I've got an adapter that attaches my camera to a mini telescopic bankstick that is always in my bag - ideal when traveling light, I'm normally on my own when I 'need' that shot of a prized fish. Anyway, I left it behind last time I went fishing.
I was pretty much out of the way so I hoped it was still there and went back to get it. And decided last moment to take my kit - perhaps have a blast for an hour or so - why not? - I travel light so it wouldn't matter even if I didn't get the kit out of the bag.
I found it right where I left it - which was great because I bumped into the lump above - and ‘needed’ a photo! A beautiful 9lb 9oz barbel in top winter condition, and added one about 3lb for good measure.
The continuing rain has hampered the pike fishing, the rivers are in flood at worst and unsettled at best. I was hoping for a double every month of the pike season - but now I’m just hoping for better conditions for pike in February and March.
But it has been mild for the last few days, and despite not being able to stalk barbel in the coloured water they were on the feed - and put a bend in the rod! An afternoon wander resulted in five barbel, 8lb 6oz, 5lb 10oz, 8lb 1oz, 5lb & 6lb 0oz - that’ll do nicely!
Oh, and I added another four plus chub from the river this season, just scraped in at 4lb 0oz - the eleventh over the target weight. They are getting really difficult to locate, I seem to remember they disappeared this time last year - wonder where they go?
There is a barrage of crap across the local river, the EA and Local Trusts had been informed - and I believe even gone and had a look - but it's tucked away - out of sight, out of mind!
It has been like this since the summer and it’s only getting worse. So even though it's not a stretch James and I fish often it was time to do something about it - we had no idea what we'd let ourselves in for...
James drew the short straw and went in, I was happy enough to be helper. He passed whatever he could up - recycling & rubbish were bagged and logs were dragged out of reach of the floods.
The smell was horrific, we joked about finding a corpse - until James did! Someone's black & white pet rat, where else would you dispose of you beloved pet? Yeah - just chuck it in the river!
We then used a grappling hook to snag the big stuff - turns out I'm a dab hand at throwing a grappling hook - all those thousands of hours chucking a lure about have paid off.
I didn't get many photos of the clear up, it was bloody hard work, and if I’d dropped the camera in we’d never find it! Plus we hadn't allowed enough time and worked into dark...
I returned this morning to finish bagging the crap and to get some 'after' shots. A real sense of achievement and well worth the effort - I'm still secretly glad I haven’t got any waders though.
There are plenty of branches still touching the water to collect a new raft (good for the fish, especially chub) but hopefully not enough to clog up the whole river again. We'll keep an eye on it.
I did arrive a bit early and landed a couple of little barbel before hand - I thought I might fish after - but it was straight home for a shower, disinfectant and to burn my clothes!
The zip on my coat kept breaking, I was complaining about it and my girlfriend said ‘just put some deodorant stick on it’ - new one to me but it worked. So I put some on the zip on my fishing bag - it has been dodgy for ages, now it’s as good as new - top tip!
Fishing wise I spent a couple of days trying to find a Stour chub, only one bite - a barbel that looked like a double - but it found freedom. I abandoned the chub and chucked a lure about; plenty of follows but only two hits - and both inexplicably failed to find a hook!
To get over the blank I spent a few hours more locally - chasing chub and barbel - but they are getting harder to locate. After a good wander about I found some fish willing to feed - bagging three barbel to about 5lb and two chub to about 3½lb - job done!
Quick couple of hours on the river, and barbel on in the second swim - it’s been a while since I’ve had a double so after a cracking (slightly nervy) fight I was delighted when the scales pulled round to 10lb 9oz, what a beautiful winter fish!
During the fight she spooked another big fish, so I went for a wander aiming to go back once things had settled. A lot of walking but I eventually found another, the 8lb 2oz barbel below, if I’m not finding many at least they’re big.
Back to swim two, and my bait was nailed within seconds - seriously thrashing the swim while I followed along behind before she found the net. I lifted the net briefly, definitely another double! I let her rest while I got the camera and scales ready...
The scales pulled round to 10lb 9oz... Fantastic... What..? Wait a second... I popped her back on the mat and scrolled to the photo from earlier - same fish again in just over two hours - not a brace of doubles but never mind - beautiful but dumb!
I couldn’t leave it hanging at ninty-nine, I had to shoot down the river and complete the century. And it had to be quick, luckily enough I spotted one on the shallows - it nailed a bait straight away - great fight and job done - 100!
In what can only be described as the slowest rush ever I made my way back down the river towards home and dropped in every likely looking spot on route. And ended up with four barbel, for the records; 7lb 6oz (top), 4lb, 5lb and a beautifully coloured 8lb 0oz (above).
I also spotted and bagged my tenth four pound plus chub from the river this season, the 5lb 1oz fish above, looked bigger (made me test my scales) looks like it should be closer to 6 than 5 but has plenty of room to fill out by March.
A rather splendid morning all in! And back home in time for lunch (yeah I’m shocked I didn’t stay too). The only thing that would have made it better is if I’d also found something cool, like a lure... Sorry whoever lost it - it’s going perch fishing with me.