I have a set of Reuben Heaton Flyweight Mk2 scales and I think they are great. I test them all the time, especially after a good fish, I'm pretty obsessed with it. After Dan's double barbel I tested them on some known weights and they were to-the-ounce (sigh of relief from Dan). The problem is the first 8oz, it's kind of a dead zone, after 8oz they work - they stick before it - I'm not sure if it's a design flaw or if it's just mine.
Another trip out after a pound-plus roach this afternoon, and this time I decided to use bread flake instead of maggots to deter the gudgeon (last time they were smashing up the maggots before the roach could get to them). It didn't work - I just got bigger gudgeon - the first was a whopper, I tried to weigh it but it wasn't going to work. The second was bigger - Dan informed me he had a ruler - 6 1/4 inches, that's a big gudgeon!
The third went 7 1/8 inches, I wish I had scales that could have weighed it! It was really wide across the back and was the biggest one I've seen... I'm going to get scales that can weigh them next time. They must be close to the record!
No roach showed, and once darkness fell the bites dried up. Me and Dan hit some summer barbel hot spots and ended up with an eel each. Some people are still catching barbel, we're not... Time for a rethink...
[Edit: Jeff Hatt of Idler's Quest has done some interesting research into gudgeon size here]
A couple of trips out in search of a roach this week, and I did manage to find a couple among the gudgeon. Best so far is a fish of about 8oz (bad photo above). I did however loose two, in two casts, both at the net, and both appeared to be well over the pound mark... It'll keep me coming back!
Quick trip to the river tonight to fish the first couple of hours of darkness. The barbel weren't playing but I did have an eel about a pound and a thin, out-of-condition chub of 3lb 0oz. When I unhooked the chub I found a second hook in it's mouth, the hook was barbed, connected to about twelve or 15 feet of line and then snagged - had this fish been on a 12 foot leash for some time?
I removed the hook and released the fish ready to swim about wherever it wanted and hopefully to gain some weight for the winter, but it made me think, do we need barbed hooks?
I know a few people swing past this blog so I was wondering; should barbed hooks be banned for course fish?
The temperature is falling and the Wandte barbel seem to be getting lethargic, October has seen 6 trips for 1 barbel so far. We are still getting the odd bites and we're still going after them but I'm adding roach and chub to my target species in the colder weather. I'd love to catch a pound plus Wandte roach!
The colder weather really makes me think of one thing, pike! And I'd love to get a few more before the predicted big winter freeze, my new target is to catch ten Penton Hook pike, and I'm really after a double...
Before heading to the Wye to continue my quest for a thirty...
Yesterday saw our third eagerly anticipated trip to Penton Hook. Once the customary early start (4.30am), cycle, train, cycle journey was out of the way the early morning water looked great. We agreed on the usual £5 sweep on the biggest fish, although this time we agreed a minimum size of a 2lb fish (we didn't want it to go to live bait size).
Dan and Darren were after barbel, I was after a pike with my sights set on a double. The first spot saw a pike swirl as a tried to catch a live bait, a good sign. First cast I lost my bleak and a pike grabbed the stunned fish from the surface, they were feeding! The next bait was trotted back and forth, round the snags for hours and remained ignored!
Dan was getting bites on the meat and Darren was picking up small fish on feeder fished maggots. Several hours passed when Darren connected to a big fish, after a good fight if found a snag in the side and was stuck hard. He put his rod down and waited, eventually the fish swam out and the fight continued... Before the hook straightened out and the fish was lost unseen... What it was will remain a topic of conversation, my money is on a very big carp, but we'll never know...
Then out of the blue I had a run on a float-fished bleak, I wound down and struck and was greeted by the smallest pike I've ever had on live bait, about 8oz. Next cast produced an instant run and an identical 8oz pike (not the same fish). Two pike for a combined weight of a pound!
Darren was still into the small fish, good dace, skimmer bream and small roach, but we didn't look like we were going to beat the 2lb bet limit. He did manage a 1lb 4oz perch, the best fish so far. So we stocked up on a few live bait and we all headed off to some new water for a couple of hours piking. Yay!
We found some pikey looking water, myself and Dan tried live baits, Darren tried a plug. I put a cast out to a feeder stream and soon my float started to bob, it slid under and I struck. The pike put up a cracking fight, and looked like a ten pounder in the water, an eight pounder in the net and a six pounder on the unhooking mat! It went 6lb 12oz, my new best from the Thames, and it looked like the £15 was mine!
With time almost up Darren switched to live bait and had a run, my £15 wasn't safe, but somehow the pike bit through the line before Darren could hit it. I'd won, but more importantly I think we've located some more pike for next time.
We headed home again making plans to return. Next time I think all three of us will spend more time piking and exploring more water, I'd really like to see a double!
And hello to the guy we met who reads this blog, I'm sorry but I didn't catch your name. But it was nice to have a chat, and you recognising Dan as the barbel-double-man made his day!
On Tuesday Dan and myself were fishing in what we call the dead water, it's a stretch of the Wandte that appears to hold no fish. But you have to try these spots once in a while, just in case... Randomly Darren cycled past and mentioned he's seen a shoal of chub, big chub, in a near-by swim that was all but inaccessible. I gave it a blast but no luck, I did however clear enough room so that next time I could at least cast out.
So today I snuck back into the swim and fished luncheon meat, after half an hour without a bite Darren randomly turned up (again). I swapped to lighter gear as I had a net-man and continued fishing, Darren climbed a overhanging tree and pointed me towards the fish. After half an hour or so I had a bite and connected to one of the smaller fish in the swim, 3lb 12oz, fantastic - but there are bigger ones there!
I knew it was a one fish swim so I was about to head home when Dan phoned to say he was after barbel just downstream. I walked down to join him and we targeted barbel. We fished into the dark, I had two eels, Dan had two bites - big bites but fast and unfortunately missed them...
But the third bite he hit! The fish screamed off downstream, a great fight and I thought for a second he'd got another double. 9lb 2oz. He's on a roll! Nice one Dan.
The fish had thrashed the swim to foam so we wandered upstream to a spot where me and Darren had seen barbel flashing earlier. After a short while I decided I wasn't happy with how my rod was positioned so I went to move it, as I picked it up something tried to pull it out of my hands, looked like a good barbel, but it spat the hook after a short fight... We'll be back...
<- Also, I'm really starting to like head-shot photos of fish like this one, I think they look great (and unlike the barbel on Friday this one had barbels). I want a pike photo like this!