Another wander about with the minimum of kit and a loaf of bread - see what I could find - great fun stalking them in the clear water. Two chub, a small carp and eleven barbel - no monsters (best ones around 5lb) - takes my Small River barbel count up to 1,496...
An early season trip out chasing rudd with James in the boat. I always intent to take a photo of the boat but in the excitement we were off. Working our way up the river we could just about squeeze the boat through the overgrown reeds, had to push through rafts of debris and the prop jammed with weed every 3 minutes.
We were soon into the rudd however, tempting them up to the surface with bread and then floating a crust with a hook in it down to them - great fun watching them nail the bait off the surface. Averaging 10-12oz James managed one over a pound before we found some bigger fish and had five minutes of madness...
James hooked into a monster rudd, and although it found every weedbed on the way in the biggest rudd I'd ever seen found the net. While he weighed it my crust floated into the danger zone. A bite and a monster rudd for me too, I'd clearly cracked my 2lb target by some margin! A new PB rudd weighing in at 2lb 10oz (top photo).
What a start to the season. And I wasn't finished - more rudd up to about a pound before we watched another big rudd mopping up the free samples. In the slowest race ever we both trotted bread down to it - it nudged James' but then grabbed mine! Another two at 2lb 3oz was in the net - sorry James (not sorry). A brace of twos!
More rudd up to about a pound as we fished into the sunset and beyond - until we could no longer see the fish, but no more monsters landed. We had intended to stay and fish the next day - but a storm pushed us off the river. Didn't fancy being in that little boat with lightening all around us - but we will be back...
The second two of the brace at 2lb 3oz.
Mine (top) and James' fish, two rudd for over 5lb in five minutes!
Heading out in search of a rudd now, but I couldn't resist a quick trip to the river yesterday on the opening day - trying to remember how to tie a hook on and which side of the bail arm the line goes!
An early morning wander on the Small River. And I found barbel, fourteen of them - mostly on floating crust. Best ones going 8lb 4oz (top), 7lb 11oz (above) and even a double 10lb 14oz (below).
This one clearly hadn't spawned yet - unhooked, weighed, photographed (missed the tail) and back in the water in less than 30 seconds - going to have to leave them alone for a week or two...
Well I didn't wet a line over the closed season - how old fashioned! The new season is here - must be time to make a few plans. Not going to make it too complicated, the main thing is to just get out on the water and see where the season takes me - but a few targets:
Take my Small River barbel total to over 1,500 fish
A new PB rudd (2lb+), roach (2lb+) or perch (3lb+)
A thames barbel (aiming for a double, but any size to start)
Did I say I wasn't going to bang on about bugs? Ten years ago I buried a load of wood in the garden, seven years ago I saw a female Stag Beetle laying eggs on it... And now they're emerging... Took 10 years, but now I have my own Stag Beetle colony!
Perhaps I'm getting old & lazy but now I'm not going looking for them, I just sit in the garden (drinking beer) waiting for them to emerge! And my cat will spot them if I don't!! Just males at the moment, but when the girls emerge I'm hoping to film a stag fight.
There are at least six males (hopefully more), all patrolling the same small area - pretty sure that's where the females will emerge - then it'll probably all kick off! While I'm waiting here's a couple of short videos - climbing & walking, not fighting (yet).