Summer has once again flown by - a summer that was seriously affected by a deadly virus sweeping the planet (never thought I'd write that sentence on Pike Blog). Fishing trips were limited - but my local river is within walking distance - the blog might have gotten a bit repetitive - but that barbel pull kept me entertained!
Closed Season: Strange times; lockdown was in place and fishing was banned. It was a shame because I had my eye on a few canal targets - pike, chub and carp. As soon as we were allowed to fish me and James hit a small pond for some tench action. And 24 hours fishing for wels resulted in a 1000lb+ bag of fish including a 30lb+ PB each!
June: Opening day saw me and James searching for rudd in the boat - except the boat had a puncher - so a long walk chucking bread out and watching for fish - but we both found a cracking rudd each before a storm cut the trip short. I started my quest for 100 local barbel and bagged 15 of them over 3 short trips - not a bad start.
July: My barbel quest continued and I added another 26 fish over six trips to 8lb 7oz (total now 41). The Farm was calling, so a train journey and eight tench plus two beautiful crucians found the net - my only away day. And what better way to use up the maggots than a couple of trips catching the mighty gudgeon on the stick 'n' pin?!
August: A couple of storms dumped some fresh water in the river - and got the fish moving - I was mostly catching small barbel but a lovely double slipped up - always great to bag an early season double! A trip chasing rudd on The Fens didn’t go quite to plan - but a 5lb 13oz chub off the local river made up for it! Barbel total now 71.
September: Summer began to give way to autumn and I started the month with some cracking chub on floating crust - including 3 over five pounds to 6lb 3oz! A cold trip to The Tidal Trent provided some tough fishing - but it’s only our second visit - we’ll work it out. And locally I cracked my Barbel Challenge - summer total: 114!!
Now it’s pike time - but with Covid 19 on a comeback tour and record floods forecast this winter - we’ll have to see how it goes...
When I broke my rod earlier this month I ordered a new one that evening - another Rovex Lure Pro Quad 9ft - I've been using these for years - I'm a creature of habit! It arrived a few days later, but what should have been a 4 piece rod arrived in 5 pieces.
I sent it back and a new one arrived while I was away over the weekend. Needed a test before Pike Time in a few days. A chub and a little splasher barbel (above) would do nicely - before I made a quick retreat and got on with whatever I was supposed to be doing.
Stepping out of the car it was cold. Really cold. I hadn't bought thermals but I did have a couple of changes of clothes and a rain-suit - I put them all on! Our second annual visit to The Tidal Trent, company was James & Richard and a 48 hour quest for a 15lb+ barbel.
It was windy. Ferociously windy. And cold. We found three adjacent swims and set up - each putting our plans in place. And I'll cut a long, cold story short - no barbel - not even a bite between us! And it was busy, we didn't see anyone else land a fish or even get a bite.
I did have a bit of a wander with the light lure gear to warm up - it was like sea fishing. I landed a blank-saver perch about 10oz (camera back at base camp) and nearly landed my first pike of the season - but unfortunately she spat the lure during a spectacular tail walk.
We fished hard for 32 hours - but it was almost a relief when we called it quits and headed back to London. Great company, and a rare away day this season but conditions were tough (and cold) - but we'll do better next time. Until next time. Next time? Guys??
Having hit my summer target I had planned to leave the barbel alone for a while and target the carp in a fairly local pond - but a last minute job ate my morning - plus I had to get bait for the weekend...
Bait shop is fairly close to the river - I took the kit and had a quick blast before loading up with bait on my way back. And four barbel in the drizzle to 6lb 13oz (above) on floating crust - any excuse!
After walking to the river I had about 2½ hours of daylight left - I don't like fishing for barbel in the dark, I prefer to be able to see what I'm doing. Time was tight - but could I bank 3 more barbel?
A splasher first cast - result - but I'd like something a bit bigger to wrap up the 100 Barbel Challenge this summer. After a bit of a wander I spotted barbel number 99 - 6lb 0oz - going the right way.
And then a blind cast was nailed by barbel 100 - 6lb 3oz (above) - cracked it! And added another splasher on my way back down the river - barbel 101. Time for a celebratory pint (at home, not the pub).
More Covid cases today than yesterday, I’m hoping we’re not going to get locked in just as pike season kicks off! So another afternoon on the sunny river trying to crack this year’s Barbel Challenge...
Seven barbel to 7lb 6oz, four chub to about 3½lb, plus a bonus perch was a great result! Just need to sneak out for 3 more barbel to hit my 100 fish target. And I fancy an away day this month - just in case!
Is there going to be another lockdown? Winter is on it’s way and the C19 cases are on the rise - time to make hay while the sun shines - and the sun really has shone over the last few days.
An afternoon on the river - hot weather but the water is still fairly cool. And four barbel to 5lb 9oz plus about a dozen chub to 4lb 15oz found the net - so close to adding another 5+ chub to the season.
For me the most exciting thing in fishing is watching your pike float hammer under. Second has to be spotting a monster chub, floating a piece of crust down to it and watching those big white rubber lips suck the bait in - half a second pause, strike & all hell breaks loose!
They know where all the snags are and as you turn them from one they aim for another - it was a relief when this 6lb 3oz beauty slipped over the net! The first of two chub (the other was about 1½lb) and four small barbel on crust - loving this chub fishing at the moment!!
I hooked my second barbel on a lure - by design - and although I only had him on for 10-15 seconds it was long enough to prove the first wasn’t a fluke! It’s filled me full of confidence and I’ll be digging though the lure box and be back for round three very soon.
I did take some Spam as a backup & bagged the small barbel above. Blank saved - back to lure fishing - except... Another rod bites the dust! Can’t complain - I got my money’s worth out of that fishing rod! Another Rovex Lure Pro Quad ordered - £40 - should last 2-3 years?!
After catching that little perch on my last trip to the river I fancied a couple of hours trying to find his big brother. Once again the lure of choice was a yellow Beetle Spin. The only fish interested in attacking the lure were greedy little chub - still a lot of fun - but what was fascinating was watching other fish react to the lure.
In the clear water I watched perch, chub, barbel, a carp and even roach come and inspect the weird alien visitor to their world. It was a great way to locate fish - noted for future trips - especially the bigger perch which were shoaled up where I wasn't expecting them - I'll be back to see if they fancy worms as they wouldn’t grab a lure.
I switched lure to a Zoom Grub so I could fish a lot slower. And as I twitched the lure under a weedbed I had a slamming take and the reel screamed - it could only be one thing - but until I saw it I couldn't believe it. I was connected to a barbel about 7lb, and as I gained control I could see it was hooked fair and square in the mouth.
Unfortunately as I got the net off my back the hook pinged out (on examination the hook on the ultra fine jighead had straightened - I wasn't expecting to hook a barbel). So close to my first lure-caught barbel. Was it a fluke? I know people do target them on lures. Upgraded jigheads and Zoom Grubs added to the arsenal!
The best, and probably most exciting way of fooling chub in clear water is with floating crust. Chucking out a couple of free samples I followed them downstream waiting for the chub to reveal their location - then send one down with a hook in it - very simple fishing.
Watching the chub abandon their snaggy homes for a piece of crust I bagged 6 of them, the best two going 5lb 0oz and 4lb 5oz - great stuff - really should do it more often. And three barbel fancied a piece of floating crust - always great to pick barbel up off the surface!