Thursday, 23 August 2012

Team work and a PB on the Wye

A return trip to the Wye was scheduled for yesterday and Josh was in tow this time, he actually fancied catching an eel as it is one of his uncaught species and one of my friends caught two last Friday, he would fish worm's on one rod in an attempt to snare a snig. The weather forecast was sunny and a bit if cloud but only 10 minutes from home and we were driving through a biblical storm on the M42, then another on the M5 and then another on the get the drift with this, luckily I had thrown the brolly in the boot so we wouldn't get too wet.  On arrival we were again greeted by rain but after a 5 minute wait in the car we loaded the gear and headed towards the river, it was back down to NSL but was still holding a touch of colour and looked great (when don't they!)
The plan was for Josh to fish his wormy eel rod and I was fishing two rods on a tripod for the resident Barbel, I started fishing caster's on one and a single 8mm pellet on the other until late evening when I would change hookbaits to boilie and double 12mm elips pellet.
It was during the set up that the first disaster of the day occurred, as I was setting up my landing head one of the arms shattered, it was the style of net where the arms are under tension when both are fitted into the spreader block but this net's days of tension were over, I told Josh that any fish we had during the session would have to be landed/scooped up by me and Josh would take the rod just before this stage if he already wasn't the one to hit the bite.

End of the road for this net

It was lucky that we weren't fishing a far bank mark as there were a lot of canoeists travelling down the river, most were over in the far 1/3 rd of the river but the odd one did creep close onto our bank and were almost garroted by my 15lb Suffix, it's amazing the looks that you receive when this happens, my tip to any budding canoeists reading this would be to stick to the half way mark, you should be fairly clear of any garroting activities on that line!
The next item of note was when Josh decided to take a walk upstream from our position and ended up wellie boot deep in mud, he tried to pull himself out for a couple of minutes then gave me the shout as was starting to get worried!  I ended up pulling Josh out leaving his wellies behind and then had to dig his wellies out, he was a total mess at this stage and was sent back to the car to change his gear out, spare clothes are always a necessity where kids and outdoor activities are involved!

Josh on his way back to the car for a freshen up!

The first fish of the day arrived whilst Josh was changing, a Chub about 4lb to the pellet rod, I had a mission and a half to try and land it with my 'limp' net but managed it. A lot of knocks and bangs then ensued for an hour but no further takes, the pellet rod then ragged over and after a definite Chubby battle where the fish tried to snag me on everything it could I landed/scooped a fish of 4lb 12oz, the fish looked as though it was heavier at some stage in its life as it had a huge head and shoulders.

Josh modelling 4lb 12oz Chevin

Dusk was approaching so the rods were re-baited, double glugged 12mm elips on the U/S rod and a 14mm boilie on the D/S rod both carrying feeders, the taps and knocks had now stopped.........  The D/S rod was the first to fold over and a Barbel was hooked, after a good scrap the rod was passed to Josh and I scooped the fish up in the smashed net, 8lb 6oz on the scales and we were off!

Within minutes the re-cast rod was over again and Josh this time took his turn and battled with another Barbel, Josh really had to hold on to this fish and was pretty tired out when I landed the fish, as soon as we had the fish on the mate it was obvious that it would be a new PB, on the scales it went 8lb 1oz and was indeed a new PB.

Josh with his 8lb 1oz PB Barbel

Josh's eel rod had not had any touches for a while and when he retrieved for a re-bait it snagged up and ended up in a lost rig so that rod was left up the bank, next time for the eel. Further Chub hit the net after this, all bar one over 4lb so a good stamp of fish, as Josh nodded off at 11.45pm I hit the last bite of the session and another Barbel of 7lb 8oz was bagged/netted/scooped. The final tally was 4 Chub and 2 Barbel to me and 2 Chub and 1 Barbel to Josh, all the fish had been caught on the D/S rod on boilie.

All in all a good session and I am proud of Josh on his new Barbel PB, it seems that he is quite happy with night fishing and would like to do some more, great with me as I love it to!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

First of the season

For some reason I have been struggling with Barbel this season, I have fished on 8 occasions targetting them, sometimes not for the entirety of each session but the hours have been put in and I thought I was due a fish or three. Doubts do start to creep into the mind though but I know that my bait, rigs etc are OK as they have caught many fish in the past and Barbel fishing hasn't changed THAT much unless I am missing a trick........Swim selection, conditions and hard stretches of river are all my fall back reasons and I knew that the effort would pay as some stage.

Yesterday I fished on a club stretch of the Wye, on arrival it was 18 inches/2 feet up and chocolate, maybe today was the day. Two friends accompanied me today and we all ended up fishing the same bank but spaced about 200 yards apart between the three of us. Pellet and boilie were the hookbaits with pellet and hemp in the feeders with a plug of groundbait, all simple stuff. I cast in around 4.30pm and sat back in the warm afternoon sun, the journey down from Coventry had been a different affair with heavy rain and lot's or red brake lights and the evenings weather forecast was 'mixed' to say the least!

It wasn't until the early evening that the first fish was caught and it was to the middle of the three of us, a nice 8lb Barbel, he continued to catch fairly steadily and by 9pm he was on 3 Barbel, the end friend was on 1 Barbel and a Chub, my tips remained still.......the demon's were starting to ask their questions, there didn't look to be anything different between the three spots we were fishing, it was nice steady flat water so I thought it would happen at some stage, famous last words I hoped not.

It had rained on and off until about 9.30pm and then it stopped, the sky cleared and the sunset was a nice one, at least I had taken some pictures today!.

It was 9.45pm and the U/S mate had just called me to tell me he had caught 2 eels!  Eeerrrr you can keep them up there I told him, the U/S pellet rod then crashed over and I was in, after a short tussle I had the first Barbel of the season in the net of about 7lbs, happy days indeed!


It then went back to being quiet for me, I had a decent fish roll on 3 occasions right on the boilie rod but it failed to pick up the hookbait and at 11pm I started to pack the gear away. My mates were camping down there so fished on until 12.30 and they told me this morning 'they switched on as you walked back to the car'.......they took further Barbel of 10 & 9lb between them plus other fish, that about sum's up my luck with Barbel at the minute.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Meaty Carp

I had offered to take a neighbours lad out for a few hours during the holidays and yesterday morning seemed a good time, the weather man stated that by 12 o'clock lunchtime it was going to rain with some added thunder so we planned on fishing the morning and then packing up at 12 or whenever the rain appeared. The venue was again the one I fished with Lou last week and I was still scanning for spots that looked good for my Perch campaign come the colder months. We arrived at just gone 8am and were set up and fishing by 8.30, we fished just a bit further around the pool than the last session, we had a set of lily pads in between our swims so we fished either end of them. Float tactics were deployed with meat or corn on the hook and I also baited with some remaining casters from my Trent session on the previous Saturday.
I was in first cast and it was the Roach again that were first out of the blocks, I had 3 fish all around  8-10oz before they mysteriously disappeared only to be replaced by Bream and Roach/Bream hybrids.  Tom's first fish was a small Crucian.

I stepped up the feed in an attempt to attract one of the Carp that inhabit the lake but the response was Bream between 2 and 3lb's, Tom also got in the Bream act as displayed below.

I then had a further plumb around the swim and I found that the pads were situated on the top of  a ledge around 2 1/2 - 3 feet deep and a few feet off the pads it dropped down to 4 1/2 foot, a new approach was to fish the bottom of that shelf to see if the larger fish were holding back and picking up any loose offerings that were being blown off course in the ever increasing wind. I then baited the size 10 with a large lump of bacon grill and sat back to await event's, it was immediately obvious that the tedious rapid bites that I was receiving next to the pads had gone and the first bite was a slower and more deliberate affair, the resulting strike put a tasty bend in my 13 foot power float rod, job done! After a good tussle a long torpedo shaped Common Carp was in the net.

I re-baited and it wasn't long before any slower bite was connected with and another Carp was dragging me around the near ledge, slightly smaller but good fun all the same.

It was approaching 12 o'clock when the first drops of rain started to fall so we bid a hasty retreat to the car, a few fish had been caught and it was a morning out in the fresh air, happy days.

Trotting the Trent

I met a friend on a stretch of the upper Trent last Saturday, I had fished here only once before (June 16th 2010) for Barbs during the day and blanked but conditions weren't too favourable on that day. Today would be spent trotting a float during daylight hours for anything that came along and then a switch over to the Barbel gear an hour before dusk and to fish until midnight.

The river was carrying a bit of water and was slightly coloured so it looked in good nick,  I started in a fairly fast swim and third trot down my double caster was taken and a good fish was hooked, the flow now came into full effect and the fish just held in it whilst my relatively light hooklink (2.12/16's hook) was doing all it could, after a minute the hook pulled so the lighter hooklink was dispensed with and it was 5lb straight through to a strong 14's! A couple of trot's later and again a good fish was hooked, this fish was brought to the waiting net but managed to do the thing that Chub are so adept at, transferring your hook to something else, this time it was streamer weed and a Chub of around 3lb was back with it's shoal mates, laughing all the way........ I stayed in that peg a further 2 hours, taking 5 Chub in total up to about 3 1/2 lbs, enjoyable fishing all the way.

3 1/2lb Chevin

Only small but an absolute minter of a Chub

I then moved downstream to another swim that was a long sweeping bend looking like it had a bit of depth compared to the faster peg I had just left. Second trot around the bend and the float buried and another good fish was hooked, I could tell this was again a Chub from the onset as it tried to snag me underv my own bank, dirty fighters aren't they Chub!  The fish was held out of the nearside cover and eventually in the net it went, this fish was 4lb exactly and looked like it had been in the wars with scar's and scrapes all over it's body, a proper old warrior.

4lb Trent Chub


A few further trots down gave me a Brownie about 12oz before going quiet so I then moved back in to the first swim for the final hour, back in here I had 2 further Chub before heading back downstream to start setting the Barbel rods up.  I had chosen a spot that was just below a snag, a willow had fallen most of the way across the river creating a funnel that I thought any travelling fish would pass through on their nocturnal journeys, one rod was to be put on that spot and the second a little further downstream in fairly open water but on the same line as the US rod so a single flavour trail was running down river. Double pellet wrapped in paste was on the US rod and boilie wrapped in paste was on the DS, half a dozen dropper's each of hemp & pellet was despatched into the spot's around 7.30pm and by 8.15pm I was in position and fishing. Cutting a long story short, nothing much happened apart from continually winding in ton's on weed every 20 minutes or so, the upper Trent is famed for it's weed running down river and tonight was no different.  What with this year's high water some stretches are relatively barren compared to past years but the dreaded weed  continues to appear, I looked at the stretch the afternoon before I fished it and there did not appear to be ANY weed at all coming down but today there mate had a Chub around 4lb at 10pm but the Barbel weren't playing out this time. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Meaty Roach

I fished a local day ticket lake after work last night with the better half, the lake itself has started to interest me after tales of large stripey's being caught so I fancied a quick look see for future winter sessions plus I took a chance to wet a line for a couple of hours, it would be rude not too wouldn't it!
We were both fishing float rigs using a combination of corn,meat and caster, I quickly set Lou up and within a couple of minutes she was into her first fish, a nice Crucian was soon netted and held aloft.

I was still setting my rod up when again Lou's float rod took a healthy curve, after a decent scrap a fish was landed that I initially thought was an Ide but after a closer look it turned out to be a Roach/Bream hybrid of about 2lb.

Lou with Roach/Bream Hybrid

Two casts and 2 fish that Lou hadn't caught before, well done indeed! I was finally ready to go and I chose to fish with a light 2BB waggler next to some nearside lillies, I caught from the off, mainly Roach with a few Roach/Bream hybrid's, Perch & Rudd thrown in, most fish were coming on small pieces of meat and the pads were continually bumping and knocking so I was sure a bigger fish would be hooked soon. When the better fish was eventually hooked it wasn't the expected Carp but a minter of a Roach that weighed 1lb 6oz, the largest Roach I had caught for some time.

1lb 6 oz Roach

The next bite was from one of the pad rocking Carp, it stripped 40 yards of line from the reel and as it neared a far bank overhanging tree the hook pulled, oh damn it.....or something like that.
We fished on for a short time then the owner was on his rounds telling us the gates were closing at 8pm so we had 20 minutes to get the gear packed away. An enjoyable session and I am already looking forward to the Roach & Perch in the winter.

Dodgy mince pie

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The lost monster of the Avon

I had a few hours on the Upper Avon yesterday, as we always do I mapped out the session in fine detail a day or two before, where to fish, how to fish, what bait I needed etc etc, for me this planning prior to the actual execution of the session is half the buzz and that is when the anticipation and thoughts of monster's start to drift through the mind.......

I walked upstream from the parking area and the first thing I noticed was how overgrown the bank side of the river was, a few willows were down over the path from high water mixed with high winds and the fact that a majority of the club membership had not trodden the banks way before June 16th because of the conditions was all too visible, great for me I love it that way!

I started at the top of the section of river I was on, the same peg I fished on June 16th when there was around 4 feet of extra water pushing down the river, the picture's below hopefully demonstrate.

June 16th

August 1st

I started the session by casting a pellet with a feeder under a recently fallen willow in the hope of one of the stretches seemingly diminishing stock of Barbel, these fish have never been easy to catch but the past two seasons they have become ghost like and captures have become few and far between. Rumours have been heard of corpses of both large Barbel & Chub found up the bank with various parts of their anatomy ripped out but I am yet to witness this so I am unsure to the accuracy of those tales. While the Barbel rod was out I slowly tackled up a stick float rod as I intended to float fish for a few hours today as it was a method I had yet to employ on running water this season, I fed casters into the float run as I tackled up whilst leaving the Barbel rod in place for an hour. It was then time for the float and the Barbel rod was brought in and packed away until later, first trot through and the float was under and a small Dace was swung to hand, second trot through ended up the same, I was enjoying this! I fished this swim for a further hour and 6 Dace were caught, a Chublet and a few (yeah right a few) Minnows.

Plump Avon Dace

I then moved downstream to float fish a further 3 swims with varying degree's of success, a couple of Chublets were caught and a few more minnows before I arrived at the last swim which I planned to fish to dusk. The plan for this peg was a two rod approach, the river runs over gravel at about 5 feet deep and then drops into a 9 feet slack area that had produced nice Perch & Chub for me in the past, a rod for Barbel would be fished in the upper part of the swim and a float fished lob would be dropped into the deep hole down the edge.
I changed the float from a stock to a Chubber and was soon in business, a few chopped lobs and casters were fed into the swim and I then set the Barbel rod up cast that into position and sat down to chill out and taked the evening in, as I did that the float slipped away and the first of 3 Perch were brought to the net, nothing big, all between 8 - 12oz but welcome nonetheless.

Where is your mother?

It was just after 9pm and dusk was drawing in when the float simply disappeared, no warning just wham, I struck and immediately the rod took on an alarming curve, not a lot happened at first but then I felt a head shake or two and then whatever it was took off like a rocket, I gave line and initially I thought even though I was attached to a nice fish on just 5lb line I was happy with the way things were going, then I started feel a grating sensation coming back through the rod and the fish stopped dead in it's tracks, if I exerted any further pressure I was in danger of either snapping off or pulling the hook and if I reduced the pressure I started to feel kicking so I knew I was still attached to the unseen leviathan, for now. Stalemate ensued so I stood up and walked downstream slightly to see if a different angle would free the beast, it seemed to work and I felt more kicking before that sickening gut wrenching feeling as the rod sprung straight..............................
Gutted, I swung the remainder of the rig in and the line had parted about 12 inches above the hook, the line above that was also showing signs of abrasion as the fish had ran through some underwater cabbages to break me off, Carp or Barbel are the only two fish with speed and power as I felt, both fish are noted to haunt this peg also so the quest continues.........
I set  up again and cast out but the damage was done, the rain then started and quite heavily too so I started to pack the float rod away, then the Barbel rod that had remained motionless all night. I walked off the stretch in the rain, the battle with the lost fish running over in my mind again and again, could I have done anything further, probably not, I am putting it down to the experience and sitting here typing this I am already thinking about a return to the monster's lair.