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!