Sunday, 29 September 2013

The magic of the mighty Trent

After last weeks taster I was keen to get down to the Trent again to pick up where I left off. All week at work I had been contemplating where I should go on the Friday night and I eventually settled on a theoretical swim I'd spotted last time out. I say theoretical because it wasn't actually a swim, in fact I had my doubts as to whether I'd even be able to make one there but there was only one way to find out, go down and try.

Friday arrived but Disaster struck on the way home from work. I had knocked off early with the intention of giving myself time for some swim creation but my car dashboard decided to light up like a Xmas tree meaning it was rather poorly. I limped it to the nearest garage and it turned out my alternator was kaput and they couldn't get another till Monday. This meant I had to wait for the wife to finish work so I could nick her car, I was going fishing no matter what.

Obviously all this delay meant I didn't get riverside till late and when I did I headed straight to the overgrown wood where I wanted to fish. Unfortunately, after about 30 mins of whacking down nettles, clambering over fallen trees and fighting Himalayan balsam I still couldn't even get near the waters edge let alone to where I wanted to be. The light was beginning to fade and I simply couldn't waste any more time in the woods, I left to find somewhere to setup promising I would be back with the Brushcutter and chainsaw to settle the score.

I'd already eyed up a couple of possible swims on my way up and after a brief pause in each I settled on a fairly featureless spot but I liked the way the flow pulled through, it had a certain 'look' to it.

The swim was a lot shallower than I thought it would be and seemed to be a level 3ft deep all over and quite weedy with a few rocks thrown in for good measure. I didn't put a great deal of bait out just boilies via PVA mesh bags nicked onto the hook. One rod went along the upstream margin and the other downstream, I was finally fishing!

It was dark by now and i set about making some supper in the form of a pot noodle and a cup of tea. As I sat there enjoying the food of the gods I had a couple of bleeps on the upstreamer before everything fell slack, blimey! A take! I quickly tightened down into the fish and was almost disappointed to feel a most unbarbel-like resistance on the end. My initial thoughts were of a Carp as it felt too heavy to be a Chub but lacked the raw speed and power of a Barbel. In less than a minute I could see the outline of a fish ready for netting in the water at my feet and upon switching the head torch on I was pleased to see it WAS actually a Barbel and a goodun at that! At 11lb2oz it was a great start and considering it wasn't much past 8pm there was plenty of lovely darkness left in which to catch some more.


The slugs had got to the rest of my pot noodle by the time I returned the fish so I had to make do with a bag of crisps and a chocolate bar. At around 10pm I started getting the odd bleep again on my upstreamer, something was sniffing around. 10 minutes later the reel went into meltdown as a fish decided it wanted to head up to Donnington faster than one of the cars on the racetrack there! This one certainly pulled well and considering that 90% of the battle took place upstream of me it had to be a good fish. A cracker of 11lb10oz was soon lying on the mat and I was well pleased, early doors fish are always welcome and if they're bigguns aswell its an even better bonus!
They were obviously having it and the hefty splashes out in the darkness told me there was a good few about too. I joked on Facebook about the possibility of making it a hat-trick of 11lbers and within minutes I had a one-noter on the downstream rod. I was actually gobsmacked when the scales spun around to 11lb9oz, that was the hat-trick then!

Another couple of bites over the next hour or so gave me a 4lb Bream and a lost fish which also felt suspiciously like a Bream. It was midnight now and I was getting quite tired yet the prospect of continuing action was too much to resist and I fished on.
I must've nodded off because I was suddenly jolted up by another screamer. This one pulled harder than any of its predecessors and led me a merry dance all over the place. As I lifted the net out of the water I stunned to find another double figure fish in there, the Trent was on fire tonight! 10lb15oz was its number and as I returned it my other rod bucked over and I found myself connected to another decent Barbel.
This one went 10lb12oz and after putting it back I sat there in a bit of a daze. This was certainly the best Barbel trip in terms of double figure fish I'd ever had and it was certainly a great result for the upper Trent. I really can't think of another river which, as it stands right now, could produce fish of that stamp in those numbers. The Severn perhaps and maybe one or two of the smaller southern rivers could do it at a push but I think the Trent, along its full length, contains more double figure Barbel than any other river in the country. A bold statement perhaps and I'm sure someone will disagree but I challenge anyone to prove any different.
Back to the session anyway, by now I was cream-crackered and although I was more than confident of catching more I decided that getting some sleep was more important. My results had already exceeded my expectations so I opted to keep the baits out of the water for the rest of the night and get my head down.
I awoke at exactly 6.30 and got recast still hopeful of another fish at least. With daylight though the Barbel had melted away and I never had so much as a tap. It was my wedding anniversary and I'd already promised the wife a days shopping in Derby so it was soon time to get packed up. As I did so my downstream rod was nearly pulled in! I grabbed it and found myself connected to a rather acrobatic Trout of around a couple of pounds, its amazing how hard they pull for their size! It was a happy end to a wonderful session.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Short and sweet

I found time for a quick overnighter on my local bit of upper Trent the other night. I fished what was a new swim for me and despite treading in Foxshit, despite getting eaten alive by mozzys, despite the drifting weed being a nightmare and despite my chosen spot being the rockiest and snaggiest swim in the Western Hemisphere I actually managed to catch a couple!

A clonking bream of 8lb and a Barbel of 9.12 were just rewards for laughing in the face of adversity. The weed was so bad I ended up fishing right under my rod tips otherwise I would've been recasting every 10mins. Fortunately I was able to feed the spots regularly and accurately seeing as they were so close and I managed to tempt a couple of fish in.

Some nice fish have started to show all along Railways water now according to reports filtering through the grapevine so I'm planning next weeks trip already, sod going to work when there's Barbel to be caught!


Monday, 16 September 2013

A mixed bag on the cut

I won't bore you with my usual excuses for not going fishing but suffice to say I'm still in the same boat as my last entry. I managed a night on the Trent last week on a rapidly rising river and even though I hooked two Barbel both were lost. I also managed to foul hook one as I packed up just to add insult to injury!

I planned an early finish from work on Friday and my idea was to head to a local stretch of the Trent and Mersey canal to try for some zander. I needed to catch some bait first so a stop at the tackle shop in Kegworth was made on the way to pick up some maggots.

Upon arrival at the cut I was surprised to find somebody fishing as, even though I've fished it several times with the lure gear, I've never seen anyone else bothering with the place. A chat with the guy revealed he'd caught some big chub recently from there to well over 5lb and I made a mental note to return with the bread in the winter. The water was chocolate colour and the boats were active but even so there was fish topping everywhere I looked, I was still dubious about whether I'd be able to catch some bait though.

I found a spot next to some reeds and got setup. Ive only ever bait fished it once before and that was in the depths of winter so i was unsure what to expect. A quick plumb around revealed a fairly uniform 4feet of water all over so I fed along the reeds and cast in.

Within a minute the float began to bob around and a tommy Ruffe was soon being swung in and was quickly followed by another. Next bite produced a plump Dace, then another and another, blimey this place was fish soup!

I was getting a bite a chuck right under the rod tip and the action never subsided despite a couple of boats coming past. The species count continued to grow, Roach, Chub, Perch, Bleak and Gudgeon, I really didn't know what was coming next. I'd almost forgotten that I was actually there for the Zander until I had a Perch attacked by what looked like a Zed as I was about to swing it in.

I quickly setup a float with a small gudgeon deadbait and chucked it along the margins to my left. I continued to fish on with maggots and the bites kept coming. The weather started to close in and it wasn't long before the rain began to come down, only lightly to begin with but getting progressively heavier.

I didn't have a brolly with me so I began to tidy my gear up and as I did so the deadbait began to register a bit of interest. The float bobbed a couple of times and I picked up the rod in anticipation. It bobbed again and then slipped away, I struck expecting the rod to take on a healthy curve but was most disappointed to strike into thin air, damn those Zander and their finicky ways!

I'm really intrigued now as to the possibilities of what could be in there. Nobody really knows anything about the place because its so rarely fished but I do know of some good Perch, Chub, Zander and Carp being caught in the past by the few in the know. It's a different kind of fishing to what I'm used to but it could be interesting especially when the rivers are out of sorts.