T/C rod was bent more than what a twenty pound Carp has done previously and the culprit for this brutal take was never in a million years a Chub so it could only be a Barbus and by the take a Barbus maximus, it took me couple of minutes to retrieve the line it had stripped off my pin and when it became visible I could see she was a cracker, first guess was that of a double and when she finally cruised closer I was certain of it, or certain its frame was warranted that estimate, then disaster I lent over to net the Barbel I felt my foot slip slightly and my whole body tried to compensate and I lost all balance and headed straight for the river...........a boot full and soaking wet trousers were the price I had to pay in order to bank my catch, then if my day wasn't going to plan then the lack of camera turned out to be the last straw , I weighed the Barbel at 10.6 which is my first double of the season which I was very happy for but unfortunately the pics I did get were only my phone so watch this space for a snap.

 My session would have finished there and then but as I was now wet I had a better shot at those Chub ,10 minutes later and roughly 6 casts, three Chub had been caught to roughly 3.8 and with that it was time to finish and head home for some tea and crumpets.

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 ...