Having been made redundant over the summer, I’ve been forced (for want of a better word) to take a contracting role in London. Inevitably, the situation has curtailed my angling activities for the time being, however I should be able to snatch a few sessions in January – even if that seems a long way off (which it does).
The last day I managed on the river was on the Dove on 21st September. The conditions seemed ideal, if not a little too warm. Anyway, I left Manchester at some unearthly time of day – around 3.30am I think – and arrived at the Marston Lane car park a little before dawn.
Firstly, I fished the peg downstream of the weir as this is the swim that left me utterly frustrated on my last visit. I was determined to try and hook the beast that straightened my hook. Ha, what are the chances of that? No much, as proved to be the case! In fact, there was very little action this particular morning.
To cut a long (fishless) story short; I moved swims a couple of times over the course of the day and only a couple of incidents stuck out. One when I lost my unhooking mat, having to then retrace my steps in order to find it – which I did eventually.
The second incident, and by far the most devastating, was the loss of yet another sizable barbel! This season seems to be littered with lost fish – something which makes me question my whole approach. I reckon I’ve lost two personal bests so far this season (if, indeed, the first was a barbel and not a big river carp) , both to the line snapping at the hooklink swivel. Should I give up on braid, or just change brands and increase the breaking strain? I’m going to try the latter; from Spiderwire to PowerPro and from 20lb to 30lb. Anyway, back to the story.
I moved up to a lovely looking swim, above the weir. The same one, in fact, from where I caught my first Dove barbel back in June. It just screams “fish”! Unfortunately, it also screams “snags”! I cast a couple of superglued pellets just under a tree slightly downstream, and followed that up with a small handful of loose pellets. There’s very little flow this close in and the water’s fairly shallow at around three feet deep. I didn’t have to wait long before the tip of my rod showed some interest in my offerings. A couple of taps were followed, five nervy minutes later, by a fully blown barbel wrap around. The ‘pin screamed with delight, I lifted the rod, and was into a fish. I knew at once that this one would test both my tackle and my nerves. And so it proved. My nerves held out but my tackle didn’t! The fish just didn’t want to give anything, though I had her on the surface a couple of times. As I mentioned earlier, the line gave way and that was the end of that.
I fished for a couple more hours, but with very little confidence in my set up. Another negative aspect of my season has been the advent of hook pulls. I don’t ever remember having so many. It’s, obviously, all down to using braid as mainline but I’m going to persevere on that front. As another remedy I’ve also started to used a softer actioned rod.