Tuesday, 21 March 2017

End of Season Roundup 2017

A warrior!
Since the arrival of March, I have felt a sense of urgency to get as much fishing on the river done as possible. I set my stalls to rove a couple of small waterways, some of these trips on my own and a couple with good friends. On one particular session, I met up with good friend Duncan Charman, and we agreed to fish a new stretch of water, using roving tactics. Duncan soon got off the mark with a pristine little chub which absolutely slammed his rodtip over on his cheesepaste bait. It was great to get off the mark early on, and it was certainly encouraging to see that at least one chub was obliging! After this though, bites dried up, so we decided to move to another section.
A pretty, young chub for Duncan
On the next section, we were greeted by some absolutely stunning glides which looked perfect for a chub or two. After covering a few spots, I found myself in a lovely looking area to flick my breadflake helping. As soon as it settled the line tweaked slightly before I received a smack on the tip. It was not long until a decisive take was to follow and on connecting with this fish, I knew by the way it dug for the cover that this was a good one. Sure enough, a rather plump and pretty solid chub graced the net. I knew from the frame of this fish that it was certainly a 5 pound plus fish, and at 5lbs 4oz I was very happy indeed, especially from a new area! Duncan kindly did the honours with a nice photograph before we moved on.
A stunning 5lb 4oz late season chub!
On the next swim, Duncan had an absolutely stonking take and another nice chub around the similar stamp he had had earlier in the day graced his net. We knew after this fish, time was short, so the both of us chose our final swims. I opted to fish a near margin, whilst Duncan found a nice looking swim with some nice cover. After casting around a few areas, I flicked the bait a little way more down the swim. A few minutes passed and I noticed the quivertip had nudged twice out of sync from the current. Before I knew it, the quivertip pulled over steadily and I was connected with another feisty chub. As there were some nasty snags, I ran a little way downstream and used the through action of the rod to deter it from its sanctuary. A few final surges for cover were to follow before another nice chevin came to the surface. It was nice to have managed another decent chub before the end of the session and even though I was happy with this to finish the day, I was still keen to get out once more before the season closed.
4lbs 7oz, definitely could go bigger!
First fish on the last day (4-7)
It wasn't until the last day of the season that I could get back out. I met up with my friend Mark Lindsay to wander a few new areas as room for thought for next season. Before Mark arrived, I fished a few areas that I have had previous success and managed my first fish of the day. It was great to have started the day off with another nice chub up for a feed.

I then met Mark, and we were both excited to see what the area could produce. In the first swims, we were soon getting our baits wittled down by many very jaggedy bites which we assumed to be the silver fish that inhabit this river. Mark had parked himself in a spot for a while, and after a few mysterious bites, he managed to connect with a good fish that went straight for the snags. Just as I was making my way to his swim with the net, the hook had pulled. We were both rather disappointed as it was a new swim, although it was certainly pinpointed for a future visit. After roving along this section for a fair while, we decided to make our way to a more familiar area to see if we could manage another bite. We covered a fair bit of the section with no response, so I made my way into a new swim which looked absolutely spot on. After a few minutes, the quivertip sprung into life and on connecting with this fish, I knew it was another good one!
5lbs 8oz
As I thought when we landed her, it was an old friend. It was actually a great shame to see since I caught her last time, that she had a mark from predation and was looking considerably emptier than before. On the contrary though, it was nice to see such a magnificent creature grace my net again and we took a quick photo before releasing her back to her watery home. By this time, Mark had run out of time and I was still left with a final hour. I spent this time rotating a few likely looking swims and managed a couple more modest chub to finish the day.

It was a great way to end the season with a few nice fish caught and some good company.

Tight Lines,

Tom
Last chub of the season!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Late February Chub Fishing

A beautiful late season chub!
With this year out being a busy one in the world of retail, with more hours at work than before, I have struggled to find the energy to properly plan a trip, yet alone even ready my gear over the past few weeks. Although I love chub fishing throughout the course of the river season, there is something about seeing out the season targetting them, when the chub are usually at their best condition and on their day, up for a feed! They have lightened up many a cold day for me and have always left me grinning at the end of my last few seasons. I think the most appealing thing about them as a species is the fact they come in all different shapes and sizes and possess everything exciting about a coarse fish. They can go from being lethargic to a pure product of gluttony through their shifts of mood, they possess exciting predatory instincts which will attack big baits and lures with ease, as well as having good strength and cunning when hooked.
A hard fighting chub taken from a slack pool on the feeder! (4-10)
Through the course of a few trips, it has been really nice to catch fish ranging from the 3lb mark to over 5lbs. The best trip of these was spent with my friend Simon Daley. Simon has had an exceptional season and his sheer tenacity and hunger to achieve his targets has reaped him some serious rewards this season. At the same time, he is a very dignified bloke who is very humble and modest about the serious captures that have graced his net. We decided on this given day to rotate between float and feeder, with Simon managing a couple of very well-proportioned 5 pounders. On the float, I managed to bump two very good fish indeed, one of which was a suspected barbel. Although it was disappointing to have lost those fish, I ended the day with some lovely fish over the 4 pound mark, on both float and feeder, which I was really happy about. It was very kind of Simon to invite me out, so thanks goes to him for an enjoyable session!

Tight Lines,

Tom
A lovely 4lbs 14oz chub

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A Cold Day's Roving on some new areas!

After that enjoyable session with Henry the other day, I was dying to get back out after some more chub. The river was carrying a nice tinge of colour and despite the bright sunlight which I was up against, similar to the other day, I knew I would have my chances. I wandered on a new bit of this particular stretch and the aim was to try and opportunistically drop in on a fish. After fishing over a dozen swims without a single tap, I started to get a few taps in one particular zone. After some delicate taps, the tip pulled round vigorously and the first chub of the day was on the bank. It was great to have managed a fish from a new swim and continued on with a spring in my step.
A nice start to the day, a good chub from a new swim!
The next swim looked absolutely fantastic for a bite with plenty of features for large chub to skulk about. I knew it would be a question of waiting for a fish to trip up and take my freebie. Just as I was thinking of moving, my rod tip suddenly smacked over and I connected with a good fish which charged straight towards some nasty debris. I used the power of my substantial feeder rod to try and stop this stubborn culprit from regaining its sanctuary. I cupped the spool and managed to guide the fish out of the snag before that dreaded feeling of the line going slack and merely your rig coming into to view. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, as to me this felt like a very good chub indeed, with all the tell-tale thumps and surges for the cover that ensued. I can't complain though, as so far this year I have had a decent start and 'the one that got away' often is something that keeps one motivated in their quarry and a reminder of what can lurk. After having a wander, I found myself in another likely looking area with a nice run of water to explore with the link leger. After a few minutes, whilst I quickly rehydrated myself with a bottle of water, the rod tip started to nudge. I waited, and sure enough the rod pulled round, and another nice chub was in the net.
A nice lean chub from another new area!
I decided on the last few hours of the day to head to a more familiar haunt to see whether any of the residents were up for a opportunistic feed. After roving a few more swims, I arrived at a nice area which looked perfect for the odd chub to skulk about. I gingerly crept into the spot and lowered my breadflake into position and awaited a response. I crouched down, my eyes glued to the tip. Within minutes, the quivertip whacked over in an aggressive fashion and another good fish was on. I knew it was another good fish, as it was taking line with a lot more ease and staying a lot deeper. This time, I was praying that the hook-hold would stand proud and thankfully after a few surging runs, a good mouth broke the surface. I could see that this fish was easily the best of the day as it's build was on a different level to the other fish I had managed in the day.
One powerful and stunning 5 pounder!
I was really happy, as the scales swung to 5lbs on the nose, teetering towards the ounce. Having not managed many fish of this cracking stamp, I was absolutely made up, especially since the fish I had lost earlier was at least round this stamp, if not larger. Either way, the fish was in absolutely fantastic nick and a fish I'd be happy to catch from any river, large or small. I rotated a few more swims as the light faded and decided to sit on my hands and knees, in a swim I had visited earlier on in the day. I casted out as the light faded and waited. The isotope nodded a few times, before the quivertip pulled over. Another nice fish was on. This fish swam straight towards me and adapted different tactics to the others as it was clearly intent on snagging me in the near bank foliage. After absorbing the final charges for cover, another nice chub graced the surface.
A nice 4 pounder to finish the day
Although the fish I lost will stay on my mind, the day was an overall success. The conditions were far from straight forward with the river dropping by the hour and the sun's rays beaming on the surface layer of the water as it did so. I look forward to heading out again for a rove for this fantastic species!

Tight Lines,

Tom

Monday, 23 January 2017

Just Like Old Times...

When I started making YouTube videos, they originally captured the enjoyable sessions I had with my friend Henry Howells. We used to get into the habit of filming every session trying to enscapsulate our highs and lows, coupled with the laughs along the way. This produced many hours of enjoyment, and it was a shame that, due to the stress of exams and various 'hiccups' along the way, we had lost touch in recent years. Recently though, we had gotten back in contact, and Henry was keen as ever to get back on the bank. We decided on this occasion to go for a day's roving on one of our favourite rivers, in search of a chub or two.

The river was certainly looking promising as the water was carrying some extra water, but fining down to the extent that the chub could well be on the prowl for an easy meal. Moreover, with the cold temperature I was also confident that a bite was on the cards. What was slightly against us though, was the bright sunshine, which I knew from previous experience was likely to put the chub in a finicky mood. With Henry having not been on the bank for a while, the plan was to start on a few banker swims in the hope that one of them would produce a bite. Our attack was fishing breadflake on the link leger to try and trigger quick responses in the swims. We both parked ourselves in a nice swim where we could both flick a line in and await a response. Within a few minutes, I was surprised to be getting a response lower down the swim where the flow was a bit more turbulent. After a few finicky taps, the rod pulled round steadily and I struck. The fish dug down deep and tried on multiple occasions to try and snag me up, but after keeping the rod low, I managed to guide the fish towards the net with Henry kindly doing the honours.
A nice way to start the day!
A 4 pounder was a great way to kickstart the day and it definitely got the juices flowing for potentially more action. After releasing the fish back to its home, we ventured downstream. I decided, that I'd bait up a few likely looking areas, as I had a feeling the fish would be a bit on edge. On the first swim we had given time after baiting up, Henry was soon getting indications on his rod tip. Following some rather vigorous taps from the culprit, Henry's tip whacked over and he struck. He hooked a decent fish which dived straight back towards its sanctuary. As soon as Henry started to guide the fish out of the snag, a gasp of disappointment followed as the hook 'pinged' out. We were both rather disappointed, but we knew there were potentially more chances ahead. A few minutes later, in a swim where I had never had a bite before, I also momentarily hooked something which pulled back. It seemed though, that luck wasn't on our side on this few metres of stretch we had in front of us.

We were pretty shocked how time was getting on, so decided to have a spot of lunch in a zone where I know a static approach can often lead to rewards. I was half way through my dessert and was shocked to see my motionless quivertip had been brought to life and was whacking over. I lifted into another fish. This chub certainly knew where the snags were and put up a very exciting battle indeed. At 4lbs 2oz, it was another nice result considering conditions not being perfect with the beaming sunlight.
A nice hard-fighting 4lbs 2oz Chub
We rotated a few more swims as the light started to fade. Henry parked himself in a swim which looked absolutely spot on. As soon as he casted out, taps on his rodtip were instant. When the rod did eventually go, Henry struck again into a decent fish. I don't know whether it was something to do with someone above frowning upon us on the given day, as yet again another hookpull ensued...  We rotated a few more swims before we went home, and it was nice that on the final bite of the day, Henry managed a healthy looking young chub to show for his efforts!

Despite it being a long while since we had caught up last, it felt as if we were picking up where we had left off last time with plenty of funny stories to relay. That's what made the session so enjoyable and we will certainly be pencilling in more trips yet before the season is out!

Tight Lines,

Tom

Monday, 16 January 2017

2017: A Testing Day in search of a Chub!

Our little friend that came to visit!
After a a poor session after pike the other day,  I was very much looking forward to getting back out. The original plan for this weekend was to fish on both days, but due to the weather plans were changed. As a result of this, the trip my good friend Mark Lindsay and I scheduled was rearranged for the Saturday. We considered various options and felt that we were due a visit to a particular southern river Mark had fished a few times.

I got up bright and early and arranged to meet Mark just after first light. We soon made our way down to the river and were shocked to see it so low. It was promising though, that the river was carrying a tinge of colour which does often go down well when targeting chub in particular. I started the day off on the link leger, trying to opportunistically tempt a few fish out of some likely looking areas, whilst Mark set up some trotting gear and had a few runs through. Both of us didn't receive any enquiries in these swims, so we headed up river to see if we could find some new areas. I always think that finding new areas on a river is always refreshing as it broadens your horizons on future visits, especially when the conditions are challenging. We both agreed that the various spots we did fish had very good potential to throw up some good fish and despite being unsuccessful on this occasion, we will be back to have a look in the warmer months when you can spot the fish. It was amazing that even on delicate float tackle, we could not buy a bite and as a result we were both beginning to lose confidence in our plan. Now I think about it, I think that the salt coming off the roads could have contributed to this, but, more so, the river desperately needed some more water.

We returned to a couple areas that Mark had caught from previously and decided to eat a spot of lunch, in the hope that it would reassert our confidence in getting a bite. After Mark had a run through on the float in one particular spot, with no joy, he pointed where he had managed bites on a few occasions. We both agreed that it was definitely worth chucking a small maggot feeder tight to the snags and wait for any potential inhabitant to trip up. It was certainly reassuring, that once I had cast out, I was getting indications on the tip. The bites were very finicky so I decided to lengthen my hooklength so the fish did not spook off the feeder. On the next cast, I decided to go a little way downstream, managing to get the cast tight to the far bank. After a few minutes, the line tightened, before the tip slowly pulled round. I connected with a dead weight which took line instantly and thumped in a very odd way. 'This weirdly feels like a bream' I said to Mark, as I kept the rod low and started to guide the fish upstream. Mark remarked how ridiculous the amount of silt the culprit I had hooked was kicking up, as the fish continued to hang low. Once it came close in, I was shocked to see the white mouth of a chub and the convex dorsal come into view. We both knew this could be our only chance of the day so were desperate to land it. After a few scary final surges for the near bank cover, Mark hastily scooped this chunky culprit into the net and we both gave a huge sigh of relief.
One Chubby Chub, the gut is ridiculous!
We were absolutely amazed by the gut on this fish and knew it could weigh considerably more than we initially thought. When Mark flipped round the scales, I was amazed to see them settling at dead on 6lbs. Mark kindly did the honours with the camera and took some lovely shots of this portly specimen. What I really love about this capture was that it was a true team effort and we certainly we felt that the rotation of tactics and baits is what made it feel like we had earned the capture between us.
Not a bad way to start 2017 at all, a cracking chub (6lb)
It was great to see the fish charge off towards the depths as its large back disappeared back into the shadows. I was hoping this change of tactic would trigger a response for Mark, but unfortunately the bangs he had on the tip were not quite strikable. Also time had drawn to a close, meaning it was time for us both to head home-bound...

Thanks goes to Mark for the invite and for being great company throughout the course of the day. Look forward to next time,

Tight Lines,

Tom

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A Sweet Reunification!

After having a car boot slammed on my favourite feeder rod, it certainly delayed doing some of my favourite roving sessions for the chub... After a fair bit of 'googling' and searching on eBay, to my delight, I was lucky enough to acquire another!

I have been in contact with Duncan Charman pretty regularly of late and after pencilling a day, he kindly offered to take me out for a morning after some rather large and elusive chub. With the lack of rain in the South in the last few weeks, I certainly expected the fish to be pretty lethargic. As expected, the river was low and in desperate need of a flush through. Therefore, Duncan and I thought that we should visit the 'banker' areas first, before moving around to cover the stretch. Duncan opted to fish a small cage feeder, whilst I opted to fish the link leger, both using generous helpings of breadflake as our hookbait. On the first swim where I had my highest hopes for a bite, not a single touch was to be had. We then agreed to try an area which is renowned for doing some large residents a little way below. After flicking my bait into a nice little run, it was promising to get a few shimmers on the rod tip pretty instantly. Could it be silver fish or perhaps a wily chub inspecting the bait? I kept my hand close to the rod and within minutes, a jaggedy pull on the tip triggered a strike. I hooked into a good fish which instantly dug deep. In typical chub style it really plodded about and made some quite hairy surges for the snags, but with Duncan kindly on hand with the net, the first fish of the day was landed!
5lb 3oz
It was a great way to christen the new rod and hopefully the first of a few chunky specimens yet! The fish weighed in at a lovely 5lb 3oz, which certainly was a lovely result for my first time out for a while. Duncan quickly took some lovely shots, before I released the chub back to its watery home. Although Duncan had the odd indication on the tip, this was the only fish to be had of the morning. It was great to get back out on flowing water, and I have to thank Duncan now for getting me out again!

Having gotten my motivation back, I headed to another waterway that I knew was also capable of some rather large and elusive culprits. Again, the river in front of me was low and in desperate need of some water. Having rotated a few swims on the link leger, with little to show for my efforts apart from a couple of modest chub, I made my way to a new area. As the mist thickened and the light started to fade, I parked myself in one particular spot which looked perfect for a chub or two. Out of the blue, I suddenly saw some disturbance on the surface with two carp coming into view, cruising near the surface before dropping down towards where my bait was... My quiver tip slowly tweaked in a steady motion, before I hastily decided to strike. The surface erupted and I saw the head of a good common, before getting the feeder rod low and started to play it as my tiny little reel started to sing as line whizzed of the spool. It is fair to say that the fight was pretty sluggish, but with various snags and the common using its body mass to its advantage it was going to take a while to tire. After what felt like many excrutiating minutes, I managed to finally guide the carp into the net, before punching the air with sheer delight!
12lb River Common
The colours on the fish were absolutely stunning and it was such a fantastic way to end what was a very frustrating day on the chub front. At 12lbs on the nose, it was a wonderful result as it is my best river carp so far and what a way to have caught it on the feeder rod! It is undoubtedly one of the nicest looking commons I have ever caught, if not the nicest!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and wish you all a happy new year!

Tight Lines,

Tom

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

November Update: Roach and Grayling

Stunning Little Redfin
One particular trip which was thoroughly enjoyable from these past couple of months was an afternoon spent with fellow river enthusiast, Harry Redsull, on the banks of an intimate Southern Chalkstream. Having briefly chatted the day before, I decided to take a feeder rod as my attack for some of the elusive roach we had talked about, whilst Harry opted for some trotting gear. Within minutes, we had located a few shoals and armed with some fluffy white bread, I crumpled up some crusts and watched their reaction... They were up for a feed! It was great to spend an afternoon with someone who had the same level of enthusiasm for this quarry and it was a bonus to land some lovely fish between us to just over the pound mark. I look forward to catching up for another trip soon!
A pretty roach which enjoyed a 'pinch' of bread in the clear water!
It took me weeks after this to get out again, but after receiving a kind invite from Duncan Charman to fish another scenic Southern Chalkstream, I decided to have a rest from my essays. The target this time was the lady of the stream. Although this day was tough, we managed quite a few fish between us, with Duncan's 2lb grayling and 8lb 2oz trout being the best fish of the day. It was nice to be able to dust off the centrepin and the float rod for the first time in a while and land a few hard fighting grayling to top off the idyllic surroundings.

Tight Lines,

Tom

8lb 2oz Trout and 2lb 3oz Grayling!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Small River Pike Fishing

After talking about sorting a river pike fishing session with my friend Oscar Bates for some time, I suggested that a roving trip on a particular tributary would be the best call for a catchup and the chance of a nice fish or two. On arrival at the small waterway, we could see the river bed in many areas suggesting that the water was very low and gin clear. We certainly knew that our work would be cut out to get a few takes. After acquiring a few baits to lip-hook, we started slowly roving our way through. On the second swim Oscar had a take and had hooked into a good perch, which was soon landed. My bait was left in the water and I then saw my float sail off. We must have found a pack of decent perch! Oscar's plumper fish weighed a little under 2lbs at 1lb 11oz and mine went 1lb 8oz.
A pair of beautiful River Perch!
Later on in, the session took a different turn when there was an accident involving my favourite feeder rod when we headed back to the car for lunch. Henceforth, we decided to leave all the excess feeder gear in the car and headed back out with a lot more roving flexibility. In the process of Oscar catching a few more small baits on his lure rod, we suddenly saw a pike come and flash at a particular perch Oscar hooked. Hoping we hadn't spooked it, I casted my float out and waited. Sure enough as the bait steadily settled into a steadier area within the swim, it slowly sailed under. I waited as I was only using a single hook on the trace before winding down. I had connected with the first pike of the day. It was only a 'Jack' pike but it certainly gave a great account of itself and displayed some fine colours.
A lovely streamlined River Pike!
Oscar and I were both overjoyed that we had managed to break the deadlock and roved on with a spring in our step. After covering a fair bit of water, we had now roved the entire stretch. Just as we were thinking of retracing our steps, Oscar sighted a decent pike sitting in a slack really tucked away. With the swim being an awkward one to get to, Oscar scrambled down with his rod and managed to beautifully cast the bait towards the fish. Just as the pike was looking at it, Oscar's bait mysteriously disappeared. We were both quite confused until I got a better view of what was going on and saw another pike was moving the bait in its jaws. Oscar struck and hooked into the pike, but as he was doing so the larger fish came into view and was either eying up the smaller pike or investigating the commotion. I couldn't resist to have a cast, considering the fish had moved into a perfect position to cast to. As soon as my bait settled into the water I saw the pike absolutely devour the bait with its whole jaw structure committed to engulfing the whole thing. Without any further hesitation I struck and we were in this bizarre scenario of having two feisty pike on at the same time! Oscar quickly landed his which was a nice Jack of a similar stamp to the one we had just caught, before kindly giving me a hand with the turbo-charged culprit I had hooked into, confidently chinning it after what had been a series of serious sprints!
A cracking small stream pike!
We quickly took this quick shot and released the stunner back to swim back to sulk at her snaggy home. All in all, it was an enjoyable session on the river with thanks going to Oscar for being great company throughout the day.

Tight Lines,

Tom

Monday, 10 October 2016

First time Piking in a while!

A tiny carp from a recent session on the river
With the rivers having been low and clear of late, the past few trips on flowing water have been far from straight forward. I was in actually sorting this blog out the other day and had a good look at what I had published since starting this little site. It is evident from the last couple of years or so that I have certainly neglected my perch and pike fishing in general, so I knew now was as good as time as any to go and do some pike fishing with the season having started. As I had only a few baits in the freezer, the session was always going to be a short recce which I didn't mind with limited time anyway.

After getting some work done, I decided to head straight for the lake. The morning had been rather chilly and I knew with the bright sunlight making an appearance that the pike could well be in a sluggish mood. On arrival at the lake, the largest lake looked the most attractive for the first cast. This was due to the fact that it was too quiet and I knew that breaking this silence with a deadbait offering could go down a treat. Having seen a strange swirl in a nice bay, as well as the wind blowing into it looked far too good to wander off elsewhere. Excitedly, I casted out a sardine offering to a more shaded part of the bay and started to tighten up my line to set the float. After the float had cocked and was set, I was pretty confused when my float suddenly seemed to have fallen flat. I tightened again, but noticed my float was moving unnaturally. I picked up the rod and realised that something had picked the bait up. After a second or two, I decided to wind down and strike. I connected to a good fish which made a prompt dive for the lillies on realisation that this was not one free sardine meal! Some vigorous charges towards the cover followed and luckily I managed to get the pike under control and the fish thrashed furiously on the surface. As I started guided this prehistoric creature to the net, I knew that this fish was at least approaching double figures with the girth of its back and decent length about it. Once she was landed, I readied my photography kit and sling, whilst a well earned revival was carried out.
A nice low double to start the pike season!
As a result of striking early, a nice and quick unhooking procedure was to follow. The fish weighed in at 11lbs 13oz, which was a nice start to the official pike season and hopefully one of a few fish that will make an appearance in the coming months. This was to be the only fish of the session, but it was certainly nice to have got my first proper pike from this particular lake and to have had one when the sun was getting up. I look forward to getting back out for these fantastic creatures as soon as possible.

Tight Lines,

Tom

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Roving for Barbel

Duncan with a spirited barbel, caught from his last swim of the day!
Last week, Duncan Charman and I headed to the river with our minds set on a barbel. We opted to rotate a few swims between us on the particular beat, with opportunistic roving tactics. Having limited hours to put this into practise, it all paid dividends when Duncan managed a hard-fighting and spirited young barbel in the final swim of the day. It clearly demonstrated that keeping on the move increased our chances, as Duncan had also lost a barbel and had various other enquiries on his rod tip throughout the course of the trip. For me, I had one 'bang' on the tip which could well have been a chub's inspection, but the main problem was that the crayfish were more of a domineering influence in the swims. This made 'dropping in' on the barbel somewhat difficult for me on this given day.

The time could not have come better for my next session, with quite a bit of rainfall and overcast conditions. The first swim I had chosen had all the characteristics of a good barbel swim with a nice and steady flow, forming a crease with slacker water and some nice cover. The bait I used was the same as that of my successful trip on the Wye, the West Country Slick Sense hardened hookers. On this occasion, I decided to wrap a bit of matching paste round the bait to increase the scent in coloured water. In the first swim, I lowered my hookbait towards the cover in the slightly pacier side of the flow. All that was to come of this cast was a greedy and rather large Signal Crayfish, although this did not put me off a recast. This time I decided to lower the bait into the crease within the swim. I had a good feeling about it, as I knew if a barbel was home, that a take would be on the cards pretty quick! Around 15 minutes in, right on queue, the line started to tighten before the rod rod steadily whacked round. I lifted into what felt like a rather sluggish fish at first. As I started to guide it upstream, it was then when it woke up. I kept the drag reasonably tight with the tight swim and held the fish as best as I could. When line started to be taken from the spool, I knew I had hooked a barbel. After some fantastic final lunges for freedom, I managed to safely net my first barbel from the river. Following some well earned minutes revival, I put the beautiful fish on the scales.
A lovely 6lb 9oz whisker!
The fish was slightly larger than I initially thought at 6lb 9oz, and was a well built fighting machine! Although this was to be the only fish of the session, it was a real joy to have landed one opportunistically and during the day. It is fair to say that I am certainly looking forward to getting back on the river and putting some time in in the witching hours! Thanks goes to Duncan for his introduction to approaching barbel during the day on this roving tactic.

Tight Lines,

Tom

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Back on the Chub!

A lovely little channel for bringing natural food to the chub!
Having recently started a job, my fishing time has been a lot more limited over the tail end of this Summer. As a result of this, there have been only occasional opportunities to get out of town and do some fishing elsewhere. Last week, I met up with Mark Erdwin, who kindly guested me on a very scenic stretch of river. Although the conditions were not straight forward, it was really nice to get out, managing a couple of young chub and plenty of vividly coloured perch. Mark also had a great day, catching a lovely 1lb 3oz perch and a good chub as the light faded. Since then, with a bit of rain and the rivers getting a bit of a flush through, it was time to give a river I had not yet fished this season a try for some of its large residents. On arrival at the river, it was carrying a tinge of colour, but was still rather low. I decided though to give the section a good rove in the time frame I was given.

I started the day off using a decent helping of breadflake, casting it to a few good zones I had come to learn from previous trips on this stretch. There was no luck to be had, apart from one good hit in one of the steadier swims, which was certainly a sign that there were some good chub present that were willing to investigate. After trying a few more swims I arrived at a nice steady run which led to some nice tree cover. I gingerly crept into the swim and pinched on a nice fluffy piece of bread, guiding it gently into position tight under the branches. It was not long until I got a pluck before the tip aggressively pulled round. Hastily, I got the rod tip low and cupped the spool of my reel, knowing it was a proper hit and hold scenario. The fish made a dash towards another part of the overhangs and then wallowed beautifully on the surface, before I gently guided the fine flanked chub to the net. The fish was a scraper 3 pounder which was a nice start to the day, putting a real bend in the rod!
A stunning young chub (3lb)
I was certainly happy to have broken the deadlock, and as many of you readers will know, once you get that first fish you can start thinking of getting that second one with the wind being in your sails. I roved onwards, trying a few of the swims I had tried on this stretch previously, coupled with a few new swims I liked the look of. In one of the spots, I had missed some finicky bites in the past and was determined to connect with one of the wary culprits. Out of the blue, the rod tip whacked over and I struck. A fish splashed on the surface before throwing the hook. I was pretty sure that I had connected with one of the trout, as it was no distinctive surge like that of a chub. After dropping in on a couple of other areas heading back to the car, a lovely snaggy swim caught my eye. The access was not brilliant, but in the event of hooking a fish, I did visualise a plan of landing one. I pinched on another piece of bread and flicked it tightly towards the snags. It was no surprise when I got my first tap, before the rod pulled right round. I struck and hurriedly got the rod nice and low. I felt the chub surge off and held it, depending on the forgiving action of my rod to absorb the power. I managed to get the fish under control, and get to a nice point in the swim to land it, this was a slightly better stamp of chub and it was nice to increase the day's tally.
Such fine colouration on that flank (3-14)
This chub was a lovely brassy one and at just under 4lbs (3lbs 14oz) I was pretty made up to have managed some nice sport on a short session. I did continue to fish until 4pm, but apart from the odd knock, no more fish were to be had for the day, but one thing's for sure, I am looking forward to heading back up for another session!

Tight Lines,

Tom

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