Saturday, 30 August 2014

A Hard Habit to Kick

Wednesday night was intended to be my last Barbel session for a while and with the nights drawing in my last chance for an evening by the river. The chosen venue was my usual stretch of the Warwickshire Avon but this time I set up in a swim that I have never fished before. Pellet on one rod and luncheon meat on the other. Within half an hour the luncheon meat was snaffled and a powerful fish set off on a run so powerful that I had to put on a huge amount of pressure to slow it down. It worked to an extent but then the unseen adversary ran again and then again for a third time which took it through some snags and the ten pound line parted, gutted! It felt like a big fish.
I fished on but that was the only action of the night apart from a few visits from a cute wee mouse who was after some luncheon meat and I didn't disappoint him.

That lost fish reignited my waning passion for fighting Barbel so on Friday I returned to try and gain some revenge for that lost specimen.

I started in the same swim but after several fruitless hours I moved to try and salvage something from the session. The second swim proved equally quiet but then the third area I visited finally produced. By now the luncheon meat rod had been ditched and I was fishing just the one rod. Two eight millimetre pellets glued onto the hair, a pva bag of free offerings on the hook and an open ended feeder filled with more pellets and ground bait creating a stream of attractant flowing down to the bait.
First to the bait were Chub and I landed a small one of about three pound.

Twenty minutes later and I finally hooked into the target species, no monster but I was relieved to land a Barbel after a not inconsiderable amount of effort.

I fished on and whilst the rod twitched a bit there were no more hittable bites before home time but I think the Barbel addiction will continue for a little while longer.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Time for a Change?

A typical British bank holiday scene, rain, rain and more rain. I ended up that wet I might as well have done an ice bucket challenge! 
My Barbel fishing rut continues but I can feel an itch coming on for a change of species, venue, tactic or all of the above. 
Summer looks to be over and with autumn on it's way more predatory species will start to feature in my fishing.
I did manage to land one fish, only a small one but an immaculate specimen that fell for glued on pellets and saved a blank.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Not much to Report!

A short early morning session, got a proper soaking even though no rain was forecast and got plagued by Chub taps and boat traffic. The Barbel were either not in the swims I tried or just not feeding, I think the latter.
Landed one small Chub and took a few photos. Not the most exciting session ever!!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Showers and Slugs

Considering the amount of rain recently the river looked perfect, a few inches higher than normal summer levels with just a tinge of colour. Yet another shower had just passed when I arrived giving the opportunity for a pleasant photo with the sun lighting up the bank side vegetation against the dark moody background.
Not a huge amount to report on the fish front, one lost to an inexplicable hook pull and one small Barbel landed. Unhooked in the net and returned with the minimum of fuss. The recent inclement weather had brought the slugs out in force and when I wasn't watching the rod tip I was trying to keep the slugs out of the bait. They just seemed to keep appearing from nowhere, horrible bloody things!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A Fun Evening with Carp.

"Fancy stalking a few Carp on floaters for a few hours". "Sounds like fun lets do it, I'll bring my fly rod". "There's no room to cast but we will catch um under the rod tip so give it a go". "See you later then"
That was the text conversation between Martin and I earlier in the afternoon and we met up at Warwick racecourse later that evening.
As the light started to fade we baited the margins with floaters and waited to see where the Carp turned up. The fly rod was loaded with *8 floating line, a six foot 8lb hook link and a glued-on dog biscuit on a strong size 12 hook. Before the first lips started breaking the surface and sucking in the free offerings. Most of the action seemed to be around an overhanging willow, full of snags including a dead tree that had several branches reaching out of the water like a zombie climbing from a grave.
I cast amongst the free offerings and waited. Several fish avoided the bait turning away at the last moment which was both exciting and frustrating at the same time before finally one waddled into the swim and fed with abandon, mopping up everything in sight including my bait. A solid strike met with the hoped for resistance and all hell broke lose. The fish made an immediate bee-line under the willow searching out the dead tree snag and inevitable freedom. I grabbed hold of the line and held on with all my might, the dead tree swayed as the Carp got really close but my luck held and enough pressure was exerted to turn the fish back into open water.

With the rod taking on its full curve I now had control of the fight and before long the net was slipped under a feisty 12lb 3oz Common, my biggest ever on a fly rod.

The commotion had ruined the swim so when Martin pointed out another fish feeding in a reed bed further down the bank I jumped in there.
The fish itself was not visible but the swaying reeds gave away its position all too often and I dropped a biscuit in the vicinity. It didn't take long before a big pair of lips came up between the fronds and 'gloop', my bait disappeared. Again no mistake on the strike and the fish on feeling the hook made a bid for freedom. In fact it made several runs that I was powerless to stop, only being able to slow it down by clamping my hand on the drum of the reel. The 'netsman' tried his best but to knock it off the hook but eventually the fish rested in the folds of the net after what had been a good ten minute battle.

Another common this time weighing 15lb 2oz, another fly rod pb, (rosettes for everything Jeff!)
I know I should have worn 'camo' but we did take the compulsory stare at the tail shot!


Friday, 1 August 2014

Guiding and Wildlife

Several weeks ago I received a message from a chap called John asking if I fancied doing some guiding on the river chasing Barbel on the float. The arrangements were made and today was the day. Having agreed to it I didn't quite realise the amount of pressure involved in trying to set a stall for someone else to catch fish. Leading up to it I also thought I would detest being beside the river and not fishing but once the day started I actually thoroughly enjoyed it, In fact it was quite a different sort of challenge and I relished it.
John helped tremendously being such an easy going guy and pretty skilled in the art of trotting a float in running water.
We started the day in my banker swim, a difficult trot in fast water but I felt confident having pre-baited the evening before. The only problem was the Barbel hadn't read the script.
The second swim was much more to John's liking. A slightly gentler pace but still a powerful flow. He decided to step down from my heavy Barbel gear and use his  own set up. Six pound line, five pound hook link, float rod and centre pin reel. A lovely set up until you connect with a big angry Barbel that uses all its muscles and the heavy flow to try to gain its freedom. John battled hard but with limited line on the reel the inevitable was always going to happen. The unseen adversary stripped all the line, straightened the hook and gained its freedom
Swim number three and we were back on the heavy gear. Yet again the Barbel didn't want to play but on reeling in a Pike flashed at the meat and took it. Result, a four pound Pike and as John doesn't fish for old Esox it was a pb to boot!

John shows how not to hold a Pike!

If that wasn't strange enough lo and behold the same thing happens again and this time it's bigger again, pb number two at six pounds. As his guide I would love to take the credit for the two pbs but obviously I can't!

We finished the day back in the first swim where a similar story unfolded, another Barbel hooked but sadly the hook pulled, it was just not meant to be. Still thats fishing for you, an enjoyable day where hopefully we both learnt a thing or two.
Having worked hard all morning I fancied an hour or two just kicking back on the bank so the pellets and leads came out and I managed to winkle out a little Barbel just to prove a point to myself.

Not a monster but a welcome fish all the same.

Back she goes
Fishing is a superb  way of getting closer to nature. Before I had even left my village this morning I had seen a Roe deer. There was also a muntjac on the track down to the river(second one I have seen this fortnight).
On the river there were the usual Moorhens, Swans and Ducks but also there was a Mink, the second I have spotted this week.

The highlight though had to be the Kingfisher. I have seen and taken lots of photos of Kingfishers but never have I had the chance to photograph one from such close quarters and it truly made my day.

At one stage it flew so slowly over my head that I could almost have reached out and grabbed it!

Simply Stunning.