• Agent 99

`Z is for Zeppelin`


Week 1.

Friday evening, I`d finished work early, had a tub of lobworms to drown so I went to the Ings for a quick session. Nothing fancy tonight, a small cage feeder, a quick change bead, and a foot of fluoro hook length to a size 12 hook. C`mon you Perch !

Lots of short, sharp tugs indicated the presence of something, but it wasn`t a Perch. In came the first Ruffe of the day, it would soon be joined by many of its kin. The Ruffe fest was occasionally punctuated by the tip jagging round and a Chublet would join me. I caught 7 or 8 of them altogether, with a brace at about 14 oz the biggest of an entertaining evening.

Sunday. Club match.

Another win for Crabtree – the fella is on fire (don`t ring 999 ).

He had fish biting first chuck and bagged Chublet, Dace, Minnows, and a couple of Trout, to win comfortably.

I was second, with a bag of Chublet tempted from under a big tree on the far bank. Liberal helpings of maggots lured them into feeding, and a single white on a size 20 did the catching.

Week 2.

Weds. Club match.

A nightmare for me. Minnows, some tiny Chub, and a couple of Ruffe were all I could tempt.

Crabtree, on the end peg. won again catching Chublet and Dace close in.

Thursday. A session upstream of Wetherby. I chose well.

I was hoping for a Barbel. I fished bunches of maggots, and had interest, with a proper bite after 15 minutes wait. It was a Barbel, but in miniature, weighing about a pound. Then a shoal of Chublet found me. I was catching one every few minutes until a rather rotund gentleman swam/waded/lurched right through the middle of my swim. I had asked him not to, but he chose to proceed, and his zeppelin presence wrecked my swim for the best part of an hour.

A Deer swam across, but with the good grace to do it downstream.

The first fish to return were Trout, and I caught four, with one of decent size, and then the tip swung round again – another wee Barbel, again about a pound.

As dusk drew in I was serenaded by Pheasants, and, on the riverside path I startled a Badger, who scarpered into the bushes on seeing me ( my wife does the same thing ).

Sunday. A very flooded river. A quick trip to the Ings.

Slack eddy – not a club member – the place I opted to fish. It was full of fish. Ruffe,Ruffe,Ruffe, not the crazy Spaniel behind me, but the blighters that kept gobbling my bait. I moved.

More Ruffe followed, a couple of Chublet turned up, and then, to finish me off, an Eeeeeel. It did what Eels are famous for, tying itself and my line into a snotty mess. Time for home.

Week 3.


Mother Wharfe was big and brown, but dropping. No rain was forecast, none was needed, none was wanted.

I chose a swim on the `Gregory` stretch, and cast around with a boilie to see if any of the elusive Barbel wanted to play, they did not. I changed tactics, and baits, offering half a lobworm on the hook; a big Perch was causing havoc amongst the tiddlers. The Perch didn`t take the bait but four Chublet did. The Perch had disappeared, so I cast further out, a few small taps were followed by a very healthy bend in the rod, and I soon had a great, red spotted Trout gawping at me. It coughed up four Minnows during unhooking, and flapped strongly enough to snap my disgorger. I now had to get close, too close, - the spotty beast bit me, drawing blood as I removed the hook. Honours even, I think.

The Sun dropped a bit, I put a boilie back on, launched it, and waited. After half an hour I re-cast. The bait had been in for around five minutes before the `three foot twitch` happened, and the rod pointed towards Boston Spa rapidly. I fought the fish, bringing it upstream towards me despite two blistering runs. It was close before I saw it, the large scales visible as it surfaced. I knew what it was, but being the first `proper` one of the season, I was pretending it was a Trout just in case it escaped. It didn`t. Barbel.

Well chuffed, I admired it in the net, unhooked it in the net, and quickly weighed it – not a whopper at 6lb, but extremely welcome. I have now caught as many as I did last season, will I achieve another seasons goal soon ?


Another Family Fishing event at the Sicklinghall ponds. Another success.

The weather was kind, as was one of our regular young anglers – she baked us a cake.

We had enough volunteers to help everybody that required help, but few enough so that we all got a large slice of raspberry sponge at the end.

As usual, every angler caught a few, and the progress made and confidence displayed by all the child anglers ( and their parents ) is great to see. Many are coming back for more, and some are now bringing their new fishing rods. We`re obviously doing something right. Anyone wanting to take part should contact the Club Secretary. We can`t guarantee you`ll get cake every time, but tea, coffee, and a good laugh are the norm.

Week 4.


Fining down after the latest flood, Mother Wharfe was in perfect condition, and the Baron and I headed out for an evenings entertainment on the bank. The Baron made it clear which swim he was having and the drenching that awaited anyone ( me ) that grabbed that peg first. I took the hint and made my way downstream, choosing a peg with a patch of slack water and a steady flow. Maggots and a ball of groundbait primed the swim, and, by the time I cast in, the fish were forming an orderly queue.

Chublet were first to the dinner table, ranging between 4 and 12 ounces. A few Trout turned up, and a first for me – a tiny Barbel, ( I counted the barbules, it wasn`t a Gudgeon ) all of four inches long. I beat last seasons tally with the smallest Barbel I`ve ever caught ! ( It helped that I caught so few last season ). Then came the fish that made my day, a redfin. Yep, a bloomin` Roach, about 10 inches long and four inches deep, my best ever Roach from a river. I packed up as the light faded, the Baron had had a good evening as well, and he had caught a tiny barbel too. We then began a bragging rights debate over who had caught the smallest fish - most un-angler like.


A few hours in Bobco tackle shop promoting our Family Fishing days, followed by a two hour pursuit of a Barbel. The rod jagged round once,I held it as the tip lurched again, but I didn`t strike – the `bite` was a Bat flying into the line. No fish tonight.


Our final Famfish of the series.

A huge `thank you` to everyone that attended, and to everyone that gave up their precious time to help. The day was a great success, and the series was a great success too. Kids lined the banks, proud parents watched their offspring catch fish galore. Parents usually had a go themselves often displaying the same joy when catching a fish as their kids did, and even Shed 7 was seen smiling.

Bank Holiday Monday.

A trip to the river with Trueman, his first running water experience. We fished side by side so he could soak up all my sage advice, wisdom and tactics.It took about three minutes to pass all of that on, so we then proceeded to fish.

The river was still carrying colour but the flow had slowed somewhat. I think it was a case of being in the right place , at the right time as we had a cracking days fishing.We had a swim with some shade, and the fish must have lost their Ray Bans because they were here in numbers.

I had my first fish, a Barbel, as Trueman sloped of for his flask of coffee. He returned, and once he`d worked out where to cast, he found some very obliging Chublet, catching a few, missing a few. I seemed to have more variety on offer as I caught Barbel, Chublet, Ruffe, Grayling, Trout, and Minnows despite my bait being within yards of his.

Trueman fished patiently , re-rigged countless times following countless snags, and cost me a small fortune in lost gear, but he persevered and finished the day with a good return of Chublet and Barbel. A brilliant first river session for him.

I ended the day with more Barbel than I`ve ever caught, a load of Chublet, and a plump Grayling. Dace, a few Ruffe ( I spent two hours hoping for a Perch, fishing a likely spot with worms ), a handful of Trout, and my river nemesis the humble gut-bucket- the Minnow.

August has been both kind, cruel, and memorable.

I haven't caught the Perch I was (still am ) after despite numerous attempts. I caught my tiniest Barbel ever, my biggest river Roach. I had a few blanks chasing big Barbel, had a brilliant days sport with small Barbel - probably never to be repeated. I finally got the tip section for the rod I broke - 4 months late, caught some decent Trout, and netted my first Grayling of the season. Enjoyed the craic of Famfish days (and the cake ), spent time on the bank with my friends, scared a Badger, and still got plagued by bloody Minnows !

Hoping September is even better, but with less Otters, Minnows, Labradors, and fat blokes. Fingers crossed.

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