Posts Tagged ‘River Ivel’

Well after a horrendous start to the week, I managed to get out fishing.  On Monday morning I discovered that my garage had been broken into and the vast majority of my fishing tackle had been stolen.  I was totally gutted.  It takes years to build up a collection like that and in just a few minutes some selfish waster has had the lot.  Luckily they missed a few bits and I had a couple of items locked in the car.  I also found some old rods and reels in a storage cupboard, so all was not lost.  I could still get out fishing.

So on Wednesday we headed to the Ivel.  The conditions looked pretty good.  The river was up slightly on our previous visit and there was just a slight tinge of colour.  I opted to float fish for most of the day and then swapped to the quiver later on.  I went for a slightly higher mainline than normal, in case of barbel.  So setting up with 4lb mainline and a 3lb hooklink, I opted to fish 2 maggots on a size 16 barbless.  I also used a 6 BB float.  This helped pull line off of the reel and through the rod rings better.  I wouldn’t normally have a problem of this sort, if using the Drennan, but alas that had been taken.

I tried numerous swims but the fish were not really responding well to these tactics.  Eventually, having waded out to fish a nice run off of a bend, I found a shoal of small roach.  Having kept the feed going in, the roach started feeding quite readily.  I ended up with 16 or 17 in a very short period of time.  I then swapped to the feeder in an effort to find some decent chub.

I moved into a good glide, of reasonable depth.  I set up a quiver rod with 6lb mainline straight through to a 4 hook with a large piece of crust.  This was anchored using 2 size 3xssg shots.  They held perfectly in the flow.  Over the remaining hour or so of the session I had a few taps on the bread but no real bites were forthcoming.  However a small muntjac deer appeared on the opposite bank and settled down to feed for a while, quite oblivious to me watching on.  It was a nice distraction to what had been a fairly poor session.  So eventaually we called it a day at about 5pm.  Geoff had just missed a really good bite but had at least caught a small chub.  Kevin had taken 2 small chub on the float plus numerous roach and gudgeon.

The day was a little disappointing, considering the conditions, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I would like to thank everyone who has offered help with fishing tackle, having heard my bad news of earlier in the week.  My friends and acquaintances in particular at The Association of Barbel Fishers and Barbel Fishing World, being particularly supportive.  Many thanks to you all.

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This week I had a two-day jaunt to Bedfordshire planned with Geoff and Kevin.  After a lean October, in terms of fishing time, it was nice to get the opportunity to spend a couple of days out on the banks.  The plan was to fish the Ivel on the first day and then decide where to go on the second day, depending on river conditions, the weather and catches.

The Ivel

We arrived early morning and wandered the banks.  Never having seen this river before, we were uncertain of quite what to expect.  Our first encounter was met with a very shallow, fast flowing river.  We walked a long way and never really found any depth.  So we opted for a recce elsewhere.  This next area looked far more promising.  There seemed to be plenty of depth, mixed with some shallow runs and riffles.

It is not a particularly wide river, quite intimate in fact.  A delightful river, with lots of bankside cover.  The river bottom appeared to be largely gravel and there was a really nice flow.  The down side was the amount of weed still present.  Had we have been planning a spot of barbel fishing, the weed would have been a bonus.  However we were hoping to do some trotting and this looked like it might be a little tricky, given the amount of weed.

Still nevertheless we opted for the float, just to see what we could do.  The wind had really got up by now and this was also proving to be a challenge.  After a couple of hours of persevering, Geoff and I surrendered to the conditions and decided we had to move.  The area we had fished had been heavily weeded and was open to the elements.  The wind howling downstream, really hadn’t helped matters.

We wandered upstream and Geoff soon found an area more to his liking.  I decided to go further and found a couple of potential runs.  Luckily I had donned my breathable chest waders and so could access swims that would have been otherwise impossible.  The first run was off of a bend that then straightened a few yards down stream.  I was wading to a depth of about 2ft 8in+ and I was confident there would be a few fish in residence.  I was using a 6bb float, mainly due to the strength of the wind.  The slightly bulkier float would offer a little more stability in these conditions.  Bait was double red maggot.  I also had some bread and worms as a change bait.  Mainline was 4lb Reflo and a 3.2lb Reflo hooklink.

The River Ivel

Flicking out a few maggots each trot through, I watched the float glide its way downstream. The red top suddenly dipped and the strike met with a totally solid resistance.  Sadly not a fish.  Even here were very thick stems of dying weed.  Some areas seemed clear though.  So after a few investigative casts, I found a line that appeared to be weed free.  I kept the bait going in every cast but all I was managing to catch were minnows, very small dace and gudgeon.  After a couple of hours nothing bigger had materialised.  The water was a little chilly and my legs were starting to go numb.  The swim was well sheltered from above by a canopy of trees and this kept the temperature down.  Despite the swim appearing to be a fabulous run, I opted to move upstream.

Here I had discovered another mouth-watering run.  The river was narrowed by an old tree stump and then opened out again.  There was a lovely run right down to some over hanging willows.  Again I had to wade out into about 2 feet of water to access this swim.  Again I felt confident.  Again only minnows and gudgeon showed themselves.  Eventually I managed to entice a nice roach but this was soon grabbed by a pike, which came off.  Luckily the roach survived and looked to be about 4-6oz.

Geoff didn’t appear to be fairing any better than I but Kevin had found a super little swim and was catching almost every cast.  He had caught lots of really nice perch to over 2lbs and then hooked into a zoo creature, which he soon guessed was a barbel.  After a hair-raising fight, he managed to get it into the net, where upon it promptly jumped back out! Still his luck was in and he netted it again and managed to keep it in this time.  It was a beautiful, pristine fish that weighed 6lb 12oz and was the icing on the cake for Kevin.  He’d had a tremendous days fishing.

6lb 12oz Ivel Barbel

Geoff eventually managed a reasonable chub of about 3lbs but I couldn’t muster anything over a couple of ounces. We fished on for about 45 minutes into darkness but the fish weren’t playing ball, so we called it a day.  Still it was a lovely river and we all agreed well worth a few more visits over the winter months.  So in good old Arnie fashion I promised myself “I’ll be back”.

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