Sunday, 24 June 2012

Putting in some legwork

Over the last week i seem to have walked miles and miles of riverbank in pursuit of the whiskered ones. I headed to the area of last weekends action for a midweek evening session on Wednesday only to find the opposite bank packed with other anglers. The river was low and the sunshine was out so it wasnt surprising that so many were taking the opportunity to get on the bank. Most of the areas i fancied were occupied so i tried to squeeze in where i could and apart from a couple of Chub-like knocks i ended up head for home with a blank scoresheet.
The heavens decided to open on Thursday and Friday and there were flood warnings being issued all over the place. Fortunately the midlands area wasnt anything like as badly affected as other parts of the country but nevertheless, by the time Saturday came around the Trent and Derwent had over 2ft on them and a nice bit of colour.
I got to the Trent for first light and by mid-morning id never had so much as a sniff. I wasnt confident at all and the Derwent was calling so i upped sticks and headed over there. I baited two swims and let them rest whilst i scoped out a few other possibilities. The area i was in was something like a mile from the car and it was really hard work slogging through waist deep grass and nettles especially with my kit, i hope the farmer cuts it back soon cos my poor old legs wont take much more of that punishment!
I spent an hour or so in my first baited swim and couldnt buy a bite which i thought was a bit odd as it was my banker swim and ive done very well there in the past. I moved on to my other spot and had a savage bite within minutes of casting in. The fish careered off downstream and although i tried my level best to stop it the sanctuary of a fallen tree downstream was soon found. Everything locked up and the inevitable happened.
Not surprisingly i couldnt get any more action there so i was soon on the move once again.
I headed further and further downstream and i suddenly realised that i was at least 20 minutes away from the car and i groaned at the thought of the eventual walk back. I came upon a ditch full of floodwater which led from the river to a water filled depression in the middle of the field. As i worked my way around it i noticed some swirls in the puddle and suddenly a big tail lobe popped up out of the water! I put my kit down and went over to investigate and was amazed to find around half a dozen Carp browsing through the thistles and nettles submerged in the pool. The biggest looked a scraper twenty and they were all commons but it just illustrates how fish adapt to and exploit new situations. I was tempted to try for one but in the end i left them to it as there was a juicy Barbel spot begging to be fished nearby.
It took around an hour to get a bite in the new swim and after a short but hectic scrap i netted a nice Barbel of 8.8. After a pic or two i put it back and headed back across the field to where the Carp were.The river had dropped a surprising amount and the depth of water in the ditch looked perilously shallow, i was expecting to find the Carp stranded but they were nowhere to be seen. I guess theyd sensed the water levels dropping and made tracks for the river whilst the going was good. Nothing else came forth on the fishing front and i was soon headed home.


I managed to wangle a Sunday afternoon pass and was joined once again by Keith. After last weekends drubbing i was determined to even things up and we headed for an area neither of us yet visited this season. Although ive done well there in the past, Id never fished the stretch in high water conditions before so i was a little unsure of what to expect. It was yet another long walk to the swims but i had a spot in mind and although it looked completely different to normal i still fancied it for a fish.
The flow was really pulling through and i needed 6oz of lead to hold bottom. The boils and swirls on the surface made the swim look pretty inhospitable for a fish to lie up in but Barbel never cease to amaze me with their ability to comfortably cope with the very strongest currents the river can throw at them. I wasnt at all surprised when the rod tip suddenly juddered and then yanked sharply downwards with the baitrunner hissing. The fish did its best to pull my arm off in the flow but was soon ready for netting, it was at this point the fun and games really began. I had no slack water at my feet and was blocked from going upstream or downstream to net the fish by trees. Everytime i got the fishes head up ready for netting i tried to get the net behind it but the flow simply pulled the two apart and i had a right game with it all. After some brute force and lots of swearing i eventually netted a very knackered Barbel of 8.10. I found a calm spot for it to recover and after supporting it for a few minutes it swam off strongly.


After that, Keith and i headed downstream to see about a couple of new spots. There wasnt a great deal to be found due to the fact that the majority of the stretch during low water is very shallow and therefore was absolutely racing through with the extra water on it. A couple of spots were found eventually though and i cast in with high hopes. 
My swim was quite boily but there was some exposed tree roots in the water just downstream and the bank there looked undercut, it looked pretty good for a fish. Nothing happened for around half an hour and i was started to doubt my swim choice. The river was rising again and Keiths swim hadnt produced yet so i sat on my hands. Suddenly the rod was nearly pulled of its rest as a fish hooked itself aginst the 4oz lead. The fish didnt half pull once it got into the flow and was all i could do just to try and get it in the edge. It swam into some submerged nettles and got a little caught up but soon the fish was out and subsequently netted without incident. At 9.2 it was a nice result and kept the seasons weight average well up.


After that Keith came down from his swim with nothing to report so we packed up early and embarked on the mile and a half trudge back to the car. I was glad to get a couple more under my belt especially that last one with it being from a new spot. I could do with the river levels dropping back to normal now because im starting to get a hankering to catch some Perch and maybe chuck a few lures about.

1 comment:

  1. Top barbelling Leo, the effort has reaped it's rewards!