Trying To Make Short Sessions Count

This is almost a repeat of last months blog, with time for fishing being very scarce. At least Tracey has finally had a scan on her bad knee. 3 torn ligaments out of 4 is bad enough, no wonder she was in so much pain and can’t walk, but waiting almost 3 months for the scan and results is ridiculous. Even now we could be waiting 3 more months to see if they’ll do an op or not. The staff who work for the NHS are first class, but unfortunately they’re let down by a criminal lack of funding. The net result for me is I have 2 horses to look after and feed every day after work, so fishing time is limited!

I did manage to fit 3 short evening trips in for barbel. I fished twice on the tidal Trent and once on the middle river. The lack of water and clarity is alarming, meaning daytime action is rare unless you fish with particles.

I’d rather use boilies and fish into darkness as this fits in with the time I have available so this is what I did. On my first trip the light was just fading as I had my first screaming take. It was only a small barbel around 4/5lbs, but look at the shape. This looks like it could be a real beast in the future.

I had a few more slightly larger barbel and bream before catching my first double of the autumn. A lovely fish that gave me a good scrap! (don’t laugh at the hair, it was windy!)

I remember in 2005 when I set out to catch my first Trent double. I went with Matt Brown, who’d caught a serious number of barbel that season, but only one double at the time, though it was a good fish. He showed me he was catching one double for about every 90 barbel caught. Now I was lucky enough to catch a double that night, but just look at the river now. I catch doubles on more trips than not!

After the double I packed up and went home, returning to the same swim a couple of days later. I couldn’t believe no other anglers had been seen on both evenings, but it suited me fine as I could try and draw fish up from a long way downstream. Again I caught steadily with 5 more barbel, including a double, backed up by even more bream. The bream became an increasing nuisance so I called it a day around 10pm The barbel were in pristine condition.

As the night air cooled, massive ‘Icebergs’ of foam came down the river making things a bit surreal. The below photo was a small example of what was floating down the middle of the river at night.

My next trip took me to the middle river where I only caught one barbel, plus numbers of bream! As per usual the barbel was a good fish, touching 11lbs, but it had a horrible golf ball sized lump on it’s tail that was bleeding.

It didn’t seem to affect the fish though as it gave me one of the best scraps I’ve had from a barbel. The river was so low and clear I had to land it 20 yards downstream, because there were too many boulders just under the surface where I was fishing. I doubt the barbel would have made it in to the bank above them!

In-between the barbel trips I carried on walking my local smaller rivers looking for any good fish, namely big roach. I’ve not seen a decent fish now since the start of the season on a previous trip. I’m both saddened and worried how so many big roach can go missing in 6 months. I just hope they’ve moved elsewhere rather than the other possibilities! Anyway, I had a couple of hours spare so fished a swim which usually produces a few roach. After feeding for a while with casters, a chunky dace and 2 chublets wrecked the swim sending the roach under some overhanging branches. I coaxed a few small fish out and a better sample not far short of a pound. I let one trot go right under a raft of debris. I was expecting to get snagged up but just at the point of no return my float jabbed under and I struck into a good fish. This is where things went haywire and I played a blinder, in my opinion!

About 8 big roach flew out from under this raft in all directions followed by a couple of big pike! I realised I was attached to one of the big roach but the pike sensed something was wrong and was in full hunt mode. I lowered my rod and took the bail arm off so the roach stopped twisting in the current and headed back downstream. I followed it before tightening down and hoping for the best. It worked a treat as the hook had stayed in and battle commenced 20 yards downstream from where I’d originally hooked it. It was well away from the pike now, so after a tense battle on light tackle, I eventually netted my first big river roach of the season. At 14 inches long it tickled the magic weight on the scales, but more importantly I’d found one of the survivors. A roach that’s made it to a special size despite all the challenges it’s faced over the last 10 years or more. Fingers crossed it’s not my last from this tiny magical river.