Posts Tagged ‘Sonubaits paste’

The fishing seems to be particularly tough for us at the moment.  We are struggling on the river in Berkshire and I have yet to secure my first barbel on my local small river too.  There is some comfort in chatting with anglers bankside who are also reporting similar results to ourselves.  At least we know its not just us.  However I think we need to adopt a different style of fishing to try and beat the current doldrums.  I guess what I mean is perhaps a more roving style, targeting more swims and  using different baits in an attempt to make things work in our favour, rather than hoping that eventually things will improve anyway.  I have used a roving approach on the Medway and Kennet in the past and it worked extremely well.  If you know the stretch really well you can continue to rove throughout darkness too, although there is always the option of then sitting it out in one swim after dark and hoping the fish are present.

My latest trip with Geoff was a continuation of current form.  The Thames tributary we are fishing this season is proving very difficult.  However others are also struggling as I said, so we have to take some consolation from that fact.   We fished until midnight on Tuesday but staying in just one swim apiece.  Either the fish were not home or we didn’t fish the right baits/tactics because neither Geoff or myself had so much as a knock.  Throughout the evening and night I never head a single fish turn on the surface, which always disheartens me to be honest.  I like to hear movement because it signals life and activity.  You at least know that fish are on the move.

At one point a stamping noise behind me awoke me from my thoughts and when I looked round a roe deer was running away from me in the direction of the trees.  I could see its white tail bouncing up and down as it hurried off to find cover.  That was about it for me that night sadly.  Tiredness finally won the day, and at around 11.45 I packed up very much disillusioned again.  So a re-think needed for future trips.

The next day we decided that a change of scenery was in order and so we agreed after breakfast to head to the Kennet.  We popped into Tadley Angling so Geoff could pick up a night permit for Reading and District Angling Association and whilst there I bought some block-end feeders and some hemp.  Tadley is a well stocked and well run shop and the owners are very friendly and helpful.  It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

There was only one car in the R&DAA car park and we decided to have a recce first.  We then loaded up with gear and headed off downstream to explore.  We walked some distance downstream, spotting lots of decent looking spots to fish on the way.   The level looked good and the river had a decent pace to it with a good tinge of colour.  In fact it looked perfect.   I decided to bait up a couple of swims with hemp and then fish a block-end feeder with hemp in and fish elips and paste on a 4′ tail.  By the time I cast out it was probably 3.30pm.  I had decided to fish this swim for a couple of hours and move if nothing happened.  I could always return later.  At about 5pm the rod top slammed round and my heart jumped into my mouth.  A three foot twitch never fails to get the adrenaline flowing and the pulse racing.  I pulled into what was obviously a barbel and it used the strong flow to full effect.

I could tell it wasn’t a big fish from the fight but a very welcome sight that fish made when I managed to slip it into the waiting net.  I hoisted it out and admired the colours and sleek, muscular form.  I would have taken a quick snap of the fish on the unhooking mat, however senile dementia has well and truly set in because the battery for the camera is still sat on the table at home after being charged up last week.  Doh!  Anyway the fish was slipped back and I opted to move into the other baited swim.  Geoff was also on the move, opting to fish further downstream from his original position.

A large tractor turned up in the field behind me and started to move hay bales from a huge stack onto a trailer.  The farmer had assistance from another guy in a car and two small dogs.  I could hear their excited yapping as they were let loose in the field.   They were tearing around the stack of hay bales, I guess looking for rats maybe.  At times they were almost in a frenzy of excitement and it at least proved a distraction from the fishing.  As darkness fell I wished the dogs were with me as the rats started to appear.   Several large rodents scampered through the undergrowth and out into the open, searching for food.  They could obviously smell my bait as despite my best efforts to scare them off they would soon return even more brazen.   I think those dogs would have made short work of disposing of the rats.

However despite another move on my part no further action ensued and Geoff had remained fish-less also, so we decided to call it a day around 10.15pm.  We both fancied a coffee at the services before the long drive home.

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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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