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Archive for July 17th, 2014


Ah good old Frankie Howerd and Up Pompeii….Pompeii, Salute, naughty, naughty, Up Pompeii.

Up Pompeii

Up Pompeii

Sorry, very self indulgent!  I spent a couple of days on a local river, new to me this season.  Its a small and intimate river with boundless twists and turns, overhanging tress and a great variety of depths and flows.  Having done so well recently on the Lone Angler Caviar pellets, I decided for the time being to stick with them as feed and hook bait.  I like to feed a mixture of 6mm and 8mm, not too much mind, just enough to get a fish or two foraging for them.

I found a cracking little swim below a small weir where the river narrows and flows past lots of overhanging trees.  It screamed barbel.  I opted for a 3 foot hooklength made from coated braid and a size 10 hook, although sadly not my normal make.  About half an hour prior to casting I put out a small handful of the mixed Cav pellets and then set-up.  I crept down the bank and swung out the rig to the far bank, letting it swing down slightly into the flow.  I kept the rod top low to the water and sat back to wait.  “Hmm perhaps a coffee would go down well” I thought.  I turned to grab the flask and heard my ratchet go on the reel!  I quickly turned back to find the rod with an alarming bend in it.  Grabbing the rod I pulled into a very powerful fish.  I managed to keep it out of the trees opposite and it changed tact by heading upstream.  It was a very powerful fish.  Under pressure from the rod, the fish rolled on the surface three times just in front of me and I could see it was a nice double.  As the barbel dived again everything went slack; the hook had pulled! “Oh what a hoot” I thought!

Caviar Pellets

Caviar Pellets

The hook appeared to be OK, although slightly smaller than I would have preferred (I really must re-stock on some decent hooks), but showed no signs of the point turning over or any other anomaly, so I guess it was just bad luck.  I did notice however that there was quite a bit of weed on the hook and bait and as further events unfolded, I began to realise the significance of this problem.  I decided to move after another hour when no more action materialised.   I headed up into a small weir.  I leaded around the swim to check depths and soon found a few areas to try.  Eventually I fished downstream of a large tree in the water and soon the rod top ripped round.  Initially I thought I was into another barbel but sadly not.  It turned out to be a small carp of around 6lbs.  A welcome fish but not quite what I was after.

Soon after that the tip yet again whacked round and this time a barbel was on.  After a spirited fight I drew the fish towards the net when yet again the hook pulled.  This was getting tiresome.  Again the hook was covered in weed, as it often was today when I reeled in.  I realised the weed was probably prohibiting the point from penetrating cleanly and resulting in poor hookups.  It was very disappointing to loose another barbel and I hoped for a final chance as the evening wore on.  Luckily the opportunity presented itself again and this time I succeeded in netting a barbel of around 61/2lbs.

The following day we returned.  The flow of the previous day had eased and the colour from the river had dropped out slightly.  In all honesty it looked less inviting.  Today I wanted to rove a bit more and try and explore much more of this delightful river.  So a few swims were visited throughout the day, which is useful to build up a picture of the river in terms of depth and what type of bottom structure is present.  There appeared to be plenty of gravel which is very encouraging.  The river has lots of deep runs and holes to explore and so much cover in terms of fallen trees and other inviting features to fish.

I dropped into a swim with a fallen tree lying in the water and a really good flow pushing into the snag.  I baited up with a few pellets and dropped in a baited rig.  I started to get a few knocks and then a constant tap, tap, tap indicated something had hooked itself.  I was delighted to see a flash of silver as a fish turned in the water on reeling in. It turned out to be a lovely roach of 1lb 10oz and bodes well for some winter roach fishing.

1lb 10oz

1lb 10oz

A few more swims were visited until I dropped into my final swim of the day.  I soon had a chub of around 3lb 12oz in the net and 3 more followed with the best going bang on 4lbs.  Then the tip slammed round and a barbel tore off downstream.  I managed to coax it back upstream and was beginning to think it was close to netting when yet again the hook pulled!  No real reason emerged for the loss, so I can only put it down to bad luck.  That was three barbel out of four over the two days.  Very careless indeed and how right the Soothsayer was; “Woe, Woe and Thrice Woe”

“Oh shut yer gob” as Frankie would say!

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