Friday, 2 December 2022

Stubborn Chub

Three hours of daylight, just enough time to use up the remainder of the tin of luncheon meat I opened on The Wye. And a visit to a shoal of big, stubborn chub I've had my eye on for a while.

They had refused a bait so far, but one finally slipped up - 5lb 9oz, my best of the season so far - but nowhere near the biggest in the shoal! Great stuff, and if one will slip up the others will!

I added another chub at 3lb 12oz and four barbel; 5lb 8oz, 5lb 7oz, 5lb and 5lb. I will be back, there are some big sixes in that shoal - possibly even a new PB - or will they disappear now?

Monday, 28 November 2022

Sunshine & Pike

The plan was to head from The Wye to The Severn for a couple of days chasing the barbel and pike, but with the river bursting it's banks, strong winds and rain we rather sensibly abandoned the idea.

By Friday the weather had improved, with most of the large rivers in flood we headed for a smaller stream - a bit of wandering with a pike rod each - in the autumn sunshine - what a difference a day makes!

Action was pretty quick - James loosing a fish before we both banked a beautifully marked pike each. The day was made, and it didn't matter that we wandered about until dusk without another run!

Pike season opener, 14lb 10oz.

And James' first pike of the season, details on his blog.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

To The Wye…

The postponed trip to The River Wye and me and James found less than ideal conditions! We had watched the high water roll down the river on various online guages - the river was flooded but falling when we arrived, and you've got to be in it to win it...

James fished two barbel rods, I fished one for barbel and one for pike - dawn until dark (and a bit) - and a couple of hours the following morning - for just a couple of small chub. We'll be back - but we will pick our conditions a bit more carefully next time.

We did nab a blank-saver barbel each from the Small River on the trip back to London - nice consolation prize anyway!

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Got It!

Rare as rocking horse sh*t, and my new (short lived) obsession! A Small River bream, 4lb 1oz - fantastic!! Plus three little barbel, all on ledgered bread in the flooded river.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Cancer Man

All clear! Cancer free!! Words can not express how relieved I feel - as you can imagine. I was very lucky, it was caught early and there was a surgery spot open that I was eligible for. Aggressive treatment schedule but I was glad to get on with it - and get it over.

My Mum and Dad have been brilliant and my girlfriend has been absolutely fantastic - couldn't have got through it without them! I only told a handfull of friends (and you lot as I thought I wouldn't be blogging) - everyone has been great - thank you.

The Small River has been a godsend. I'm not going to lie; when I was up all night being sick and could feel my bones grinding together under my skin it took a lot of effort to drag myself to the river - but it kept me sane, and to some degree fit!

And I popped down yesterday - to get over my good news hangover... A couple of hours - and after watching the bream sniff my bait for 20 minutes - I bagged a few barbel - 6lb 12oz (above), 6lb 8oz, 4lb and 3lb - James even turned up for net and photography duties.

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Lone Bream

When I was on the river last I spotted a bream - very rare on this river, in 13 years of fishing it I've only spotted one before. So armed with a tin of sweetcorn I planned to see her on the bank.

The water was pretty dirty but I cast out under a tree where she was hanging out before - and 15 minutes later the rod slammed over. A small common carp - I was convinced I'd hit my target for a second!

With the swim thrashed I decided to leave it to recover for an hour and went in search of a barbel - a wander about downstream and I found two, 5lb 2oz and 4lb 6oz - great stuff!

Back to the bream swim but the water was rising like mad - two chub found a bait before I was flooded off the river. I will be back when the water drops - and I can sight fish for her (or him).

Friday, 28 October 2022

Back To It

Back to hospital later - but back to the river first - much more fun!

Saturday, 15 October 2022

October Sunshine

The first pike of the season was very nearly a barracuda - until it shed the hook in the surf - especially unlucky as I'd forgotten to de-barb the lure! Who knows - might get another chance...

Friday, 7 October 2022

Doing It Wrong

An afternoon trying to bag some roach - and I think I was doing it wrong... Landing 5 little barbel, 2 chub, a common carp...

And eventually a roach - just the one - but I'm not complaining - nice little bag of fish on the stick 'n' pin and a bit of bread.

Annoyingly my camera or card is playing up - it's taking photos but not saving all of them - need to work out what's broken and fix it.

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Hospital Barbel

Sometimes, when I have an early appointment, I take the fishing gear with me to the hospital - with the trains on my side it's less than an hour to the riverbank - and hopefully a barbel - or in this case five!

I always travel ultra light - no point taking heavy stuff for a walk. Unhooking mat, weigh sling and boots are in the bag, triangle net with cut-down handle and four piece travel rod - sorted!

Friday, 30 September 2022

Summer Fishing 2022

A very strange summer season, after my diagnoisis I thought time on the bank would be limited. Instead I did find time (20 trips), fishing around surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. I was in hospital most days so each fishing trip became very important - the planning and time in nature as essential as the fishing itself.

Closed Season: Things were very up in the air after the initial diagnosis - after the bad news we had to create a plan to try and deal with it! Fishing was far from my mind to begin with but an away day before surgery seem a great idea - and a catfishing trip was perfect - eight cats to a 33lb 6oz new PB - that'll tide me over...

June: Opening day was just 10 days after surgery - but I dragged myself to the riverbank - it really gave me something to work towards. Season opener was a little common carp and soon the barbel flowed - 34 of them over three trips to the Small River, not big fish but just what the doctor ordered! Plus a 5lb 3oz summer chub.

July: A couple more trips to the Small River but the main event was five days on the mighty River Wye. Targeting barbel in the low water, a few hours a day on Swan Shit Island inbetween family time. And the fishing didn't disapoint - 30 barbel to 8lb 4oz, 70+ chub and seven eels! Hopefully be back for a few more barbel before pike time.

August: Started with a mission to find a seven pound plus barbel on the Small River - do they still exist? Yep, got one - but I think they're few and far between now! Then a fantastic day chasing Fenland rudd in the boat with James - no monsters but a pretty perfect day! And the initial round of treatments came to a close - I am knackered!!

September: Really knackered - in fact I ended up in hospital - just pushed it too far! I had to cancel my trip to The Wye and take it easy closer to home. I've said it before but I'm so lucky to have the Small River - it was a summer of chasing barbel - and great just to be out on the riverbank when I thought I would be stuck at home!

Right - now it's time for wooly hats and wellies - let's see what the autumn and winter season has in store for us...

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Pre-Rain Dash

Morning wander with half a loaf & the stick 'n' pin. And a mix of chub, brown trout & roach - including three pound plus roach; 1lb 1oz, 1lb 2oz (above) and 1lb 6oz. Also lost a mid-double mirror carp - too much for my 3.6lb line in the fast water! Then it pissed down!!

More from James' Yorkshire adventure is here. He's racking them up now - another double in the bag already? Nice one.

Saturday, 24 September 2022


This weekend was supposed to be an epic four day mission on The Wye & Severn with James - searching for double figure barbel... But to be honest I think it would probably have killed me!

So we've postponed it for a month. James has headed to Yorkshire on his Barbel Quest - so expect a report soon. And I had a gently walk down the river - where six barbel, 2 chub & a crab found a bait.

Edit: The first part of James' rather splendid Yorkshire adventure is here. But there is far more to follow - once James gets his head around it - stay tuned!