Archive for September 29th, 2012

After a little bit of late summer crucian carp fishing at Marsh Farm I was looking forward to a new challenge.  I had been invited by a good ABF pal to fish his local stretch of river in Berkshire.  Its a beautiful, small, intimate river.  Quite narrow and rather pacey.  At each turn there was loads of overhanging trees and bushes and lots of thick reeds and vegetation.  The water was thick with cabbages and ranunculus which swayed in the fast water.  Underneath this exuberance of growth was a great deal of lovely clean gravel, which the barbel love to feed on.

We took a good walk along the stretch and each swim looked better than the previous one.  It was absolutely mouth watering and I couldn’t wait to get started.  We both opted for a swim for the duration of the session.  Mine had overhanging tress opposite, a thick raft to my left and a deep marginal run down to more overhanging trees to my right.  It just screamed barbel!

I set up a brolly as the weather was still quite unsettled.  The river was up a little with some good colour after the recent heavy rains.  It really looked spot on.  Tackle would be quite simple.  A running rig incorporating an Andy Witham cage feeder.  This would be packed with mixed pellet and plugged with groundbait.  I didn’t intend putting out a great deal of bait and would probably only recast every hour to an hour and a quarter.  I fished two rods.  One baited with elips pellet and the other boilie.  Around both baits I wrapped some of the Sonubaits barbel and carp hemp and spicy sausage paste.  This had been recommended to me and I have to say my initial impression was that it looked and smelled very good. Hooklength was around 3 feet and as always I like to use Sufix Camfusion in 10lb breaking strain to a size 10 hook.  I also incorporated 2 flying backleads to the downstream rod, just to make sure that the line was pinned down as much as possible.  I also tried not to tighten up too much to the rig.  Hopefully all of this was less likely to spook any foraging barbel.

To me the downstream rod would be my top pick to produce a bite and this is the rod I pinned my hopes to.  I very rarely fish two rods and I only did today due to the low density of barbel in this stretch.  Mind you if it did wrap round it was likely to be a decent fish at least.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day where there was no real pressure to start fishing.  I chatted with Paul throughout the afternoon, enjoying a cuppa and a natter.  Several times I wandered back to the car and soaked up the scenery and atmosphere of this beautiful spot.  It just looked so good and my confidence was high.  Paul was great company and he’s such a good bloke that it was just a pleasure to be out enjoying a fishing session with him on his local water.

Eventually the light started to fade and out went the baits.  It didn’t take long either.  After 30 minutes the downstream rod arched round viciously and on picking up the rod, a big barbel pulled back.  This felt really good and the fish just hugged the gravel bottom in the fast flow.  I eased the fish upstream but every now and then it would surge back downstream.  After a few minutes the fish turned on the surface and both Paul and I knew it was a decent fish.  After several heart thumping minutes Paul slipped the net under this magnificent fish and after resting it hauled her out for unhooking.

A magnificent bronze flanked fish lay in the folds of the net, glistening in the torch light.  We quickly unhooked her and weighed the fish.  It went 13lb 11oz and was a new PB by 7oz.  A few quick photos and she was put back safely.  After being rested for a while she swam away strongly and I felt ecstatic. What a tremendous result from a stretch I had never fished before and within spitting distance of another spot that had once produced a previous PB of 13lb 1oz a few years before.  I could have happily packed up and gone home grinning from ear to ear but we had agreed to fish until midnight.

13lb 11oz

13lb 11oz

I hoped that Paul would also soon be onto a good fish but it wasn’t to be unfortunately.  However at around 11pm with my eyelids feeling like lead, my baitrunner screamed as a fish tore line from the spool.  This fish also stayed deep and went on several short runs.  It turned on the surface a few times before I eventually slipped it into the net.  I called for Paul and we weighed this second magnificent bronze beast.  It was absolutely mint condition and weighed in at 11lb 5oz.  I was so over the moon I decided to pack up and was going to sit with Paul.  However I don’t think Paul could cope with my inane grin any longer and so also opted to call it a day.

11lb 5oz

11lb 5oz

It’s been a fairly slow season barbel wise for me, so this was a real highlight of my year and one I will never forget. My thanks to Paul for his great company and advice.

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