I’ve caught pike, trout, chub & shad on the fly but I fancy adding a few more species this season - first target: a carp. A few hours on a shallow little pond, plenty of carp and importantly lots of fly life.
Stalking fish I tried a few patterns before one nailed a black & green zig-bug - and they don’t half fight on an 8 foot #4/5 weight rod! Over the next couple of hours I added 4 more to 8lb 12oz - great fun!
Taking advantage of the light summer evening I was standing up to my neck in stinging nettles watching a big barbel cruising between the weed beds. When I saw my moment I gently lowered a freelined piece of luncheon meat directly below my rod tip...
She nailed it straight away and ploughed into the weeds while I got stung by every nettle getting her out - but it was worth it when a summer double was resting in the net - until I popped her on the scales - 9lb 15oz - but who cares about 1oz - what a beauty!
Well not quite yet - but I bet they're starting to get suspicious of an easy meal! A couple of hours in the midday sun, not ideal conditions but three more barbel added - taking the season total to 20.
Three very long months but it was the day we've all been waiting for - the glorious sixteenth! And as always I wanted to start the season with a bend in the rod - there are no guarantees - but I thought my best option was to target the local barbel.
I only had the morning so I was on the river just before sunrise. Due to the last couple of weeks of summer rain the river had recently flooded but was back to reasonable height and colour, and as soon as I had enough light I was wandering about stalking fish.
And I soon found one - my season opener was a scrappy little barbel about a pound. As the sun got higher in the sky and visibility increased so did my confidence. Fish after fish found the net and it was very difficult to drag myself off the river just after midday!
I landed a total of 17 barbel to 8lb 8oz, including getting two snagged and wading out to free them, plus a couple of bonus chub - what an opening morning! No monsters but that wasn't the point - fantastic fishing - I'm sure I'll be back very soon!
I've had a bit of a break this closed season, I've been out a few times - but very little fishing compared to the last few years. Only a week until the season opens though and I can't wait to hit the river - new line on reels, plans made and I'll be on the water opening morning.
I always like to set a challenge for the season so along with the regular targets I’m going to try and bag a 30lb+ carp. I’m not really one for bait and wait, initially I’ll be trying to stalk one off the top during the summer - and work from there...
It promised to be a beautiful day and I could think of nothing better to do than chasing bars of gold. Arriving at The Farm as the gates opened, I was soon at a lily pad lined swim...
Alternating between corn and mags, it took about an hour before I started getting bites, and a further hour before I was back in the swing of hitting the little dips and lifts - they don't bite like catfish!
Fish on and in the clear water you could see them the moment they were hooked, brilliant to watch the whole fight. A 2lb 1oz opener, and after that each fish was smaller than the last...
But I didn't care, six crucians thoughout the day; 2lb 1oz, 1lb 11oz, 1lb 7oz, 1lb 3oz, 1lb 2oz and 1lb 1oz - with a few tench and rudd in the mix - coupled the sunshine - a fantastic day!
Every pond has a legend of the monster pike, even the village duck pond where Mrs Soandso’s dog was eaten while having a swim. The only English fish creating more of a myth is the catfish.
”Yeah, it’s over a hundred pounds, it followed in a double figure carp as I was playing it.” Of course it’s never been caught or photographed. I had a more sensible target of a double.
Back to the muddy little cat-pond, I said I was after a double but wels are new - a screaming run and a little kitten first cast made my day - anything else would just be a bonus...
Half an hour later I was in again, another kitten but I popped her on the scales to set a PB - 7lb 4oz, bloody hell these things fight - what would a big cat feel like? I was soon going to find out!
A couple of hours later Richard was copying me with a little kitten followed by a 7lb 4oz cat of his own. Mid afternoon, out of the blue my rod screamed off - I hit something that didn’t want to meet me!
Fishermen exaggerate, but I’m not when I say it took 15 to 20 minutes to even see what I was connected to. My knees were shaking as Richard swept my prize up in the net - 27lb 0oz of fantastic!!
We rounded off the day with a few carp and bream - what a day - what a cat (but I don’t recommend a 2lb test curved rod, how it didn’t break I don’t know)... Next target: a Bertie!
I’d never caught a wels so when I had the chance to spend a day targeting them with Richard I grabbed it. A muddy little pond but we knew they were in there, and after about 4 hours my halibut pellet ‘donkey choker’ rod screamed off...
Cracking fight; powerful and dirty - tried to get in every snag in front of me - but my first UK cat was in the net. More of a kitten than a cat but I was delighted! What a beautiful looking fish; grey mottled pattern, really long whiskers and a serious mouth.
A couple of hours later - after several dropped and missed runs - I managed to land a second one. Even smaller, but that didn’t matter - I’ve fallen in love with these fish! Richard left it late but also bagged a kitten himself - as well as a couple of carp.
Can’t wait to return - I have loads of ideas for rigs and bait. I’m not one for sitting still waiting for fish to come to me but there’s no stalking them in this dirty water. And let’s face it they look fantastic - I’ve got my sights on a double, perhaps even a twenty!