Thursday, 28 July 2016

At Last a Biggie

Fishing hadn't even crossed my mind during the busy work day but a phone call from Andy asking what time I could get there jogged my memory. Completely forgotten I had arranged to meet him for a quick evening session chasing Barbel. Luckily the van was still loaded with gear from the previous trip so after a quick tea of scrambled eggs on toast and rushing the chickens and ducks to bed early I arrived bank side at 7.30 pm.
Andy was well entrenched in a promising swim and getting a few twitches but being short on time I felt the urge to get into the water and roll some meat about. Waders on and in no time I was fishing.
For quick smash and grab sessions I find there is no better method. Unusually this time it took quite a few rolls down the swim before hooking into a fish, a hard fighter in the fast water.
My run of baby Barbel was continuing with another fish of about four to five pounds.

I checked the line taking off about six feet that was frayed, retied and waded back out for another bash. The bait can't have even hit the bottom before I was into another fish. This fight was much more deliberate, more powerful than the previous and when a big tail slapped the surface I knew I was into a biggie. That feeling of tension and nervous energy washed over me as only happens when you are knowingly playing a big fish. I prayed for the hook to hold and gave thanks that I had taken the time to check the line as the fish powered towards the tree roots and potential freedom. The rod took on its full curve and with as much side strain as I dared muster I turned it back into midstream.
Eventually I started to get the upper hand, a couple more less spirited surges later and I was slipping the net under a proper Barbel. 
Thickset across the soldiers, long and deep but hollow from her recent spawning exertions she still weighed in at a pleasing 11lb 2oz. Would love to meet her again when she's back to her top weight.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Social Sessions

Three weeks ago was the time for a fishing trip that has become an annual event. My old school chum Nick and I get together once a year for a spot of fly fishing. The venue changes each year and this year Nicks choice was a session close to his home so that it could be followed by another session (in the pub) and a necessary overnight stay. The dawn sun rising over the Cotswolds was stunning, I couldn't resist getting the camera out but as I had a three hour journey ahead I didn't stop for long.
Nick laid out the venue choices over a coffee upon my arrival. There was two, a small intimate Trout pond that he had struggled on the previous day or an exploratory sojourn to Bewl water, the largest reservoir in this part of little England. Easy pick really.

Bewl water is absolutely stunning, there is no wonder it is a haven of activity. Yachters sailed, dog owners walked and joggers jogged, all day long. There was an angling competition taking place but due to the huge expanse of water available we were still able to get afloat. We quizzed the guy in the tackle shop about good spots to try and likely methods to catch on. Nick's eyes lit up when he heard that spinning was allowed and he purchased a full spinning outfit, spinners, the lot- never been one to let purism get in the way of nailing a fish or too, old Nick.

We motored out to the 'hot area' close to the dam and I set about chucking some feathers around hoping to nail a feisty Rainbow, Nick spun, didn't even set the fly rod up!

And it didn't take him long to nail a Rainbow. Embarrassed he tried to hide the spinner from the camera. I persevered on the fly but it soon became apparent that this was going to be a tough day.
Nick took a break from spinning so I ventured over to the dark side and it didn't take long for me to hook up to a small Rainbow of my own. They didn't half fight hard. I like the fact that you can either keep the fish or release, which we did.

I even landed a cheeky little Perch on the spinner but despite our best efforts we struggled to land much more.

A few days later another social session this time with Martin saw us sat by the Warwickshire Avon. It wasn't the best swim but there was plenty of room for both of us and we were mainly there for a chin wag. I did manage to land a Barbel though, again not a big one but a feisty little fella and if he grows to fit his dorsal fin he will be a much bigger fish.

I am on quite a run of Barbel, all of them being less than six pounds!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Bloody Spaniel

The river has looked stunning of late. The consistent sporadic rain showers have meant that there is always a tinge of colour to the water, perfect for Barbel but they have been conspicuous by their absence (for me anyway).
Another evening session spent being pestered by Chub and not big ones which would make a nice distraction.
Did hook something quite large at one point though. With the hook baited with pellet and paste I proceeded to fill the feeder with ground bait when suddenly the feeder ripped out of my hand. The bloody spaniel had only gone and walloped down the baited hook and when she felt the sharp bit she shot off down the bank. I shouted, she cowered and then I had the lovely task of forcing open her mouth to remove the hook from her tongue. No harm done thankfully but she won't do it again in a hurry!

Late on I did manage one of the target species weighing just over five pounds. Bigger than my last one but still not quite at the size we desire. Put up a good fight in the fast water though.