Friday, 3 July 2020

Barbeling on a Rising River

Due to appointments and things Friday's fishing was to be confined to match hours. 10-4. For no good reason I decided on a spot of barbeling on the Ouse as it had settled to a reasonable level, but was slowly rising. Very slowly rising, it came up nearly three inches while I was there. Since flooding on Tuesday it had dropped 3m, this meant the banks were a bit treacherous, but a reasonable swim was found. The colour was dropping out of the water and pin fry could be seen in the shallows. Sliver tourists were also  about with several leaping clear of the water.

Swimfeeder tactics with 22mm halibut pellets as bait and 4,6, & 8mm pellets as feed. The downstream feeder was dropped under the overhanging tree and the upstream one in a crease about a third of the way across. Several cast were made to each post to build up some feed. It was a rather grim looking windy day with occasional bits of drizzle that never came to much. Like the previous day there was very little bird life about. A flock of noisy sheep broke the silence, along with the occasional military jet. The cackling corvids could be heard but not seen. A heron sailed over at one point, but apart from the odd mallard with duckings and the odd LBJ that was it. Just before lunch a few olives  were blown about and a couple were taken on the surface.

It wasn't until lunch time that I got my first bite. Sandwich in one hand and pouring boiling water into the mug, the tip whacked over then spring back on the upstream rod. At first I thought I'd missed it, but after a couple of turns of the reel I as in contact with something small. It wasn't until the feeder came to the surface that it decided to show it's true colours. Suddenly waking up it dived for the roots to my right turned and headed towards the roots on the left. Another minutes or so of diving about and I had a barbel in the net. A rather chubby thing that weighed more than it looked. I'd have given it 5lb at best, but it hit 6lb on the scales.

Later in the afternoon while watching small fish scatter trying to avoid a large pike the downstream rod started to jag about. A chub around the pound mark was quickly at the surface before been grabbed by the aforementioned pike. After a brief battle it was ripped from the hook and the pike got it's meal. That was it for the day's action.

Just as I started to pack up it started to rain. Thankfully it didn't get heavy until I got to the car. As I loaded things into the boot I realised the landing net head was missing. Donning a waterproof jacket I trailed back to the swim, but couldn't see it. Retracing my steps back to the car I spotted it a couple of yards from the car, hiding in the brambles. I think an orange sleeve may well be better than a foliage green one.

Litter Free Barbeling

Thursday I decided o do a bit more Barbel fishing, this time on the Derwent. Expecting the river to be up and/or tanking through I didn't take the float rod. I was somewhat surprised when I got there to see the river nearly at usual summer level and flowing through at at normal speed. It still had a bit of colour in it though. The next thing to great me as I went though the gate was the NO LITTER signs. A sign that really shouldn't exist. There was, however, next to no litter in the field as I wandered down to the swim.

Simple running leger rigs with halibut pellet hook baits were the order of the day. Free offerings were catapulted in and also small mesh bags of 4-6mm pellets. The upstream rod cast to a crease and the downstream just beyond the weeds. Apart from the odd rattle, there they sat right up to dark. I did get a couple of sharp pulls but failed to contact with anything. Given that a couple of other anglers were catching the odd Chub around the  pound mark I'm blaming them. The Chub not the anglers.

A very quiet day, made even quieter by the lack of raptors flying about. There were a few Swifts and some Tree Sparrows, but the only raptor type beastie was a Tawny Owl that flew along the far bank just before I packed up. Normally there are Buzzard and Kites to be seen, along with the occasional Kestrel. There weren't even any cackling corvids about. The most exciting part of the evening was the wander back, in the dark, along the slippy path.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Barbel Rescue

Had another short early morning session today. This time attempting to catch barbel on the float. My original intention was to rove may way along a section, but it was really muggy and no breeze. Just wandering down to the shallow end of the stretch was hard work, so I opted to alternate between three swim. The water had lost a bit of it's colour since last tiem and had dropped a couple of inches. It was, however, warm than it had been a lot further upstream, but not too warm.

Having tossed a large quantity of hemp into each swim I wandered back to the first swim to find a family of swans passing through. While I could see the large signets frantically paddling with both feet against the current the adults were just using the one. Strangely the same one the right one.

Trotting sweetcorn, I gave each swim  an hour before moving on to the next. The results weren't spectacular until I returned to the first swim for the last half hour. With 15 minutes to go the float finally went under for something other than weed on the hook. The initial run was very fast, but slowly I cranked it back up towards me before it continued past. It hadn't headed for the tree root and had stayed deep, which is usual a sign of a 5lb+ fish. Sure enough when finally landed it weighed in at 6lb 3oz.

I left it in the landing net while I packed up, quite happy. As it was trying to swim off with the landing net I released it. As I wandered back to the car I looked at the river about ten yards downstream from my swim to see a barbel rolling on the surface near the edge. I managed to get down to it before the current dragged it away. It wasn't my fish, but one a but smaller, around 4lb, with a length of mono trailing from it. It was hooked in the tail, but the end of the mono was wrapped round a small branch which had snagged in some weed. I held it in the landing net head for five minutes before releasing as it was pulling quite strongly and appeared to swim off well. Lets hope it's OK.

It was a right slog back to the car. Although  the cloud cover hadn't broken, the lack of a breeze really did make it very muggy. Lets hope the weekend's thunderstorms drop some water in the right places and freshen the rivers up again.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Early Morning Fluking Trout

With seriously hot weather predicted, again, I decided on an early morning session to try and beat the heat.  First thing on arrival was to check the water temperature. I didn't have a thermometer, but used the standard is it warm enough to wet wade. No it wasn't, there was still a slight chill to it.

It was quite some time before I found fish rising. I soon discovered I can't cast a fly line early morning. Normally I have very little problem with weird and wonderful casts, it's your normal overhead cast that defeats me as I rarely use it. Today, though, I was slapping the line on the water, snagging the bankside vegetation and flinging flies high into trees. Eventually I did sort myself out casting wise, but managed to lose the first three fish I hooked.

As I'd wander along the bank looking for fish I'd been kicking up clouds of grass pollen. This not a good idea when You've forgotten to take your medication. As I could now feel my eyeballs itch I retired back to car for a cuppa and medication. When I returned to the river There were a lot more ish rising, but many of them turned out to be greedy little things about 2 inches long. They would happily sink the fly, a parachute Grey Duster.

I spent quite some time trying different flies to quite a reasonable trout loitering in the shade under an over hanging branch before snagging a bit of bankside vegetation and slapping it down on top of it. The trout had been quite patient with me up to that point, but this pissed  him and off he went.  Another trout started rising a couple of yards upstream and if it hadn't been so greedy I wouldn't have hooked it. I waited to see if it would rise again, and happily it did several times, but not in the same spot. The little duster was cast upstream of the area it was rising in and allowed to drift down. I was distracted by a reflection on the water and looked up to see a large raptor gliding overhead. Unfortunately he sun was right behind it so I couldn't get a proper look before it swerved away behind the trees. At this point I felt a tug on the rod and lifted it to a little trout. It was quickly in the net, at least I'd caught even if it was a bit of a fluke. It still had it's parr markings, just. They don't really show in the photo. Unfortunately I'd not switched a action cam back on so didn't get any moving pictures.

Further upstream I hooked another of similar size which came adrift as I'd snagged the landing net on a wild gooseberry and fumble bringing to hand. By now it was getting really hot, even under the shade of the trees. I'm not a hot weather person. I decided to give it a few more minutes in the shade of the bridge. As I approached a clumsy dipper chick appeared ahead of me. It was quite assuming to watch and I did get a bit of it on video. What didn't occur to me was the fact I was stood in shade and the chick was in bright sunshine, so the automatic whatever in the camera overcompensated and exposure was too much. This is the problem when you can't see the screen.

Five hooked one landed is better than my last visit. Think I may have a go next week, dependent on the weather as we have thunderstorms predicted  for tomorrow and the weekend. We'll have to see what it does for the levels.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Day Three of the 2020 River Season

For my third trip of the new season I decided a spot of barbel fishing might be in order. Especially as the river was rising, albeit rather slowly. As luck would have it by the time I got there is was beginning to fall, again rather slowly. Arriving mid afternoon I laid down an area of bait, groundbait laced with sweetcorn and hemp,  in one swim with the intention of leaving it for a couple of hours for the fish to move in. In the mean time a was going to have a bit of a trot in another swim with the few maggots I'd got left.

The little dace and chublets were quickly on to the float fished maggot, but only when the sun was behind the clouds. When it was out I got very few bites. This despite the fact the river was carrying a bit of colour and I was fishing in the shade of the trees. After 90 minutes or so I thought I saw something following a fish in. Next cast, sure enough, a baby jack grabbed my dace as I reeled it in, letting go just as I got it in the net. I bet if I came down with a lure rod there wouldn't be a sign of a pike.

Not long after the pike incident then rain turned up, so I retired to the barbel swim and under the umbrella. The tactic for the rest of the day was to quiver tip either Sweetcorn or Peperami. I have to say I've never seen such a stationary quiver tip. I would have expected the tip to bounce around occasionally as the little fish had a go at the bait, but nothing. I had few trots through with the maggot rod and the little dace and chublets were present in the swim, but like previous days weren't interested in a stationary bait. Despite fishing on in to dark the barbel failed to show.

No wee film today as I forgot the action cam. I always forget something. That's it until next week as we're now back to working normal hours. Not sure how it will go as there's a heatwave predicted.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Day Two of the 2020 River Season - The Deep End

After fishing the 'shallow end' of the stretch yesterday, I thought I'd have a go at the 'deep end'. Yesterday I was fishing 3-4' deep swims. Today the swims were around 8-10'.  The tactics were to be the same as yesterday. Maggot over hemp, but with a heavier 5x4 alloy stemmed stick. I had hoped to get two lines going. One along the treeline and one close to the inside. In the end I had to opt for one line. The river was slightly higher than yesterday and rising slowly. As a result the branches were underwater causing the current to push the float away from the trees. The inside line was a depository for twigs, while putting a bend in the rod they were not really what I was after.

A large handful of hemp was deposited downstream and mid river. 3-4 maggots went in every cast. It was nearly 20 minutes before the first sign of fish, when I retrieved a chewed maggot. The next few casts were the same so I started to shallow up as I assumed they were attacking the bait on the drop. At around 6' I started to get proper bites and a steady procession of little dace and if they missed, the occasional small chublet. Occasionally a micro roach would show up. This continued for about 90 minutes, then everything went quiet. Suspecting the fish may have dropped lower I increased the depth until the bait was tripping the bottom, but there was not so much as a chewed maggot. I dropped a ledgered worm into the swim while I had a cuppa and a contemplate. Several other anglers had arrived so the choice of swims in the 'deep end' was limited.

Having finished my cuppa I retrieved the worm, which resulted in a savage take as it neared the surface. A jack around the 4lb mark. After the initial run it came in quite quietly until it broke surface. It then gave a defiant display of head shaking and bit me off as it dived.  Not long after the bites started again. After a bit of twiddling of the depth the bites became more consistent and again a steady flow of dace and chublets started to come to hand. The river now fallen a few inches, but was pushing through a bit faster. A chat with a couple of passers by made it appear that I was about the on angle catching consistently. Those fishing the 'shallow end' had really struggled, or were sitting out for barbel. If there's one way to avoid barbel around here it's to fish for them.

The bites started to dry up again around eight, so dropped the ledger worm over the hemp in the hope of a barbel or chub. When I lifted the keepnet put for a photo of the evenings catch I was surprised how few fish were in it, until one was spotted suck in a larger hole near the bottom. Looked like a pike had been at it and ripped a couple of holes in it, and not for the first time. While it fits nicely in the pocket of my bag this keepnet does seem to be easily damaged by pike. Good job I wasn't in a match. I fished on until dark with out another bite.

A lot better than opening day, but still no gudgeon. There again I hardly fished on the bottom apart from the lob worm on the ledger rig. Thursday doesn't look good with rain forecast for most of the day. While I don't mind rain as such. I hate setting up in it and it can make trotting hard work.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

First Day of the River Season 2020

The glorious 16th didn't quite live up to expectations, despite the rain flushing the river through and freshening it up. Still a few inches up and carrying a bit of colour the fish weren't as cooperative as they could have been. The intention was a bit of stick and pin with maggots over hemp for anything that turned up. While fish did turn up there wasn't the numbers there had been in previous years. To add to the woes of the day the action cam decided  to disown the memory card part way through and the phone stated to play silly beggars by claiming to be out of battery and shutting down at random. I've managed to rescue a few bits from the action cam, including the first fish of the season and the phone battery is currently been recalibrated.

While some people are out at the crack of dawn, or earlier, I've never found rivers to fish well early morning so afternoon to evening it was. I was quite shocked to get a bite first run through with a bait. Not only that, but a got a fish as well. A little chub was the first of the season. This was quickly followed by a couple more chublets. Then a couple of dace, a roach and a perch. Things then slowed down considerably. Over the next hour I only got the odd fish every now and then.

A change of swim was no better as it only produced the odd chublet. A third swim was called for and again produced only a couple of fish over an hour. Back to the first swim and after a couple of small roach it again went quiet. A little while later a small jack made a lunge at the float as I was retrieving, before turning and grabbing the maggots. At least it put a bit of a bend in the rod.

One strange thing was the fish only seemed to want moving baits. When I stopped for a cuppa I'd put a feeder rod out and not once did I have so much as a chewed maggot. Back in the first swim I had a couple more little roach before a rather nice grayling showed up. With it now down to the last hour before dark I stayed put. I've said it before, but the 'magic hour' before dusk has never really happened for me and so it was this time.

Nice to be back watching a float trundle down the river, but there wasn't the steady stream of fish I was expecting. It was more like later in the season when the fish seem to be scattered about. Still a pleasant day was had. It could have been like last year with the rivers full to overflowing.

Lets see what tomorrow brings.