Firstly a mini update before I start the main one. After posting last weeks blog I had a short evening session on the river. On that session fishing the same tactic I had been on opening day I managed to catch my first river fish of the season. A lovely conditioned and dark chub approaching 4lb. Unfortunately my camera didn’t like the damp conditions I was fishing in and refused to turn on. I returned the fish without a picture but I was very pleased to have broke my duck on the river for the season. Naturally I was now full of optimism for the next visit, but it would have to wait as a date with some crucians had been set, my old man along for company.
Unfortunately, he had to cancel last minute and although I was looking forward to a crucian session with him, I seized the opportunity and the favourable conditions, to get back on the river. The previous night it had rained hard and the river had risen, but it was now fining down nicely. With a little more colour in the water than previous visits I felt I was in with a good chance of finding some chub, and maybe, just maybe, a barbel. Well, I can dream.
I fished a couple of new swims to start with. New to me at least and they all looked perfect for my intended quarry. Some were definitely more suited to barbel than others and some looked great for chub. Each one I fished the same way, feeding the swim little and often with various sized pellets and on this occasion, some small 10mm boilies that I crush before throwing in to release more scent. In the swim pictured above I received interest fairly quickly but even with my hand on the rod, and the line looped over my finger, they were too quick to strike at. Small fish maybe. They could equally have been cautious chub.
I fed the bait above over the course of 30 minutes or so. I remember reading an article by Trefor West where he talks about feeding just enough bait to put the odds very much in his favour. Of course this feeding of a small amount of bait was done when he had already spotted fish or felt there was fish in the area. Its a little harder to keep positive when you haven’t seen any fish, but I tried to keep the belieft that the more swims I fished, the greater the chance I would be presenting my bait to a chub or barbel. If anyone is interested in reading Trefor’s book on barbel fishing I very much recommend it. You are sure to pick up something and its a very easy book to read. Anyway, I fished other swims, but I had no signs of fish. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t any there though. Bite time seems to be after nine o’clock at the moment so I might have left prematurely.
So with the light fading fast and a better knowledge of the stretch I headed back to the weir I fished on opening day to fish out the last half hour of the session. Upon arriving I began feeding. A lot heavier than I had been, catapulting pellets frequently whilst I set up a sightly different rig to the one I had been using elsewhere. My first cast was made maybe ten minutes and before the lead hit the bottom, it felt like it was hit by a fish. Or maybe it had hit some debris in the river? Either way the lead found a place to hold in the flow and I let it rest there for a further ten minutes. All the while I carried on raining the pellets in hoping to attract the attention of any resident barbel. Just before the light went I reeled in and cast out once more. The lead settled as before only this time the rod tip dropped back and I struck into a fish. It hugged the bottom. The strong flow helping it remain deep. For a split second I thought it was a barbel. But it was not to be. The fish suddenly bolted at such pace, tail thrashing, it has to be a trout. After several surging runs and a lot of splashing around, I netted a silvery looking fish. Just what it was, or how big I couldn’t tell. The foam gathered at the margins of the weir had completely masked it in my net. Once washed away I could see it was indeed a trout. A rainbow and a large one too. Certainly one of the biggest I’ve ever seen in the flesh. Although it was caught accidentally, I couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear.
I quickly photographed it (yes the camera lives on) and weighed it before I gave it plenty of time to recover in the oxygen rich water to the side of the weir. It took a good ten minutes until it was kicking strong enough and I was relieved when it swam away strongly. The fish weighed 7lb 1oz and I think it will be a long time before I catch one bigger. Hopefully in the coming weeks I shall encounter some chub or barbel. If I catch a few more trout along the way, I certainly won’t be complaining.
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Until next time,