Another attempt at catching our elusive barbel. Another attempt at putting a fish in my new, mahoosive landing net. Could this finally be the day ?
The conditions aren`t ideal, but, if we waited for perfect conditions, none of us would fish very often. The wind is cold today, the water is colder still. With blind optimism I make my first cast of the day – bait and wait, is the order of the day.
An hour passes without event. I cast again when a meandering twig pulls my rig out of position; it lands pretty much on the same spot as the last cast. The bait receives some interest after twenty minutes in-situ, and the rod tip begins to bend. I lift the rod but there`s no fish attached and the bait has gone. Twenty minutes later the same thing happens, and this time my strike is met with solid resistance, it doesn`t feel like a barbel though. Whatever it is is giving a good account of itself, if it is a barbel its not a big one, but I may be getting my net wet after all. The culprit is finally apprehended, and it turns out to be a big trout albeit a very silvery one. I take a quick photo, and weigh it. 4 lb 4 oz. I send the photo to The Baron who duly sends it to one of his fluff chucking brethren who duly identifies it as a sea-trout. Another first, and therefore a PB – I know it`s only a `brownie` that`s been on holiday, but I wasn`t expecting that, so I`m a happy camper !
A day away from work. A vain attempt for a barbel. Where have they gone ?
We`ve just had a run of cold nights; with that in mind I take a punt and only bring maggots with me, hoping that the fall in temperature has seen off the legion of minnows. It seems everyone has had the same idea as the stretch is busy, this could be coincidence, or it could be because access to the Sewage Works, by car, is impossible – the newly fitted padlock is refusing to open.
A very enjoyable afternoon is had, I catch a pleasing amount of grayling and a handful of minnows. Everyone else catches, and it seems that the minnows have been thinned out by the frosts. I will not mourn their passing.
Three hours invested fishing for barbel – poor investment.
A couple of hours on the bank in the afternoon. I catch a few minnows, a solitary grayling, and a lonesome chublet. I`ve either picked the wrong peg, or I should have been here earlier – whatever the reason, I`ve only myself to blame.
I still have plenty of holiday days to take – I can`t `winter` in the Maldives this year, and the Chateau is being renovated – so I take Friday off, and head to Tevant Fisheries where I bump into Trueman. It is cold, cold, cold. It is clear from the start that this is going to be tough – a small, shallow pond fished following a very cold night – we are fishing for a bite.
I catch a few small roach throughout the morning, and sneak a couple here and there in the afternoon. The pond may have `switched off` in the afternoon, it`s hard to tell, so infrequent were the bites. It reaches three o`clock, and Trueman is staring down the barrel of a blank – he`s had one of those days where everything goes wrong – and then his float finally goes under. He avoids a waterlicking with three small roach caught during a ten minute feeding frenzy. I catch one rudd, and one tiny perch to accompany my roach, but there`s no `bigging` the day up; its been a poor days fishing. And it rained, a lot, constantly.
We were heading to the Sewage Works to haul a tree from the river, access is denied by the Boys in Blue. A van is removed on a trailer.
Shed 7 and I use the time to try ( yet again ) for a barbel. The weather has been warm, then cold, repeatedly. The river has been low, then flooded, repeatedly.
The ever industrious kingfishers fare better than I.
An otter passes by, swimming from my left to my right. It climbs out a rod length away and begins to preen. It stares at me. It eventually slides back into the river and heads downstream, towards my hook. My rod wraps round.
The bait has gone. Have I just had a `bite` from an otter ?
It is the only bite I get. The otter swims from right to left.
I survive a shower of shotgun pellets, they land in the river in front of me – someone is shooting in the woods.
I pack up as the daylight ends. I have my headtorch on. I take a final look at the river, and, from mid-river, two little eyes reflect my red torchlight.
Shed catches a trout and a decent chub, so all was not lost.
I am going to fish for a couple of hours. The river is up but there are less leaves in it today.
It`s not a great day. I run a waggler and maggots through a swim at Grange Park. I catch some 6 – 8 oz chublet, and a few grayling, so my net gets wet, but not very often.
Poor peg choice, poor skills, or just one of those days ?
I meet Shed 7 in the Sewage Works car park.
We saw up the tree which Shed 7 has pulled from the river. We level off a short section of the riverside path.
In a lay-by on the lane stands a vase and some fresh flowers.
Trueman wants to try for his first barbel. I pick the only place I can think of where we might get a bite, but I haven`t heard of any being caught on our water for at least six weeks. We both blank.
Well, its been a pretty dreadful month for my fishing, river conditions have been awful most of the time, and the weather has been the same – my brolly has been needed far too often – and, not that we have a large head of barbel, but the ones we do have seem to have disappeared, and I`ve looked everywhere !
Concentrate on the positives: the minnows are slowly disappearing, and the grayling are coming out to play.