Friday, 6 December 2019

Frosty Barbel

After a few proper frosts I knew the barbel fishing would be tough, and although I could find fish they didn’t want a bait. It took about three hours to find a shoal of feeding barbel and I quickly bagged two about 5lb and 3lb - then James phoned...

“Are you still on the river? I’ve popped down for an hour” I told him I was and I’d found fish, “come and meet me, try and bag one”. It didn’t take him long, a 6lb 10oz barbel first cast - followed by one about 3lb half an hour later. James left - it got cold - I left...

A shoal of feeding barbel in December? I was back for a couple of hours the next day! Unsurprisingly they had vanished - but I thought I’d have a few casts in likely spots on the way back up the river - landing one about 4½lb - then I watched a big girl nail the bait...

Cracking fight and the hook pinged out over the net, but it was too late! No need for a Mac comparison, I recognised her as the 10lb 3oz from last month - a double! Nope, at a (double-checked) 9lb 15oz she’d dropped 4oz - they’re really not on the feed in this weather!

For the records: 9lb 15oz, 5lb, 4½lb & 3lb (139)

Monday, 2 December 2019

Characterful Not Fugly

A couple of hours trotting for dace with James, a chub each - but no dace. Then we spotted a beautiful mirror carp - I only had 3lb line, a size 16 hook and the water was fast - but it was too much to resist...

Cracking fight on the light rod / centerpin and as the carp surfaced in front of me James mugged it. Not quite the beauty we were expecting - missing half it’s tail and a nasty sore on her side...

In fairness the side above is the one we could see - feels very strange holding a fish this way round! Bit of a sorry state, but fought hard and went back well, a characterful 11lb 3oz river mirror.

Edit: It’s a carp James has caught before, back in February 2015 she went 13lb 2oz - with minimal damage and an almost complete tail. Gone a bit downhill in 5 years, but they are tough fish in this river!

Friday, 29 November 2019

Mystery Of The Pond

Or the case of the missing pike. I’m struggling to catch pike this season - which is weird because this time last year I was bagging up. And one pond in particular is proving a mystery:
  • October/November 2018: 12 sessions, 46 pike
  • October/November 2019: 7 sessions, 3 pike
Using the same gear, same lures and covering all of the water - I’m struggling to work out why (unless I’ve lost all lure fishing ability). I’ve thought of a few possible reasons (excuses):
  • Fish kill? Unlikely, would have heard.
  • Poached? Again unlikely as it’s well policed.
  • Missing the short feeding spell, mornings or nighttime?
  • A couple of big pike eating the smaller ones?
I’d seen plenty of jacks here in the summer so I was hoping it was the latter, so I spent 4 hours thrashing the water to a foam with a Savage Gear 3D pike - that’ll find them. Not even a follow!

Where have all the pike gone?

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Into The Drizzle

Not enough time to get to the pike ponds and horrible drizzly weather - so I thought I’d give the barbel another bash for an hour or two...

And three barbel found the net before the water got too dirty to spot them and I retreated out of the rain - worth getting wet for...

With the 100 Barbel Challenge cracked a couple of months ago can I crack the 800 overall total this season? 29 barbel to go...

For the records: 8lb 10oz, 8lb 0oz & 5lb (135)

Friday, 22 November 2019

Finishing The Spam

With three hours of light left in the day I thought I’d pop down the river and finish off yesterday’s tin of Spam - waste not, want not. And a great way to do it; 3 barbel and a bonus chub.

Last fish of the short session was this beautiful double, my fifth over the magic weight this season. I still had light but another landing net bites the dust - I really go through landing nets!

For the records: 10lb 3oz, 7lb 5oz & 6lb 2oz (132)

Thursday, 21 November 2019


Can’t catch the bloody things! Since landing my last pike over a month ago I’ve done about 20 hours spread over 4 sessions chasing them - for just one lost fish - I’d had 50 this time last season. No two years are the same - but it’s tough going this season.

So to try and get a bend in the rod I headed out to see if the chub and barbel had acclimatised to the recent frosts. Four hours on the clock - 4 chub, best two going 5lb 0oz and 4lb 12oz - and 2 barbel; 7lb 0oz and 5lb. Cracking afternoon - batteries recharged... Right then pike...

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Déjà Vu

Back up to my neck in nettles, after about an hour an unsighted barbel nailed the bait. A cracking fight in the unusually dirty turbulent water after the recent rain - before a stunning double was swept up in the net. On the scales she went 10lb 10oz - fantastic!

My 10lb 11oz barbel from just over a week ago? I thought so - and nearly settled for a mat shot. Still a cracker but slightly disappointing to catch the same fish twice. So I was delighted when I compared the photos on the Mac - a different fish and a new one to me. Twins!!

For the records: 10lb 10oz, 5lb & 4lb (127)

Wednesday, 6 November 2019


There is no getting away from it autumn is here - the leaves are falling, it’s getting colder and the nights are really closing in - loosing light from about 3pm and dark by 4.30pm - winter is on it’s way.

An afternoon on the river and a bit of trotting - a real mixed bag; roach, chub, gudgeon, minnows, dace and some beautiful perch. All too soon the light faded and the short trip was done - I’ll be back.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Blank Saver

A trip to the pike ponds and four hours of thrashing the water to a foam with a variety of lures didn’t even result in a follow. I think I fished well and covered a lot of water - but that’s fishing! Ah well, at least the barbel are on the feed at the moment...

With three hours on the clock I hit the river - a barbel or two to take my mind off it. But 3½ hours into my 3 hour session I hadn’t had a bite. As hour 4 came and went I had to call it - wait - a nibble - a tiny barbel blank-saver. I’ve never been so pleased to see a little fish!

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Missed Me?

I shot down the river - firstly to check it was still there and secondly to see if the fish had missed me! And my timing couldn’t have been better; the barbel were on the feed - fourteen landed to 10lb 11oz. Plus a bonus chub of 4lb 14oz. Had the fish missed me? Hell no!!

For the records: 10lb 11oz, 7lb 8oz, 6lb 2oz, 6lb 1oz, 6lb 0oz, 5lb, 5lb, 4½lb, 4½lb, 4½lb, 4lb, 4lb, 3lb & 2½lb (123)