Tuesday 21 February 2023

Lean Times.


 It's been 5 weeks since I last posted? Must mean I've been out a lot? Not quite is the honest answer.

 I have been out for Roach, nothing to report of note, then went out for Dace and caught a couple of spritely Barbel but not my target at the time, so again nothing of note and that concludes my fishing for the year up to Thursday last week where I was due to embark on another tour of the North-West, my Barbel Quest was hopefully going to have some life breathed back into it as my only Barbel of note came off the Kennet at the start of 2023.

 In fairness I haven't had much time go fishing as work and family have dominated proceedings, this to is likely to be my last hurrah of the season too unless I can engineer a 2-dayer somewhere on the south coast or opt to get my backside handed to me again on the R.Loddon. The first river in mind was the R.Tame up near Manchester. This is a river I have visited earlier this season where I had a good return of 8 Barbel to 8lb 11oz. 

Best from my first visit.

 I set off at 2230 with the view to arriving on the river at 0200 but the endless roadworks meant I didn't get fishing until 0300, with a good 4 hours of darkness still I made a bee-line for the peg I did well in in August, unfortunately it seemed nothing was home as the tip stayed motionless. Around 1100 I packed away the static gear and set off rolling meat to try and search out the Barbel, many rolls through many great looking swims without as much as a tap, it seemed absolutely lifeless and as the hours ticked by the picture being painted looked even bleaker, the first night drew to a close at 2100 as I had now been awake for 42hrs and needed a sleep, for the two days I planned to be on the R.Tame I was staying with my mate Jerry where we chewed the fat for two nights and got some much needed sleep.

Amazing how baron it looks in winter.

 The second day didn't go much better as I could not get a sniff, thankfully around 6pm that all changed as my quivertip registered a couple of sensitive taps before thumping round, the fight was pretty dour and suspected a Chub until it cruised into the net, it was my target species, just not of the desired size but given the struggles recently at least its a Barbel. 

7lb 2oz, not the biggest but it'll do.
 I gave it a solid 3 hours after that Barbel with nothing more than a tap, so I bought the rods in again and back off to Jerry's for curry and a beer. As I parked up having just been to the curry house I could hear a distinct sound of air gushing out of a tyre, I found the source of said puncture and just ignored it as there was nothing else I could do at 2230! The plan for the third day was to head up to the R.Ribble having decided the fishing just wasn't happening for me on the R.Tame. Before I could go anywhere it was a trip round on a flat tyre to the garage 0.5 mile away and they were very kind in relieving me of £127.50 so I could get back on the rod and flew up the M61 to gain some lost time.

 However the nightmare didn't end there! Storm Otto had bought some strong winds and very heavy rain across the Dales and this translated to a sharp rise on the Ribble and the rubbish coming down was ridiculous, I could not keep a bait out longer than 10mins with a 5oz lead on, constantly being swept away before the fish (if they were feeding) could find my bait, having made the journey up I persevered until 2000 but it was futile, it just was not going to happen for me! 

 With the sense of dejection well and truly set in I packed up for good and drove 283 miles home.....that was a dreadful fishing trip, the only good thing that came of it was to see Jerry in what has been a dreadful chapter in his life. 

A big boy river!


  1. Roll on the good times then - there’s got to be double number 19 waiting for you before the season ends… Fingers crossed!

    1. 18 different river doubles, when you think about it Brian, what an amazing achievement from James thus far and still plenty to go at. Puts my own angling to shame really, as I rarely travel more than 20 miles to fish :) maybe I should change that in the new season !!

    2. I sure hope so, conditions leading up to the end of the season don't look great, less than 3 weeks left of the season, we shall see!

    3. When you think about Mick it is insane already! caught be many anglers that have done that, the bigger picture is starting to take shape. I just need time and some luck along the way!

  2. "In it to win it", "Rough with the smooth", and all those other clichés that just make you feel worse instead of better!!

    1. Yes, thats certainly true across all fishing. The distances covered and time devoted to these sorts of outings is enormous, when it doesn't happen for you / me it is a set back, question is, can I bounce back quickly and get to the halfway mark of 20 before March 15th?


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 ...