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Archive for June, 2014


Ah the long awaited ‘glorious 16th’ was finally upon us.  The delirium brought on by the closed season hiatus could at last be exorcised and a normal mental balance restored.  Well as much as possible.  Spring was not bad this year.  We had a good run of warm weather interspersed with warm sunshine and rain, as opposed to all of one or the other, as usual.  The fish were spawning with some vigour on the lakes and reports from our beautiful rivers were equally promising.  Lots of good healthy nookie was taking place across the width and breast er breadth of the country.  So it was fingers crossed that the barbel would have spawned and recovered from their amorous ardour and were on the munch!

Geoff and I fancied starting somewhere a bit different from our usual Berkshire opener and so looked farther afield.  It was to be Robin Hood country and so to Notts we headed.  Although the river here is slightly wider than the Kennet and so loses much of its intimacy, which both Geoff and I enjoy so much about places like the Kennet, we wanted to catch a few fish during the kick off to the new season.  We slum it at a local camp-site in a couple of pop up tents.  Oh yes, no expense spared.

The Trent

The Trent

Anyway we arrived bankside at around 7pm on the 17th.  We were the only ones in the car park, which was either great news or rather worrying and we couldn’t quite decide which.  So we loaded up like a couple of Sherpas and headed off to the river.  It was still very warm and overcast but no real rain was forecast, which was a blessing at least.  The river looked magnificent in its summer glory and we couldn’t wait to get started.

Nothing too fancy was the order of the day.  A medium sized open end feeder, 2′ 6″ hooklengths and I was going to use small hookbaits.  The fish haven’t seen an anglers bait for a few months (hopefully!) so rely on naturals and I don’t think big, clumsy looking baits quite cut it early on.  I wanted to use two small 10mm Ocean Pride squabs glued to a hair.  I also intended to use Sausage Sizzle and some matching paste for both rods on and off to see if it made a difference.  I opted for a 50/50 mixture of the Lone Angler groundbait (which contains all sorts of bits and pieces) plus a hemp and hali type groundbait for the oil content.   I find in the warmer months this leaks oil and bits float off and it really can pull in the fish.  Chuck a small ball of it into the margins and within seconds the fry are on it and it doesn’t take too long for some bigger dace and roach to find it either.

So pretty simple stuff really.  I always add some very small pellets into the groundbait to get the chub and barbel rooting around and this also works well.  It didn’t take long before the upstream rod bounced around in the rest and a chub was drawn into the waiting landing net.  First fish of the new season is always worth and whoop and a holler to celebrate.  Geoff was in before me with a bream then a barbel followed soon after.  Things were looking good.  I kept one rod on just plain squabs and the other with matching paste.  The rod tops were almost constantly knocking and twitching as fish fed in the baited area.  Constant casting early on got some bait out into the target area and the fish were responding with some gusto.

4lb 10oz

4lb 10oz

The rod tips just kept dancing all night.  I was getting chub, bream and barbel throughout the session.  I missed quite a few bites and had a few hook pulls (probably chub) which kept me busy.  They seemed to love the small squabs and I ended up with 11 chub with most of them over 4lbs to just under 5lbs, 4 barbel to 8lb 1oz and several decent bream.  My new Trefor West Torrix got a good work out and what a lovely through action rod it is.  It’s light and very sensitive, which I like in a barbel rod and playing any size fish on it is a real pleasure.  I can’t recommend them enough.

8lb 1oz

8lb 1oz

Meanwhile Geoff was really struggling.  He’d had 2 bream and a barbel early on and then nothing for hours.  He soon scrounged a few Ocean Pride squabs and the bugger promptly landed two 9lb barbel.  Git! 🙂  We called it a day at around 2.15am.  I could barely keep my eyes open and it was time for bed.

The following day we opted to try the lower extremity of the fishery.  It looked good but our gut instinct was telling us to head up to nearer the big weir at the very top of the fishery.  It made sense but we both felt that this area was seriously under fished and worth an exploratory session.  Sadly it didn’t pay off.  We both had a few fish but felt we could have caught more upstream.  I had a nice barbel, a couple of chub and a couple of bream.  Geoff had 5 or 6 bream/hybrids.  So a bit disappointing but perhaps not surprising really.  The water here is deeper and slower and after spawning most of the barbel will be seeking aerated shallower water.   Still it was worth a try.

All in all not a bad opening salvo for us.  I got to christen the new rod and put the 2 rod quiver through it paces.  All the Lone Angler equipment is made to the very highest standards and I’m delighted to be using their products.

Long Angler 2 Rod Sling

Long Angler 2 Rod Sling

12ft Trefor West LA Torrix Barbel

12ft Trefor West LA Torrix Barbel

 

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