Posts Tagged ‘River Angler’

We arrived at our next venue quite excited having met an angler who had fished here the day before and said the river was in good sorts and he’d ‘had a few’.   However all expectations were soon dashed when we clapped eyes on the river.  Although only maybe 18″ up it was very coloured and pushing through a bit.

It was a stunning piece of river though and part of it ran through the National Trust property – Weir Garden.  There is also a magnificent white mansion that overlooks the stunning gardens and river and is now a care home.  As the title says ” If Carlsberg did Nursing Homes…….” it would look like Weir Garden.

Weir Garden

Weir Garden

I felt a good wander was in order.  First swim up and several casts equaled several lots of lost tackle.  So back on with the gear and I marched up to the end of the fishery.  It was much wider and slower here, with a clear bottom.  However after about 20 minutes I decided I didn’t like it for some reason, so opted to head back downstream nearer to where I had started.  So off I marched again and with sweat pouring off me in the heat of the summer sun, I finally found somewhere that looked more suitable.

I stumbled across a nice swim in amongst the trees.  Fast water dropped off into a deeper gully on a bend, offering a deep crease swim.  However this was a tackle graveyard.  After loosing several items of tackle I was close to giving in and moving, however the swim looked so good I had to just try once more.  I swapped to a lead and started to cast upstream slightly with a heavy lead so it wouldn’t move and then slip into another snag.  This seemed to work and suddenly the rod top slammed round and a very fit and healthy barbel was soon subdued.  This gave me renewed enthusiasm for the swim.  So again I cast slightly upstream and catapulted some bait out.  Very soon the rod top whacked round again and another very hard fighting barbel resulted.  I swapped to a feeder again to get some bait going in. I ended up with 6 or 7 good sized barbel, all ranging in weights from about 6lbs to nearly 8lbs.

Then casting in exactly the same spot I began to loose tackle again.  Numerous casts resulted in numerous lost feeders.  I swapped to a lead and ended up with the same result.  So this time I cast slightly downstream and further out.  Again I found a clear spot and this accounted for several more barbel.  Then, quite bizarrely I started to loose tackle here too.  I was close to moving but had one more trick up my sleeve.  If this worked I would stay put, otherwise I was off.  I used the same setup but instead of a feeder or lead, I used a string of the 3 x swan shots on a piece of line.  I used 8 of these shot, which held bottom nicely.  The reason was that if they were to slip into a crevice in the bedrock, they would just bend and pull straight back out.  It worked a treat and I lost no more tackle and ended up with 16 beautiful barbel.  I also had a run of good chub taking 3 different 5 pounders on the bounce at 5lb, 5lb 1oz and 5lb 6oz.  I was over the moon.

The other guys were struggling.  Geoff had 4, Dan 3 and Kevin just a couple.  It’s all about swim location and I got lucky finding this one before the others did.  Get it right and you can end up with a shed load, get it wrong and you can struggle for a bite.  However the conditions were tough and that had some bearing on results.  I’m certain we’ll return but hopefully in better, clearer conditions so that we can see what the make up of the river bottom is like.

So another week passed.  A pretty good result for me and I did genuinely feel bad for the other three guys.  It’s a bummer when you go all of that way and look forward to it so much, only for the fishing to be poor.  Still it was good company, great scenery and some amazing wildlife and you have to take that into account too.


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The three musketeers arrived at the Kennet Tuesday afternoon full of anticipation.  We have found it tough going so far this season.  In 8 sessions I have only managed 5 barbel and lost 4.  Geoff and Kevin have taken 5 between them.  So not the best of starts.  I have tried altering my approach slightly this season and so far my results have been slightly better than the other two guys, but its only a very small difference.

The Kennet

Tuesday night saw me fishing 2 areas.  I opted for a open-end cage feeder (Andy Witham’s feeders) stuffed with barbel bomb and small pellets, all mixed in together.  I then used 2 of the medium sized elips pellets superglued to a hair on a size 12 hook.  Usual hooklink: 3 feet of Suffix camfusion.  I also incorporated a flying backlead a further 2 feet up the line from the feeder.  Its been difficult to use backleads this season on some parts of our Kennet, due to the amount of weed in the river this year.  There is more weed than I have seen over the past 5 years.  I suspect it was due to low river levels and the unseasonably high temperatures through April and May, which were obviously perfect for weed growth.  Its good to see it in the river in such abundance but we’re just not used to seeing on this part of the Kennet.

The only barbel during this part of the session came to me about 7.30pm, in a nice deep run over a thick ranunculus weed bed.  A spirited fight resulted in a barbel of around 5lbs.  I was just putting a few bits into my rucksack, as I was just preparing to move, when I turned around on my chair to check the rod and see the butt right up in the air and almost heading off into the river!  Luckily I fish with the rod often resting on my chair, but if not very, very close to me.  I managed to get my hand on the rod before it disappeared.  Never take your eye off the rod for a second.  I would normally put the bait runner on if I am going to be distracted for a few moments.  Anyway disaster averted.

A move proved futile as no further action came, nether did Kev or Geoff have any success.  Another tough day.

The following day saw us move beats. We headed to the Warren and Dalston sections.  I had decided to knock the barbel fishing on the head for today and concentrate on the quality dace and roach fishing to be had on these sections.  I set up a light quiver tip rod with 5lbs mainline and a small blockend feeder.  I used a 2 1/2 foot hooklink with a 16 hook and tied a small bait band to the hair rig.  I was using single small elips pellets as a bait, which I know these roach and dace love.  I filled the feeder with some large pellets (these are for flavour leakage) and some small micro pellets.

Action was steady.  A few nice dace took the bait but no sign of any roach.  I moved to a lovely shallow gravel run, with a deeper glide on the inside of a crease.  A few knocks resulted and then the tip pulled round.  The strike met with solid resistance followed by the steady pull of a decent fish.  This was either the biggest dace ever recorded or a barbel.  After a lovely fight on the lighter tackle a barbel going 7lb 6oz was returned to the river.  A little while later another barbel took the pellet and this time it went 7lb 7oz.  Like peas in a pod.  Maybe the smaller baits and lighter set-up made the difference with the barbel.  Both Geoff and Kev sadly blanked barbel wise although Kevin lost a fish in a snag.  Food for thought.

A very big dace!

I have certainly been toying with the idea of returning next time armed with hemp and casters.  Certainly the larger baits, perhaps in particular pellets, don’t appear to be working.  It’s time to re-think and change tactics again.

The roach sadly failed to materialise.  Another time perhaps.

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Spent a week during June on the banks of the Wye.  It has become one of my favourite places to fish.  Yes, it’s a prolific barbel and chub river, but for me its the stunning scenery and the river’s diversity that won me over so quickly.

The Wye

Staying at Whitehouse Farm (a caravan club certified site) opens up this area of the middle Wye.  Being based near Foy means we can travel either up or downstream to find planty of beautiful, prolific stretches.  Whether they be member’s club waters, day ticket stretches or Wye and Usk controlled, there are plenty to choose from.

We like to mix the week up with visits to all of the above mentioned stretches. Being a member of Ross Angling Club gives me access to plenty of good river and at an affordable price.  Next we target W&U as they offer limited numbers on their stretches, so you tend to get the place to yourself.  Lastly we may go for the standard day ticket stretches and some of these can be very good.

So after arriving to find the river several feet up and chocolate brown in colour we wondered what the week would bring.  I have to say that the Wye does fish better with some extra water on, but I prefer it when the colour is dropping out a little and it’s not pushing through quite as hard.

Still we were here and so gave it our best shot.  We only fished a few hours but managed a few between us and we all caught which is nice.  We hoped that for the second day the river may have dropped a little and the colour too.  Sadly it seemed no different but the fishing was more productive.  We ended up with about 20 barbel between the three of us.  Sadly the session was cut short by the weather.  A big thunderstorm moved in and I don’t do thunderstorms!  As Freedie mercury would say “Thunderbolt and lightning – very very frightening….”.

We then moved on to a Ross club stretch.  It turned out to be a very attractive, tree lined section.  I’m sure its one that deserves some further exploration.  It looked quite varied in terms of depths and flow and on a return visit I hope we can wander more extensively.  Still today we just targeted one area.  The river was still quite coloured but the flow didn’t seem quite so pushy.  I fished a bigish cage feeder with Hinders barbel bomb and added mixed pellet.  It’s a deadly combination in the right conditions.  I use 2 superglued medium elips on the hair to finish it off.  Today proved good for me as I ended up with 10 barbel to about 8lbs and 2 bonus shad.  These are members of the herring family and fight like tigers.  they were only small but boy have they got big mouths on em.  They reminded me of Tarpon.

We targeted a few W&U waters over the last 3 days.  One was a new stretch for us and certainly one of the prettiest we have visited.  It was in a lovely wooded valley.  The scenery really was beautiful.  The river appeared to be very weedy and so it was to prove.  The fishing was tough.  Well finding a clear spot was tough.  We all ended up catching but lost a few in the weed.  I had a great day taking 13 fish.  Geoff and Kev caught a few too.

The last two days were at a familiar stretch for us and we were joined by Dan.  Over the next two days we caught in the region of 80 barbel.  Great fishing in great surroundings and a wonderful end to an enjoyable week.

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