Anglers like nothing more than a nice deep hole - actually they do - a nice deep hole on a bend! It’s where the fish hang out. But when they’re not at home where are they? Try the weedbeds close by - as long as they have cover and water over their back they seem happy.
A morning freelining meat and bread in the shallows. And some of the places you wouldn’t expect to hold chub and barbel - until one darts out and grabs a bait. Great visual fishing - and four chub to about 4lb and four barbel to 7lb 11oz landed before the heat put them off.
Had to check they were still there! Without using public transport it was a walk to the river, a wander about looking for barbel and home again - 13.4 miles! But a few hours on the overgrown waterway and nine barbel found the net - including this brace in consecutive casts (one was resting in the net). Love being back on this little river!
Date Fished: 16 June. Opening day and me and James were on the road at 2.30am - heading for a marathon 48 hours floating about in the boat chasing rudd. Boat was pumped up, plans made, gear sorted and a ton of bread for bait loaded - 5am - let the season begin...
Shhhhhhhhhh... Air rushing out of the side of the boat - crap - and despite our best efforts to patch it the boat was beyond bank-side repair. A bit (lot) of swearing before packing it up and a hastily Plan B was put in motion - an underprepared 12 hour walk looking for rudd.
Shorts and Cons are ideal in the boat - not so good for wading about in thistles and nettles - but we put the miles in. Floating bits of bread down the river, looking out for signs of big rudd hitting them. And late morning James hit his target - but I’ll leave that story for his blog.
I struggled to find a big rudd; landing 5 small ones, a bream and a bream/rudd hybrid (my first one). But late afternoon I saw the swirl I was searching for - my next cast was nailed by a mint 1lb 14oz rudd - a new PB and getting close to my target weight - great season opener!
With the wind picking up and a big thunderstorm either side of us - just after 7pm we made a break for the car. We chucked the gear in just as the heavens opened - nick of time! Not the planned trip, but a big rudd each was a cracking result - we’ll be back with the boat...
Hard work but a 1lb 14oz new PB - stunning!
Not the target but a bream put a welcome bend in the rod.
Date fished: 30/31 May (24 hours). Arriving about 5pm me, James & Richard found ourselves in a shallow bay with the wind pushing into it - and catfish showing themselves - everywhere! I couldn’t set the gear up quickly enough - seriously - there must be an easier way to thread rig tube onto the line - it took me about half an hour!!
Simple running ledger, 20lb Berkley Big Game straight through to a size 4 barbless hook, and double donkey choaker halibut pellets on a long hair rig. The other guys using similar setups. A healthy amount of free samples and PVA bags of pellets to create a bed of bait. Two rods, bite alarms and sit back and wait... But not for long...
Action was almost instant - my alarm screamed and I was locked in battle - eventually my first cat was in the net, a 24lb 4oz beast - way to open the account! The action continued across the bay and I landed 6 more before nightfall. Nighttime was strangely quiet, I think we had one cat each, plus I had 3 carp to 18lb 8oz - bonus!
As the sun rose the catfish switched back on. As dawn broke I was back into the cats, adding 14 more throughout the morning and afternoon - and upped my PB three times; 27lb 10oz, 29lb 2oz and I chipped over the magic number with a 30lb 3oz monster - brilliant! So that was 22 catfish and serious arm ache, what a 24 hours!!
But this isn’t just about me, I was part of a team. A team that nearly always had a fish on the hook all the daylight hours we fished. We had numerous double hook ups and a couple of triple hook ups. Being each others net man and photographer - it was so hectic that many fish went back unphotographed - even twenties! (We weighed everything).
I had the most cats but James & Richard found some bigger fish - Richard landing 2 thirties and James a remarkable 6 over the magic number. A cracking trip, topped by a new PB each - it was going to be a one off - but with fishing like that we’ll hopefully be back soon... Once we have recovered... They don’t half fight!
I’ve seen the stag beetles in the garden a few times over the past couple of weeks, mostly they arrive when it’s too dark for a decent photo or they are quickly off doing important beetle stuff...
But this one was a proper poser! There was another male in the bush - so this is one half of the standoff taking place on the shed. I took the opportunity for some nice sharp photos - got to love stag beetles!
Date fished: 19 May. With the lockdown rules eased James and I headed to a little farm pond in search of tench - it was great to wet a line after being confined to the garden and a daily dose of exercise - watching the carp in a local pond - very tempting!
An early start, a beautiful day with a pair of osprey overhead, deer visiting the pond and a grass snake hunting the frogs in the margins. And tench! I could see them swimming just under the surface in six foot of water - and even got a few to take bread off the surface.
Slow sinking bread flake did the trick, the tench nailing the bait about 6 inches under the surface, great fun and six hard fighting tench found the net; 6lb 8oz, 6lb 3oz, 6lb 2oz, 6lb 1oz, 5lb 15oz & 5lb 4oz. An absolutely fantastic way to blow the cobwebs off the gear!
Lockdown: Weird closed season, I had planned to spend some time exploring the canals - but Bat Flu meant staying at home. Fortunately I have a garden, plus some ponds fairly close for a bit of fish-spotting.
Escape to the pond: As soon as lockdown was eased me and James hit a little farm pond after tench - so good to be back on the bank. And six tench to 6lb 8oz was a cracking result! Blog post to follow.
Flight night: The weather was hot. Barbel were spawning in April, carp in early May and I saw my first stag beetle on the 24th May - it’s magical sat in the garden watching the beetles buzzing about!
A Cat 24 Hours: A trip out chasing wels with James & Richard - and conditions couldn’t have been more perfect. A 1000lb+ bag of fish between us, including a 30lb+ PB each - blog post to follow.
Scuppered Plans: I think Covid 19 is still going to interfere with this season, the shark fishing adventure this year has had to be postponed and I think local lockdowns may spoil other plans.
Barbel Challenge 2020: I’m going to continue my barbel challenge, again setting a target of 100 fish. With far less time on the river this season it won’t be easy - but it’s just great to be on the riverbank.
Other Plans: The first river target is a 2lb+ rudd, and I’d like to track down those dace that eluded me last year. Pike will be my winter target - but I’m getting ahead of myself - roll on the sixteenth...