Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Monday 28 October 2019

The Tiny River Ise - Flake Faith Pt4.

The last visit to the diminutive River Ise in Kettering was a tough cookie, the chub a bread flake throw away from the lodge were there for sure, but just not interested in ones bait offering. Bread and maggot were ignored in the tap water clear water and some good chub, getting on for 5lb I'd imagine, meandered past a hunk of breadflake like it wasn't there.

If I had a river like this on my doorstep especially with the quality roach on offer I know what I'd be be doing most weekends and yet apart from a lure angler who was fishing the park pool when he should really have been, we have yet to see another angler.

The best of the weekend !!!
Now I did get one of the big chub last time to take bread off the top but that was a reccy mission without a rod just to see if I could find out where they were laying up, sods law and all that.

What didn't help that we were in a heatwave and with the river low, they were happy to feed when they wanted, not when I wanted them to.

The oxygen levels were therefore down, the fish in laboured mode. They did feed come sundown, but not when I presented them with a baited hook.

They fed in the dead of night when I'm was tucked up in bait trying to avoid mamification which to be fair is a nightly occurrence.

Barney and Sam did ok with maggot under a float and quite a few small fish were caught which kept them occupied but the specimen fish that do reside here, because I've seen them were elusive and became to be honest, a sign of frustration, so much so I made the most of the rest, rather than try and get bankside.

I was hoping that things would have improved for this trip though and this time I planned to try and explore some of the other swims that could well be available now autumn is well and truly with us.

Luckily the area is a shared public space above the bridge and the coffers of Kettering council are obviously full enough to give it a mowing from time to time.

I'd play it by ear though, with some more rain expected small rivers like this can go and up rapidly which could well put a kibosh on proceedings, but I was hoping that the high water table may well have coloured it up and transformed this waterway to one where at least I had a chance of catching something half decent.

Now this was a weekend away after all, so fishing if there was any to do, we would have try and to fit in and around what we had planned.

There are some cracking Roach to be had though, and most I would expect not used to rod and line. They are certainly not pressured, well maybe not by fisherman with hooks anyway. So two rods, one float, one quiver tip.

Bombing through, view of the lodge from the Park!!!
So straight to the point, best laid plans and all that, because it was a perfect colour when we got there Friday, we didn't managed to get fishing till late on and even then it was just for an hour or so.

The bread was being attacked by small roach but it was a quick chub Sam and myself wanted. Sadly it was Saturday morning the first proper go for roach.

It was cold as well and despite the rain coming down I decided to have an hour or two and caught some really lovely roach. It was gin clear no more and the fish were up for feeding.

Sam was tucked up nicely inside in preparation for the England vs New Zealand semi final match.

This was right outside the lodge as well, one swim was a bite a chuck just trotting a maggot down but despite fishing where I'd seen chub before it was larger roach that took I liking for the bread.

When the rain started to come down heavier to be honest if I knew what was to come, I'd have stuck it out a little more.

You see the rain came, then got heavier and heavier, and lasted ALL DAY !!!

The perfectly fishable river became un-fishable rather quickly. In-fact the local residents we'd spoke too hadn't seen it this high for years.

But spate rivers like this can fall as quickly as they rise so my fingers and toes were crossed for another dabble. Upon waking on the Sunday morning though, the river looked like it had got even higher still.

The usual 2 or 3 metre wide swims above the bridge now over the banks and barely recognisable as the little River Ise I know and love. There was no chance at all to fish it so me and Sam decided to have a little wander.  The water starting to recede but much of the path still underwater and just about passible in wellies.

At least the sun was nice and strong and the skies clear but as it may well be the last time we'd visit here as a family, it could have been so different if the weather has stayed fair. It wasn't to be though but that is fishing for you, it was all a bit poo.

I had a quick trip out in the morning and managed to find the only slack right outside the lodge, but despite dropping half a metre or maybe more overnight it was barely fishable. I managed two small roach but decided to call it a day soon in to the session and remained defeated by the conditions.

Friday 25 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Townies and Togemans

So it's nearly that time when the clocks go back, the mornings lighter for a while and the nights drawing in faster than I'd like.  Those fishing opportunities need to be planned, otherwise getting ones backside bankside just won't happen.

Luckily there are a couple or three venues I can now fish in to dark and beyond which may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me is the tonic that I need as this time of year otherwise the S.A,D. takes over and that straight path starts to become muddy and winding and ok mine in my Suzuki Jimny but you cannot say the same for ones mind.

I left later than expected for this after work session but it was on of double dipping, a stinky garlic pellet with a few freebies on one rod and the other a dead roach. This is an area I'd caught Zander from before which was very unexpected.

I was told about them sometime ago but despite fishing for predators here I'd never managed to catch one. Then out of the blue I foul-hooked one when I was after Chub, when the hook caught his fin on the way past after the bread and hook pulled out of the Chub mouth.

Now these garlic pellets are something else, Godknows what they are glugged or flavoured with, get anywhere near your clothes it stays on there for weeks and same with fingers.

I likened it do turmeric, same thing, avoid avoid avoid. You'll end up chucking your best shirt away and appear you've been smoking for 40 years.

The problem with this session was that the area I wanted to fish was still bombing through more than I thought.

The Avon had dropped throughout the week but it was a slow descent not the drop I'd expected.

I tried to fish the slack but after half an hour with the bait clearly struggling to stay stationary in a washing machine I had to move on.

Still, downstream there is an area where close in its deep and fishable when the rivers up and also there is cover where Barbel lay up and venture out time to time to look for food. The late start meant I'd literally have an hour before dusk to get the baits out and then the club rules dictated I'd have to be off.

To cut a long story short a blank, but I like to record all my sessions, not only so see how many I manage in a year but also the fact I do blank and this season it's been one of the worst. Anyway the best season for me anyway is here, onwards and upwards.

Monday 21 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Murphies and Mulligrubs

Sam can cast indpendantly now without issue so lure fishing sessions can be quite enjoyable, rather than being a few hours of verbal diarrhea and frustration where I question will it ever come good. In-fact the session down at Stratford-Upon-Avon he was complemented twice on his casting which gave him a proper confidence boost.

Now there are bait fish here in numbers and therefore predators not far behind so Sam had a light lure rod with a small lure after the Perch and I was geared up for something bigger, Pike or Zander.

The day started cold but soon the sun meant that the walkways became busier and busier, the waterway too. It was nice to see the rowers out though enjoying the water like we were.

The water was on the wrong side of coloured though, after speaking with Thad the bailiff the water had come overnight and could well have put the fish off.

Working the margins meant the odd tap and bang but I would think they were small perch or zedlets.

We started at the RSC and ended up at Sausage Island, the weir was covered as well which looked good for a bite but the two anglers there fishing for Barbel and bits were biteless as well.

There were fish moving around though in-fact a big Perch hit a shoal of bleak completely out of nowhere sadly not interested in our lures though.

Conditions just not conducive for a bite it seems, but we persevered with cast after cast.

Sometimes it's just nice for a father and son bonding session though and he is becoming a great little angler, not only do we enjoy out fishing trips together he is beginning to think like an angler and where fish are likely to be hanging out what species will likely to be where.

After 3 hours though we called it a day as the area was getting busy and we vowed to return when conditions are more favorable. In-fact we returned a couple of hours later with the Wife and Ben for a stroll and a bite to eat in the town centre, with the sun out it was pleasant enough for a pint.

Saturday 19 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Sad Update)

With 13 species down on the 2019 bloggers challenge I'm not at the top of the table, well apart from the river leaderboard where I've got over that 1000 point barrier. George Burton is leading and I can see him being rather difficult to catch, not only does he fish still, canal and running waters he gets out a fair bit as well.

The Grayling is sorted with a trip planned in December but I still want to catch a river carp and also a roach bream hybrid to keep my end up so to speak.

Got to keep the momentum going haven't I, now I've caught carp to a gnats nadger over 20lb without targeting them in anger and that capture was because it was a known area where the mud sifters patrol.

This mornings session was to a specific peg where a couple of carp had come out in a recent match, it's a relatively deep area and with the river up and motoring downstream you can still fish here without issue.

A dawn start with a bed of bait put down where I'd fish over with a couple of baits, one a 18mm boilie and the other a chunk of spam.

What self respecting carp doesn't like spam !!!

Now as I hotfooted to the swim my I stumbled upon something me as an angler doesn't want to see....

....an injured kingfisher

It was visibly struggling in the thick grass and its left wing looked like it wasn't functioning correctly, it looked distressed when I went near it so I decided to walk on by and when I returned after the session I'd retrace my steps and see if it was still there.

It's only when you get close to a kingfisher you realise just how stunning they are to look at.

What I was amazed at too and didn't know they did it, they can almost tuned their heads through 360 degrees, visually they look like their head is detached from their body, a really odd visual spectacle. I move it away from view because it wouldn't take long for a bird of prey notice the predicament it was in.

So I baited up, put a load of bait down and unlike me sat out to see if a carp was milling around to hopefully trump the fact that I'd ignored the Barbel and Chub on the way.

But in the back of my mind there were pressing matters and ones I needed to attend to.

So after a three or so biteless hours on a nice looking river I retraced my steps and yeap the kingfisher was still there.

Now we planned to see my Mum and Dad later in the day and on route we'd go past Heronfield Small Breeds Farm and Animal Rescue Centre in Knowle which had been their donkeys years.

They even had a Tiger there many moons ago when the 80's was all about exotic pets. So my bait was transferred to my rucksack and I retrieved the injured bird and placed it safely in my bait storage bag.

It was a sitting duck excuse the pun so couldn't just walk on by and ignore the fact this bird needed help.

As soon as I got back home I put it in a tissue lined box to hopefully reduce the stress he was in. It was very well behaved to be fair and it almost seemed he wanted people to look, but then why wouldn't he, what a magnificent creature.

After arriving at Heronfield which could be mistaken for Steptoes Yard at first glance but ignore first impressions, it's a thankless task what these people do. Countless animals, big or small, nursed if possible back to full health and returned to the wild or rehoused to a family that want a pet, not one where the novelty has worn off.

A problem though, on inspection of the bird its right wing looked fully functional as it sprang back pretty quickly but its left wing was lame as anything. The owner couldn't feel any breaks on the functioning wing so it could be ligament damage or even paralysis. Another issue was that they couldn't really take it in, as it needs more specialist care, fish based syringe feeding for example.

So after some advice and where would be best for it now after having a quick whistle stop at my parents we back on the road again. Me and Sam would take over this time and we'd rope in the Jimny to get cross country and take it to more specialist care. Almost a 80 round trip after first heading out but needs must in these situations, two fingers up to the XR misguided, you really going to tell me I'm burning too much carbon.

So after returning home and switching cars with Sam keeping the bird from any harm we were back on the road and headed over to Vale Wildlife Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre near Tewksbury. And wow, what a place it is. Take a look at the link above to see what kind of work they do and the animals they take in.

So that's it for now, we did our best and now it's in the hands of those that know what they are doing. Fingers crossed that it's still with us in the morning, it's certainly had an ordeal I just hope we can get it back to where it belongs, back to the stretch of river where I see it bombing close to the water up and down, up and down, or one particular peg, perched nicely hunting minnows.

So fingers and toes crossed please, I think it needs all the help it can get, watch this space !!

Update 20/10/2019

After receiving pain relief overnight it was X-rayed in the morning where it was discovered that the break was severe and exactly where you wouldn't want a break so sadly I'm sorry to say there is one less kingfisher in the world. As Sam says he is now in bird heaven, the best place for it. A glancing blow from a branch or injured when diving in to the water, who knows but it was pretty severe trauma. I've donated to Vale Wildlife Hospital, they were brilliant. 

Thursday 17 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Breast Fleets and Brisket Beaters

Many moons ago when I lived in Birmingham I could consume a ridiculous amount of food, a visit to the all you can eat chinese buffet that was an artificial crabs clam throw away from Solihull ice rink, was often a weekends pursuit and was a scene of utter greed. Countless plates of food I didn't really want to eat was consumed just to get one's money's worth and and the end of every visit I was questioning just what rubbish I'm putting in my mouth.

Having visited China a few times now the food served up even the Chinese would be asking, what is this you are putting in-front of me ?

It was basically cheap junk to appease the gluttonous partakers and bill payers who like me at the time, were after a belly fix and a MSG induced facial flush, fried seaweed flatulence and a red meat overloading acid trip.

No ducks tongues, Shanghai hairy crabs and spicy szechuan hotpots to be seen here.

Luckily 15 years ago or something like that, I escaped from a place I felt I didn't belong and I've never looked back and the knock-on effect is that my waistline is now kept in check.

Now gluttony is fine as it can trigger those feel-good hormones such as serotonin all like tweaking once in a while but the feeding cannot continue on that rate otherwise, roving a river will be out and my mobility reduced and that really would unsettle ones system.

These Barbel I'd be targeting seemingly when up for a feed really do get their head down and after finishing the first place are ready to load up the next. My single large bait ignored which did so well in the past not doing the business, these fish wouldn't settle for anything but a Smörgåsbord.

A big feeder full of pellets and groundbait cast in the same place every 10 or fifteen minutes to get a bed of bait down and then for the last hour, if a fish wasn't forthcoming the last hour would be to sit on ones hands an wait.

A single rod only, so the hair rigged bait was always in and amongst the tablecloth that was covered in niceties and plenty of food still to go at. A 15mm fishmeal based spicy boilie was the bait of choice the last two barbel sessions where I'd banked a double figure fish the first session and a 6 or 7 lber the second.

Now Hinders were kind enough to send me some bait to try after they stumbled upon my blog where I'd used some of their ramiz paste to good effect.

Now the ramiz range I likened to the sausage sizzle baits now kaput Lone Angler used to supply, you just knew it would attract fish at the first open of the tub. A spicy meaty pungency with garlic being a notable addition. Now a 3rd of a tin of garlic spam was the bait that was hovered up by my PB Barbel of 12lb and 14oz's . Garlic certainly is an attraction so this was a welcome addition. The paste ideal for plugging a lead or wrapping over a pellet or boilie to add extra attraction in to the swim.

You cannot catch fish that are not in-front of you but if you've confidence in a bait that can work, it often wonders for your mindfulness and sessions can often be made on just staying in that swim 10 minutes longer 'just in-case' a fish comes along, often it usually does you see. make or break. Now I'm sure the long list of blanks I had recently before Barbel were caught were because the fish were just not there despite it being a productive area in the past. 

This new short section a hop, skip and a jump away, and two short sessions, two fish and the method was the same both times, there are Barbel here still after all. 

Phew !!!!

So this short afterwork session in to dusk would be to employ similar tactics with a slight addition. 
You see for even more added attraction I'd glug the 15mm contraband boilies that did the business last time and also add some liquid to the dark groundbait mix that also has some small pellets added that keep the fish grubbing around. 

Now the river was on the drop after being up for a while even over its banks in places but I'm sure a Barbel would now be up for feed after trying to avoid the debris from clouting their noggins. A large feeder to carry the bait down to the bed, the flow distributing its contents, the hookbait hopefully to be picked up by a hard fighting thing with whiskers.

So anyway, enough of the preamble better get fishing....

Despite a friend Dave Roberts battling with the Eels and Barbel on luncheon meat not far away I wanted to go to an area where Barbel are not in numbers but hook one it could be a PB beater. The problem is there could be session after session without much success and then BANG, a proper rod bender. The river had been over the banks and much of it was still sitting on the adjacent field. I found a fishable swim though and not far away from a swim that had produced two doubles in the past.

With two hours to go before dusk I cast out and unusual for me, I had a chair with me. After casting the feeder a few times without a touch I received my first positive bite, it never materialised into anything Barbel like though so I assume it might be small chublets taking an interest in the bait. Every so often I had recast because of the debris coming down and I started to question my location decision.

Ok Barbel can be very much cast out and hope for the best but as dusk was approaching I just didn't get that feeling like I have had of late, that feeling where I knew I'd get a bite. So with the light now gone I headed back to the car with ones tail between ones legs, luckily the tackle will remain in the car as I've another after work session tomorrow, this time as the swim justifies it, it's out with the Spam, and what swimming thing would refuse that.

So a blank, oh well, sometimes fishing is secondary to the sights, sounds and scenery. 

Saturday 12 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Whappers and Westminster Weddings

I arrived at sunrise at this predator haven of the Warwickshire Avon. Where pike are in numbers, and the bait fish ready to be plundered. There are some nice Perch here as well so the plan was to fish for Pike first and then move on to the Perch for the second half of the session.

I've been outgunned by Pike before so I invested in a 3lb TC rod with a big reel with a decent drag. I find Pike give you a good doing over for the first initial two or three runs and then they come to the net in the end rather than doing a Barbus and giving it everything.

Smelt is a default bait for me where Zander and Pike are concerned, and as the water had been in the fields a week before as the water now dropping out a medium smelt offering on a single hook would be offered out.

As I was setting up and Otter was meandering down the river without a care in the world till it saw me and then it submerged and popped its head out just downstream of me.

They are everywhere now it seems, not that long ago there were only 10 or 12 in Warwickshire and yet now I'd love to know who many of them are around, as I see them literally in every water I fish. Probably ten times now I'm sure.

From canals to small rivers and streams, they don't appear to be scared of being sited either, most of them I see are in broad daylight.

I suppose we have to put up with it despite being an apex predator taking whatever it seems fit.

I prefer float fishing for Pike and Zander because there is nothing more visual when fishing when watching a float bob and move and then head under the surface.

It didn't take long either a Jack hovering up the smelt within minute of putting the float out. With that returned I could use the same smelt and in the same spot again, within 15 minutes or so the float goes again. This time it was giving me a decent fight so a proper'un this time, 7lb 8oz.

The same smelt offering was again put out and they were on it this morning as the float had some interest not long after putting the fish back, this time though it came off, I assume the fish pulled from its mouth. Pike are not the most intelligent of species though so out went the bait again and this time the bite was more confident and I tightened up in to a decent fish.

It gave me a bit of a run around to be honest and gave two powerful runs that I could just hold on and let it take some line. I eventually netted it though and looked not far off a PB and yeap I was right. 11lb 10oz it was a PB Pike. I don't fish for Pike that often to not a monster but looking at the size of its head I'm sure it's got plenty of growing to do. That net is a 30" Barbel  Latex Spool, so a long fish as well.

On to the second half of the session, the Perch, well less said about that the better, a follow from a large Perch hovered up the bait but it spat it out and returned to the depths of where it came from.

Another 7lb Pike was caught so a cracking session really. A rove around the more secluded and sheltered swims sadly didn't bring any perch out to investigate but there is plenty to go at here and I've not really explored it properly apart from fishing certain swims that scream Pike.

Oddly the Zander don't seem to like it here, I'm sure it's because the amount of Pike here which might put them off. An enjoyable session all the same though, I'll be back, maybe in the depths of winter when they are even hungrier, if that is possible.

Friday 11 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Bully Backs and Buttock Brokers

With a few hours to spare I got home from work popped to Martyn's tackle shop to pick up some lobworms and neck a coffee then cobbled together some tackle within ten minutes of entering the door and was headed to an area of the Warwickshire Avon I've not fished for a while. It's convenient too, less than 10 minutes door to door.

Now sometimes the simplest of fishing can outwit the most cautious of fish. A small shoulder bag, a landing net a rod and rod rest is all that is needed. Rove from swim to swim to try and pick up something off-guard.

I was after perch but wanted to rove from swim to swim to see if anything decent was laying in wait. I love fishing like this, especially as I had the stretch to myself. Plenty of character here and there are some nice fish to be caught.

I noticed a tree in my Perch banker swim was no more however a cast of the worm to trundle down the swim bought a bite very quick indeed but it was a small perch that pestered me throughout the session. Their cover no more.

A nice raft had formed downstream though and under it I found chublets and perch but again not the biggest of fish. It was bite after bite though and I was gradually running out of lobworms. The colour was just right to get the fish feeding confidently and a session with Sam over the weekend I think I will try for Perch again, this time using a method that is a proven bigger fish banker.

It was a very mild day indeed with plenty of rain and overcast but the bigger perch didn't show.

The chublets were getting bigger though and after losing one to a snag that felt a proper chub all ones lob worms were gone. Some small worms were collected from a ploughed field which again meant small perch so it was on to something a proper Chub would like.

It was a slung fest at the stretch so unlimited bait but after two proper confident bites without hooking in to anything I called the session to an end, it was just nice to get out for a couple of hours despite it being added to the best forget list.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Packthreads and Pantile Shops

Now time spent on waterways can be very therapeutic to one's mind, the trickle and turbulence only flowing water can give amplifying that experience. A world away from the sanctimonious carnage causers telling my kids we are on the cusp of the sixth mass extinction despite not being able to predict the weather in 24 hours, oh and away from those clearly not suffering from visiobibliophobia to sign up to their utopia.

Before I moved on to try and catch a river carp or a silver bream to increase my species tally, it was a return to Punxsutawney to hopefully bump into something large and feminal.

A life more simple, in and amongst nature, the rat race seemingly a different one, within ten minutes of arriving bankside, the red admirals going about their business without fear or hinderance, the field mouse appearing and disappearing in similar vigour, the hares popping out for a nose, but I know things will only get better the more time I spend here.

Otters, kingfishers, buzzards, deer, barn owls, dragonflies, the list goes on, for me and the like- minded those sightnings are an average week spent on the riverbank. Luckily I don't have to flick through a reference book with a pointed finger.

A few hours here and there, enables me to rejoin the establishment and get back to filling the coffers for those with big hands in ones pockets, whilst knowing that a visit back to the Kingdom of Narnia won't be far away. It also means that the mind alterers can be kept at bay whilst shaking hands with the convention conformers whilst awaiting the next paycheck.

But that works for me, everyone is different, whatever works for you !!!!

Mixing it up a little can also work wonders and the last session I fished differently than I usually do and not only that but an area that had been off one's radar. I had an inkling at the back of my mind that I didn't quite put to bed. A cracking Barbel was banked, my suspicions confirmed. But could it be the way I fished it though ? more bait down for certain but also I stayed in one swim longer than I usually do, biteless at first, then chub pulls and then an unmistakable Barbus graced my net after violently taking the 15mm boilie in its path.

This short after work session would be fished simulary but with a sleeper this time. A roach bait offering fished in the margins to try and pick up a Zander that I know frequent here. The swim I caught the Barbel from much deeper than above and below it. Not only that but a waiting Zander could easily hide out here, we fear no foe.

So tactics for the Barbel, a feeder full of pungent groundbait and stinky pellets and a 15mm boilie on the hook that did the business last time. Confidence in a bait can be all that is needed to enjoy the session and considering I'd be blanking for Barbel for a while that last capture did me the world of good. There still are these magnificent fish swimming in the Warwickshire Avon, despite me wondering what had happened to them all, so better crack on to the double dipping hadn't I.

A slightly extended session this one, the internet went down at a client which meant I couldn't work effectively. Again the thought was put a decent amount of feed down to get the fish to start grubbing around and it seemed to work again, an hour in to the session in a different swim to last time the rod wrapped over and a Barbel was on. It gave a cracking fight as well but was netted in the end. The 15mm boilie doing the trick again.

Dusk wasn't long off so I'd expect the Zander to move around but sadly the deadbait remained largely unhindered. Eventually a chub was caught at last knocking, 3lb or so, and was clearly determined hook itself, sadly that called time on the session. Another barbel though, cannot complain about that. Now the colour was dropping out of the Avon and the levels goin down so I might try for a Perch, the colour looked ideal for them.

Monday 7 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Torpedos and Torcheculs

These barbel have remained elusive of late and despite fishing how I usually fish for them and areas I've caught them from before I've not managed on since the season start. I've spotted them when it was low and clear but they were not interested in feeding despite fishing more delicately than I usually do.

Probably eight or nine short sessions, dawn and dusk, trotting and fixed, spam and pellets. The recent rain has meant that the river had been ideal for barbel as well, up, coloured and a decent pace but for some reason ones rods have remained motionless.

So after waking early on Sunday morning I was in two minds to go fishing or not, but the rain overnight seemed to have moved away quicker than expected and I though, heck might as well give it a go, the Wife practically shoving me out of bed because she knew I would only regret it if I didn't. Whether or not the influx of some new cleaner water may well spur them on to feed.

Now I took delivery in the week of a 30" Korum Barbel spoon net to replace the one that Sam managed to get snagged up that I had to rip and also some 15mm boilies which seemed perfect for Barbel but for some reason were only sold in Europe. It would be rude not to try and christen them both now wouldn't it.

Confidence in a bait is a must when targeting these fish but this set-up would be a little different to how I usually fish for them. In the large 5oz feeder would be some Sonubaits stinky shrimp and krill groundbait which has a mix of small pellets and also hemp, and I'd also add some Sonubaits spicy sausage pellets to it as well as an added extra.

With the river as coloured as it is you need to get the fish to home on to a bait and a combination like this is idea. The long fluro hooklink hopefully will mean the feeder mix will be deposited where the hookbait sits.

The river was deserted just how I like it. I had 3.5 to 4 hours so the plan was to fish a few swims to try and locate a fish or two.

Barbel if they are up for a feed do tend to find the bait quite quickly in these conditions so rather than sit behind motionless rods it was good to get on the move, after all you cannot catch them if they are not out in front of you.

The fish swim not even a pluck or a chub twang so I moved downstream to another tasty looking swim. Eventually I had my first bite, a chub pull, a decent one as well but it didn't develop in to a full blown bite but at least there were some fish moving.

After giving that swim an hour and putting a carpet of bait down again I decided to leave it rest for a while and again move downstream and fish another swim.

After that again was biteless I moved back to the 2nd swim to at least try and catch something, there were fish in the swim after all. A couple more full feeders went out and I also added some freebies to try and get any fish in the swim grubbing around and confident in feeding.

Perched opposite was a kingfisher with a minnow in its mouth and it stayed there for a good while before flying off in a speed they can only do. Such a great bird to watch, sadly I didn't have a zoom camera with me, my phone effort not worthy of its splendure.

With the landing net feeling sorry for itself again the chub plucks and pulls started to materialise again. One bite nearly strikable but those that fish for Barbel there is no mistake when a Barbel sucks up the bait feels something isn't right and bolts off. Just how Chub manage to snatch and pull at bait without hooking themselves still is a mystery to me.

Anyway with an hour left of the session out of the blue the rod went from stationary to berserk in a split second and a Barbel was on.

What a fight as well, a premature netting, 3 decent runs and one in particular, the drag wondering what this was on the end. When it surfaced I knew it was a double so was glad to eventually get it in the net. My Barbel baron spell no more, a cracking condition fish as well. A short fish but a proper belly on it and torpedo shaped proportions that only Barbel have.

It registered 10lb and 11ounzes on the scales and enough for me to shout "Get in, my son !!!!" when it was resting in the net. Conditions look idea in the week to target them again so same tactics will be used ones confidence restored again, the fish rested and returned safely, what a wonderful species these Barbel are.

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