A return trip to The Itchen, and while James tried to add another barbel to his 40 Rivers Challenge, I tried once again to land a 2lb+ Itchen roach. I could see them ghosting in and out of a shallow gravel run - but to cut a long story short - I couldn't tempt them!
I tried a variety of bait but the roach weren't going to be fooled on this trip - a blank was saved by a grayling, a brown trout and three chub to 4lb 13oz. A quick photo of the largest chub - before hitting the road, no time for sleep - there was grayling to catch...
Whatever was putting the fish off a few days ago has washed through. An afternoon wander and five barbel found the net - including the 7lb 2oz very distinctive 'ghost barbel' (above) and an 11lb 0oz double (below). Oh, and another double spotted for next time...
The eleven was sat with her twin - there couldn't have been more than an ounce or two difference between them. Both rushed the rolled bread, this one beating the other to it - a recapture of my September double - but I know there is at least one more there...
After an afternoon thrashing the canals to a foam with lures without so much as a follow I thought I'd hit the Small River for some barbel action. This much needed rain must have sparked a feeding frenzy - nope - just one fish! Anything but predictable!!
Chasing rumors. I'm very lucky with my local fishing, I'm a walk away from some fantastic barbel, chub, trout, roach and gudgeon. There are ponds if I fancy targeting carp and canals for bream. But one species I haven't got at my fingertips is pike.
The last few seasons I have fished The Royal Parks with diminishing returns and stories of a big fish-kill that wiped out the pike. The once great Penton Hook hasn't produced a pike in years. And the river and stillwater I used to fish are no longer available on a day ticket.
Looks like I'm going to have to head away from London to find pike, my last local hope is the canals (much of which now display 'No Fishing' signs). Time to wander the towpath and chuck a few lures about. Or am I missing something right in front of me?
River pike within the London tube network, 13lb 1oz (2018).
Canal pike within the tube network, 15lb 0oz (2015).