Friday 8 July 2022

Back to the Kentish Stour, Again.


 Session 11. Why am I struggling so much on this river? Much like the ColnBrook there is plenty of water but you just can't access most of it for one reason or another. Now I have seen the odd fish on the KS, locating Barbel just seems to be a challenge in itself rather than the catching part. I know many with myself included know that when it comes to Barbel location is 80% of the game, once found typically it is just a matter of time. On this intimate river you would think sightings would be common. 

 So I got back to it on Sunday afternoon and planned to do the night then the first few hours of daylight.

 A single bait approach was opted for and moved swims / sections fairly regularly to give myself plenty of opportunities to see fish. By fish I actually mean Barbel, the Chub were literally everywhere and I found avoiding them very difficult, their very nervy nature when the sound of a plop went in ( couldn't be avoided ) everything would just go dead, funny thing was more often than not I'd fish snags and when those Chub spooked it would take everything out the back, so I got to see exactly what was present and at every occasion, it was just the big rubbery-lipped Chub that were making an appearance, still no Barbel.

 I fished all through the night whilst moving around and fishing static boilee with matching paste to hopefully tempt an incredibly guarded Barbel from its watery lair, in turn by midnight I'd only managed 6 Chub to about 4lbs. Just gone half past midnight the rod quivered and then slammed around, was this what I was after? The initial 30-40 seconds would suggest so, then right on cue a decent sized Chub came up to the surface, trying to ditch me in some ribbon weed at the last moment before the net got shipped out and mugged the Skelly before it could smash me up in the weed.

 It certainly wasn't a Barbel but I wasn't too displeased as it looked well over 5lb even just hanging down in the net, I set up the camera gear and weigh sling/scales to see what this summer Chub would go. 

A good heavy Chevin at 5lb 8ozs.

 The bite certainly had me fooled and as of 0033 (when I hooked that Chub) three stupid Pike in the morning were taken whilst rolling meat was all I could conjure up. It really was a tough trip, again.

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Hard to Come By.


 During this 40 rivers challenge I knew there would be times that fishing would be tough, especially on rivers that I am not familiar with. This was in truth a large part of the lure of undertaking such a task, easy fishing is not challenging for the mind and yes, in lean times there is always a little part of me that thinks about just swinging by rivers I've already chalked off just to get fish on the bank. Thus far I have resisted as I see it as time not spent on rivers I should be on.

 On the ColnBrook for example I didn't think I would struggle, wrong again (seems to happening a fair bit of late). Six sessions down ( as of June 20 something ) and still not managed one, this scenario didn't at first appear to be in the balance as I spotted two Barbel last season within 30 mins of being on the river, unfortunately for me they disappeared quickly once a bait went out and since have found myself searching for the tell-tale bronze shapes caressing the swift and plentiful gravel beds. Inevitably if something is present and I spend enough time looking I am bound to find them, last week I did just that, one about 5lb and another quite possibly the very fish I sought.

Lightweight roving is so important to 
tracking down small pods of Barbel.

 Peering through virgin nettles is always exciting as you know no one has been there, then to see two Barbel sat hugging a small branch on the bottom in the first hour of trip 7 to the river, I knew I had to be stealthy and quick, I opted to put out a single SSG link ledger with a lump of meat on and in no time of the bait hitting the deck both Barbel left their holding point and charged upstream to the bait, I was poised to strike and simply hoped the bigger one would take the bait. Nope, that didn't happen.

It's a start, beautiful too.

 It was my first ColnBrook Barbel but really wanted the other fish, that could have meant wrapping up my efforts and moving on to another river, 5lb 6ozs of pure muscle and in immaculate condition, I do wonder if that fish had ever been caught before.

 Once that pocket rocket was released I continued my search which included locating the other Barbel that tore off downstream out of view. With fairly limited amount of time as I wanted to avoid the M25 peak rush hour my time swiftly came to an end. Another 3hrs spent on the river and some more solid evidence to go on, I am in the right places.

Nettles are good rod rests too.

But it takes a while to build up sting tolerance.

 Since that capture I have revisited the banks with a new sense of urgency, those two fish might not be around long and knowing that one had been caught would the other fish vanish owing to that pressure? It's certainly something thats gone through my mind as I searched low and hard for a fish and excluding the odd tit bit there was nothing to be seen and yes it is heavily grown over in alot of places hence my stealthy approach and roving with very little tackle, but the sense that there simply isn't many Barbel in the ColnBrook is growing ever stronger. Can I find that leviathan? or is the ColnBrook not going to be one of those rivers and eventually pull the plug and if so, when do I make that decision, and is that for the short term and revisit it in the future or never step foot on it again? That bigger Barbel I saw may just be the sighting I required to keep the interest.

Breaming of a Slime Fest.

   As the weather begins to warm so does the water and slowly but surely the Bream will come to a point where they will go off and spawn, en...