Trent Tribulations

A week into 2013 I decided to brave the floods and try for a winter barbel. After studying the EA river levels I decided to fish the tidal stretch of river. The middle river was returning to it’s normal levels, yet the tidal was still 6ft up, perfect for barbel. I met a guy I knew in the car park and he told me it had fished well for the last 2 days with a few lumps landed.

When I walked the river I started to feel uneasy. The banks were so soft after being under water for days and I knew I had to be very careful with my movements. I looked for places to get out of the river if I fell in and the only spot was about 80 yards down stream. That’s where the other anglers on the stretch were fishing. They had used their sense, unlike me!.

The fishing was very slow with no bites, but I did see camera flashes going off as darkness fell. That probably meant something was feeding so I sat back in anticipation. Not long after that the upstream rod was away. The fight felt strange and then my line snapped without too much pressure being applied. As I looked at the limp line drifting on the breeze my other rod was away. The rod hooped right over, but again the fight felt strange. I looked out into the river and could make out a very large shape on the top of the water. It was a bloomin tree, or big tree branch. Again, this snapped my line after a short stalemate. With the conditions a little too dangerous for my liking and both rods wiped out, I headed for home.

A blank start to the year, but I reckon it’s best to get them out of the way early!

The next day I headed to the middle Trent to fish for chub. I fished from mid day into dark and it took a couple of hours for my first bite. This was missed, as were the next 5! I struck at the bites as soon as the tip lurched round, but I suspect these chub are getting weary of steak hook baits. That’s my standard bait these days, with a little minced beef for the feeder.

Steak and mince

I changed to a lobworm which provided an instant bite. This time a fish was on, but almost straight away it found a snag and it was game over. A couple more bites were missed before I landed my first chub, my first fish of 2013. It wasn’t big, but was weighed to get my eye in. It went exactly 4lbs, not big, but a start.

4lb Trent chub

The next bite saw me connect again, but I knew from the fight it wasn’t a chub. I saw silver flanks in the head torch and hoped I’d connected with one of the large roach that get landed by barbel anglers. When I peered into the net I was unsure what it was. I’m pretty sure it was an ide, I’ve heard of a few being caught all over the river.

Trent ide

That’s the trouble with letting some lakes stock all kinds of species. Eventually they end up in our natural waterways. Lets hope they don’t ‘interbreed’ with our native species or colonise the waters instead of other fish. We’ve already got roach, rudd, bream, silver bream, tench, crucians, carp, pike, dace, chub, bleak, perch, gudgeon, barbel and the now increasingly common zander. Why do we need more species of fish like catfish and ide? Why create ‘new’ species such as the f1 in their hundreds of thousands, just to satisfy certain fishery owners and anglers? Haven’t we got enough to be going at?

Anyway, rant over. It’s nice to be on the board again, even though I never caught anything else.

2012 Angling Year in Brief

Happy New Year everyone! This blog update is a brief review of my fishing ups and downs from 2012. Here’s to more fun and rod bending action in 2013.

January started off with a roach fishing trip with my old mate Matt Brown to a lake in East Yorkshire. It was freezing, parts of the lake were iced up, but I still managed a few nice roach on the waggler to over a pound.


Later that month I was with Trent maestro Lee Swords for a chub fishing trip, to the Trent. Lee’s knowledge of the river was invaluable as we both caught specimens to almost 6lbs. It was nice meeting up with fellow DVSG members and catching some good fish too.

4 chub to 5.10

Later that month I visited a commercial fishery that held a small number of very big perch. Despite fishing well, all I caught were carp and chub, but as Arnie said, ‘I’ll be back’ The journey home was shocking. Heavy snow fell, causing many accidents and blocking the main roads back to home. Eventually the snow ploughs did their jobs and a 90 minute journey had taken over 6 hours. The snow meant a few weeks without any fishing.

In February my first trip was a social with some old mates to the River Itchen. A good day was had and on the fishing side I had a mixed bag. A few trout and grayling were joined by my first ever salmon. Technically it was a ‘grilse’ (so I was told) but in my world a salmon is a salmon! No other fish change their names do they?

IMG_4011                   IMG_4016

My other trips of the month were chub sessions on  the Trent. I was now almost guaranteed several 5lb+ fish on each trip, but the 6lb+ target remained elusive.


In to March and I had a few trips to the best roach venue of all time, Linch Hill’s Willow Pool. A lot of weed made for tricky fishing, but I managed a 2lb 11oz sample, plus a few small rudd.

2.11 pit roach

The weather had become really dry and mild now, I feared for what would happen in the summer. I fished for the chub on the Trent again. The river was so low and clear, but I managed 6 crackers, with 3 of them being over 6lbs. It was so mild I was in my t shirt. That would be the end of my chub fishing until the following winter.

6.2, Trent, on steak

In April I renewed my acquaintance with the Sway Lake roach. Despite very warm, bright days and temperatures well below freezing at night, I still caught plenty of big roach to well over 2lbs. I had planned to spend a number of days fishing for them, but the weather suddenly turned very wet. This meant that a couple of weeks off work equated to just over 3 days on the bank.

trimmed 2.9

Another trip was for for bream, on a lake that produces a few lumps. I caught only one and it didn’t quite make double figures.

Catch 22 Bream

In May it was so wet I had to think hard where to fish. I chose a bream venue where I could fish in my car! at least it saved me a soaking, and I caught a double too!

10.11 A1 Pits

The tench fishing reports were so dire, due to the cold, wet weather, that I decided to book a holiday to Scotland, to fish for roach at Lochnaw. Almost everything was a disaster that week, most of it car related. 7 days fishing turned to just 3. I did manage to catch a few big roach though, with a couple of 3lb+ fish making me happy. I think the week cost me about £5000 with the car trouble!!3lb 4oz Scotish roach


In June I was back on the local rivers. A few chub on the stick float dusted the cobwebs off, then I had a barbel on the Trent. This fish made me realise what I was missing locally, so I vowed to get amongst the barbel in the autumn.


Summer Trent Barbel

In July had a few tench and rudd sessions, but never had a bite on any trips! The tench continued to be tricky due to the very cool summer weather.

In August I had a few bream trips without any bites, but everyone else was struggling too. I headed back to the Fens after some rudd. I enjoyed a productive session with some lovely ‘gold bars’ falling for my floating crust baits. 3 fish over 2lbs and 3 more just under finally put a bend back into my rod.

6 rudd

In September I continued to blank after the bream. I ended up having a day at a local commercial for some action. The fishing was slow, but I ended with several ide over 3lbs, plus a roach well over 1lb.

Ide, 3.6

In October I had several barbel sessions on both the tidal and middle Trent. Plenty of good fish were caught from all areas, including a number of doubles. No monsters were landed, but it was great fun.


In November I had a day on a tiny river for roach. I caught a few, but not as many as I’d hoped for. Will the river roach make a comeback? There seems to be too many cormorants around here for that.


Some more Trent barbel sessions followed due to the mild wet weather we were experiencing. More doubles were landed and I wondered why I’d ignored the Trent for so long. Maybe it’s because I remember the ‘glory days’ when it was mainly a float and roach river. Still, it’s time to adapt, and I’m really enjoying my fishing there.

11lb Middle Trent

December was hard for me with things busy at work. I did manage to dodge the floods during a short cold snap, having a day after chub on the Trent with Bob Roberts. A few bites came my way, but I only banked the one fish.

Winter Chub

That brings to an end my fishing year. Plenty of variety and good fish caught, plus fishing with good company. I think I can do better in 2013. Some targets are to catch my first zander and some decent sized pike. As usual, most things depend on availability, being able to get time off work, the weather and hopefully, continued good health.

Tight lines everyone for 2013