Another summers day spent chasing Barbel on the Warwickshire Avon. Today was a real red letter day as I landed eight Barbel and a solitary Chub. The first two fish were around the 5/6lb mark and were not put through the weighing and photo rigmarole. Next one along weighed 8lb 6oz.
The rolling meat was doing the trick again but it had to be in exactly the right spot each time to get a bite, a foot away from the shade of the willow and it was left untouched. Four more fish followed including a couple of 'sevens' and then I hooked something that snagged me up before I could get a grip on it. I released the line to see if it would swim out. It didn't. I could still feel it wagging so tried putting some steady pressure on it, suddenly I felt it kick and we were back in. I could see the fish battling in the shallow crystal clear water quite a distance away and she looked decent which did nothing for my heart rate. It seemed to take forever to get the fish into the net but it was probably only a few minutes and I knew that I had nailed my biggest of the season so far. I let her have a rest in the net while I had a breather myself and then did the weigh in and photos.
10lb 14oz of pristine Avon Barbel. A super way to round off my best ever Barbel session-so far!
It may be making my blog posts monotonous but I don't care, I am completely addicted to rolling meat down fast swims for Barbel. It is a devastating tactic and it amuses me to see loads of other anglers sat behind lifeless stationary ledger rods. I popped down to the river tonight for a couple of hours literally and came away with two Chub and two Barbel. The biggest fish was nailed on the first cast of the session and weighed 9lb 2oz.
Must get some sleep now because I am getting up early tomorrow for another fix. Hopelessly addicted!
No need to panic, this photo was not taken on the Warwickshire Avon or anywhere else local for that matter. It was taken in Buckfastleigh, Devon at a Butterfly and Otter sanctuary(strange combination!). I have just returned from a long weekend with the family in Torquay and the rods did not go with me. I could not manage a whole weekend without wetting a line though (much to my wife's disgust!) so I sneaked a short Saturday morning session in before we went.
I headed back to the same swim as last week and rolled meat was again the method of attack. Between showers I took three Chub and four Barbel, the biggest weighing 8lb 7oz.
I also pulled out of a couple of fish too, all before 9am. This style of fishing is getting addictive and I feel certain that it is only a matter of time before I nail a double this way.
We popped down to the Avon last night for a short session. I had the intention of catching a Zander and Cockney Steve fancied a Barbel. The river is still low and clear so I opted for a slightly deeper section with plenty of tree cover. I was using small Roach deadbaits ledgering one under the far Willow and the other on the nearside drop off.
The first disaster of Steve's evening was when he realised he had left his pellets at home so he also set up for a predator.
The second disaster was the BAA bailiff coming along to check tickets and he had left his at home. He was politely asked to refrain from fishing.
These things always come in threes and his hat-trick was knocking his nearly full can of beer all over his chair. He then came and watched me fish for a while. Just as the light was fading I had a bite from the far willow and after a cracking battle through the weed landed this lovely Pike. They fight really well in the summer and I was careful to make sure she was all right and fully recovered.
She swam off strongly and soon after we retired to the ale house.
Last week's Barbel has started an addiction to the species again and this week I arrived on the Avon at dawn as the sun started to beam through the trees. I decided to begin in the same swim that I landed the double last week. Typical fishing, it did not go to plan. If it did every week it would quickly become monotonous and boring.
The swim had obviously taken a hammering through the week and was full of litter. Three empty luncheon meat tins plus lager and sweet wrappers. Some people are just plain idiots.
I had taken pellets with me this week to try and I thought my boilies from last week were still in the bag but they weren't. I then remembered that Wifey had asked me to glue one of the kids toys back together and the superglue was back in the house so I would have to drill the pellets. This did not work and I kept reeling in an empty hook. The attention from the minnows and the weed was making me lose the bait stop and therefore the bait also. All was not going to plan, not even close. I had imagined a couple of doubles in the net by now. By ten o'clock I was fed up and staring down the barrel of a blank.
The sun had risen to full height and peering through the clear water the swim looked lifeless so I decided to up sticks and move on. I wandered down stream looking for fish and spotted just a solitary Barbel which flew off when it saw me.
About an hour later I shook my last throw of the dice. The fish must be somewhere and the fast water below the weir looked likely. I was not confident but I thought nothing ventured nothing gained. I had one tin of meat in the bag and I have never tried rolling it down a swim before so I gave it a go.
The swim in question is fast and shallow and the main flow runs under some willow trees. Looks very fishy and gives good cover in the midday sunshine. I rolled up my trousers and waded out to the biggest rock in the photo above. With all the weight off the line I ripped a lump of meat off the block and chucked it into the flow. Bang, unbelievably a Chub took it first cast and it put up a great battle in the strong current. Probably weighed closed to 4lb. I let her recover and she swam off strongly.
A short period of inactivity was the followed by another Chub and then a 4lb Barbel.
I was beginning to suss out the swim and the fish seemed to be mostly under the third Willow from the right in the picture below. Due to the flow I had to cast into the gap between the willows and let the bait trundle down below the trees hoping that it would not get snagged. If I got it right I caught, if not I lost the bait and occasionally the hook too.
I landed another Chub and two more Barbel before I ran out of bait. I was really pleased to have turned the session around and although there was no real biggies it was great fun and the fights were excellent. It must be twenty odd years since I caught fish freelining!
I have read about Barbel clamping down with their pectorals but never seen it happening. I helped this 6lb fish to recover and then it swam into the rapid shallows and held on with it's fins. I watched it for about five minutes to make sure it was ok and it swam off eventually, splashing me in the process.
Most of my fishing this year has been for Tench, chasing an elusive double. It was becoming slightly monotonous. In the last couple of weeks I have enjoyed the fresh challenge of running water and fishing for Barbel and Chub. It has made a pleasant change. However I still cannot escape from the Tench. I caught them while after Silver Bream and tonight on the Avon I landed another.
Do not misunderstand me though, catching the red teddy bear eyed fish is always an enjoyable experience especially when they put up a tremendous battle like this one did. The whole intention was to land Barbel but I suppose Caster and Hemp could lure any species though.
Believe it or not this fish was a looker. The flash on the photo has managed to blanch out the stunning red belly that this fish had. I should not complain, it was a new pb of sorts (rosettes for everything) but I hope the next few battles are with the target species.
Family commitments are restricting my time on the bank at the moment but with the river so low and clear it would be pointless fishing all day anyway. Same scenario as last week then, a morning only session but a 4am start gives me enough angling time to satisfy the itch.
There were two swims that I wanted to fish and in my experience they require two different approaches. One is an extremely popular swim and the fish that reside there are used to man made baits like pellet and boilies. The other is barely fished and I tend to attack it with particles and feeder. I ended up in the former mainly due to the walk being only half a mile and not the full mile. It was early and I had not had a lot of kip!
I fished boily with stringers and my usual approach is to cast as little as possible in the shallow fast water. It took about half an hour before the rod did a two foot twitch and after an excellent battle through the weeds I had my first Barbel of the season safely in the net. I was happy with that but even more pleased that the scales went just past the double mark by six ounces.
No wonder the fight was good with the paddles she had!
That wasn't quite the end of the whiskers action as I also landed another of about 5lb. As the light started to increase and the sun came out the Barbel sulked off and I added six Chub to 4lb 9oz.
A cracking mornings fishing and I was back home by 11am for a sausage and bacon brunch.