February Ups and Downs

I haven’t been able to get out fishing much this month because I’ve had a few things to sort out on my days off work. With all the rain we’ve had though, I don’t think I’ve missed too much.

I did have a return trip to Sway with my friend Martin. Hopes were high after my catch in January, but 48 hours of constant, cold rain cooled the lake by 2 degrees, leaving us scratching for a bite. In the end I saved a blank with a 12oz perch and I also lost a fish, but Martin went home with his chequebook and pen! I suppose that’s winter fishing, one day a place can fish it’s head off, the next it can be dire. Still, you won’t catch anything sat at home!

The last week has seen the rivers around me drop to fishable levels and the temperatures have risen to double figures most days. This had me driving over to the River Trent one afternoon to try for a barbel. The river was surprisingly clear and with a bright sun too, I didn’t expect any action to come until the sun started going down. I didn’t want to place too much feed in the river, just a nice scent trail that would lead any fish straight to my smelly fishy boilies. A few broken boilies were placed in my feeders which were then plugged with paste. The rods were then left to hopefully give me that 6ft twitch.


Just as the sun was dipping below the horizon, my downsteam rod buckled over and the baitrunner gave line. There was no need to strike, just simply pick the rod up and play the fish to the bank. The fight was dour, more like playing a bream, but that could have been because of the cold water. The fish did feel heavy though and that was confirmed when a chunky barbel went into the landing net. I hauled the fish up the bank and placed it into the weigh sling. I knew this fish was a double, but the question was by how much? The answer was by over 2lbs as a prime winter barbel of 12lb 4oz was registered on the scales. It wasn’t a long fish, but a very chunky, solid deep specimen.


After a couple of photos I placed her back in the water. After another 30 minutes without a bite I went home. I may have caught more if I’d stayed longer, but I had to be up early for work and anyway, I was more than happy with my catch.

As I write this the winter floods have spoiled most of my pre set fishing plans, but the rivers are settling down. With only 2 weeks to go till the river season ends I’ll hopefully be able to wet a line on a river. Roach, chub or grayling will be my targets if the weather stays dry. If not it’s big roach or perch from still waters. Let’s hope for more settled dry weather.