Sunday 16 April 2023

Plan B ( The Saviour ).


 For well over a month the fishing gear has been tucked away in my tackle den gathering dust, thankfully I had no work pencilled in this weekend and planned to get myself out in search of Bream ( monster bream! ). Of course my target water was Walthamstow as that is where I stand my best chance of achieving what I want within a sensible distance and given my lack of time it works perfectly for me.

 My aim was to fish for 24hrs and build a swim and hopefully get the Bream to congregate on the loose feed and pick them off, one by one. Left hand side of the swim I fed hemp and corn and on the right hand side of the swim I fed pellet and fished over the top of it all. It all seemed to be a fool-proof plan, however the fish just didn't seem to come and with dusk coming and going only the odd liner would keep me focused, the issue was for me that the deep low pressure system that hung over the UK last week has gone and given way to high pressure and the typical conditions you associate with Bream were no longer.

 Dawn was awesome, the early morning sun was warm after a cold night but the fish still did not come and had a decision to make, either stay and most likely blank for longer or go make something happen elsewhere and given the shadows of Bream cruising by the latter was settled upon, I was wasting valuable time.

Plenty of Grannoms around.

 Instead of Bream I decided to try for my first Carp of the new season and my first visit on the canals too. 

 With the high pressure I hoped to find something ambling around on the surface and it didn't take too long to locate a small Common that was having a rub on a submerged branch, it didn't hang around long and managed to follow it roughly 50 meters to another row of bushes where out of nowhere another two carp had joined somewhere along that route, the two commons were possibly 16-18lbs but the mirror was clearly larger so naturally that was the fish I wanted, my first cast went around 10m in front of where I thought they would head for, gently squeezed bread flake allowed the bait to gradually drop through the water column, unfortunately that bait was avoided by the three carp so I retrieved the flake, re-squeezed and cast again beyond the three fish and the flake fell perfectly in front of them, just 2ft down below the surface the flake went black......strike!!! fish on!!!! 

 My new ESP Stalker 9ft carp rod was bent and line was pissing off the spool at a rate of knots! 

 My heart rate was through the roof as I knew exactly what one of the three fish took it and did not want to mess up my chance as you only get one! A solid battle lasted nearly ten minutes as she refused to give up, every time I thought she was ready to be netted it would strip 20 yards of line off a tight clutch which was terrific yet nerve jangling at the same time, its awesome to feel that kind of power once again!

 She did in the end give up and I gladly eased her over the cord. What a stunning looking fish!

24lb 1ozs, blown away by that one!

 What is even more exciting about this capture is I don't recognise it and not one I've seen or caught before. Once I released her I set about finding the others but were nowhere to be seen, a further 5.9 miles were made in search of more carp but I drew a blank for the rest of the morning. 

 That certainly was an inspired decision to knock the bream fishing on the head!

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Season Review 2022/23.


 As most who follow this blog over the last couple years will know Barbel have been in the forefront of my plans during the course of the river season. It however wasn't all Barbel related as I did manage to squeeze in the odd session for Grayling, one trip for Pike, Rudd, Catfish where I did get some action.

 However I covered most of what I caught in my (Recap 2022) so I have just a couple of bits to add and the highlights of what was another productive year for Barbel as I continued with my 40 Rivers Challenge.

14lbs 6oz stillwater Bream PB.

 My two best fish I think without doubt have to be the colossal Bream I had off of The Stow which obliterated my personal best for the species, the other has to be the largest documented Barbel ever caught off of the R.Don in Yorkshire, a monumental occasion for both myself and the angling fraternity of Yorkshire as again it was the first fish confirmed on the Don to break the fifteen barrier ever, to which I became a proud owner of a Barbel Society River Record certificate, a nice momento to include in my book down the line as all of which I have endured and will endure in the coming years until its completion will be written about in finer detail than my scribblings on here. 

15lbs 4oz River Don record.

Simply colossal !

 Seeing that enormous Barbel cruise over the rim of the net was a moment in time I won't forget, my second fifteen pound plus Barbel, neither of which are Trent fish which in this day and age is not something many can lay claim to.

 Not that fishing is about boasting of course, simply enjoying the moments in my angling that have been, certainly of late punctuated by prolonged spells of inaction so when fish do come along, especially that big I enjoy it as much as I can. 

 My Barbel stats ended up like this for the season:

 25 Trips, 26 Barbel, 6 Doubles and 19 Blanks.

 I managed Barbel off of 9 rivers this season and chalked 5 of those 9 off the list with another 3 rivers targeted without a sniff from a Barbel ( Loddon, Kentish Stour and Sussex Rother )

 Over the course of the Barbel fishing over those 25 trips I spent a total of 359.5hrs, thats a lot of time for not many fish but looking at the stats a different way I averaged just five trips per double chalked off my list which now stands at 18 and in the new season I'll be in pursuit of number 19 pretty quickly (weather permitting).

 It was a tough season but very rewarding, I just need to crack the Kentish Stour early doors next season as its really made me work hard and becomes so choked by weed in the summer so its either really early raids or wait for the first frosts to kill off the weed and floods to take it away.

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 ...