Archive for August, 2012

A return to the Midlands was in order and so Kevin, Geoff and I made arrangements to camp in our usual place and fish the Trent.  Both Geoff and I had already paid a visit to the Trent a while back but this would be Kev’s first visit of the season, so we hoped it would be a little easier than the last one.

The forecast was for some pretty heavy rain on the Wednesday but Tuesday sounded dry and the weather was at least warm.  By the time we set up the tents and arrived at the river it was almost 7pm.  I wandered upstream quite some distance and decided on a two pronged attack.  I would fish one round around half way and the other, more powerful rod, would be cast as far across and into the main flow as possible.  The closer rod was set-up with pretty much standard Trent tactics in mind: a large open end feeder packed with pellets and plugged with groundbait.  I used 14lb mainline and a 10lb Sufix coated hooklink, which was about 3 feet long.  The second rod was pretty much the same but because of the distance I was hoping to fish I dispensed with the feeder and used a shorter hook length.

Constant casting with the feeder rod every few minutes started to build up the swim, whilst the other rod would be left to its own devices.  If one rod started to produce good results, then I planned to mirror that with the second rod.  As it turned out the feeder rod at the half way mark produced the only action and eventually I brought in the distance rod and set that up with a feeder and fished the same area.

The fishing was fairly slow for me really.  I ended the night with just 5 barbel but one was a decent one at 9lb 15oz.  Geoff was finding it similarly slow going, whilst Kevin had not had a fish.  However that soon changed after midnight.  Suddenly Kev was getting a bite a chuck.  So we fished through until 2.30am when we just couldn’t fish any longer.  Kev ended up with 9 barbel to around 9lbs.

So not a bad start I suppose but not brilliant for the Trent.  The river was much lower and clearer now and after the high levels that it had for most of the last 2 or 3 months, was fishing understandably slower.  So the next morning we headed to the farm shop for breakfast (full English with chips…..yummy) and then we headed to the river again around late lunchtime.  Kev headed for the same swim as the night before and I headed to the upper limits of the fishery.  It was a bloody long walk but the area looked very good.  Here the main flow was about halfway and the river a little narrower.  Geoff ended up about halfway between me and Kevin.

Again I opted to fish two rods about halfway out into the main flow.  Both rods were cast every 5 or 6 minutes throughout the afternoon to keep plenty of bait going in and hopefully pull those large shoals of barbel in.  Two fish came to my rods during the afternoon, whilst the others struggled for a bite.  Kevin opted to fish a lighter set-up and hopefully get amongst the roach.  It worked and he caught numerous decent roach but lost one at the net that he thought might just go 2.  I also managed a nice roach which looked around the 1lb mark.

Throughout the afternoon and early evening we were subjected to some very heavy rains and a thunderstorm.  Luckily I had managed to set the brolly up just prior to the heavens opening.  Eventually the banks started to get a little treacherous and on one occasion I did a sort of Harold Lloyd impression and went arse over tit.  No harm done, just a bruised backside for my troubles.  Eventually the rain eased off and the remainder of the night was dry.

During the two days we were there, numerous narrow boats and big cruisers plowed up and down the river.  They are always respectful and remain about halfway out, thus avoiding angler’s lines.  However one decided to come through less than a quarter of the way across and by the time I saw it, it was almost too late.  Due to the trees to my right (upstream) I often couldn’t see the boats until they were almost on top of me.  Generally of course you could hear them coming but because of the heavy rain, my hearing was diminished.  So I managed to sink the line on the first rod in lightening quick time but as I grabbed the second rod, the narrow boat went straight through the line and started to take line.  I didn’t fancy my chances at landing this one, so had to pull for a break.  There was much arm waving and head shaking but I did manage to resist the temptation of hurling abuse at the man and his wife at the wheel.  She watched as I jumped up and down and shaking my fists like Basil Fawlty and must have got the message, because by the time they reached Geoff they had steered the boat across to the other side.

As the light faded so things began to hot up.  I started to get steady action throughout the night and despite loosing a couple of fish and missing a couple of wraparounds I ended up with a dozen barbel.  They were mostly small to medium sized barbel but a couple may have gone 7-8lbs.  Geoff also found a few fish taking 7 but unfortunately Kevin couldn’t replicate the action from the previous night and only managed one fish.  Sadly I think he lost a couple too.  By the end of the night I was getting knocks and twitches as soon as I cast out.  Unfortunately we were running out of time.  We had decided to pack up earlier than the previous night, as we were heading home early the next morning.

So ended another Midlands sortie and no doubt there’ll be a few more before the end of the season.  What I’d like to do is come up in the autumn and fish for those lovely roach…….



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The last few weeks haven’t produced much opportunity to fish due to work commitments.  So I’ve had to do the work thing and the family thing, visiting numerous family members (which is certainly no hardship) and basically be Mr Grumps due to the lack of fishing.

I did manage an afternoon and evening trip a couple of weeks backs on the Kennet, which produced just the one bite and resulted in a small barbel of about 5lbs.  After that I did a short evening session on the Lea and despite the river looking very good and the swim also giving me those vibes that make you think you’re definitely going to catch, I only managed one bite which turned out to be a chub of about 4-41/2lbs, a small one for the Lea.

Again this week I found my usual two day session truncated and only managed to get out on the Wednesday.  I had planned a trip with Kevin and we decided on route to try Rainsford Farm on the Kennet.  As we pulled into the car park we realised we had a problem.  There were already 8 or 9 cars present.  We decided however to at least go for a recce and see where people were fishing.  The river looked stunning it’s summer finery.  Rich colours adorned the banks, as thick foliage offered an abundance of cover to wary fish.  The river was relatively clear and through the flowing ranunculus  we could see lovely, enticing gravel runs.  This was the first time we had seen this section in it’s summer regalia and we were very impressed.

However having walked the banks and discovered around a dozen people fishing, we felt a move elsewhere would be better and so we headed off to the Reading and District Angling Association’s controlled section of the Benyons.  We arrived around 2.30-3.00pm and so I decided to fore-go the meat rolling and find a couple of swims to feeder fish. Kevin found a nice spot quite quickly but I carried on downstream for some distance.  Oh for a pack horse in these circumstances, especially with this hot, sticky weather at the moment.  The sweat was pouring from my brow and stinging my eyes as I headed off to an area I had seen previously.  Luckily Kevin had offered to help, otherwise I might still be there in a heap on the banks.

I found a lovely swim on a bend.  The river flowed in from my right and under an overhanging tree and cut a deep marginal gulley right through in front of me and as the bend straightened out it ran under numerous overhanging trees down to my left.  There was a good flow and depth and I felt very confident.

The Kennet

The Kennet

I decided initially to cast downstream and let the bait swing in under the tress.  I used a light feeder and hoped that this would present the bait where and how I wanted it, or more importantly how the fish wanted it.  As I pushed in the rod rests I started to feel stinging on my legs.  I brushed the feeling aside but the stings were getting worse. “Bloody stinging nettles” I thought.  As I looked at the swim I started to realise two things.  Firstly there were no stinging nettles and secondly my legs felt like they were on fire.  It then dawned on my what it probably was and yes there they were-red ants.  I was covered in them and the ground was swarming with the little red blighters.  I had to whip my trousers off to get rid of them (fortunately no women were present, otherwise they may have swooned beyond the point of recovery) and move right back out of the way.  Eventually they calmed down and by moving across I manged to avoid them for the remainder of the day.  My legs were a constant reminder for some time that red ants are not to be messed with!

The downstream rod never produced so much as a twitch, so throughout the remainder of the day I tried numerous positions in the swim.  At one point I dispensed with the feeder and put on some swan shot and flicked the bait upstream of a huge overhanging tree opposite me.  The bait swung right under it and I thought this would give me a good chance of a fish.  However it was not to be and despite trying several other things, I seemed unable to tempt so much as a rattle on the rod top, let alone anything resembling a barbel bite.

As usual I found myself captivated by the scenery and wildlife.  I heard and then spotted a beautiful Red Kite soaring overhead and an array of other bird life.  Then a scrambling sound in the tall grass to my right drew my attention and out popped a stoat.  It stopped to look at me and with total disinterest carried on with it’s foraging.  A few minutes later more sounds of a similar nature pulled my attention to the left and I spotted two stoats running up the path about 4 feet from me.  They were squabbling in the way stoats do and springing into the air as they squealed and screeched at each other before disappearing into the thick tall grass of the adjacent meadow, never to be seen again.  Well by me at least.

Coxless Fours?

Coxless Fours?

Several times throughout the afternoon I was treated to the spectacle of swans plowing through my swim at breakneck speed, as they seemingly chased each other up and down the river.  I was amazed at just how fast they would swim upstream, let alone downstream.  Then a mother and 5 cygnets passed by.  I was convinced in the end they had been watching the BBc’s coverage of the Olympics with Claire Balding (I know how she feels!) and were all fired up for some canoing or kayaking of their own.  Still we have all gone Olympic mad, so why not I say?

As the evening arrived the familiar sound of a hot air balloon being fired up could be heard somewhere behind me.  Eventually the culprit appeared larger than life and steadily rose silently into the sky.  Just the occasional burst from the burners could be heard as the balloon soared high into the evening sky.  With barely a breath of wind it made slow progress through the still evening sky but eventually disappeared from my viewpoint.

Up, up and away

Up, up and away

Earlier on Kevin had contacted me with that delighted sound in his voice that indicated some action and indeed it was.  He had just caught his first Kennet fish of the season, a lovely 8lb+ barbel in near mint condition.  He was overjoyed and I was delighted for him. I wish I had been a bit closer to Kevin, so I could have seen the fish.  Nothing else happened and we had to depart by 9.30pm and head for home.

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