Sunday, 26 June 2011

Barbel, braid and the return of the dreaded weed

Wednesday 22nd June

I had Wednesday booked off work to go fishing, i was meant to have a few days off but an ultra heavy workload caused by everybody else going on holiday meant i could only get the one day so id have to make the most of it. I really wanted to get back on the Derwent to even the score after losing a couple of nice fish last time around so, after dropping the kids off at school, i pointed the car towards Derby.
The river was painfully low but it was quite overcast and there was rain in the air so i was hopeful of a bit of action, I had a spot in mind so i headed straight there. It didnt look like thered been many down and i took note of a couple of new snags that had appeared during my 12month absence from the stretch.
The swim was tight so a one rod approach was all that was required and after casting in it wasnt long before i started to get a few bangs and twitches on the tip. I peered over the bank and could clearly see three Barbel in the vicinity of my rig, one was twice the size of the other two and clearly a nice double. As i watched, the larger fish suddenly bolted across the river and my baitrunner screamed. I grabbed the rod and a brutal struggle ensued. There was a nasty snag upstream and i had to really bully the fish on a short line, i could see it twisting and shaking its head in the clear water midriver. It shot towards the snag and i was forced to lock up in a bid to turn it, unfortunately this was a bridge too far for my mainline and it parted a the knot leaving me gutted.
Obviously there was no more Barbs to be seen in that area so i moved on to another stretch. The carpark on the new stretch was deserted so i thought itd be a good opportunity to fish the known flier peg down there. Id not fished it before and when i got there i was a little disappointed to see there was hardly any flow on it. There was a lot more broken water downstream which looked more Barbelly but having heard of the swims reputation i stuck to my guns and got setup.
Within 30minutes i hit into a fish and after skulldragging it away from the snag opposite into midriver i soon had it in the net. At 9.2 it was a good start and my first Derwent Barbel of the new season. Another one of 6.12 followed shortly afterwards and my confidence in the peg was sky high, now i know why its so popular!



Unfortunately, things went a little downhill after this due to another angler showing up determined to fish the snag opposite me regardless of me being there or not. Despite me being the only other angler on the river for miles he setup upstream of me and cast down to my swim. A slight argument ensued and he went on his way somewhere downstream. After this i couldnt get any more action so i headed to the Trent for an evening session.
As soon as i saw the river and the clumps of drifting weed coming down i new it was going to be tough going, nevertheless i found a nice looking spot, droppered in a load of hemp and pellets and commenced fishing. Regular readers of this blog will know how i detest the dreadful stringy weed which seems to blight the Trent every summer, fortunately it wasnt as bad as it looked on this occasion and i was able to keep the bait in the water for a decent amount of time for a change. The Barbel didnt want to play ball though and one Chub of 4.2 was all i had to show for my efforts by the time i packed up.

Saturday 25th June

I had planned an evening of Barbelling on the Trent with Keith this evening but i found myself at a loose end in the morning so i headed to the Trent to do a spot of trotting for some Roach. Some good bags had been reported over the previous week so i fancied a bit of the action myself. It wasnt to be though and i struggled to get around a dozen fish in about 3 hours of fishing. A couple of other anglers nearby also really struggled too so it wasnt just me being crap (thats what i kept telling myself anyway!).
Keith picked me up in the afternoon and i soon found myself sat next to the Trent once again. Conditions were pretty good, warm, overcast and extremely muggy with very little wind. After losing a few barbs lately ive decided to switch my mainline from 12lb mono to 30lb braid and this was to be my first session with it. I use braid for all my lure fishing but ive not used it for bait fishing before so this was a totally new experience for me. At 0.1mm diameter its less than half the thickness of the mono ive been on so it should offer a lot less drag in the water too.
The weed wasnt too bad again but it was definately worse than weds and i was getting around half an hour to fortyfive minutes inbetween casts. The Barbel didnt show at-all, in fact nothing showed not even a Chub to either of us and we were both left scratching our heads by the end of the session. You win some you lose some i guess! 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Good to be back!

Friday 17th June

At last the much anticipated time had arrived to fish some running water! I finished work at 12.30 and hurriedly made my way home to collect my kit and have some dinner before heading to the Derwent to hopefully do battle with some of its Barbel.
I had an area in mind already and because its a good hike from the carpark i was extremely confident of having the whole stretch to myself, i wasnt to be disappointed. A couple of fields away from the carpark and it was fairly apparent that nobody had been this far down for months judging by the thick undergrowth encroaching the barely visible path. Fighting through heavy foliage in search of that perfect Barbel swim is all part of the exitement for me, i was in heaven!  Eventually, after about 20minutes of walking i came to some open fields and my fancied area.
The first swim i setup in was one of those spots that really jumps out at you, a really obvious one with a fallen tree in the water mid-river and a deepish looking run down the inside of it which screamed Barbel! I got setup, cast a boilie alongside the snag and sat back to await events.
After a short while i began to get a few bangs and taps on the rod-tip before eventually hooking and landing my first fish of the new season, a nice Chub of 4.8.

I couldnt get another pull after that so i moved on and tried a couple of other swims. During this time the weather closed in and it began to drizzle. No more bites were forthcoming so i looked for a swim i could settle in till dark. The spot i decided on was fairly shallow but had some nice overhanging trees which looked like they could be hiding a fish or two.
After around an hour or so my rod-tip absolutely buckled over and the bait-runner hissed. I lifted into the fish only to find myself backwinding imediately, i applied some side strain in an attempt to steer it away from some snags on the far bank downstream but unfortunately it made it and transferred my hook into a branch.
The rain had really set in now and did nothing to improve my mood as i re-rigged and re-baited. The river looked dead, nothing was showing whatsover so i was quite surprised to recieve a couple of taps on the tip which turned out to be the prelude to a properly savage bite which lifted the rod butt off the floor!
I hit into it but i could feel the line grating on an unseen snag mid-river and i was no surprise when the line parted shortly afterwards. I packed up after that, i know when ive been beaten and this was one of those occasions. To add insult to injury, my car went tits up on the way home and its looking like i might have go and get another one sooner rather than later, bugger!

Sunday 19th June

I was Trent-bound for my next trip and my mate Keith joined me, it was his first time on the stretch we targetted so i was determined to try and get him a Barbel. We had a walk to recce some likely looking areas and i was surprised to see that nobody at all was fishing this popular area on the first weekend of the season. The was a chap upstream in the distance but that was it so we had our pick of the pegs.
The first swims we setup in proved to be quite difficult to fish mainly due to the amount of drifting weed coming down, This stuff was the bain of my life last season and it seems to have shown up even earlier this year. Anyhow, we moved upstream to swims where we could fish down the inside margin and have a realistic chance of a fish or two.
Keith got off the mark almost imediately with a couple of smallish Chub but i couldnt settle and after an hour or so i was on the move again. I was drawn to one spot in particular, its a favourite winter Chub spot of mine but this time it looked cock-on for Barbel. There wasnt enough water in front of me for two rods so i concentrated on just the one. The weed was still pretty bad but i was fishing upstream and the bait was holding position for much longer than in the other swims.
Eventually the tip sprang straight and then nodded violently as a heavy fish made off with my boilie. I knew it was a Barbel straight away due to its ability to hold station in the heaviest flow before taking line as it swam upstream in it. The thing pulled my arm off for a bit before i finally netted it and after weighing it at 9.10 i knew my season had begun proper.

After returning it and recasting i sat back to watch the sunset, the river was absolutely alive with fish of all sizes and the scene was in complete contrast to the other night on the Derwent. I just knew the action wasnt over yet and it was no surprise when i had another take and found myself connected to another heavy fish out in the main current.
The first run had me thinking Barbel but then it calmed down and thumped away in the depths in a very Chub-like fashion. I got my first glimpse of it under my feet and it turned out to be a small Carp! It weighed just shy of 10lb, A typical Trent Common.

As the light faded i had quite a few more taps and bangs but no more hookups and i suspected that Chub were responsible. After packing up i walked down to Keith and it turned out that he too had some nice fish under his belt. No Barbel on this occasion for him but six Chub to nearly 6lb was a good result i thought. Anyway, thats the first weekend of the new season out of the way, its good to back on the rivers again, onwards and upwards!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Nearly there!

Saturday 11th June

I had a walk along a stretch of the Derbyshire Derwent this morning in order to refamiliarise myself with the place in preparation for opening week. Id not been near the stretch for two years and i was pleasantly surprised to find it hasnt changed a bit, everything was exactly as i remembered it.
The light conditions wernt great for fishspotting and there was a good ripple on from the wind but i did manage to find a few . I spotted a small group of decent Chub holding station off the end of a fallen tree and i saw some other individual Chub and Barbel ghosting across the gravel amongst the streamer weed. I didnt see any Carp which was unusual but as i headed back to the car i managed to get a useable shot of a couple of small Barbs (biggest about 7lbish) framed on the gravel mid-river. Cant wait to get down there and wet a line now!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Short session success

Wednesday 8th June

Had an extremely quick evening session on my usual Tench water this evening to use up the weekends bait . After finishing work, having some dinner and getting stuck in traffic on the way to the lake I was fishing for about 6. With time being at a premium i dropped in a handy spot near the carpark, the wind was pushing towards me and i fancied my chances.
The weed had come up with a vengeance since my last trip there a couple of weeks ago but there was still clear areas to be found and soon enough the feeders were in position. I didnt have to wait too long for a bite and i duly landed a Bream of around 5-6lb on my right hander. The next bite came around an hour later to the left hand rod and i struck into a good fish. It took all of 30seconds to get itself weeded solid but some steady pressure and gentle coaxing soon had it moving again and eventually i netted a very plump Tench which weighed 8lb on the nose.
As i returned the fish my other rod rattled off and i hit into what turned out to be a Bream which fell off in the margin as i was thinking about netting it. I recast and gave it another half hour before packing up more than happy with my evenings work.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A Bee in the bonnet

Monday 6th June

Since my last blog entry i developed something of an obsession with catching a Tench from the tricky water where a caught those Rudd last week. The plan was to fish short evening trips until i actually caught one and in the event it turned out to be surprisingly hard going!
Despite being very deep in places, the pool has an absolute plethora of features, in fact it probably has just about every possible fish holding feature you can think of and it screams Tench everywhere you look. However, as i mentioned before, its Tincas dont give themselves up easily and after speaking to other anglers recently, to catch more than one in a session is a relative rarity.
I headed down on Wednesday  last week after work for few hours and i only managed one bite all evening. The hooked fished shot off through a weedbed to my left and i was left cursing another hookpull. After that my swim remained stone dead until i packed up just before dark. The local mouse population was surprisingly tame though and seemed to be very partial to micro-halibut pellets!

The next trip was Saturday evening and i arrived at the pool to find that the hot weather of the previous couple of days had caused an algal bloom and the water had turned pea green. This didnt put the fish off though and i managed 4 bites in about 4 hours. I only hooked the one though and after beating me up for five minutes or so it swam around a sunken tree and cut me off. The problem i had was that the 15ft float rod i was using didnt have the backbone to be able to control the fish and ,despite putting a savage curve into it ,the Tench pretty much went where it pleased throughout the battle. I headed for home with big plans to beef up my gear ready for the next round.
This brings me nicely up to the most recent session on Monday evening wherupon i returned armed with my 1.25lb Drennan Avon rod . At 12ft it couldnt quite reach over the marginal weed as easily as the float rod but i was much more confident of gaining the upper hand should i hook anything decent. The fish were certainly active tonight, lots of bubbles and movement on the float had me hovering ready to strike several times. It wasnt long though before the float slid away and i bumped a fish off the hook. This had me worried that the rod was now too stiff to hit bites at close range. Three more bites had me striking at thin air over the next couple of hours until finally at about 8.30 i latched into some solid resistance. Right from the start i was able to show the fish who was boss and i was able to bully it away from the snags and reeds with ease. Admittedly it wasnt a huge one at around 2lb or so but the sense of relief  and elation at finally netting one was huge. After taking a quick pic for the blog i packed up a happy man.