Thursday, 29 December 2011

Another Breaded Barbel!

Thursday 29th December

I had a whole day to fish today and with the weather still being mild i decided to work a couple of familiar stretches of the Trent in the hope of banking a nice Chub or two. It was very windy upon my arrival and although the sun was trying to poke through the clouds there was a fine rain in the air which made for a very vivid rainbow, i just hoped there was a big golden Chub at the end of it .
I soon settled in a sheltered spot and put the brolly up to keep the rain off a bit . There was quite a bit of flow in the middle but there was a nice marginal spot to my right with some reeds which looked chubby and this was where i decided to concentrate some bait. After a while of total inactivity the sky cleared and the sun came out proper . My impatience started to kick in and i was thinking about a move, id been there an hour without so much as a twitch .
I packed my bait and bits back into my bag and was just about to reel in when the tip juddered slightly, pulled around about 2inches and held there . It could almost have been weed catching on the line but i struck anyway and immediately found myself having to backwind as a powerful fish made its way downstream.
I was getting an uncanny sense of deja-vu after the events of boxing day and sure enough, after some hair raising moments when the fish got out into the main flow, i soon had a nice looking Barbel sitting in the landing net . It was a real solid fish and took the needle on the scales around to 9lb2oz .

Another cold water Barbel to the bread, im starting to think there might be something in this ......

After that i decided to move anyway and after a couple of hours of not much happening other than catching a couple of skimmers, i was finally beaten by the weather . The wind really picked up and the rain came back with a vengeance making for some pretty uncomfortable fishing so i headed back to the car and home.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing day Barbel

After a hectic Christmas day i was looking forward to my traditional Boxing day fishing trip to blow the cobwebs away . Boxing day has been pretty good to me fishingwise over the years, it gave my first 20lb Carp around 20 years ago and numerous good bags of Perch and Chub ever since . I didnt have long today as we had relatives coming over later so a quick Chub session was to be the order of the day and conditions looked good . The river had about 18inches on it and was running clear, the weather, although windy was overcast and extraordinarily warm for the time of year.
The first spot i tried gave me a good few knocks on the tip and i suspected that small fish were the culprits . This was proved soon after as a positive pull resulted in a small Chub of about a pound. I continued to get the tiny twitches for another half hour or so before i decided that i was flogging a dead horse in terms of bigger fish so i opted for a move.
The new spot was very windswept and i was forced to sit in the teeth of it. I knew there was a deeper hole in the river bed here and that the Chub congregated in there during the winter so it was well worth braving the elements for.
I was surprised to not get any indications straight away as past experience told me that it was usually a pretty instant spot regardless of conditions. I continually trickled in tiny bits of bread to compliment the hookbait and soon enough began to get a few indications. Suddenly the tip wrapped around and a good fish was on .
It bore deep and it was quickly apparent that this was no Chub and on the light gear it was putting up a really good account of itself .  As it neared the bank i saw a big flash of gold in the murk and my thoughts of Barbel were confirmed. It behaved itself pretty well and was soon nestling in the bottom of my net .
It wasnt a big fish at around 5-6lb but its the first time ive had one this late in the year and it made my session . I never bothered recasting after that as i didnt have a great deal of time left so i headed back to the Christmas excess with a fish-shaped glow inside of me.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Commercial Perch - Following new leads

Saturday 24th December

Its Christmas eve, all presents are bought, food is sorted and all the other little jobs that go hand in hand with Xmas are taken care of . Now i find myself with a free day what do you suppose i should do with it? ask a silly question!
The rivers looked well out of sorts for some Chub action which is what i really fancied doing so instead i decided to head to a small commercial fishery in Derbyshire which id been tipped off about. Its got form for producing some good Perch and although it had been originally brought to my attention over a year ago this was to be my first visit to the venue.
The weather was overcast, windy and cold as i stepped out of the car and it wasnt showing any signs of getting better so i headed for a spot where i would have my back to the wind. Id been told it was very good fishing in the margins but upon seeing the lake for the first time i was shocked to see that the majority of the reeds in the edge were completely out of the lake due to the water level being nearly 3feet down! A legacy of the ridiculously dry summer weve just had.

The water levels were well down

There was still one or two nice looking spots with reeds still in the water although subsequent plumbing revealed them to be very shallow . I ended up opting for an open water swim which at least appeared to have a  bit of depth to it and i reasoned that given the low levels and cold conditions, the fish would be as deep as they could get, thats what i hoped anyway.

It looked the part but it was only 18inches deep

I setup a tip rod, baited it with a Prawn and cast in . After about 10 minutes i recieved a real wrap around of a bite and i couldnt believe i missed it . Over the next hour the same thing happened another 4-5 times despite changing my hook size and even the bait size. It didnt matter anyhow because whilst i pondered what i was doing wrong, watery sunshine began to appear through the clouds and the bites dried up completely.
I switched to floatfished maggots and began to pick up  a few Roach and Gudgeon straight away. Some of the Roach were clonkers , a couple were certainly over the pound mark . I discovered id forgotten my scales when i decided to weigh one so i cant be sure on exact sizes.

After a while i decided to feederfish the maggots further out to see if there was any Perch in the deeper water . It turned out that there was! the little chap in the pic below perked up my confidence a bit but it was pretty short lived because his grandad refused to play ball and the Skimmers moved in .

All too soon it was time to pack up and even though the big Perch didnt show i certainly saw enough to make it worth a return visit . Merry Christmas everybody!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Back to the brook

Saturday 17th December

The weather has still been pretty cold over the last week and today was no exception . I had a few hours spare this morning and planned to spend them on a local brook in pursuit of its Roach and large Dace. The brook in question is the same one i visited about this time last year when everything was covered in snow so i reasoned that it should be good for a few bites given the conditions. There had been an extremely hard frost overnight and upon arriving at the bankside i was a little disappointed to see that it was running very low, very clear and there wasnt a fish in sight which was unusual, this was going to be tougher than i thought.

I couldnt raise so much as a sniff in the first couple of spots i tried but after heading to some slightly deeper water upstream i began to find a few fish. The fish werent exactly crawling up the line and i was having to work for every bite but i had some nice Dace and a couple of small Chub .  Before i knew it id been there nearly 4 hours and it was time to head back.
As i got to the shallower runs downstream near the car i spotted some fish dimpling the surface near a bridge so i put some bits of bread in and they began swirling at it straight away. I made a cast and caught one imediately, a nice Dace, the biggest of the day at 10oz . As i walked past the spot id just caught from i spotted the rest of the shoal and was amazed at how well the fish were hidden considering the water was only about 6inches deep!

Below are some pics from the day and hopefully they give some idea of just how small and shallow the place is . Its incredible how the fish seem to thrive in there despite living in what must be a very tough environment . The place becomes a torrent when it floods and when its low the fish are sitting ducks for predators . I could get in there and walk along it for miles and it wouldnt come above my knees yet it wouldnt surprise me in the slightest if it threw up a real monster of a Dace one day . Anyway thatll have to wait till next time ..........

Youve probably noticed one or two changes to the look of my blog of late . This is because, apart from freshening things up, i want to make room for bigger pictures and stuff . There may be one or two more tweaks still to come but i intend to have it all sorted for the new year so please bear with me!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Winter finally arrives

Its been a while since my last update but sometimes life gets in the way and the fishing has to take a bit of a backseat . A close family member was recently hospitalised after an accident so my thoughts have been dragged away from the riverbank and on to more important things of late .
I have been out on the bank a couple of times though since the last entry and the first week of December brought with it the first real wintery weather ive experienced this season . Bitterly cold strong winds coupled with a mixture of frosts and rain served to put a bit of a dampener on the fishing as my recent results clearly show!

Just prior to the weather turning i had another after work session on the Derwent in the same swim i caught the Barbel from last time around. It was very mild and breezy but even though it was dark i could see that the river level was about 6 inches down on when i caught the Barbel . As a result the flow had dropped considerably and with it the Barbel seemed to have disappeared too .  Over the course of the evening i went on to catch Chub of 4.6, 4.10 and 4.12 .

After that trip the weather turned ugly and with it my thoughts turned towards Pike. Most of the local rivers were carrying a bit after the rain and i really didnt fancy them so i headed for the Soar which seems to behave completely differently to the Trent, Derwent and Dove . This is probably because it flows from the opposite direction to the other three as a result it wasnt carrying and i needed a bend in the rod so thats where i went.
I spent a morning leap-frogging along a short stretch near my house and managed four takes, landing two and losing the other two to hookpulls. The biggest was around 8-9lb but they served  to boost to my confidence considering the weather conditions.

The next day i went to a different stretch hopefully for more of the same but despite working it for about 5 hours with a variety of baits and methods i never had so much as a sniff. The weather was in stark contrast  to that of the previous day though being very bright and sunny with an exeptionally strong, cold wind.

My most recent trip was, once again, to the Soar and this time conditions looked good . It was much milder than what it had been and was overcast, i was looking forward to a good day. My plan was to jump from swim to swim down the stretch giving it an hour in each before moving onto the next. The first swim had a nice overhanging tree with about 7ft of water underneath and it looked cock on ........

.... and it was as the first Pike of the day quickly took an interest and the float began to bob about before sliding away. After a brief tussle a lively Jack of about 5lb was soon sliding into the net. At this point disaster struck and the net broke at the spreader block! I ended up gloving the Pike out but obviously my session ended there as i didnt fancy gloving out a lump should i be lucky enough to hook one . I went home with the intention of returning with another net but it started to rain heavily and i got roped into some DIY as i walked through the door so that was that then, doh!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A tale of two rivers

Sunday 20th November

Trouted out on the Dove

I wasnt sure where to go on Sunday until i had a phone call from Phil who was planning a day chasing Grayling on the River Dove . I decided to tag along with a mind to catching some Chub and maybe a Perch if i could find one.
As we headed up the A50 at first light it was apparent that it was going to be a very murky day indeed with a lot of fog about and no wind, Good conditions i thought hopefully. Once we arrived we went our separate ways, Phil to his favourite Grayling swim and me to the nearest Perch swim.
Nothing happened whatsoever for me in the first swim so i moved and after taking a Trout and a Crayfish in the new swim that too went dead. After that i decided that Chub might be a better bet and chose my next spot accordingly, i also switched from Lobs to breadflake.
It turned out that the Trout seemed to be really switched on to the bread and i just couldnt stop catching them! everywhere i went i caught them and i lost count in the end . By the time we packed up id probably caught around 20, mostly Brownies with a solitary Rainbow chucked in for good measure . No Chub materialised for me although Phil reported catching one of about 3lb aswell as a load of Grayling. Interestingly Phil fished maggots and only landed one Trout all day so the lesson is, if you want Trout, get on the Hovis!

Tuesday 22nd November

After dark dangling on the Derwent

Whilst at work earlier today i was thinking about that swim i caught the Barbel in last Saturday and i decided that it certainly warranted some more attention . When i finished at the workhouse i headed home with great plans for an evening session and after digging out my last tin of Spam from the back of the kitchen cupboard i made my way through the rush hour traffic to the river .
Once out of the car and walking across the fields i was surprised at how cold it felt, the sky was very clear and the air felt like a frost could be on its way. I setup, got cast in and almost straight away i started getting twitches as the fish got straight on the bait. Within a few minutes the downstream rod buckled over and a fish was on, unfortunately it found a snag and after a horrible grating on the line the inevitable happened and the line parted .
I retackled, recast and rebaited thinking my chance had gone . After an hour or so of total inactivity the same rod went again and after some hard bullying i soon had a small Barbel of 6lb exactly in the net. Upon closer inspection i was delighted to find that the hooklink i had lost earlier was embedded in the fishes lip next to the new one. I released the fish safely, pleased in the knowledge that the lost fish from earlier was no longer trailing my rig around.

Once i got settled again i had another bite, this time on the upstream rod . The line was truly hissing off the baitrunner and as i struck i felt the fish bump off the hook. Cursing my luck i recast and decided to commit all the bait i had left into a final all or nothing push.
It paid off because at about 8.15 the downstream rod went again and a fish was on. This certainly felt bigger than the one earlier and so it proved as a nice fish of 10lb2oz was soon posing for a pic on the mat .

I packed up after that as i had no more bait with me. I had been there less than 3 hours but the new swim had well and truly proved itself and i shall certainly be heading there again very soon . Im really getting into my Barbelling at the moment, i dont normally fish for them much after October but from my results of late i think ive been missing a trick . The fish are really starting to bulk out and are in great condition at the minute so i think ill be sticking with them for a while yet............ 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A lucky double

Saturday 19th November

My trip today was to be a morning session targetting some Perch on the Derwent . Although the weather is still very mild at the minute there wasnt a cloud in the sky this morning  so i knew i would be up against it Perchwise. To counter this i took half a loaf of bread along aswell as the maggots and worms just in case the Chub were having it.
I arrived at first light and found a nice looking swim, it had a tree in the water downstream with a good depth around it and some slack water, it certainly looked the part. Almost as soon as i cast in it was obvious the swim was home to thousands upon thousands of minnows. The tip didnt sit still as the tiny fish pecked every bait i put out there to pieces . After two hours with nothing to show for it i decided to move swim . The sun was out and extremely bright by now so i decided to switch my attentions to Chub and picked my next swim accordingly. It was fairly shallow and quite wide and was a spot id caught a few from in the past .
After about an hour on the bread with no indications i switched to a worm fished alongside some reeds to my left. At least there didnt appear to be any minnows in this swim, in fact there didnt appear to be anything in there, it looked dead. Just as i was thinking of another move a large fish splashed on the far bank prompting me to reel in and cast to it on the offchance.
Within a couple of minutes of recasting i had a couple of tiny taps which had my hand hovering over the rod. Another tap followed by the line dropping slack had me striking and the rod took on a healthy curve, a very healthy curve in fact!
The fish charged upstream pulling line off the clutch, this was no Perch or Chub! I managed to coax it away from some snags on the far bank and soon it was charging about mid river which is pretty much where it stayed for the next ten minutes! I was only fishing a 5lb bottom and although i hadnt seen the fish yet i assumed it was either a Carp or a Barbel so i was being as careful as i could not to lose it yet trying to keep as much pressure on as i dare. I began to feel it tire and as it swam near the bank downstream of me i got my first look at it and it turned out to be a decent looking Barbel. Suddenly it decided to give up and roll on its side whereupon i netted it much to my relief!
It was a short solid fish in mint condition and it tipped the scales around to 11lb3oz, a Derwent PB and a very lucky one too i reckon!
As i returned it i decided to whip out my phone and film a quick clip of it and the results are below. I dont know why its turned out in slim-o-vision though and i have no idea how to change it . I packed up and headed home after that as i didnt fancy struggling on any longer . What a way to save a blank!


Monday, 14 November 2011

A nightmare session amongst other stuff

I was due to visit my Brother who is fresh back from Afghanistan this weekend but even so i managed to sneak a fishing trip in first thing Saturday morning. The river Derwent and its Barbel were to be my targets and i arrived at first light to find the river looking good.
As i approached my first swim things started to go somewhat downhill for me . As i negotiated a nearby barbed wire fence i caught my sundridge trousers on it and ripped a 6 inch gash in them, nice. Nevertheless i had some fishing to do and i was soon setup with a big lump of meat in position down the margin to my left.
After a few minutes i had a typical bouncy Chub bite and connected with a nice fish. As i got the fish ready for netting it became caught around a sunken branch just under the surface about a rodlength out. Fortunately my net has a long pole and at a good stretch i was able to reach the fish. At this point things really went tits up!
My net pole decided to part at the spigot holding the two halves together and the business end dropped in the river and began to sink out of sight. I quickly grabbed my rod rest and attempted to hook it around the last visible part of the handle. All i succeeded in doing was pushing it further away and it disappeared so i put the rod rest down and concentrated on landing the fish. After some firm pulling, the braid saw the snag off leaving me to hand-land the Chub which looked a good 4. As i returned it i accidentally knocked my rod-rest into the river losing that aswell!
As i forlornly packed up what was left of my gear my mood was lifted as i noticed my lost net pole sticking up out of the water a few yards downstream at the bottom of a high bank . I walked down to it i was gutted to see that the only way of retrieving it meant having a paddle . I bit the bullet and was soon waist deep in Derwent but relieved to have got the net back. Obviously i wasnt hanging around after that lot so i skulked off home with my tail between my legs!

The highlight of my weekend wasnt actually fishing related for a change . An impromptu visit to RAF Waddington on remembrance Sunday courtesy of my brother allowed me to indulge in my nerdish fascination with military hardware . The Vulcan bomber they have there was of particular interest as i recently read a book about it and its famous role in the Falklands war . Its such a shame that a piece of British history like that is now nothing more than a rusting hulk tucked away in a quiet corner of the base hidden from the public and all-but forgotten about.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A new PB, dont ignore whats on your doorstep!

Sunday 6th November

I was hoping to continue yesterdays form with a full day at it today. I had plans to hit the Derwent and spend a bit of time roving about dropping in likely looking spots. Unfortunately with me, things rarely go to plan and after a late night of fireworks, bonfires and drinking with friends it was gone 8 oclock before i even got out of bed. To make matters worse i opened the curtains to be greeted with clear skies and very bright sunshine, not good!
I very nearly didnt bother going, especially when my better half started cooking some bacon up! i had quick look on the net to check the river levels and was pleased to find they hadnt changed a great deal on yesterday, there might be a chance after all .......
My kit was still ready from yesterday so i threw some clothes on, packed the car and headed down to a local stretch of the Soar about 5 minutes away from my house. The river looked extremely Autumnal bathed in the morning sunshine. The golden leaves shimmering on the trees, the dying beds of  reeds and the slightly swollen river combined to create a real sense that summer is well and truly gone now and everything now readies itself for winter.
As expected there was nobody else down there save for the odd dog walker and it wasnt long before i settled in a likely looking swim. Once again, curried Spam was the bait of choice, its a bait ive gained real confidence in of late and i now prefer it over the usual pellets and boilies. Im convinced thats its a lot more instant than the others and if theres a Barbel in a swim it wont be ignored for long!
And so it proved, after 10 minutes of fishing the upstream rod tip pulled around and after a brief tussle a chunky Barbel of 8lb12oz was landed . This turned out to be a repeat capture of a fish i caught on bread back in February . The fish has very curious shape to it and was instantly recognisable even though on this occasion it was quite a way upstream of where i caught it before . The conditions obviously werent that bad after all!
After returning that one i recast and sat back to see if anything else would come along. I was just catapulting some freebies around the upstream rod when the downstreamer suddenly signalled a vicious take. I struck into the fish and almost straight away i could feel it grating through something. Whatever my line was caught on though was moving and steady pressure kept me gaining line on the fish. After an anxious couple of minutes a large clump of weed hit the surface with what looked like a very good Barbel trailing about 3ft behind it. At this point the Barbel woke up an decided to go mad under the rod tip, the clump of weed making things very tricky. Braid isnt great for playing fish on a short line due to its lack of stretch and ive learnt to my cost in the past that a properly set clutch is absolutely essential in these situations. The reel performed exeptionally on this occasion and it wasnt long before a big lump of Barbel was lying on the mat.
At 12lb6oz it was a new Personal best and i was well chuffed!


A big, solid lump of Barbel

After walking all those miles along the Trent, Derwent and Soar this season i finally get the 12lber ive been after within spitting distance of my front door! After returning the fish safely i had that lovely mission accomplished feeling,  i didnt have the desire to fish on any longer even though there seemed to be a few feeding so i got packed up and headed for home.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Back to Barbel

Saturday 5th November

Some heavy rain towards the end of the week looked like it promised some rising river levels so with this in mind i had planned an after-work trip on Friday. Unfortunately i had tough job on at work which delayed me to the point where it wasnt worth going so i decided upon a first light attack on the Saturday.
The trip didnt start great because as i unpacked the car by the river i realised i had picked up the wrong rod bag! my Perch gear and Barbel kit are both in identical bags and id picked up the wrong one, doh! I drove home to get the right one and i was back at the river within 20minutes so all was not lost just yet.
When arrived at my chosen swim i was pleased to note that the river was indeed carrying a bit, maybe about 6inches although the water was still fairly clear. I was pretty confident as i cast my curried Spam hookbaits into position.
After about 10minutes my right hand rod decided to do a see-saw impression on the rod rest and i lifted into what felt like a small Barbel. It turned out to be a very deep bodied Chub of just over 4lb and provided a pleasing start to the trip.


The weather was very overcast and murky this morning and the air felt damp even though it wasnt actually raining. There was quite a bit of rubbish coming down the river and it appeared to be still rising, I recast full of anticipation for some more action.
After a short while i recieved a good bang on the right hander once again, the tip then went around steadily and stayed there, line was slowly ticking off the tight baitrunner. I lifted into a fish but it was imediately apparent a lot of weed had built up on the line which hampered things a bit. The fish swam upstream of me in some serious flow and with it pulling all that weed aswell i had a feeling that this might be a good one. It wasnt long before i had it dangling below the scales though and a weight of 10lb10oz was confirmed.


After that i decided to pack up as i had a few errands to run in town, i was back home for 9.30. Another short session does the business!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

About time we had an update ......

Ive not been out a great deal since my last entry, twice to be exact, but ive still been catching a few despite the weather starting to turn a little colder. I dont know if its just me but Autumn seems to have started very abruptly. That heatwave at the start of the month kind of lured us into a false sense of security and all of a sudden now the trees are losing their leaves extremely quickly and the lakes and rivers have a distinct wintery feel to them.

On Friday 21st I had an after work trip to a club water with a proven reputation for some very large Perch . Even though ive had the ticket for nigh-on six months this was to be my first visit and i had high hopes. I found a nice looking swim with some large beds of Canadian pondweed to fish too and started plumbing the depth. It was soon apparent it was very deep for a tiny pool and i had 9feet under the rod tip. My intention was to floatfish Lobworms and see what came along, the pool holds a lot of small Carp and i was hoping they wouldnt be too troublesome.
After 10minutes i had a sail-away bite and connected to a nice fish, i was surprised when a Chub of about 2lb was netted. Another half a dozen of these followed to well over 4lb aswell as a Carp of about 3lb but the Perch were conspicuous by their absence.
A switch to maggot brought a string of Roach, Rudd and Crucians, i also had a couple of small Perch to about 8oz too. I only had a couple of hours of daylight left and i was just reeling in yet another tiny Roach when all of a sudden there was a big swirl behind it. I lowered it back in and just as it disappeared into the murk there was a heavy thump on the rod and my line started to steadily pull out towards the middle of the lake.
Obviously i didnt stand a chance on a size 18 hook which was already in the Roach but i struck and the rod hooped over savagely before springing straight leaving me with a very tattered and very dead Roach. So they wanted a bait with a bit more wriggle did they?
Within 5 minutes another roach was being lowered in, this one however was liphooked on a size 4 and suspended beneath a chubber float. It barely had time to settle before it shot off and my strike met with a bumped fish.
Cursing my luck i hooked up another Roach and once again it was taken on the drop . There was no messing this time around and a Perch of about 2lb was soon bristling indignantly in the bottom of the net. This was followed about 10 minutes later by another one of a similar size. Another bumped fish and a missed run occured before it got too dark to see any more . I packed up having taken something like 25lb of fish and my appetite for another trip there was well and truly whetted . I had left my camera in my other kit bag so there are no pics to remember the session by unfortunately!

The following day i attended the annual Milton Keynes Specimen Group bash and as ever it was another good-un. Mick brown was the guest speaker for the evening and he did a great job of keeping us all entertained with his slide-show and fishy ramblings. It was nice to catch up with a few old aquaintances aswell as meeting one or two new ones and I even won a tacklebox system in the raffle too which was a nice bonus!

My most recent session was spent chasing Pike and i gotta say it was pretty tough going . I covered a lot of water over a good couple of miles and despite starting at first light it wasnt until mid afternoon when i had my first pickup. The water was painfully clear and as I twitched my bait for the umpteenth time that day i noticed a decent looking fish glide in and turn away from it at the last minute. It stopped sideways on about 6 ft away from the bait eying it up. I twitched it again and the Pike turned, another twitch and with a gentle flick of its tail it sidled up to the bait and engulfed it in one fluid movement. After a bit of gill flaring it turned and i struck, the rod hooped over and after a very energetic battle which involved lots of tailwalking i slipped the net under a very lean and mean 12lber.

A move to another swim followed and as i prepped a rod to be cast out i glanced into the water and froze. A Pike of similar size to the first had literally just taken up residence in the margin to my left and, sensing an opportunity, i slowly turned  and picked up the now baited rod and gently lowered it in about 3feet away from the fish. The Pikes fins visibly bristled and it moved very slowly towards the bait which was now resting on the bottom . 
After staring at it for what seemed like an age the Pike flared its gills as if it was trying to blow the bait up off the bottom. The bait moved a little and the fish ever-so-gently mouthed it before a final flare of the gills saw it disappear from view. I struck and the fish twisted and rolled on the spot for a split second before spitting my dead Roach back at me  and shooting off leaving a shower of silvery scales shimmering in the water in its wake, gutted.
I stayed put in the same spot and kept a bait in the margins. After a while a jack of about 3lb showed up and started examining the bait. It obviously didnt like what it saw though and slowly swam away out of sight. Five minutes later after i had sat back down, the float bobbed under and stayed under. I stood up for a peek and was surprised to see that what looked like my lost fish had returned and was sat there shaking its head with my bait in its mouth! no wonder that jack didnt hang around! I struck and had a repeat performance of the first round, it had gotten away yet again! I packed up after that with plenty of food for thought and plans to return for some more 'sight' fishing very soon!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Blenheim blank and some Dove respite

Sunday 16th October

As i mentioned in my last entry i had a boat booked at Blenheim palace lake for this weekend with my old mucker Phil. We set off from mine at 5.15am with the intention of arriving lakeside at around 7ish and despite being very foggy all the way down there we made good time. The punt was fully loaded and cast off by 7.30 but if anything the fog had got thicker and we couldnt see more than 30yards ahead of us. Because of this we opted to head for some snags just up the bank from the boathouse until we could see a bit more and work out our options. There was 13 boats out in total so competition for spots was quite high.

A foggy start

The lake slowly began to reveal itself as the fog lifted and what a view it was! Blenheim is an absolutely stunning water and im sure anybody else who has visited it will surely agree. The only thing which marred it somewhat was the seemingly hundreds of Cormorants adorning pretty much every tree around the lake. The waters biomass mustve been huge at some point to support that many birds but ive a feeling the place is all but denuded of small to mid-sized fish nowadays. Ill certainly never moan about seeing the odd Cormorant on the Trent again after seeing the size of  Blenheims population! 
Once we anchored up and commenced fishing, it didnt take long for another of the lakes problems to manifest itself as Phils floatfished lobworm was quickly snaffled by a bloody Crayfish,  this was gonna be another grueller........

I wish Cormorants would eat these buggers!

Phil missed a couple of other bites and i still hadnt had a sniff by the time the sun came up proper so we decided upon a move. All the well known areas were occupied by other boats and there was even two groups of anglers bank fishing so we headed to the bay on the opposite side to the boathouse away from the crowds. After another Crayfish and having some other chaps move in on us we saw that the area around the grand bridge had become free so we headed there.

The Grand bridge

Although ive fished the lake before ive never fished around the bridge as its always been stitched up and upon our arrival there i was struck by how shallow it is. We moored to the right of the main arch and the lakebed was clearly visible.
The sun was now well and truly up and it was actually starting to get really warm. The fishing wasnt though and we sat there for a biteless couple of hours, not even seeing the slightest sign of a fish, before we decided to head back to the area we had begun in. At least the grebes had been catching the odd tiddler back there!
We moored up in the same spot and commenced some hard fishing, floatfished lobs to the snags and floatfished deadbaits along the bank either end of the boat.

The boathouse in the afternoon sunshine

We both had a few suspicious crayfish type knocks and twitches as the afternoon wore on . My pike float eventually went under  at about 4ish but i struck into nothing, the bait looked like the crays had been at that too. As the light began to go and the other boats began to come in i finally had a proper bite on the worm, the float shot away and i went to strike only to find my line caught under the rope-tie thingy on the edge of the boat and i promptly missed it!
We fished on until dusk for no more action so we headed back in. We were the second from last in and the guy in the boathouse told us that only one 9lb Pike had been caught all day from all the other boats that had already come in. It had fished pretty tough then by all accounts but im looking forward to going back next year already!

Monday 17th October

I had today booked off work as a backup plan to catch something should Blenheim not work out. It didnt so i decided to head out for my first Perching trip to the river Dove this season . After last seasons results there i was fully prepared for another grueller but im a glutton for punishment and theres something about fishing for Perch there that really gets my juices going.
Last season taught me a great deal about the areas where Dove Perch tend to frequent and im convinced, certainly in the areas ive been fishing, that there are only several small groups of  fish in any given stretch. They certainly arnt in every swim like they are in the Trent, Derwent and Soar, there just isnt enough of them in the Dove.
With this in mind i decided to start in a swim ive caught from before and work my way from there. Out went the worm and after about half an hour of steadily feeding maggots over the top i had a bite which nearly pulled the rod off the rest! I couldnt believe i missed it! the fish had switched on though and, on my next put in, another wrap around bite resulted in a fat Perch which was just shy of 2lb. I missed one more bite over the next half hour before deciding a move was in order.
I headed just upstream and i had a 2lb fish before id even put any loosefeed in! No more bites were forthcoming after that so i upped sticks to look for another swim.


My next swim was one ive fished several times before yet ive never had a bite there. It looks bang-on for a Perch and ive never understood why its never produced for me but on this occasion the wind was howling down the river and this swim offered me a bit of shelter.
I was only going to give it half an hour, more to give me a break from the wind than anything else, so i was more than surprised when the tip pulled around and i hooked what felt like a decent fish. Unfortunately the knot on the hook went but i was soon cast back in with renewed enthusiasm for the swim. A couple of gentle taps had me striking into another Perch and there was no mistakes with this one, the scales read 2lb6oz.


I returned the fish about 40 yards downstream and after hooking two in the swim already i expectantly made another cast. I trickled in half a dozen maggots every couple of minutes until once again the tip juddered slightly before gently pulling around. Another one in the net, 2lb4oz this time.


The rest of the shoal had obviously melted away after that because i couldnt get another sniff . The weather too had closed in by now and, not wanting to get a soaking, i headed for home.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A belated update

Ive just realised that my blog is becoming somewhat neglected at the minute . This is due to several reasons but thats not to say that i havent been fishing, far from it in fact. Ive been out a few times and caught a good few fish, nothing spectacular but its been enjoyable.

I had a trip to the Derbyshire Derwent with the lure rod one evening and, after catching several small perch, i hit a nice Pike only to have it spit my lure back at me after a brief tussle. A change of lure saw me get another pull shortly afterwards which resulted in a fish of around 11-12lb.

A Bream trip on a local club lake proved to be an interesting day out . The bream werent obliging in the slightest but i did end up catching a shed load of perch thanks to a bit of opportunistic angling.  In front of me I saw loads of Perch in the margins and everytime i threw in a few maggots they were on them like piranhas. Firstly there was about a half a dozen tiddlers and after half an hour or so i had 20-30 better fish competing for the maggots. It was fascinating stuff watching the swim build before my eyes!

I didnt have any float gear so i locked a flouro pop-up on the line with some leger stops and tied a size 18 to a length of 2lb line. Two maggots were put on the hook and the rig was lowered in amongst the shoal. Within seconds a fish grabbed the bait and when i got it out i was surprised because it was way bigger than it looked in the water. I put it at about 2-3oz as it approached the bait but in my hand it was about 6! I went on to catch one after another for the next half hour including one which i caught, put back and then watched it swim up to the bait and take it again imediately!! The biggest i landed was about a pound or so.
Strange as it may sound, i could tell which ones were going to take the bait because they approached it in a completely different manner to the ones which would swim up and inspect it before ignoring it. I added a tiny shot to the line to make it sink a bit quicker but after this the bait was completely ignored, once i took it off i started catching again.
One or two roach made an appearance but they were very shy compared to the perch and tended to shoot in out of nowhere before disappearing again just as quickly.
The water was deceptively deep, i was fishing about 2ft and the fish were swimming up vertically off the bottom. I plumbed it at 6ft yet it didnt look much more than 3ft!

A couple of trips to the Trent quivertipping lobworms and bread followed and once again a lot of Perch were caught aswell as some decent Chub and Roach. The god awful weed is still bad but everything is starting to turn towards winter now so hopefully it wont be around for too much longer.

Im looking forward to next week as, inspired by Jeffs, Keiths and Lees antics in their blogs (see the list to the right) i decided to book onto Blenhiem palace lake before the weather turns too cold. Ive fished it before but only when its been really cold and ive struggled somewhat, lets hope its a bit better this time around .......

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Keeping em coming

Wednesday 21st September

As i hinted in my last entry ive not had much chance to get out lately due to other commitments and its been over a week since my last trip. I decided upon an evening session on Wednesday though and headed down the river with a mind to catch some more Barbel. After catching a couple last time around and resting it for a week i headed back to the same swim.
The weather was cool and very cloudy with a brisk upstream breeze and although the river was still very low and clear, i fancied my chances. Luncheon meat was my bait of choice today seeing as all my fish of late have fallen to it and i had spiced it up a little with a liberal dusting of curry powder. You will see from the pic below that i use a paste coil on the hair when fishing meat as i find that once its screwed into the bait then it really isnt going anywhere and it stands up to being pecked at by small fish for a lot longer aswell .

It was around an hour after casting out that i began to recieve a few twitches before eventually the rod tip slammed over. After the initial run the fish didnt really do a great deal other than keep deep so i thought it might be a good one. When i saw it in the water it looked fairly long but after netting it turned out to be quite skinny. The fish was very lively on the bank and the needle on the scales flickered between 9.14 and 10.2 so i settled on 10lb exactly, nice.

All too soon the darkness began to descend, i was till get the odd knock and twitch from small fish but didnt get any more real bites until just before dark when i hit into something that felt very strange indeed. It was thumping like mad on the end of the line yet it felt heavy almost like it was snagged on something. After some steading pulling the culprit was soon revealed as a clonking great Eel. At 3lb5oz it was a good fish too and after it covered me and all my kit in foul smelling slime i decided to call it a day and headed for home.

Friday 23rd September

Todays trip was on a stretch of my local river Soar, the scene of my 11lb barbel capture the other week. It was T-shirt weather when i arrived and although the action was very slow it was nice just to be out, might as well make the most of the good weather whilst it lasts!
Nothing was forthcoming for the first couple of hours and the river looked pretty dead . This couldve been down to the number of boats on the river today of which there was loads. Eventually though, just as i was passing the time of day with a chap off one of the aformentioned boats my upstream rod rattled off and after a typically hectic scrap a small Barbel of 7lb6oz was landed .

After that, i stayed on until dark for no more action whatsoever with barely even a tap on the rod-tips and i packed up pleased at not blanking. At least i seem to be catching fairly consistently at the minute .

Saturday 24th September

Today i hit the grand old age of 35 and after a hearty breakfast i decided to head out to a spot of bailiffing and have a chuck about with the lure-rod for a couple of hours. During my rounds pretty much everybodys ticket was in order and i only had to ask one chap to leave for having no ticket. Its amazing how people open up to you when your out checking tickets and i had a couple of very interesting conversations with regards to some future Barbel areas to try.
So what of the fishing? well, i dropped in on several swims but it was very slow indeed, no follows or taps on the lure whatsoever . I persevered and did eventually manage to get a hit in the end and from a nice fish too. It wasnt as heavy as i initially thought when i first saw it but at 2lb8oz it was a good Perch and most welcome.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Rolling into Autumn

The weather continues to cool off with strong winds and showers indicating that Autumn is pretty much upon us. My fishing of late has been a hotch-potch of mixed fortunes really since the 11lb Barbel of my last entry but stay with me cos it comes good in the end.

Friday 9th September
I had an afternoon of fly fishing on the river Dove at Eaton Dovedale planned for today . It is something ive never done on a river before and i was keen to give it a bash. My pal Rob, an experienced fly fisher, was on hand to show me the ropes and after some patient tuiton on his part i was soon able to roughly put a fly where i wanted it.
The weather didnt lend itself to fly fishing being quite windy and with it going overcast too, the fish werent rising much. Nevertheless i was enjoying myself even though i hadnt caught anything yet. One or two tiny fish got the heart racing a bit as they swirled at my fly but i couldnt connect with anything. Rob fared better and managed a small Trout and a Grayling after much searching.
The only real chance i got was when i miscast short due to the flyline getting stuck on some nettles at my feet and a decent Trout took the fly as i angrily untangled myself catching me completely off guard. I panicked, tightened down to the fish, completely forgetting to set the hook and unsurprisingly it managed to shake itself free!
After this i borrowed Robs float rod and some maggots to extract a couple of nice Grayling and save a blank! Fly fishing the rivers is definately something i will be doing more of when i get a chance ........

Saturday 10th September
A real grueller of a Barbel session ensued when i popped down to the Trent for a short evening trip. I arrived to find some sizeable rafts of weed coming down and after casting in it was soon obvious the dreaded green stuff was at all levels of the water column. I was getting wiped out by the stuff every few minutes. Despite this i managed to hook a large fish which had me backwinding from the off. It powered off downstream and although i managed to turn it and gain some line, i could suddenly feel the line grating on an unseen snag. Everything then went solid and despite trying to pull from both upstream and downstream of the snag the hooklink eventually parted.
After this i had to cower under my unhooking mat as i was subjected to some pretty fearsome rain showers during which i was still battling the weed every 10-20minutes. Not surprisingly, once the showers had subsided, id had enough and headed for home, very wet and very dejected.

Sunday 11th September
I was amazed to get another pass out for an evening session tonight and, after mobilising Keith, we headed for the Trent once again. After a walk along the stretch it became apparent that the river was carrying a little extra water but the weed still looked bad so we settled on swims where we could fish the margins and hopefully stay out of the weeds way a bit.
To cut a long story short the ploy didnt work very well although i did manage to hook a couple of Chub, losing one and landing another of about 4lb. Keith lost a very big fish after having his braid cutoff on yet another unseen snag .
The Trent is a proper tackle eater and is hard work at the minute with all that weed but he who dares and all that ........

Tuesday 13th September
I headed to the river again for some more punishment after work tonight and although there was a nasty upstream wind i was greeted by a rolling fish as soon as i arrived at my chosen swim which was encouraging. I got setup and after about half an hour of fishing i recieved a savage pull on my right hander before everything went slack. I quickly realised the fish was swimming towards me and i reconnected with it mid-river where it put up a great account of itself. Once banked i weighed the fish in at 8lb14oz, a tidy start and the night was still young!

Obviously it all went a bit quiet after that one for a while but soon enough i began to get a few twitches and bangs on the rod-tips again as small Chub pecked away at the baits. Suddenly i recieved another fast take which had the baitrunner hissing yet when i struck there was absolutely nothing there, how does that happen?
After recasting i continued to recieve plenty of enquiries and really had to sit on my hands to stop myself striking at some of the knocks. I was amazed at the amount of fish activity tonight and found myself having to recast more due to fish stealing my luncheon meat as opposed to the usual weed wrapups.
Just as it got dark i had another proper take which resulted in another Barbel . This one went 8lb8oz and seeing as id forgotten my head torch it rounded the evening off nicely!
Thats all the fishing ill be doing for the next week as i have a lot of other stuff on, typical, just when id found a few aswell!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Aahhh, thats better!

Tuesday 6th September

The weather turned decidedly inclement today, overcast with strong winds and showery rain. All day at work i was itching to be down by the river and as soon as i finished i grabbed my kit and headed down. Im a little short on time but without going into great detail it turned out to be well worth the effort!
A seasons best Barbel of 11lb2oz was duly landed after falling to a Spam stringer on a 3ft hooklink. My duck is well and truly broken!


Monday, 5 September 2011

Back on the road to er ...... no Barbel?

As the title of this entry might suggest i am now fully mobile once again after purchasing a shiny black Ford Focus last week. Its not shiny any more though as ive pressed it into hard service already, driving down dusty farm tracks and across some pretty rugged fields in pursuit of scaley slimy things.
I finished August with an evening Zander trip on the Trent and a bumped fish as the only action i had . A few lads i know turned up with the same idea to catch the Zeds and despite the lack of action we had a good chinwag so it wasnt all bad.
My next trip was another evening, this time in pursuit of a Barbel from the Soar. I had to clear a swim as nobody had been down to the area for while and after seeing a couple of Barbs roll in the spot early on i was confident of some action. I had a couple of good pulls  just before dark which resulted in no hookups and when the rod screamed off just into dark i really thought it was Barbel time! Nobody had told the 2lb Chub which had hung itself on my line though and i packed up soon after with nothing else to show for my efforts. Since that session ive found out that another lad fished the same swim the following evening and had a 12.8! Always the the bridesmaid and all that .....
The weekend arrived and on the Saturday morning i headed to the Trent to do my Bailiff rounds. Ive started to take a lure rod with me when checking tickets just to drop in a few likely spots whilst on my travels and on this occasion it proved quite effective. 5 Perch to around a pound and a couple of bonus Chub in the 3lb class all put a nice bend in the rod.

A late evening Barbel session on the Trent rounded the day off and although i stopped till around midnight all i could manage was two Chub. The best of the two was comfortably in the 4-5lb range and might have gone bigger but it was dark and i couldnt be bothered with the rigmarole of weighing especially seeing as it wasnt a Barbel! Phil, my fishing companion certainly fared better though. He stayed on all night and tempted Barbel of 10.14 and 10.4 amongst other fish . That Bridesmaid job is becoming a fulltime thing for me!
I was down the Trent again on Sunday evening for a spot of Carbelling as id seen a few Carp whilst doing the bailiff thing the previous day. A veritable banquet of vitalin, boilies, hemp and corn was carefully laid out for the Carps inspection . Several fish head and shouldered over the bait during the course of the evening but my indicators remained motionless right up until i packed up at about 10.30. Prior to when the drizzle started after dark It was a lovely evening to be out and i feel we wont be getting too many more like it this year.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The occasional angler

This entry is something of an update rather than the usual report mainly because ive hardly been out . Im still looking for a worthy fishing vehicle and hopefully ill be fully mobile again in the next week or so.
What of the fishing then? well, since my last entry ive been a grand total of three times . The first was an evening Barbel session on the Trent and other than a tiny Chub the fish werent obliging whatsoever. The temperature plummeted as it got dark and the moon shone like a torch in the sky . Ive never paid too much attention to moon phases but even so, im never confident in a full moon which is why it got the blame for my crap session!
Great for werewolves, not so great for Barbelling (not for me anyway!)

My next trip out was another evening session, this time in pursuit of Zander for the first time this season. Again the Trent was my destination and i headed straight for my favourite area and had to beat out a peg in the himalayan balsam as it appeared that nobody had been up there so far this season. The action was a lot slower than i was expecting but it wasnt too long before i was doing battle with a jack of about 5lb. The lead got snagged in some boulders under my rod tip though and i ended up getting cut off. I hate leaving traces in Pike like that but i only use single barbless trebles when Zandering so hopefully the fish will manage to shed the rig without coming to much harm.
Around an hour later i hit into what felt like a big Zander on the rod in the central channel. I was convinced it was a Zander right up until a largish Pike of around 15lb sounded on the surface .  At this point it woke up and behaved in a far more pike-like fashion, making short fast runs and tail-walking all over the place. As i went to net it i could clearly see my hook in the front edge of its bottom jaw. I reached out with the net and i couldnt believe it when a final defiant flare of its gills had the hook flying back at me! Its head was on the drawstring as it turned and slowly disappeared into the murky depths. Bugger! The Zander never played ball in the end either despite me stopping into darkness so i packed up on a blank.

The ubiquitous rod shot

My most recent trip was last Thursday and i went out for the afternoon on a stretch of my local Soar, target Perch. After walking the stretch there was a lot of Chub in evidence around some moored boats so i spent an hour or so chucking a light link leger at them baited with maggots. A string of small Chub to around 2lb fell to the tactic before i got itchy feet and headed to my fancied Perch area.
Livebaits werent hard to come by and every put-in with floatfished maggots resulted in a small Chublet so it wasnt long before i had a float paternoster bobbing about next to a likely looking bush.

In the dangerzone...... 

The bait was hit in less than a minute by a tiny perch with eyes bigger than it belly, in fact it was only a couple of inches longer than the Chublet it took! This swim proved to be full of these small fish and i was catching them as fast as i could catch baitfish to give to them!

Greedy bstard!

A move was called for and after doing so i quickly found the next spot wasnt much better! To be fair the fish were a little bigger although the fish pictured below was pretty much the biggest one i had.

Biggest of the day

Once again i moved, this time to a spot where ive good fish before . Bait catching was a bit of an issue here and i struggled for bites. It soon became apparent why the small fish were scarce in the swim though because once i did manage to catch a baitfish it was quickly mullered by the resident Pike (see the pic below). I couldnt raise any more action after that so i packed up pleased at catching a few fish albeit small ones .

Jacks were troublesome ....

Monday, 8 August 2011

Starting em young

Sunday 7th August

Ive not been out at all this week due to some major car trouble which has resulted in us becoming a one car family for the first time in over ten years. As a result this has drastically cut down on my fishing opportunities and the situation looks set to continue for the next couple of weeks until i can sort a new motor out, nightmare!
Nevertheless i managed to get out on Sunday afternoon and instead of heading to the river i opted for a trip to a local brickpit with my daughter Charlotte. Shes been on at me for ages to take her fishing and the pool in question has a good stock of small Carp and silvers so action was guaranteed.
The heavens opened just as we made our first casts and within minutes the great British weather was throwing everything it had at us! Thunder, lightning and torrential rain battered us as we sheltered under a little nylon brolly. I couldnt believe it, i was expecting a nice easy afternoon of sitting in the sun catching 3-4lb Carp on bits of floating bread! I was tempted to pack up but it soon started to brighten up and with all the fish showing it wouldve been rude not to stay and catch some of them!
It didnt take long to start getting a few, they werent interested in floaters but maggots fished shallow with freebies sprayed over the top at regular intervals brought us a string of fish, mostly rudd and skimmers. I put out a pellet on a method feeder along the margins and this was soon rattling off as the resident Carp took an interest.
We stayed around 4 hours and had a decent bag of fish by the end of it. Charlotte certainly enjoyed herself even though she struggled with casting and striking a bit . She wants to know when were going again anyway so the weather obviously never put her off at least!

Monday, 1 August 2011

More new spots and a few new tricks

Monday 25th July

Ive been reading a lot about rolling meat for Barbel of late so tonight i decided to try it out for the first time on a local stretch of the Derwent for an hour or two. Theres only so much you can learn from reading about it and as i made my first cast i wasnt sure what to expect.
My rig was total simplicity, a size 4  buried in a rough cut chunk of spam and 2 swan shot pinched on the line about 10inches from the hook. After a few casts in a couple of swims i hadnt had any discernable pulls and i was starting to doubt my technique, was i getting it wrong somehow? I felt i was getting better control of the bait with every cast but the fish didnt seem to be playing ball.
The next spot i tried was the one where the Swan thwarted my plans the other night and i could see a few Chub ghosting about but no Barbel, they wouldnt be far away though. I cast in line with a nice run between the streamer weed and watch the bait trundle through. A couple of fish inspected it but never picked up until i started to retrieve it for another run down. As soon as the bait lifted a Chub dashed sidewards and grabbed it but i bumped it unfortunately. They didnt seem spooked so another cast was made, this time the bait disappeared from view behind some weed. A sudden double thump on the tip had me striking into a fish and after a brief tussle i landed a Chub of 4.4, at least id caught on the method now, i was well made up!
Obviously after the disturbance the fish did a disappearing act so i moved to another swim. I had no bites after 4 or 5 casts so i decided to try holding the bait back every 5-6ft and let it step its way down the swim. It was deeper here than the last spot and i couldnt see the bait so i was relying on feeling for a bite . When it came it was unmistakable, a sudden smooth pull which took the rod with it! i struck and the culprit was obviously a Barbel judging by the speed i was now backwinding! I locked up and applied some side strain in a bid to turn it then everything went slack. Closer inspection revealed that the knot on the hook had given way, yet another lost fish then, my own fault for not checking the knot after that Chub.
After that i was a bit gutted and the light was drawing in so i headed for home. Rolling is certainly a method ill be trying again very soon .

Friday 29th July

Tonight  was time for what has now become my weekly trip out with my pal Keith . We had originally planned to hit the Dove but didnt fancy it on the day and opted for yet another new area of the Trent instead. I say new but ive fished the pegs on the lower and upper ends of the stretch before but considering they are over half a mile apart that leaves a lot inbetween where ive never wet a line! Judging by the amount of swim clearing we had to do it didnt look like anybody else had fished there either!
I cast out a 4oz lead rig about 3/4 of the way across in the main flow and found it was holding bottom well until the drifting weed hit it. To beat the problem i was forced to backlead which is something i hate but sometimes its a necessary evil and it certainly did the trick on this occasion. My other rod was a blockend feeder setup which was cast down the edge along the crease. The reason for using a blockend was to hold a flavour trail near the bait rather than having it washed away within seconds, a trick i picked up off one those underwater Barbel DVDs that are doing the rounds at the minute. Both rods were on Boilies.
Nothing happened until the last half an hour before dark which seems to be the magic time these days. Suddenly i was getting the odd tap and fish were starting to show regularly out in the middle. I was feeding a few pellets along the inside crease every five minutes or so and just as it was getting dark i recieved the 3ft twitch! I picked up the rod and struck only to bump the fish off! If i didnt have bad luck i wouldnt have any luck!
Fish were still showing in my swim so i quickly recast and rebaited. This time the knocks and taps had stopped completely and i was convinced id blown my only chance of the evening. Suddenly, out of the blue the same rod wrenched over and a Barbel was well and truly on! The thing went mental and its a good job my other rod was backleaded otherwise id have been in right mess. Once landed i weighed it at 8lb2oz.

Keith also chipped in with and 8lber of his own so it turned out to be one of our more successful trips in the end and from an area which has certainly shown some potential. The blockend feeder thing seems to have some mileage in it too considering i never had sniff on the standard rig out in the flow which is where the fish were showing.

Sunday 31st July

I was Trentbound again this evening, the conditions seemed pretty good for a bite or two being muggy and overcast with a warm breeze. Both rods went out with blockend feeders tonight and i also droppered in about 2 pints of hemp aswell to see if itd have any marked effect.
To cut a long story short it didnt, all i caught was a Bream of about 3lb and had a few other Breamy looking knocks. I stopped till 10.30 in the hope of an afterdark Barbel to no avail. Keith managed a fish of 8lb2oz though.
At one point i nearly jumped out of my skin as a couple of blokes on dirtbikes came thundering past within inches of my head. I was sat to the side of the path and if id leaned back in my chair at the point they came past they would have taken my head off. Just prior to packing up we were treated to an impressive fireworks display coming from a nearby hotel which probably had the Barbel reaching for their tin hats!

I seem to be really struggling with the Barbel this year for some reason. Lots of trips for not many fish and the Trent in particular has been very tough for me so far. I need to take a step back and maybe stick to one venue or have a look at my approach. There are other venues which offer much easier fishing but i want to catch the fish which i know to be present in the ones im on now. At the minute my 2011 target of a 12lb+ fish seems a very long way off!