....I could have easily gone after that immaculate barbel, however with so little opportunity swinging my way to go out fishing I remained on the river to continue the good work. I had recently heard of some good chub coming out upstream from a friend of mine and whilst the thought of targeting some big chub sounded like a great idea my physical condition was really putting paid to most plans, I had to stay fairly close to where I had parked, just in case the pain became too much to cope with, not that you'd know it looking at the smile with the barbel!
As I meandered upstream slowly the beginnings of the acute pains were starting to shoot through my buttocks and down my left leg as the nerve trapped in my back was starting to get agitated with the short walk. A typical walk on the river would normally comprise of at least six miles being covered in a short 4-hour session, I knew I would be very lucky to complete one, thankfully I managed to get to my first port of call, one that I have managed big chub and barbel out of in the past, although if recent showings are anything to go by then I wouldn't be targeting anything sizeable.
Funnily enough on this occasion, my previous visits would account for absolutely nothing! As I gingerly hopped up on to a narrow wall I could make out numerous shapes out on the gravels along side a large submerged tree, possibly thirty fish (barbel and chub) in plain sight, this could surely only end up with me catching at least one fish. with practically every fish on show I sat and watch the shoal for possibly twenty minutes before a large chub caught my eye right tight against the submerged tree.
Having already spotted possibly four or five chub over 4lbs I kept my cool as I hoped one of the rivers larger residents was stopping by and sure as, there was at least one. The largest was holding position away from the main shoal but unfortunately not in a casting position, the next ten minutes was spent flicking lumps of bread flake out and gain the confidence. No sooner did the flake start going out scores of fish charged out of position and intercepting the bait, barbel over 7lb were taking flake as it hit the surface and chub were bullying each other out of the way to get food, some people would think these don't get fed!
With all the commotion going on inside of the tree and myself the coy monster of a chub slowly began to make its way into the mix, numerous barbel and chub still occupied the narrow gravel channel, mouths wide open and awaiting the next piece of bread, now that I had the big chub' attention I began to throw lots of bread in way upstream in a bid to draw the hungrier fish away from the target chub and allow my target a couple more seconds to make up its mind without me hooking another fish as I knew I only had one shot at this!
When plans are formulated there is always that possibility that it won't work, but without flicking a bait out I'd never find out. First cast out and a barbel around 4lb quickly honed in and if it wasn't for a quick bit of thinking the whole game would have been up. Quickly pulling the flake away from the barbel allowed it drift back down in the flow and within seconds the big chub sidled over and the flake was engulfed! My Mark IV bent double and one hell of an angry chub stormed off for the far bank cover where I spent a nervy two minutes or so trying to prevent it winning the battle!
I wanted it a little more than it wanted to escape and my largest chub off the river in 9 years lay in the net!
|5lb 10oz, my second largest off this river.|
I have seen a few good chub this summer and coupled with a 5lb 8oz specimen I had just a week or two previous certainly shows this river is on the up in terms of chub weights as it has noticeably stagnated in the past decade if not two. Now, I could only hope for this river to produce "sixes and sevens" as they incredibly impressive creatures, I have my reservations on that thought, though the piscatorial romantic that I am would love to see them common place.
With my target chub in the net the remainder of the shoal barely spooked and having begun the reintroduction of flake to the swim it was clear the previous few minutes of noise etc didn't dampen their appetites, so I left the big girl in the net and got another bait out and what do you know?! Another very good chub sucked it in first time of asking, in front of about six hungry barbel!
|5.10 and 4.12.|
Side by side they filled a 30 inch spoon landing net and my 1957 Mark IV lye proudly next to them, 10lb 6oz of summer gold that most would envy! I know I would.
What I'd do to find them again in the winter, my first six off of here may well be achieved.
Just over an hour since that awesome barbel downstream and I was blessed with a stunning brace of chub, lucky me...two months down the line and my back is improving, time however is still at an absolute premium. Just got to make it out!
Tight lines all and hopefully my next post will be out soon.
All the best, James.