It's the last day of September and it's getting darker and cooler, I spent the summer exploring a few waters around London with varying degrees of success. I've fished the River Thames, Clapham Common Pond, the River Wandte and Cannon Hill Pond (all of which are free fishing, I haven't paid for a day ticket all summer). It's been a lot of fun, I'm not sure if I'll do the same next summer or go after some specimen barbel or tench.
I caught some bream, a new species to me, got a new PB eel and I'll still be after the Thames zander throughout the autumn and winter. Perhaps the best moment was catching the elusive Wandle barbel, although they were only small, it was great catching them from a tiny river that in places you could jump across.
In total I caught 13 species of fish, and a crab, not bad for a pike fisherman. Next I'm off shark fishing and when I return the pike season will be in full swing, yay.
A few hours feeder fishing on the Thames at Kingston this afternoon, maze and sweetcorn groundbait and worm hookbait. Results: 2 bream, 2lb 14oz and 2lb 4oz. Loads of perch, some of which were pushing the pound mark. And my first ruffe (I didn't know they were in the Thames).
I need to work on my self-take photos!
I was using a cage feeder and, as normal, I recast every 60 seconds for the first 15 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that, an hour and a half went by without a bite and I was thinking of calling it quits, but a bite after about an hour & 3/4 (which I missed while wondering if the thing on the opposite bank was a big cat, a weird fox or a dog) brought me to my senses, it was a bite a cast after that.
It was great to get back on the river after being ill for a week. And the biggest bream is a new PB, shame about the photo, I definitely need a new camera.
My first ruffe, I initially thought it was a baby zander...
Well I've been trapped indoors for a few days with man-flu, which means I've made enough wire traces to last about 4 million years and I've decided to write some pike fishing cartoons. Whether or not I stick with it is anyone's guess.
Another afternoon on the Wandte and I caught the biggest gudgeon I've ever seen, it was over 6 inches long, must be 4oz in anyone's book. Initially I thought it was a tiny barbel, couldn't believe it was a gudgeon (the current British record is 5oz). Ledgered breadflake intended for roach did the trick.
A nice looking, fish-less swim.
The rest of the afternoon we explored new swims. Without a bite. We know there are bigger barbel in there we just need to find them.
As the light faded we went back to the weir, as the tally stood at one giant gudgeon and a small roach to me, we thought we might get some barbel. Dan was first off the mark with a mirror carp, we thought it was a barbel until he got it to the net. About a pound and a half, two pound (broken scales). I then had a barbel about 12oz and one about 1lb 4oz.
Dan's mirror carp, sorry about the focusing Dan.
And hello to the guy I met who reads this blog, it's an odd experience when someone walks up to you and says 'you're the bloke that's got the website pikeblog.com?'. Anyway, hope you caught some fish. I didn't think until after you'd gone to ask your name, but I do remember you are a Wandle Piscator.
And I think I'll add this photo, because I seem to be smiling for a change.
Yesterday afternoon myself and Dan set out to explore some of the out-of-the-way River Wandte. We started off in the spot where I caught a crab on Friday, we could see a couple of koi carp swimming about but they weren't feeding (I also spotted another crab in the water). This swim only produced a few small dace. We decided to name this swim the suicide spot as it was so snaggy and the overhanging trees were so low you stood a 50/50 chance of getting your kit back each cast!
Next we started jumping pegs downstream spending half an hour in each one. Most of the swims were only a few inches deep so we looked for deeper holes with fast water, the kind of place bigger barbel would hang out. With only the odd twitch on the quiver tips I decided to walk on down and pre-bait a couple of deep holes and then we worked our way towards them.
A 7lb 10oz common, the fattest carp I have ever seen!
As it was getting dark we got to the first pre-baited swim, first cast resulted in a rod-slamming bite and a 7lb 10oz common carp. Right size, wrong species. It was a great fight in the fast water but it really stirred up the swim. Dan perservered in this swim while I moved to the second pre-baited swim, but it was soon too dark to fish unfamiliar swims... We'll be back...
We ended the session fishing in some fast shallow water near some street lamps. I noticed the water level had risen about a foot while we had been fishing, unfortunately there was so much weed washing through it made fishing impossible. The barbel had won the day.
Oh yeah, I did manage to fall over in the dark, while carrying my bag on my back resulting in being winded, smashing the maggot box (wet maggots everywhere) and I broke my scales. Still, it was a nice river carp...
...To small river barbel!
Back to the Wandle for an afternoon that turned into an afternoon & evening. Result: 4 barbel, 1 roach, 1 dace, 1 eel and a crab! Hit the two pound mark with an exactly 2lb barbel (photo above) - they are getting bigger (slowly). Never caught a crab in freshwater before, must be a foreigner, unfortunately the photo didn't come out.
Update: I looked it up and I think the crab was a Chinese Mitten Crab, escaped from a restaurant.
No, not Dan, the barbel he is holding. Dan wasn't having the best fishing session, wherever I cast I found barbel, Dan's luck just wasn't in this evening. And things got worse when, while distracted, his rod made a break for the water. I made a dive for it but it was too quick, the rod was gone. We searched the water for it with torches but we couldn't see it.
Once we turned the torches off we could spot the green glow of the mini glowstick deep in the water. I made repeated casts over it trying to snag it, and after about 5 minutes managed to snag the line. As I tried to pull it in, it pulled back, the thief was obviously still attached. I got the rod close enough for Dan to grab it. Dan then landed the culprit, a 1lb 10oz barbel. Dan was delighted with his catch... And relieved to see the rod and reel again!
Sorry for the crap photo, I hate my new camera phone and I'm hoping to replace it before shark fishing next month.
My evening was much better, we were searching the Wandte for barbel and I had three small ones straight away at the weir. We then tried a couple of different spots before arriving at the hole. I had one about a pound first cast, and a 1lb 9oz second cast.
Then back to the weir to finish the session. Dan fished in the weir, I fancied a spot just downstream, a spot that doesn't produce during daylight but I thought they might move there in the dark. Three barbel in four casts to about a pound before the action slowed down, and I had two more in the next hour. Then we had the rod thief incident. And I finished the session with a boot-lace eel.
So 10 barbel to 1lb 9oz, the luck was on my side this time - although Dan pointed out he got the biggest barbel!!
One of the smallest barbel, but I bet he could steal a rod!
This evening myself and Dan popped down to the river Wandte to continue our quest for the elusive Wandte barbel. We started fishing a place called the hole which resulted in a chub about 10oz to me and a 12oz roach to Dan.
We moved to the weir and just as darkness fell I had a rod wrenching bite on ledgered worm, unfortunately the fish went under the weir and snapped me off. The next cast I used luncheon meat and it produced another fantastic bite, I landed an 8oz barbel, I had to double-check it with the torch, I had never seen a barbel this small and thought I might have caught a record breaking gudgeon! It was a barbel.
Next it was Dan's turn, but he was broken off. While I was holding the torch for him to tackle back up my rod clattered towards the water, a running dive resulted in a rescued rod and a 1lb 3oz barbel (photo above), again to luncheon meat. Dan soon had another bite and a 1lb barbel, while I was on net duty my rod made a second break for the river, I managed to catch it and it's 12oz barbel culprit.
Four barbel, a roach and a chub. Not too bad, we are starting to get a handle on this little river. It's funny, the smallest barbel I had ever caught on rod and line before tonight was 3lb 8oz and the biggest I can expect here is about 4lb, but it is such fun... we're going to aim for a three pounder here and go for the bigger fish elsewhere...
<- Dan's 12oz roach on worm, next time we are going to bring bread and see if we can find his 1lb+ bigger brother.
Season so far: Perch, carp, gudgeon, eel, roach, rudd, tench, goldfish, bream, chub and barbel... Roll on pike season...