Saturday, 24 August 2013

Two PB's Up North

Today saw Josh and I heading North, the reason at the beginning of the week was to pick up my finished float rod from Mick Holgate ( in Standish nr Wigan. I had taken the rod just before the river season started with a decal and inscription not yet complete so I dropped the rod back with Mick a couple of weeks ago and now it was 100% complete. As the week progressed Josh showed an interest with joining me for the ride and also taking a look at the River Ribble, a river that currently holds the PB for my Barbel & Chub, a river that I have spoken to him so much about over the past few years so he wanted to see it! As late as yesterday my wife said to me as we were in the area picking the rod up and as Josh wanted to see the river why don't we chuck a bit of tackle in the car and fish for a couple of hours....................OH GO ON THEN!
We left Coventry at 8.45 and within 5 minutes Josh asked where the fly rod was that he wanted to use, oh sh*t was my response it is in the garage, so a180 degree turn and we were heading home to pick the fly rod up, great start. It was round the Cannock area on the M6 that I remembered that my groundbait was also still in the garage, jesus this isn't good but after a quick call to Mick he identified a local tackle shop to him (Coppull Fishing Tackle) so we were out of the woods on that one, I just hoped that the rods/reels were actually in the bloody holdall!
We arrived at Micks at 11.00 and the rod was there in all its glory looking sweet as, he had also left a card for the tackle shop so I quickly took the post code and dropped it into the Sat Nav, only a couple of miles away and en-route to the stretch of the Ribble I had identified, things were coming together at last.

Finished rod with decal and inscription
We arrived at the tackle shop within 5 minutes of leaving Micks and I asked Josh to wade in and pick up a bag of groundbait, anything would do as long as it stunk were his instructions, he got back in the car with a bag of Krill groundbait that on first glance I thought was Dynamite but it was in fact Old Ghost......never heard of it but hey beggars cannot be........
Old Ghost Krill Killa
 So we finally pressed on to the Ribble, the first stretch we looked at had 5 cars in the car park which although doesn't mean anything to you told me that we would merely turn our car around and head for another stretch, this was ten minutes away and on arrival I was glad to see only 2 cars in situ. We walked down the stretch to a peg that I used to fish when I frequented the stretch back in the early 00's, there were a few new snags in evidence but bedrock gullies don't change in 10 years so I was happy enough and it would only be a short session anyway. I set up 2 splodgers with 8mm pellets on a size 10, Josh would use the fly rod as he seems to be getting into it but I intended on giving him any takers on the far bank pellet offerings. After about 20 minutes the downstream rod was away with a stuttery take, Josh played it towards the net and it was then I saw a flash of red fins, a small Barbel I presumed but the next view of the 'Barbel' clearly showed a decent Roach, in the net she went and on the scales she went 1lb 7oz, a PB, a beauty indeed with cormorant damage on one flank but they are coming back (Roach that is) as mates catches have shown.
1.07 Ribble Roach

So the session had started well and we fished on, around 30 minutes later the upstream rod went and this was a far more aggressive take so I immediately thought a Barbel would be the culprit, again I passed the rod to Josh and it started to beat him up straight away, taking line at will and I thought if it was a Barb, it was a good one but as the fish neared the bank it again performed a change as per the previous Barbel-Roach had, this though was a change of Barbel-Common Carp, a nice stocky fish that fought well above its punching weight, the scales showed 9lb 6oz so it was a second PB for the little guy in just over an hour, happy days indeed!

We fished on until 3PM without any further action but Josh enjoyed it and I must admit although I didn't catch I enjoyed being back on my old stomping ground, the Ribble is a great river and it has fished pretty consistently over the past few years, plans are afoot to get back and fish into dark for the two of us and we left the river happy enough, I had my rod, Josh had two great fish, what more would we want.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Barbel double under the stars

With Josh and I on holiday a night session was in the mix, the target species would be Barbel and the venue the upper Trent, the weather forecast was OK and after the recent rain the river had fallen and the dreaded green stuff that   floats down and wipes out your rods had also subsided. It is almost as though the Trent becomes unfishable at least on the upper section when the river rises, huge clumps of weed appear and they can be a nightmare, wiping you out within seconds of casting in sometimes.........

We arrived fairly early so we could secure the chosen swim and that we achieved so we had a walk about the stretch having a look in a few nooks and crannies before starting to set up base camp, the bivvy was erected as Josh was with me (he likes a proper roof over his head at night!) and we also had a bite to eat before starting to assemble the rods, rigs and get some bait into the run. I bait dropped 2 & 1/2 pints of hemp plus 6 of pellet and around 40 crushed/split boilies in to get a decent bed of bed down and hopefully to start some whiskers twitching, the rods were in at 7.30PM and we sat back and enjoyed the evening and the accompanying wildlife that goes with it, swallows, swans, crows, magpies, buzzard and a kingfisher were all seen throughout the period leading up to dusk but the tips remained motionless. At 9PM I got the dropper out again and topped the run up and then it was sit back time as darkness descended upon us. It was the night after a full moon but there was ample cloud cover above us for the first few hours which I was glad of as I have never caught that much with a big bright moon lighting things up!
Josh retired to his bedchair/bivvy at 11PM and I remained outside by the rods staring intently at the red & green isotopes on the tips. At 11.55 the downstream rod keeled over and line was taken from the free spool, I lifted into the fish, felt a thump or two before the hook pulled....................some choice words were uttered before I checked the hook point (which looked OK) so I rebaited and dropped the rod back into the run. I then sat out for another hour praying that our only chance hadn't been spurned, at 1AM I too retired to the bivvy and although I remember it taking some time for me to get to sleep the next thing I remember was the Delkim on the downstream rod shrieking, I was straight up and on the rod and felt a good fish pulling back, I slowly pumped it back upstream and it then went mental under the tip, continually boring back into the middle of the river before finally giving up and in the net she went. I was continually shouting Josh during playing the fish and he eventually staggered out of the bivvy half asleep as I netted it, must do better Josh! I thought 8-9lb on the mat but the scales told us 10lb 1oz so happy days, first Trent Barbel and its a double.

Josh also got a picci, still wearing his Tiger onesie!

I was hopeful of further action as these fish are definitely night crawlers so topped up the bait again before casting back in but no further action came our way and we called it a day at 7.15AM.

We dropped into the Salt Box Café for a breakfast and then I took Josh onto the River Dove to see the plaque that we had erected earlier this year in memory of one of our fishing pals. All in all a good session and Josh is already chomping at the bit for the next 'under the star' session.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Sunday trotting

Every other Sunday between April & October my daughter attends a local equestrian event in Warwickshire, I am there on most occasions providing support, towing the horsebox when required and anything else I can turn my hand to so trotting on a Sunday is not an unusual thing for me....................

First Place!

This last Sunday however I was partaking in the piscatorial form of trotting, the River Severn was the venue and Barbel were the quarry, the swim was already chosen with a couple of fall backs if the river was too high to wade out to where I wanted to be. I arrived at just after 7am as I heard Keith Arthur tell the listeners that his 'Fishermans Blues' show was being cut back from two hours to just one......he didn't seem bothered so hey ho. I parked the car in a temporary spot whilst I ran down the bank to quickly survey the level, it was game on so back to the car and into the car park and on with the chesties.  The run I intended to fish was quite close to the RH bank but the access was impossible from that bank so I accessed from the LH bank, 3/4 of the river from that side being no more than 18 inches deep before arriving at the fast 4-5 foot gravel lined run that I wanted to fish, first job was to get some banksticks in the gravel so the rod, bait bucket and landing net were all positioned correctly, feeding this swim would play a huge part in how the fish reacted and I didn't want to be looking down for my bait as more often that not the swim would receive two handfuls of bait per trot.

Mid river set up
The set up was simple, 7.6lb line to a 6.12 hooklink, size 14 Drennan Super Speci and a 2&1/2 swan Drennan Chubber. Hopefully my new 14ft Gti SU would be tested today as afterall this was why I had bought it!  I fed the run with hemp & caster for about 20 minutes whilst drinking in the surroundings under the watchful eye of the Wrekin but I eventually gave up and started to fish, three casters on the hook, first run through and the float buried straight away, I thought it was a snag and lifted the rod, the 'snag' then ran past me at speed and into another snag and snapped the hooklink, GREAT bloody start! I re-rigged and disposed of the lighter link and ran the 7.6 straight through. Third run down and again the float buried but this time the strike was met with a heavy weight and the tell tale head shake of a hooked Barb, she sat in the flow for 20 seconds solid before running downstream with the pin spinning wildly! Excellent this is what I wanted, after a good scrap with the rod doing the business and soaking up the lunges she was guided to slack water to my left and ready for the net, she looked every ounce 9lb too but as she approached the net the hook pulled, she righted herself and shot off, Barbel 2 - Danny 0 ........ 

I regained my composure, the hook seemed fine so on I went, it took a few more runs through before the first fish was landed and that was a plump Dace, the next trot through again saw a bite and the rod once again was firmly hooped over against an unmoving object, after a great scrap again the first Barbel of the morning was drawn over the net , thank god for that!
As the session continued so did the bites and Barbel came steadily to the net, I finished the session on 7 Barbel, all but one to caster (other one pellet). An interesting point, whilst I had a bite to eat and a drink I dropped a light lead fishing an 8mm pellet down the run but after 20 minutes without a touch I changed back to the float, first run down and bang a fish was hooked, just shows how a moving bait outfishes a static one during the day in bright conditions on a clear(ish) river.

All in all a great session, the rod handled the Barbel beautifully with plenty of power to absorb the runs of the Barbel in the fast flow, I'm now looking for another swim to test it in!