Sunday 29 September 2019

Barbel, Camera, Action.

 Slowly catching up now and this piece was following a decent couple of short trips out in search of Barbel, hoping the fish were still hard on the feed I hit the river with a view to taking them on the float or freelined flake on the top....yes yes yes I know Barbel are designed for feeding on the bottom but in the right conditions paired with the fact they are as greedy as any other fish they can be taken clean off the top and this feat has been achieved many times in the past.

 Joined by Brian for an hour or so we became the Barbel' arch nemesis, between Brian spotting and feeding, whilst armed with the camera I had the arduous task of fishing :),

 Within five minutes the deadly duo were in action and Brian was snapping off some pukka images whilst I had my arm ripped off by a stroppy boris. Not that I mind of course.

 These sorts of shots are ones I have wanted for years, problem is I tend to fish alone and also never in accessible areas, not that this was particularly accessible, but having that second person meant that the shots could be made.

Not a monster, roughly 6lb 8oz.

Not long after, number two slipped up.

Then this superb little whisker!
 That small Barbel is a very indicator as to how well the river is currently doing, if only the EA and TW look after it better it can remain that way!

 To finish it all off a decent Roach of 1lb 8oz took a liking to some freelined flake too.

Friday 27 September 2019

Gudgeon Fest.

 There aren't many more species in our rivers that trump these awesome little creatures, spirited fights coupled with very bold biting, everything about these fish raise the question, where would they rank in terms of desire to catch them if they grew to say five pounds?

 For me, I thoroughly enjoy catching them regardless.

 Here are a few snaps of a little batch of Gonks that I had roughly 6 weeks ago.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Summer Gold, Better By the Hour.

....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.

Sunday 22 September 2019

Summer Gold, Seeking Barbel.

 How long has it been?....over two months I believe and that is way too long. It's not that I haven't been fishing because I have, albeit very little. The rigours of work whilst managing the pain that I still find myself experiencing, that coupled with the completion on mine and the mrs first property, not to mention Baby have all taken their toll on what spare time I used to have.

 Seeing as it's been a long time I will get back on to the fishing and this one was a good one, especially as it was on a local river and knowing that I only had half a day an early start was needed to give myself half a chance. Just before 6am the rod was set up and I began marching the banks.

 With the sun still very low beyond the trees and the dawn mist creeping off the surface gave it the feel of the beginnings of a magical morning and so true it was. To begin with I scanned a couple of miles of river to no avail, the river was gin clear and the lowest I have seen it for quite a long time but this for the most part didn't help in spotting the Chub and Barbel amongst the gravels and numerous runs of weed. As I got close to grounds I have had recent successes off of I started to look even harder into the water and within probably 200 yards I got my first sighting of a good fish.

 Almost level with me as I crept over the briars and ivy I tried my very best to avoid detection. Such was the nature of the "peg" if you could call it that, is that I had no other way to get bankside and just hoped the golden shape didn't slip out of sight. Once in position and on my haunches a plan of attack was made, one that I sure wanted to work. Seeing how long it took me to get back on the bank I really wanted to catch something big, here was my chance.

The strikezone!

 I started off with my normal, go to approach of rolling and after being shun on the first attempt I was made very quickly to go back to the drawing board. As my bait came within two feet of the Barbel' holding position she shuddered and bolted downstream and out of sight, although bearing in mind the weed growth is dense in this area that feat wasn't hard to achieve. Hoping that she wasn't spooked beyond temptation, I sat and waited for about ten minutes tucked away with my secondary tactic out and fishing, a link ledgered piece of meat just held bottom in roughly the same position I had my abandoned chance previously and mercifully she slowly began to head upstream and into view, as she did make it closer to my bait the steam started to form on my polaroids in anticipation.

 Just four foot now lay between target and bait and the suspense was insane, then, out of nothing the then static Barbel had enough of staring lunch in the face and within a second or two my bait vanished which nearly had the rod in, even if I was holding it! such was the ferocity. Its a feeling I have sorely missed.

  A good four or five minutes was spent trying to navigate this powerhouse from burrowing into the numerous beds of ranunculus and then trying to get the fish to ease into my net which was tough as a really big tree overhead impeded my ability to lift the rod tip, nevertheless I finally slipped the fish over the rim of my net and my trip was already a blazing success and only into the trip less than an hour. Summer Gold at 7am and glistening in the morning sun, how I have really missed that.

 In the water I thought she was a double and I wasn't far off. 9lb 7oz of chalkstream gold.

 For me that was target achieved and for me the remainder of the day could have gone by without further incident...however, it only got better. All that to follow in part two of Summer Gold.

8 Years in the Making.

   So we find ourselves finally able to get back on the rivers and thank god for it too. I don't mind stillwaters and canals now and aga...