Friday, 12 July 2013

Barbel and Chub Fishing...just what the doctor ordered

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and what a difference a week can make and as I mentioned in last week’s mini update you have to stick with it and eventually your luck will change and those bad trips become trips to remember, more about that later on in the update.

Firstly this week I would like to declare utter astonishment at the fact Warrington Anglers have managed to negotiate the lease of a new water, sorry 3 waters in a complex.  I have to admit I nearly choked on my breakfast reading the news on the Warrington Blog on Wednesday morning but then I read further and it all became clear why Warrington would be so interested in this water, firstly it is not very local with it being situated in Flintshire, secondly they have leased the water without knowing the stocking levels of the waters and thirdly they were asking for volunteers to clear out the overgrown swims so it seems it ticks all the boxes needed to be a quality Warrington anglers water.

Joking aside it is great to see new waters on the card, admittedly I would have preferred any new water to be of the “flowing” variety but the club need to be commended for being positive in looking for new waters for the card.  I really do hope the club decide to make these three pools into a mixed fishery venture that accommodates the all year round fishing and don’t just continue with their policy of filing the place in with 3lb carp.  If my blog has proved anything over the past few months it is that nature can cope with the predation from cormorants, there are plenty of waters where silver fish are thriving and there is no reason why these three waters wouldn’t be any different given the right amount of cover and stocking levels.



For those interested the water is called Offa’s Dyke Fishery situated in Flintshire, I have done a little bit of research on the internet for anyone looking to go once its open.  The first report was slightly worrying in saying it used to fish well till the owner suffered a major fish kill one winter but then I read further down and there are some positive reports with on saying:

“Had a look at Offfas Dyke pools today, looks a nice piece of water, very fishable. 
Talking to one chap there said he had been smashed up a number of times with big carp 
and had landed a few doubles, at £5 a day is not bad

That aside the other bit of news that humoured me this week was the story in the news about the “jobs worth” Environment Agency officer that ironically “opened a big can of worms” (sorry couldn’t help myself) by fining a carp angler for not being in full control of his fishing equipment! I had a quick glance at my calendar whilst reading this story on the Angling Gazzette news page to make sure we hadn’t gone back in time to April 1st but alas no this was a true story and the angler in question had been charged with this offence.  I am not a night angler myself but knowing how much my dad likes to take a nap whilst fishing I can see him struggling to keep his licence for a full season.




Aside from humouring myself with internet news and spending time with my little girl I have been fortunate enough this week to have shared along walk with the new internet sensation that is “Otto” a dog that has his own blog that is written rather wittingly as if through the eyes of a young German shepherd and his thoughts on the walks his rather eccentric owne takes him on.   I and my little companion Pippa decided to join otto on one of his adventures this week and it was a joy to discover a part of my local area I never knew existed.




And with that on to this week’s fishing:

The River’s to this point had offered little to remove the thoughts of another failure on the bank from my head I was torn between venues and low on confidence and it seems when you are in this frame of mind you can fall into the trap of either trying too hard or jumping from one bad decision straight into another and I must admit it was the latter that entered my head as I went about completing my homework on a new stretch of river.

The word was the stretch held a good number of chub and barbel and also a good number of dace, roach and perch to keep the day ticking over.  I had seriously thought about giving the fishing a few weeks off to let the rivers get a good flush through but I decided to go with the old adage that a change was as good as a rest and with that on Saturday morning we headed off on another aveture.

In the murky light of dawn we stalked the bank trying to assess the potential of each swim as we arrived in it.  The dark hided the lack of depth in the swims but we both settled into a swims we thought would produce a few fish.   We both started on our standard trotting setup of 4lb 4oz main line down to a 1lb 7oz bottom with a size 18 hook on the business end.

The first four trots down my swim resulted in four new rigs being tied with me finding snag after snag with great ease and more annoyingly was the fact I hadn’t trotted down the swim once without hitting a different snag, frustrated wasn’t the word.   Whilst setting up for the fifth time I saw a few fish jump in the swim which gave me a real confidence boost to keep going as I knew it was just about getting the float going through the swim where I wanted it and not let it go down the snag entwined inside line.   I decided at this point to get in the river as it was only shallow beneath my feet and wow what a difference it made as the float disappeared right over my bed of hemp, a snag for sure I thought as I struck into solid resistance, you can imagine my relief as I felt the fish kick.

The fish thudded for the far side in a short direct pulls which instantly gave this fish away as a chub but with a 1lb 7oz bottom where was little room to bully this fish so I took my time and made sure I got the fish in and boy was I made up as a big pair of white lips slip over the rim of my landing net.  The fish in the net I was amazed firstly by the condition of the fish apart from an old scar on its back it was in good nick but I was more impressed with its dark almost mahogany colouring across its back which gave way to a tail fin that was as black as coal a real lovely looking fish, 4lb 3oz of British wildlife at its best right there in my hands.





The chub rested in the landing net and it was put into the keep net for safe keeping, a quick look at the watch and it was a bleary eyed 6am, most of the world was still in bed if only they knew what they were missing.  A quick call to my uncle upstream revealed he had been snapped twice and lost a small chub at the net so obviously the fish where about.

I continued to trot away happily with no reward for the next couple of hours hoping the fish would move back in but as time moved on so my concentration lapsed and my mind wandered from the task in hand.  I placed my rod on my bait waited and grabbed my phone to ring home, no answer! A text would have to do so as I began writing the text I saw the tip of my rod was suddenly pointing upstream and my rod was fast on its way to finding a new watery home!! I grabbed the rod and felt the fish on the other end but it was solid and in one run the fish torpedoed upstream and the line just snapped as the fish made off. Whatever it was it was big.

I set up again and with plenty of practice that day it wasn’t too long before I was back trotting again and first trot down BANG I struck into another fish that again snapped me clean, clearly it was time to do away with the bottom and after all it wasn’t as if I was catching and small species.   So with 4lb line all the way through I set about trotting again hoping I hadn’t ruined my chances of another big fish encounter.  My uncle appeared in the swim with his flask in hand as is the norm on our trips and I explained what had happened as I continued to trot away, as luck would have it I struck at a lightning fast bite which I was certain was the bottom will it accelerated out of the swim and peeled off a good 20 yards of line as it bolted upstream, clearly another good fish which at the time I said I thought was a carp. 

With the lightest of hands I played the fish under the tuition of my uncle and prayed it stayed upstream and in front of me away from the snags downstream, I certainly didn’t want the fish coming near in while it was still fresh.  The fight now a good few minutes long was no nearer its conclusion as the fish kept deep and made its way up and down the swim in long hard runs that went from line oozing from the reel to me reeling like a mad man to catch up with it as it swam towards me, just don’t come off I prayed!  Eventually the fish came up in the water as she tired and a flash of bronze and orange confirmed it was in fact a barbel and easily the biggest one I have ever caught.

Eventually the fish tired and came up to the net and like a scoop though a soft ice cream my uncle scooped up the fish and I took a second to compose myself.

The fish was again in beautiful nick, not a mark on it or a scale out of place and again I was taken back at the beautiful colours of the fish with its deep bronze flanks and giving way to a white belly.  I don’t catch many of these fish so I took a quick second the savour the moment before quickly taking my pictures and weighing the fish, 5lb 5oz.





As I mentioned I don’t do much barbel fishing but it pays to do your homework on these fish and I knew from reading the literature on the internet that these fish are similar to grayling in they give all in the fight so time must be taken to ensure the fish I rested.  As you can see below the first picture is the fish when it was first in the edge resting and the second is the fish upright supporting its own weight and pushing against the mesh to swim off, fully recuperated this took a good 10 minutes for it to get to this sage but us anglers have a risibility to treat fish with the ultimate respect and I know this fish went back in exactly the same condition as it was before I caught it.  

Rest pic 1

Rest pic 2


The fish returned it was time to get back to it I didn’t fancy the float rod to not only produce another fish but get another in, it was finally time for my Shimano Purist BARBEL rod to be used for its intended purpose….catching barbel as over the years it has been the most versatile rod I own catching me carp, tench, pike and of course some other barbel from the river Dee.  I cast I over my bait and sat back expecting a relaxing last hour to the session little did I know just 10 minutes later the tip of my rod would wrap round almost 90 degrees and line would rip form the bait runner.

I lifted into a fish that I knew instantly form the previous fight was a barbell but this time I was calling the shots a bit more as I was armed with a bigger hook and 10lb line so this fight was certainly a lot more controlled than the previous one but still had plenty of long runs that peeled line form the reel.  The fish was obviously bigger than the previous one and it looked in my eyes to be a good two or three pound bigger as it was so long and deep so I was amazed when it went just a few ounces bigger at 6lb exactly.






That was it for my fishing and we called it a day not long after.  My uncle added two nice chub to this tally but lost a few fish to being snapped like I had on a light hook length.  Still we both agreed we couldn’t complain and would certainly be back to this new stretch.



I must admit as I walked the bank back to the car I was on cloud nine and the past weeks tough sessions left my body they just flowed away just like the water through the very river I had fished.  It is amazing what one session can do to your mind set.

Till next week its tight lines from me and even tighter lines from Boris the barbel.




danny

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