Friday 28 July 2023

Back For More

Hungry for more barbel, it was back the Trent for a few days with Bully, who was keen to break his duck.

First stop was at the excellent Tackle Dynamic, to stock up on feeders and bait. Top bloke who runs it, good prices and Louis is very helpful and knowledgeable.

Evening we took the easy option and fished fifty yards from the camper. Bloody lovely. 

It was a bit slow but I had some decent roach and an eight pound plus barbel to get off the mark. That'll do.

Next day, more of the same. Quality roach, eight good bream to 7lb and two barbel to 10lb 6oz, a cracking day.

Plenty of bait seems to be the key. I probably used five or 6kg of seed, pellets and corn.

Best period seems to be the first two hours of the ebb, although you can catch at all states of the tide.

Bully had a cracking roach around the pound mark but couldn't get a barbel.

We tried a new stretch on the following day and we were told you could drive along a track to your peg. The track was soft, muddy and slippery but once committed you couldn't turn round until the end, which was about two miles ! It was a real trouser filler.

We both had hybrids and big silver bream, the best going 1lb 11oz. The thought of driving back along the track in the dark was too much, so we packed up early, negotiated the track and went back to the campsite.

Bully decided to try in my swim on the final evening and I went in his.

Thirty droppers of bait went in immediately and a couple of minutes after the barrage I cast the feeder out, baited with a single small pellet.

Literally seconds later the rod whacked over as a decent barbel surged off downstream. 

9lb 11 oz and in immaculate condition. A great start. 

Next cast, same again, the rod sprang back and I was in again. This time exactly 10lb. 

Another bait dropper bombardment and the feeder was cast back in and same again, this time 8lb 12 oz.

Three fish in three casts and I decided to pack up and sit with Bully, who was biteless.

A superb home made curry and dry white wine were enjoyed on the bank. How very civilised.

Bully started to have a few bites and landed one, a decent bream of four pounds or so.

Dusk was approaching and we sat there waiting for "the" chance. The rod whacked over and Bully was in. Not for long though, the line parted. I was more gutted than him I think.

He had another chance but again it was not to be.

You've got to use robust gear for these fish, they take no prisoners.

A great trip again.

Sunday 16 July 2023

Take No Chances

We decided to try a stretch that had been recommended to us by several people. 

We parked up. I grabbed my gear and was ready to go. Bully was faffing about and told me to stop hassling him and he'd meet me on the bank.

Half hour later no sign of him. An hour went by. I rang him. 

"I loaded up my barrow with all my gear and walked off until I realised there were stiles to get over. I'm at the car sorting out my gear into a bag now"

Two hours later I ring him and he's at the nearest peg to the car park. "Not walking any further. When I finally put my chair down the back legs collapsed and I went arse over head". Oh dear.

The fishing ? Crap. Small roach and dace. We packed up, went back to campsite and had a big meal and a beer. It was only late afternoon so plenty of time for an evening session, less than a minute walk from the camper.

We went back to the same swims we fished the evening before.

I started off with a dozen big droppers of maggots, seed and pellet and then fished over the top with a big feeder. Simple stuff.

Nothing for two hours. A rat was shuffling about near my bag, so I got up and walked two paces to shoo it off. Then I heard the reel scream, I turned round to see the rod horizontal, the second ring luckily jammed in the rod rest, which was about to collapse. 

I grabbed the rod and an obviously decent barbel was on, it put up a long and vigorous fight before it was drawn over the net. Another of eight and a half pounds.

Next cast another eight pounder, then an absolute beauty of 10lb 4oz. Fantastic.

Bully unfortunately missed out again.

Last day and we had a recce of a nice bit of river, farted about drinking coffee and sorted the gear ready for another go in the evening on the campsite stretch.

I offered Bully "my" swim. He accepted. I, of course, reminded him that if he blanked there and I caught in his swim I'd never let him forget it.

We were talking about hook lengths. Were they put off by thick line ? I really don't think they are. Bully offered some 10lb ESP Ghost fluoro. 

"Have you used it before ?"

"No" he said.

I decided to stick with 15lb green Big Game. Thick and as tough as old boots.

An hour after starting the tip went round and yet another eight pounder was in the net. Then another an hour later of the same size.

Bully rang. "I've just lost one" he said. "The hooklink broke before I even struck".

ESP Ghost. Give it a wide berth if I were you.

I packed up just after dusk having added a couple of nice roach and a hybrid to the tally and went and sat with Bully until midnight.

It was absolutely still and silent, a lovely night, but it was not to be. He blanked and will forever have to take da shame of failing to catch in "my" swim

Bloody brilliant three days fishing and of course we can't wait to give it another go.

Tuesday 11 July 2023

The Mighty Trent

The camper was fully stocked with bait, tackle, food and drink. I was off with Bully on another trip, this time to the Trent.

I spent the morning going through the van and organising the gear in to some kind of order. Buried beneath about fifteen rods and tackle I found an LRF rod I thought I'd sold years ago ! Bonus, I suppose.

After much searching I even found a couple of bait droppers, one made from a tuna tin about twenty years ago. You can get about quarter of a pint of bait down in one hit, its a beast.

Arriving at the campsite, the first thing we did was walk over the flood bank to have a look at the river. Of course, we had to have a go straight away.

Lead on, cast out and I counted down, oooh, about two seconds maximum. Bit of a surprise. I tried all the way along and it was really shallow in every peg. Not necessarily a problem but not what I expected.

After two hours fishing I was biteless and that on maggots. Not good. I was fishing like a plonker too. Every new venue this happens in first few hours. I can't help myself. 

Loads of tangles, couldn't get comfortable, covered in mud, then it starts thundering and lightning. Brilliant.

When it stopped I re appraised the situation. I'd been  putting maggots and seed out in the feeder on the same spot for two hours. I couldn't believe there were no fish there. Got to be worth continuing to keep the feed going in.

Next cast a fish, a nice dace.

I was pleased with anything at this stage. Next cast a pound plus perch, then another. 

I was getting bites on and off, missing more than I was hitting. Bully was a few pegs down and had just one skimmer, but came up to me saying he just been broken up. Good news, in a way.

With that I started introducing pellet and corn in the feeder then went bank to the camper for a bit of tea.

On my return I changed to stronger line and slightly bigger hook baited with a single pellet.

As soon as the feeder hit the the bottom I started getting line bites and a minute later the tip dropped back and a decent roach was in the net.

The next bite was definitely not a roach. The fourteen footer hooped over as a barbel powered off downstream. It felt a decent one and was, at 8lb 8oz.

Bites continued with another good roach, then another barbel of similar size. I rested the barbel in the net, re cast, then went to release the fish. Before I could so the rod pulled round another fish was on. Blimey.

Obviously plenty of fish in the swim by this stage and as Bully came round for a chat the rod went over again and a slightly smaller barbel was the result.

After a poor start it turned out a really good session.

Four barbel with two over 8.5lb, two perch over the pound, two decent roach plus dace and small chub. That's a good start from a new venue you know nothing about, especially when you spend the first half fishing like a total bell end.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.