Saturday 24 November 2018

Next Gen

Working a shift pattern of 5 days on, 3 off since July has definitely allowed me more time on the bank. I try and get one short session in after work, then at least one longer session during my time off. This worked well for the barbel over the summer and I’m planning on continuing this during the winter months, night fishing for chub after work then switching to pike when I can get out during daylight.

My first chub session of the season was a bit of a disaster, the river was low but pushing through very fast. Most of the session was spent in snags.

Next up was a pike session on my favourite river, which was extremely low and clear. Not usually a problem but I probably chose the wrong stretch, I’ve caught some decent fish from this stretch in similar conditions but not on this session. The river seemed dead, other than a mink pissing around on the far bank.  It’s rare to see another angler on this stretch but this time I bumped into a familiar face, who had the same story to tell, another blank.

A change of pace for my next outing, a short whip session on a local stretch with my youngest nephew Will. 

A quick hours fishing for silvers, I think it’s the third or fourth time I’ve taken Will out and we’ve always done ok. Will definitely seems to have the ‘fishing bug’ and I can see him being the next generation of angler in my family. It’s his birthday in the spring, so maybe a trip to the local tackle shop then a trip to a pond for crucians and tench.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Jack attack

At the back end of October I headed to another new stretch of river, conditions were fairly shite with a bitterly cold northerly but this river seems to hold a decent head of pike so I was confident of some interest.

It took some time, a couple of hours and a few peg moves before getting a jack on a paternostered live. Whilst unhooking the jack it flipped and caught my palm at the base of the thumb with one of its front teeth, not the usual minor cut or raker rash, but a deep down to the bone laceration. I managed to return the fish and after a while stemmed the bleeding, I thought I would have to leave my gear on the bank and head to A&E but thankfully I was able to  patch myself up and continue the session.

Steady action for the rest of the day, 4 more pike to just shy of double figures and a nice perch of 1lb 15oz made it a decent first visit.

I managed to keep the wound clean and dry but after checking it when I got home it was obvious that I needed to have it looked at. A quick trip to the minor injuries unit, some butterfly stitches, a tetanus booster and a coarse of antibiotics and I thought that would be the end of it. However one of the potential side effects of the antibiotics I was taking is tinnitus.

It drove me crazy for a few days, but it’s either eased off a bit or I’ve gotten used to it. Not the nicest thing to live with but it could be a lot worse. In future I will only taking antibiotics when needed not as a precaution. 

Saturday 17 November 2018

Early sessions

I was still chasing barbel at the start of October so didn’t have my first pike session until the middle of the month.

With the mild conditions we’ve had it didn’t really feel like pike weather but I was becoming a little jaded with the barbel so the pike gear had to come out. My first sessions were all on stretches I recced this close season, none of which seem to have had that many visitors as the banks seemed relatively undisturbed.

The 1st pike of the season, just a jack but a such beautifully marked fish, hopefully we cross paths again.
The first session produced 3 jacks, all to ledgered sea deads. The second outing was much further upstream than the first and despite having longer on the bank it was more difficult and I only managed the one jack, which snatched the bait on the retrieve.

A different river for my third session, a lovely stretch of water which seems to have a bit of everything, lots of near bank features with deep holes in the margins, faster sections mid river and the odd far bank slack. A steady session with 3 fish landed to just shy of 11lb.

My first double of the 18/19 season (10.10lb)

Nothing spectacular but a reasonable start, 7 fish from the 3 sessions all on different stretches. 

Having access to so many different waters I am planning on regularly changing venues, keeping things fresh and learning new stretches. Perhaps if I come across some good fishing I’ll have a few sessions in that area but for now I’ll definitely be visiting a new stretch each session.

Saturday 10 November 2018

June becomes July.....

I had hoped to keep the blog regularly updated this season, but as usual things get in the way...

My close season was spent walking the river banks, gathering information, locating fish and planning my early season sessions.

Almost 3 months passed without wetting a line, I was unable to get out on opening day but was on the bank a couple of days later. I shouldn’t have bothered, a nightmare session from beginning to end, with only a small chub to save a blank.

The first of the river season
Thankfully things improved and I was regularly catching barbel from the targeted river. The overall aim being a double from this river, not an easy target but as I was dedicating all my fishing time to the cause I was hopeful.

By the end of June I was catching most sessions nothing huge but the fishing was very enjoyable.

During a purple patch at the end of July/beginning of August I caught barbel in 10 consecutive sessions from various different stretches including areas where I had never seen them caught before. The fishing was great, expecting to catch barbel rather than hoping to, was a new experience for me on this river. In one session I had 12 casts and ended up with 8 barbel, 2 chub and 2 lost barbel, reluctantly I left as we had a family outting planned the following day, otherwise I think I could of caught all night.

The fishing gradually returned to being moderately difficult, a fish every 2 or 3 sessions, catching more chub than barbel. I was unable to get on the bank during the only major flood of the summer which was disappointing as a number of large fish came out. 

Generally a very productive campaign but ultimately I have fallen short of that double, my largest fish not making 9lb. In total I managed 30 barbel from this river, (plus a few from the Trent) which I think is good going on this river especially as my time on the bank is very limited thanks to 60hr + working weeks and a hectic family life. 

One from a difficult trip to the tidal Trent

A good '5' from the Trent

8lb 11oz a seasons best, so far....

The rivers up here cool fast, although barbel are still being caught, my time is now being split between chub and pike. I might have the odd attempt for barbel over winter but only if conditions are favourable.