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Posts Tagged ‘summer river fishing’


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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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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