If I can string only a couple of hours together while the sun is still shining I'm hitting the river - I'll regret it otherwise when I'm thinking back in winter - a few smash and grab missions chasing barbel.
Recapture above, although a long way from the original catch area. Glad I got to photograph this one again - is it the next evolution of barbel? More mussel and a massive tail - what a fighter!
Double barbel! Two barbel in two casts, the first was recovering from a cracking fight in the net when his twin decided to join him - haven't managed that before - combine total 8lb 5oz!
No big fish, mostly fours and fives - but fast and furious action, just what I want in the last of the year's sunshine. In fact the biggest was the long skinny 6lb 6oz barbel above.
I've also been chasing down the chub, had two close-but-no-cigars at 3lb 15oz. But have added two more four pounders; 4lb 3oz above and 4lb 6oz below - and they'll only get bigger in winter...
Continuing my quest for small river, big chub I added two more four pounders to the list. A very distinctive 4lb 9oz chub above - which had a weird shaped head - definitely recognise this one if I see him again. And a fat 4lb 2oz below. Great stuff!!
Season so far: 5lb 2oz, 4lb 11oz, 4lb 9oz, 4lb 4oz, 4lb 2oz and 4lb 0oz - six over four and no recaptures.
Catching bream is easy! James assured me this morning as we headed out for a few hours on the Thames. I was instructed to bring a big keepnet and a few towels (to wipe away excessive slime) as well as the stick 'n' pin. I had told him about my bream curse...
Well, as I expected, I only caught one bream about 5lb (above). What James didn't know is my bream curse affects anyone within a 10 foot radius and as we were in a small boat - even he was stuffed...
Well, he did a lot better than me - but nothing like he was expecting - might be a while before I'm invited bream fishing on the boat again!
There is no getting away from it; summer is fading into autumn. The days are getting noticeably shorter, the leaves are turning and there is a chill when you're out of the sunshine. Nearly pike time.
I took advantage of the rain last night trying to tempt a chub in the dirty water this morning - and as before the murky water gave them more confidence - tracked in clear water then wait for rain.
Unfortunately I bumped the first fish, felt like a good chub. Swim two and bait hardly had time to settle, a 4lb 11oz chub with lots of room to fill out (top photo). A few free samples and back to swim one.
The water was clearing, but eventually a few little rattles gave way to a good knock - chub two, 4lb 4oz (mat shot above). Two nice fish but the end of the action, time to spot some for next time!
When the water cleared I went in search of barbel, looking for shadows lurking about over the gravels. I wanted to take my season local total to 50 plus before the summer ends...
Mission accomplished; 5lb 12oz (above), 7lb 5oz (below), 5lb 8oz and one about 3½lb. Time to stop playing the numbers game and track down a double (while searching for that big chub).
On Friday afternoon I shot back to the river hoping the chub still wanted to play. The river was a lot clearer and the colour was dropping out rapidly. Both of Thursday's swims produced a chub first cast, about 3lb and 2½lb.
But as the water cleared enough to see my target I could watch them spooking off the bait - in fact once I could see them I only hooked one more, about a pound. I'll have to try and track where the shoals are and wait for the right water conditions.
In the clear water I could target the barbel landing five to 8½lb, including a powerful but freaky looking five pounder (pictured) - looks like it's on steroids, I'll recognise this one if I see it again.
With the barbel on the munch and the chub becoming increasing shy I've been waiting for a storm - perhaps a bit of colour in the water would turn the tables in the chub's favour.
I was going to concentrate on two swims where I've seen chub and barbel recently - the first cast sat out for all of 2 minutes before the rod slammed over - a chub about 3lb - good old dirty water!
I added a few free samples and left the swim to rest while I fished the second swim. Again the cast sat out for about 2 minutes before slamming over - I struck and there was a loud BANG as the rod shattered and the line went slack.
The line pulled tight and I thought I was connected to a small barbel - until I saw a good chub turn in the dirty water - with my heart in my mouth I carefully played the chub in with what was left of the rod and breathed a sigh of relief when she slid over the net.
A fantastic 5lb 2oz chub, my best of the season so far and equalled my best from the river. And after less than 15 minutes of fishing and only 2 casts my session was done.
I'm not too gutted about the rod - the Rovex Lure Pro Quad - I use these in various lengths for about 90% of my fishing, virtually all my chub and barbel fishing, light lure fishing even a livebait or little deadbait.
Light, great action, four piece that makes it really easy to transport on the bus or tube and relatively inexpensive - I buy them and use them to destruction - this one must have landed hundreds of pounds of fish - I'm glad it had a Viking death!!