Sunday, 24 July 2011

Back to business as usual

Wednesday 20th July

After spending a long weekend in Wales followed by a couple of nights staying with some friends in Wiltshire i was gagging to get back on the river and after arriving back home i didnt waste any time in doing so! After unpacking i was sat on the banks of the Trent within two hours!
The river looked really good to be honest, wed had some rain whilst id been away and id been informed it had got to around 2ft up at its peak. Today it had 3-4inches on it but still carried a nice bit of colour, the slight flush through seemed to have cleared some of the dreaded drifting weed out too and there was none of the usual great clumps of the stuff in evidence.
I got setup in a likely spot and it wasnt long at all before the tip banged over and a very tatty looking Chub of around 3lb was duly banked. Whilst i was down in Wiltshire i took the opportunity to pop into Hinders at Swindon and picked up a 10kg bucket of Elips pellets and it was one of these i caught the Chub on. I was hoping that might be the start of some frantic action but as ever, i found myself twiddling my thumbs and biteless for the next couple of hours. I was picking odd strands of weed up on the line but the situation was ten times better than it was before i went away.
About half an hour before dark i switched one rod over to boilie and within ten minutes i found myself connected to another Chub. At 5lb2oz it was new best for the season so far by an ounce and really brightened my session up . I packed up shortly afterwards. The pic below really doesnt do the fish justice, it was incredibly thick across its back.

Thursday 21st July

After last nights Barbel failure on the Trent i headed to the ever reliable Derwent for a morning session today just to get one under my belt for the week if nothing else. The river was fairly clear with nothing on it when i arrived although it mustve been up recently because one or two snags had been dislodged and some swims had tide marks indicating the river had been up around 18inches to 2ft.
I dropped straight into a known spot which ive caught from already this season and after a biteless couple of hours i was scratching my head and thinking about a move. The swim looks like its had a bit of hammer recently judging by the empty luncheon meat tins and beer cans strewn everywhere. I headed downstream to a couple of other swims a bit further off the beaten track.
When i got there i didnt fancy either of them, ive caught Barbel from both in the past but i couldnt put my finger on it, they just looked wrong somehow. I carried on downstream, hacking through the thick Himalayan balsam until i came to a spot which really caught my eye. Id fished it about four years ago and lost one, ever since then its always been one ive walked past in preference to other swims yet this time it seemed to call out to me strange as it may sound.
I cast in and sat back more in hope than expectation and after an hour of absolutely no indications whatsoever i was getting a little dispondent. Suddenly the baitrunner went into meltdown and i hit into a fish which flat-rodded me straight away such was its speed. I can honestly say ive never had a battle with a Barbel like the one i was now experiencing, it just wouldnt give up. One minute it would be on its side looking ready for netting and the next it would be half way across the river again hugging the bottom, brilliant stuff! I managed to net it in the end though and at 8lb8oz it was no monster but with its tatty dorsal fin and other scars it looked a right bruiser and it had certainly given me a good kicking!

I didnt even bother recasting in that swim after that, instead i had a walk even further downstream. As i did so i casually looked in the river for signs of fish like you do and after a short walk i suddenly froze. I couldve sworn id just seen a Barbel flash in the murk, sure enough, after a minute or so it did it again only this time it was accompanied by another, this was my next spot then!
The run the fish were in was only about 3ft deep and surrounded by streamer weed, fortunately the first cast was smack on at the head of the run and i quickly followed that up with a pouch of freebies to pull them up to the baited rig. After about 20minutes i was just starting to get little plucks and twitches which normally indicates theres a fish or two around the bait when the resident dumbass Swan appeared. He decided he didnt want to swim upstream anymore and that hed fly instead which is fine exept that his runway happened to be my nice Barbel filled gravel run. Obviously after hed clattered his way through it the fish were well and truly gone and he landed a mere 50 yards upstream wiggling his backside giving me the swan version of the two fingered salute, Gutted.
I decided to pack up after that as i was now miles from the car and the sky was looking dangerously like rain. Spotted these Goosander on the way back, i wouldnt like to be a Roach in the Derwent these days .......

Friday 22rd July

I spent the morning wandering around some of the less fished areas of the Trent with the lure rod with the intention of finding a suitable area for tonights Barbel session with Keith. The weed seemed quite bad in some areas compared to others but eventually after much legwork i found an area that made me confident of catching just by looking at it. It was slap bang in the middle of nowhere and it was obvious that nobody had been near it for years yet there was some lovely Chub to be seen in amongst the streamer weed and i felt sure the Barbel wouldnt be too far away.
That evening myself and Keith tabbed our way up there full of anticipation, there was lots of fences to negotiate and lots of foliage to batter down but we got there in the end. Its one thing getting to these places with just a lure rod and a small shoulder bag full of bits but when your encumbered with a full rod bag, a big rucky and a chair aswell as a net and a coat its a completely different ball game as my now knackered shoulder will testify!
The fishing wasnt as good as we were hoping with just one small Chub to my rods. Both of us were getting a few Chubby knocks on the tips throughout the evening and Keith lost a good Barbel as it was getting dark which was encouraging. Some big fish rolled in front of us too so ill definately be back there soon. 6oz was needed to hold bottom but the drifting weed was practically non-existent in the swims we fished so the baits held position for a good amount of time.
As we trudged back to the car the heavens opened and we got well soaked which just added to a fairly disappointing evening. Its all part of fishing though and your never gonna catch anything sitting at home. Time for a bit of a change for my next trip i think, i fancy breaking out the liveys for some Perch i reckon .........

Sunday 24th July

Today was to be my first trip for Perch with livebaits this season and i headed for a local stretch of the Soar. The conditions really didnt look great for it, very bright and quite hot with the river itself being very low and clear . Still, i had the maggots and they needed using so i headed down just for the morning before the sun got too warm . 
My general method of fishing this way is to fish a swim as normal trotting with the stickfloat and feeding it up and to have the livey paternostered on a second rod at the tail of the run.  The idea being that the feed attracts the small fish which in turn pull the bigger Perch into the swim and hopefully the first thing they come across will be my bait.
I managed to catch a small Dace on my first run down and out it went in readiness as i continued to build the swim. I caught loads of Roach, Dace, Bleak and Perchlets over the course of the next couple of hours but the bigger stripeys didnt seem to be having it at all. Suddenly the rod tip on the paternoster started tapping as the bait was obviously agitated by something, within a minute the tip slammed over and a Perch was on .  I saw it flash deep down in the water before suddenly it came off! wounded! it looked half decent too.
I hooked up another bait and recast, this time the bait was hit within seconds and a chunky fish of  1lb12oz was quickly netted. Out went another Dace  and again it was hit almost straight away, another lost fish! After that the shoal must have dispersed because no more takes were forthcoming.
An hour or so later and i had a Gudgeon kicking around on the paternoster which was violently taken by something. That too came adrift purely because the hook had turned around and was masked by the livebait so the Perch was never hooked. I usually hair-rig my liveys to avoid deep hooking but the trouble is it does allow the hook a certain amount of movement which can work against me on occasions.
It didnt take long to get another bite and there was no mistakes with this one as a nice 2lb6oz Perch slid into the net. That was to be it for the remainder of the trip, the sun was starting to burn so i made tracks pleased at getting a 2lber in tough conditions. Id like to have fished the evening instead but i had things on so it wasnt possible, i might try and squeeze an evening in one night after work this week.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The lure of the Trent

This week i have mostly been walking the banks of my local Trent chucking shiny bits of metal at unsuspecting fish and even though ive had some success its not exactly been mega prolific.

Monday 4th July

This was a good evening in terms of numbers of fish. It seemed that every peg contained hordes of tiny Perch and more often than not i had several little 'wasps' snatching and banging the lure as it neared the end of the retrieve. I ended up catching 8 or 9 Perch up to about 1.8, all good fun though and way better than an evening in front of the telly!

Saturday 9th July

It was a bright sunny morning as i headed out for a couple of hours . The stretch i fancied had a match booked on so i headed elsewhere and it proved to be a real grueller. There was large clumps of weed drifting down in every peg it seemed and the fish werent exactly crawling up the rod either. After the evening with the Perch last time around i had brought my ultralite gear to be a bit more sporting and allow the fish to give a better account of themselves. It didnt do me much good though and after an hour or so all i had was two tiny perch of about 4oz apiece.
Eventually i came upon a lovely swim with an overhanging tree and about 2ft of water over golden gravel gently flowing underneath it. More importantly there was five decent looking Chub holding station in the swim accompanied by a large Perch which was hanging close to the bank. I made a cast and all the fish drifted downstream a little although they didnt look overly spooked. My next cast was across the fishes noses and the Perch visibly bristled at the Lure at which point one of the Chub charged in and hit the lure hard. The light rod buckled over and the Chub put up a really good scrap. It was a good mid-4lber and it saved a tough session.

That evening i returned in a bid to catch a Barbel with my pal Keith . Other than a couple of chubby type knocks i ended up with a blank but Keith managed an 8lber just as it was getting dark. The weed situation seemed to be a lot better than it was earlier in the morning though.

Sunday 10th July

I managed to sneak out for a couple of hours in the afternoon to try and make up for the previous nights blank. I headed for the Derwent this time and i had a banker spot in mind which i felt sure would give me a Barbelly fix no matter what. It didnt disappoint and i had a nice 8.4 within an hour of casting in . Mission accomplished i headed for home just in time for supper!

Monday 11th July

My better half gave me a pass for yet another trip out tonight, i reckon she must have a fella on the go or summat trying to get rid of me all the time, good luck to him i say! Anyways, i headed back to the Trent with the lures and what a poor trip it turned out to be! I had a follow from a very large Perch which turned away at the last minute (dont they always?) and then sat under a weedbed refusing everything i ran in front of it. A short while later i hit into a lively Jack which threw the hook as a went to glove it out and then, just as was getting dark, i finally caught a fish! Still, it saved the blank, bless it!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Hotting up

Wednesday 29th June

Todays trip was a fairly spur of the moment affair, i had a few jobs to do after work and once these were done, i got home, had some dinner and sat down with nothing to do other than watch the wifes Soaps. Sod that ill head up the river for a couple of hours i thought, so i did.
I headed to the Derwent cos the Trent weed was starting to get bad again and i was setup and fishing for about 7ish. I had a couple of good pulls early on but no hookups but i kept trickling feed in and soon connected with a nice Chub of around 4lb or so. The 30lb braid took no prisoners and subdued the fish in no time.

Despite stopping till dark i had no more action other than another couple of bangs on the tip. The river seemed to have risen slightly whilst i was there cos the flow was noticeably quicker and there was weed drifting down too, strange because weve had no rain really.

Saturday 2nd July

I woke up Saturday morning with no intention of fishing till the evening, however it was really sunny outside and a shame to stay indoors so i managed to get a morning pass for a walk along the Trent with the lure rod. I headed to an area well off the beaten track which i fancied having a look at with a view to some future Barbel sessions.
The fishing started quite slowly which wasnt surprising considering the bright conditions and all i could muster in the first hour was a tiny perch with eyes bigger than its belly!

I did have a spectacular strike from a lovely double figure Pike on a 6inch Freestyler and it led me a merry dance until its tailwalking enabled it to shed the hook. After that i had a good look around at some swims, dropping in the odd spot with no success. I spotted some nice Carp in one area and made a mental note to return and have a bash for them at some point.
All the spots id tried so far had been slacker areas and seeing as id had little success i tried a much faster, shallower swim in a bid to maybe tempt a chub. First put in and the spinner got hit by a slightly better Perch.

Maybe i was onto something i thought and after no more pulls there i sought to find some more similar swims. I had a couple of follows in my next couple of spots but no hookups. I switched from the Mepps to a Sandra in an attempt to keep the bait down near the bottom in the quicker flow. The lure was absolutely smashed on my first cast with it and i was pleased to find myself connected to a proper Perch. At 3lb5oz it was the biggest id ever had from the Trent and it well and truly made my morning.

It wasnt until id put the fish back that i realised id moved the dial on the top of the camera to a different setting by accident which is why the photos above are so rubbish colourwise not to mention the fishes tail was curled around on the bottom pic too. The graffiti on a nearby bridge said it all ..........

I was on a real high from that last capture but my day wasnt done yet and in the very next spot i tried i latched into another good fish. This one went 3lb1oz on the scales leaving me gobsmacked. Ive fished the Trent many times for Perch and never had a three yet on this trip id had two in 10minutes!

The sun was now out in full force and was really starting to burn so, pleased with what id already had i headed back to the car. As i did so i decided to have a cast into one last swim. After a couple of casts i was just about to lift the lure out of the water when a large Perch rose out of the depths and inhaled the lure right before my eyes. This one scrapped like hell and after netting i thought it might even provide me with a hat-trick of threes. It wasnt to be on this occasion though but at 2lb8oz i wasnt disappointed, not one little bit.

That rounded off a very enjoyable session and i headed home for some lunch making plans for an evening of Barbelling ...........

After spending the afternoon in the garden with the kids and then having some dinner, i made my way to the Derwent for the evening. I only had minimum kit with me cos the area i intended to fish was a real hike from the carpark but it wasnt too long before i got setup.
I didnt have to wait long for a pickup, about ten minutes to be precise! The tip walloped over and the braid sang in the rod rings. I played the fish hard to stop it getting into a nearby snag and soon enough the fish was netted. At 8lb8oz it was a good start.

After that i moved on and found a nice spot with some deep water and a heavy current going under some nearbank bushes, it looked nailed on for a Barbel.  I needed 5oz of lead to hold bottom but i was confident of some action. After a while i had a bite and connected with a powerful fish which shot upstream and the hook pulled. I recast and had a repeat performance almost straight away. I was a bitted gutted at losing two on the bounce but that was put to rest about half an hour later when i landed a right battered old warrior of a Chub which went 5lb1oz, the best of the season so far!

By now the light was beginning to fade so i quickly headed for another spot i had in mind. By the time i got cast in it was nearly dark and i was struck by the sheer numbers of small fish that were showing. Cormorants have given the river a proper going over in recent years so it was nice to see lots of small fish still present in there. A fast take soon had my mind back on the job at hand and i found myself doing battle in the pitch black. The fish repeatedly weeded me up but after a few hectic moments rummaging for the net and head torch with one hand whilst holding on for grim death with the other, the fish was safely banked. It went 9lb4oz and brought a great days fishing to a happy end.