Sunday, 27 July 2014

July back end

As the title suggests this little update is about my fishing in the latter part of the month. We've been experiencing something of a heat wave of late which, for someone who despises the sun like myself, has made for some pretty uncomfortable fishing.

First up was a session on a new stretch of Trent and although it was a daylight trip I was still hopeful of a barbel as the area is known for producing one or two in the day and recent rain had caused the river to rise and colour up a little.

Small pellet hook baits on fluorocarbon hooklinks were to be my main line of attack and it was apparent from the start that this was highly attractive to the local roach and bream population! No barbel were landed but I did get plenty of bites from a succession of nice roach and a couple of bream.



My next trip out was an afterwork evening trip to one of my favourite bits of Trent with Phil and the lure rods. After a slowish start we started to get a few however, both opening our accounts with a pike apiece.

At one point I managed to find a real perch hotspot and lost count of how many I caught from it! Every cast was a coconut and I reckon I must've had somewhere around 12-15 from that one swim alone!

In another swim I hooked a very good pike indeed, certainly upper double figures and I realised my net wouldn't be big enough to land it. In these situations I usually glove the fish out but the swim I was in was on a very high bank and I couldn't see an easy way down to it. The fish was well beaten but as I faffed about trying to clamber down to it a final flare of the gills dislodged my tiny lure and it made good it's escape, gutted I was!

Soon it was too dark to carry on and I was well happy with three pike landed and a ruck of perch in just a couple of hours fishing, shame about losing that big one though.

My most recent trip was a late evening rendezvous with some Trent barbel. I didn't arrive at the river till 8pm as with the hot sunshine I didn't see the point in getting there any earlier. I planned to stop till around 12-1am seeing as that covered the hours of darkness when most action seems to occur.

I wasn't to be disappointed either, at bang on 10pm, just into dark and right on cue, I landed my first barbel of the evening at 10b4oz. Another followed exactly and hour later at 11pm which went 10lb12oz and I thought to myself how strange a coincidence it would be if I caught another at midnight.

In the event it was 12.15 when I caught my third and final barbel of the evening and although it very nearly pulled my rod in on the take it proved to be my smallest of the season so far at 6lb4oz, in fact I think it's the smallest I've had from the Trent for a good couple of years, always nice to see the next generation of doubles coming through though.



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Monsters under a full moon

My most recent night session on the Trent started just like any other, no indications till dusk and then the river came alive. Phil rang me to let me know he'd just taken an early doors barbel from his spot a mile upstream of me and as we talked I noticed a couple of taps on my downstreamer. Within seconds of hanging up, the rod went into meltdown and my first barbel of the evening was duly landed. It was still nearly daylight and the barbel were feeding already, surely this boded well?


Darkness soon descended properly, well as properly as it could with the moon being as bright as what it was. If it wasn't a full moon it was near as dammit and I didn't even need my head torch to bait my hook and tie up pva mesh bags. A short while later I had another three foot twitch on the downstreamer and found myself playing another barbel. My chosen swim had no snags or weed so the fish gave me few problems and a nice 9.12 was soon posing for a pic.

Two fish landed within the first hour of darkness was a good result and I started to think I could be on for a good nights fishing. Past experience told me that early action generally means lots of action in the area of Trent that I fish and hopefully that theory would be proven out as the night progressed!

It was around 11.30pm when I received the next bite and upon hitting it I knew it was a good fish. It chugged off downstream on a powerful run and then stopped abruptly and held itself in the powerful current like a dead weight. I almost thought it had picked up a load of weed because it wasn't doing a great deal as I pumped it back upstream towards me. The big nods on the rod tip as it shook its head gave me a few tense moments as I was expecting the hook to pull at any time. I've been using fox ssc hooks and so far I've not had a single hookpull with them but there's always a first time and you can bet your life that time will be when you've got a monster on the line!

Back to the battle and eventually I had the fish underneath the rod tip, I was amazed to see there was no weed on the line whatsoever and that the dead weight was purely the fish! The fish had really woken up now and made a series of short powerful runs, I'd had a good look at it by now and was fully aware of what I was dealing with and I gotta say my heart was in my mouth! The relief of getting the net under it was immense and I paused for a moment to compose myself.

The net felt snagged as I lifted it out of the water due to the weight of the barbel within and there was no doubt in my mind that this was a new PB, the fish was colossal! It's mouth was big enough to swallow a tennis ball and the size 8 hook embedded in its bottom lip looked tiny. I was shaking like a leaf as I hoisted it up on the scales and I wasn't surprised at all when the needle sailed past the 14lb mark. After three weighs to be sure I settled on 14.8, a new PB and a very good fish indeed for the upper Trent, I was over the moon!

I almost never bothered recasting after that as I really didn't feel the need to but seeing as it wasn't even midnight yet I decided to drop it down the edge. It took an age to calm down and get into a sleepy frame of mind but just as I was nodding off my recast rod was away again. A turbo charged 8lber was soon thrashing it's way into the net to give me barbel number 4.

Unbelievably barbel number 5 came to the same rod in the same spot within 10minutes of recasting and was near-on identical in size aswell. Both went 8.10 and 8.12 respectively and after that I decided not to recast that rod as I badly needed sleep!

I must've drifted off eventually because it was starting to get light as I was awoken sharply when my other rod registered a blistering take. This fish pulled in a very similar fashion to the the lump I'd landed earlier and I was tempted to think that maybe , just maybe, lightning had struck twice? I soon got a look at the fish and it was clearly another big one so I began to play it a little more gingerly. A few heartstopping moments later and the landing net did it's job. I was gobsmacked to record a weight of 13.2 which made for easily my biggest brace of barbel ever, what a blinding session!

After that fish I literally packed my rods away and hit the sack as I was too tired to carry on. A few hours later I packed up proper and headed upstream to pick Phil up. Turns out he'd had a good night too landing four barbel including two 11lbers. The fish had certainly fed well, not 100% sure why though? maybe the full moon had something to do with it?


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

A quick catch-up

Since the first week of the season I've not been out much due to work but I've still managed to snatch a couple of quick trips here and there. An afternoon on the Dove proved to be quite a disappointment as the area I chose appeared to have had an awful lot of pressure in the short time it had been open. Swims were worn to bare earth and several anglers were already roaming the banks when I arrived. Finding a quiet unfished swim was definately not on the cards but seeing I'd driven so far I had to make the best of a bad lot.

I actually managed two bites over the course of the session and landed just one chub of around 4lb for my efforts. More anglers had turned up to replace the afternoon shift as I packed up and I made a mental note to avoid the area like the plague until later on in the year when it becomes a bit quieter.

A Saturday morning lure session on my local river soar was my next bankside adventure and once again it was a little disappointing. I expected the fish to be queuing up seeing as the weather was overcast with a slight drizzle but after failing to tempt a bite in my first couple of swims I was a little puzzled. The area looked like it had seen some serious angling pressure of the wrong kind with empty trace and dead bait packets littering the bank not to mention the beer cans everywhere aswell.

I did find a few perch in the end however but I had to scale down to a tiny mepps no2 to even get a pull. It was pretty tough going but a nice fish of well over a pound brightened things up no end.


A night chasing barbel on the Trent was my next port of call and I headed to a new swim which I'd already been and cleared with the strimmer a couple of weeks previously. It's a spot I've had my eye on for a couple of years but the impenetrable foliage always made it a tough proposition. I was in the area clearing swims the other week so I seized my chance to clear it out and now I was ready to try it out.

The recent rain had brought out the flies and mozzies en-mass and just setting up was proving to be a most uncomfortable experience indeed, the bloody things were all over me. A liberal dose of jungle juice seemed to beat them back a bit and soon enough I was settled in for the night.

A massive firework display at a nearby hotel didn't help my cause and it was nearly midnight before I had my first proper bite of the session, a bream of around 6lb.

I drifted in and out of consciousness over the next three hours and had all but given up hope of a barbel. Phil, fishing upstream, had caught a couple so there was a few feeding out there somewhere just not in front of me!

At exactly 3.30am I was jolted into action when my upstreamer suddenly burst into life. This was certainly no bream and after a few dicey minutes I was soon slipping the net under a nice barbel of 9lb2oz.

It was already starting to get light by now and my hopes of another barbel were fast fading. My downstreamer gave me another bream just as the sun was rising and I headed to bed to try and get a couple of hours kip before packup time.

At around 6.30am I had a fast bite on my downstreamer and hit into something unstoppable. Despite my best efforts to make an impression it headed around the corner downstream of me with the power of a truck and the hooklink parted. God knows what it was but it was big and I was gutted at losing it! Soon enough it was time to pack up and I headed home satisfied at finally catching a barbel from the spot I'd drooled over for so long!