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!