Dan has been in the south of France for the last week, he has been fishing and among other things caught an octopus (I'll post the photo when he emails it to me, I've never caught one - I nearly got one in Savannah, but while I had it dangling in the air I watched it expertly unhook itself). He also managed a 2lb brulle*.
Last time I went fishing, last week, I broke my barbel reel, it ceased up and on further inspection one of the cogs had lost some teeth - unfortunately its beyond repair. I've done a lot of research but still haven't decided on its replacement. All my other gear is pike fishing stuff.
So this evening, after a week away from the Wandte, we decided to give it a couple of hours. I used a pike reel, 18lb line to a light hook link and wasn't feeling confident with the set up. A few little rattle bites in the daylight and only one real bite (after dark) and a 6lb 15oz barbel above. Perhaps its back to night fishing for a while. Great to be back on the river!
I have got my weir permit through the post and can't wait to get after a Thames pike - but we've still got a month or so to catch a Wandte double... the quest continues...
* Brulle: Dan handed his fishing gear to his wife, only for a minute (and she caught it).
Just when you think you've found the barbel feeding pattern they change it! A bit of rain has made the water look good, but three trips to the Wandte this week for no barbel. Dan did manage a couple of eels and hooked into a couple of big fish on Saturday, but both escaped unseen. We even tried fishing through a storm, Dan forgetting the most essential of items - an umbrella!
So our fishing stats are 32 trips and 16 blanks, a 50/50 split, but I feel this stat is going to go down as we approach autumn and the fish get even more difficult to locate.
I don't know what happened to summer but you can definitely feel autumn in the air, another couple of weeks and I'll be off in search of a Thames pike...
I haven't been to the Wandte for a week now and I was starting to get withdraw symptoms. So I worked out if I got up early and worked fast I could probably fit in a 3 hour lunch break - half an hour there, 2 hours fishing, half an hour travel back.
My plan was to fish 3 or 4 swims close together for maximum fishing time. First swim, first cast, cracking bite - don't know how I missed it. I was on about my third cast in the second swim when the rod ripped round without me having time to put it in the rests - barbel on! Tough fight, including getting the fish snagged, but eventually I got the net under it - 6lb 7oz, top photo. The trip was already more than worth it!
Next swim, bite within seconds and landed the chub above, about 2lb. As with the barbel, once I'd had a fish I moved. Last swim, and the one I thought would be the best - no bites.
With only a few minutes left on the clock I headed back to the first swim, it was starting to rain but I decided to give it one cast - I'm glad I did. The bait wasn't in the water for 10 seconds before I had a bite, a fight which went right up and down the river and eventually I got the net under what I thought must be close to a double - it went 9lb 7oz, my second nine pounder from the river, what a fantastic fish.
An after a couple of quick photos and making sure the barbel swam back strongly I ran for the train, getting soaked through on route. Made it!
So that's the first half of the barbel challenge in-the-bag, 100lb of Wandte barbel. But the quest for the double continues...
<- In the rain and my haste to get the fish back, I accidentally knocked the camera onto video, shame really - I think this would have made quite a good self take!
While London's youth decided to go aggressive-window-shopping me and Dan decided to go fishing. We headed to the Wandte about 2.30pm and fished in the bright sunshine. I had a bite first cast and connected to a barbel about four pounds but after a brief fight the hook pulled - at least we knew they were feeding!
We then worked our way downstream, it was slow going as I have a twisted ankle. And no bites despited some very fishy-looking swims. Just after 5pm I cast out into a nice looking swim and had a bite instantly, a great fight and a cracking 7lb 0oz barbel (above) to luncheon meat. It was nice to get a photo in daylight - I think the smile says it all!
With the water thrashed to a foam due to the battle I moved downstream and continued fishing, I had to be at a birthday party at 6.30pm so just before seven I crept back to the swim (I was going to be late) and had another bite, an even better fight and a 7lb 4oz barbel (below) I thought it was the same fish again as Dan slipped it into the net but it was slightly heavier, and comparing the photos it's a different seven pounder - two sevens in a day - sweet!
And with that I hobbled off to get the train. And Dan's trip, same bait, same swims, no bites, I'm sure he's saving up his luck for the double!
Afternoon session on the Wandte... And I've just remembered I'm supposed to be somewhere else, I'll write this tomorrow...
...Afternoon session on the Wandte and I was after roach and Dan was after barbel. I started with float fished maggots and was soon into some tiny little chub, most of which fell off as I swung them in although I did catch 3 of them. I swapped over to legered maggot, had a great bite first cast and landed the brown goldfish above, about 10oz.
I then missed loads of little rattly bites before connecting with a better fish, a barbel 2lb 1oz, not the roach I was after but I wasn't complaining! A few bites later I hit another little fish, I was pretty sure it was the smallest barbel I'd ever seen but it fell off as I swung it in, so I put it down as a lost gudgeon.
Mini barbel, a pretty rare catch!
A while later I had another one, this time no doubt, the smallest barbel I'd ever seen, I'd say about 3oz. I was really pleased to see this little fish, they are very rarely caught at this size.
The roach weren't playing so I swapped over to meat and had an eel to wrap things up. And Dan, Dan didn't have the best fishing trip, not a bite all afternoon. It happens to us all from time to time, he'll get them next time... Hopefully...
We had some much needed rain this morning so myself and Dan hit the Wandte hoping it had put the barbel in a feeding mood. We arrived about 7pm and I had a bite first cast - miss. Barbel second cast, no bite, just wound down to check the bait and it was there, 1lb 11oz. Things were going to plan...
Then no more bites until well after dark when Dan had a barbel of 2lb 4oz. I noticed when it was in the net it had a second hook in its dorsal fin, and on further inspection it turned out to have a split fin with a section of landing net, a hook and a load of line stuck in it, we set about cutting the unwanted rubbish from the fin. Once free Dan went to release it - putting it back in the net to carry it to a suitable release site... Yep. It got caught in my net and I had to cut it free again. Stupid mistake and a hole in my new net!
Next up I had a barbel of 1lb before Dan wrapped things up with a cracking 2lb eel.
Not quite the feeding frenzy we were hoping for but at least we had a few fish. The problem is that the run-off time after rain is so quick because the river is so small. To benefit from the rainfall you really need to be fishing in the rain - and we are mad enough to do it!
A quick couple of hours fishing in the midday sun, and it's hot out there, far too hot for fish! I did manage this little 10oz barbel and unfortunately I lost his bigger brother. Still nice to see a fish after two weeks!
Saturday 30 July
I'd seen some small trout while fishing for barbel, only about 6 inches or so, but decided to try and catch one. An afternoon float fishing maggots was in order - no trout showed but I did catch about a dozen small roach and dace, a lot of fun. The biggest roach was only about 4oz but they are very pretty fish so I decided to take a photo, it was at this point I realised I'd committed the blogger's sin and forgotten the camera - I think I'd forgotten it on the previous trip as well.
Thursday 28 July
An evening session after barbel with Darren, I tried whitebait, Darren stuck with luncheon meat - no barbel showed - they are wising up to us and nothing took a fancy to the experimental new bait. Darren had a couple of eels on meat, and for the last cast I switched to meat and added another eel! No barbel for a couple of weeks - need to do something about that...