Saturday 25 September 2010

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Since my last post I've fished a few times but it's been pretty slow going.  Just last night I went Zander fishing and ended up with an 8lb pike and lost a good fish, which may well have been a zed, but I'll never know...

This follows an all-day barbel session last week with friends Craig and Kev.  I fished all day on a prolific stretch of the Trent and despite trying all sorts of baits, fining down, stepping up to a 6 foot hooklength and even trying single maggot hookbaits, I didn't even get a sniff of a barbel.  I caught a couple of dace when fishing maggot (on a 2.25lb TC barbel rod, size 16 hook and 14lb mainline!), which is a species I haven't caught since I don't know when. 
I even spotted a pike swim towards a plastic bag which was fluttering downstream.  It then proceeded to follow it downstream, deciding whether or not to strike at it!  Interesting to see such behaviour, but it was a stark reminder just what harm our rubbish can potentially do to our wildlife and with the pike season just around the corner (come on frosts!), please take care with your deadbait packets.  Every season I find deadbait packs discarded in swims.  It annoys me so much!  There's no need for it, an empty plastic bag is far easier to take home than it was to bring to the water complete with its contents!  It gets anglers a bad name and makes me question the average pike anglers mindset.  TAKE YOUR LITTER HOME! 

There's a mantra I rather like which relates to this.  I've seen it used on signs in lots of Asian National Parks, it goes a little sumpin' like this... 

"Take nothing but photographs.  Leave nothing but footprints."

Anyway, fortune favoured Kev and Craig slightly more than it did me.  They ended the day, each having lost and landed a barbel.  Craig's was a new PB and was a lovely fish...

Kev's had a really bold two-tone colouration, as you can see here:

So, I did a fair bit more work behind the camera than in front of it, but as far as catching barbel between us goes, 2 out of 3 aint bad.

Aside from this session, I'd been concentrating my efforts on a barbel swim with a BIG snag.  I'd landed a couple of good barbel from there ealrier this season and been snagged & snapped by some heavy fish.  It seemed absolutely loaded with big barbel a month ago but despite river conditions not really changing much (and it's a fairly deep swim, so the temperature change shouldn't affect it), in 3 sessions I haven't been able to buy a bite from a barbel!  I was thrown a few consolation prizes last week though, in the shape of a 4lb 14oz chub, a 5lb 4oz bream and a 5lb 1oz chub, which is my second "five" of the season.  It looked a young fish, not one of the old, battled warlords who've peaked a long time ago.  This chub has plenty of growing to do.  Now if only I could find a "six" or a "seven", we'll be laughing!

The "Five" (with an empty belly!)
I've been really fancying an all-day perch fishing jaunt lately, so unless the rivers become heavily coloured over the weekend, I'll be heading out next week.  I placed an order with Willis' Worms for 100 lobs and 1kg of dendras this week and they arrived yesterday.  That little lot should keep me going for most of the winter.  My next post may well be a guide on how to keep your lobs alive, but we'll see... 

Wildlife Trusts losing my trust

Lastly, I've been a member of the Wildlife Trust for at least six years now and have generally been happy with the work they've done in protecting our native species and habitats.  However, I recently read about a worrying decision taken by the Notts Wildlife Trust to ban fishing at many of its waters, including Attenborough Gravel Pits. 

This is a decision I can partially understand because although it's been proven through practice time and again that anglers make outstanding free "rangers" for waterside environments.  If an angler spots something wrong which is going to effect fishing, they will alert the relevant people!  But on the other hand, some anglers leave litter.  Don't give powerful bodies like these a reason to ban fishing!  On the whole, UK coarse anglers are a benefit to the environment but the two unavoidable negatives associated with angling are always going to be discarded tackle and litter.  Unavoidable for as long as anglers leave it, but easily avoidable if every angler takes responsibility for their own waste!  Litter and tackle are a distinct danger to wildlife and if a species under threat visits a water where fishermen regularly leave mess behind, then it's understandable that fishing will be restricted or banned altogether to protect them.

I shall be writing to the Wildlife Trusts to tell them of my dismay, and I haven't yet decided whether to revoke my membership.  The thing which is causing me conflict is that the Trusts do other good work with other species in other places, and I don't want to take away important funding from these projects.  If you would like to contact the Wildlife Trusts, then I've placed the link below:

Friday 3 September 2010

Late August Capture Update, New Angling Star Article & New Website Article

Well, after a couple of weeks off - first being away on holiday (rarely, without any tackle!), then attending the Leeds Festival for the August bank holiday weekend - I have done very little fishing of late.  However, during the week before I went on holiday, I managed a couple of sessions which saw me bank a few good fish...

Firstly, I targetted barbel and although I managed to lose two fish in a snag, once I'd switched to using "hit and hold" tactics with a single rod, I managed to extract this excellent 9lb 5oz barbel.  Check out the way its tail fin is so long that it arcs over at the top, like the dorsal fin of an Orca Whale!

The following evening I had a couple of hours to lure fish for perch - just before sunset - and although conditions were difficult, I did land a few good fish in the shape of a 2lb 12oz perch, a 2lb 5oz perch and - just as I thought I'd spooked the remainder of the fish in the swim - my first 3lb+ perch of the season at 3lb 1oz...

Perch shown in capture order:

2lb 12oz

2lb 5oz

3lb 1oz

Angling Star & update

I have a new, double-page Barbel feature in the current August/September issue of the Angling Star.  If you want to check it out but don't have a retailer local to you, send me a message and I may be able to get a copy to you.  Alternatively, you can order back issues and also set up a quarterly or annual subscription to the magazine at the following link:  Order Angling Star Subscriptions & Back Issues

Meanwhile,  I've uploaded a new article to my main website,  It's got the stupid title of "Feeling Flexible" and it can be viewed from the following link:
This article originally featured in Angling Star magazine back in February of this year.

More sessions planned soon, so stay tuned for the results!