Wednesday, 30 June 2010

River Season Starts with a Bang!

How great it's been to sit by a river in this glorious heat to while away an evening or two!  After such a cold, long, snowy winter I'm not really surprised that the extremes of weather have gone full circle and now some of the reservoirs are dangerously empty!  Normally with such dry and bright conditions the fishing is difficult but I've either been doing something really right (granted, I have changed a lot of my setup) or I've been extremely lucky (or more probably a bit of both) in my first couple of sessions of the season. 

I fished last Tuesday & Wednesday evenings on the River Dove for my first sessions of the new season and unusually, I managed to hit the ground running!  The first evening I only had a couple of hours fishing because I was so disorganised, I didn't cast a line until half past 9!  The very first cast I had some tip rattles on my upstream rod which seemed like a bite given by a chub mouthing the bait.  After the bite continuing for a good few seconds I struck but failed to connect.  Next cast, a similar but more forceful bite resulted in a bizarre scrap on the surface, which I struggled to win.  The fish turned out to be a PB 2lb 12oz rainbow trout!  Not what I was expecting, but my season was officially underway and a blank was thankfully off the cards...

Officially my first fish of the 2010/11 coarse season - a surprise Rainbow Trout!

With my next three casts I hooked & lost a barbel (hook pull), landed a chub, then lost another barbel (another hook-pull!).  I thought that was it, my chances of a barbel were done for the evening, when a last-gasp screaming run turned out to be a really special fish for me; after 7 years fishing the Dove, I landed my first "double", at 10lb 5oz!

The pinnacle of 7 Summers on the Dove 

The next evening I fished the same stretch, but arrived around 19.45 so I fed the swim for an hour by removing my hooklengths and casting & re-casting my swimfeeders.  An hour and a half passed with not even a twitch on the rod tip.  After my instant success the previous night, I thought I must have over-done the baiting and was starting to accept that the session would be more of an experience-builder rather than a fish-catcher, but I still held some hope of a bite from the swim I was fishing.  At almost dead-on 11 o'clock my only bite of the session came.  What a battle it was too!  Four times I thought I had the fish beaten, but each time it came anywhere near the net, it swung out into the white water down the middle of the river and bolted back downstream.  At least six or seven minutes passed and when I finally saw the long white belly flop over the net rim, I knew I'd landed another big fish.  The scales proved me right; I'd not only beaten the previous evening, I beat my Personal Best too!  This specimen weighed 10lb 10oz, was completely spawned-out and had a humungous mouth!

The Dove snatches my PB back from the Trent!

I'm saving the full story for the Angling Star, but this is a brief description of how things unfolded.  I'm now setting myself a target of a double from my 3 nearest rivers in the same season.  Given that my barbel fishing is limited to after-work evening sessions in the summer, I think this would be a huge acheivement.  Just the Trent and Derwent to go...

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A Couple of Closed-Season Gems

Well, I didn't get fishing too much over the closed season, but two of the more notable sessions were fishing for Crucian carp at Carr Vale Pond near Bolsover and Tench fishing with my friend and erstwhile editor, Kevin Miles.

I tried fishing light for the crucians, as is normally required to hook one, but for some reason couldn't connect with the bites.  When I eventually swapped to fishing the lift method (which is one of my favourites for close-range fishing) and swimfeeder, I did start hooking fish.  The first came to the lift method on a single grain of corn and it went 1lb 4oz.  Later on, my "sleeper" feeder rod, which I'd loaded with a big hook, a whole lobworm and a grain of corn in the hope of a big tench, was nearly dragged in by an absolute screaming run, which I assumed must be a tench or carp.  After a good scrap for 30 seconds or so, the fish seemed to give up, almost like a bream would.  I brought the fish to the net wondering what on earth I'd hooked.  it turned out to be another, bigger crucian at a PB weight of 1lb 14oz.  It's no Marsh Farm fish, but heck it's not a bad 'un for North Derbyshire!

My two crucians which preferred crude over refined!

On June 2nd I was joined by Kev Miles on a private Midlands reservoir which I'd been lucky enough to secure access to for a day.  It holds some monster tench and with my PB for this species being pretty meagre, I went all-out to try for a big one.  A 5lb+ fish would have been brilliant, but the potential was there for fish up to 9lb!

What a view!  How can an angler fail to be impressed by this!

What a water it was; reed and tree-fringed, weedy, clear and holding big tench - what more could we have asked for?!  It was a baking hot day with clear skies so we spent most of the day sheltering from the sun beneath a brolly.  With the weather so bright and the water so clear, I'm guessing that the tench were similarly seeking refuge deep within the weed cover.  We only had one run during the day, which came to Kev who was using a method feeder over a big bed of groundbait with imitation sweetcorn as hookbait.  The fish managed to embed itself in the weed a couple of times, but without too many nerves wrenched, the fish was landed and weighed 6lb 12oz.  I'd never seen a tench bigger than 5lb before, so I was thrilled to see such a beautiful specimen, which seemed to be spawned out, so may well have been even heavier just a few days before.

The business-end of Kev's Tench

Being late June and being a fan of river fishing, naturally I've been out on the rivers already and I'm pleased to say I've been catching!  I'll be posting news of my best-ever brace of barbel soon...