So far this month I’ve only really found the time for two sessions; one on the Dove and the other on the Goyt. Those were interspersed with a trip to Bournemouth (with the family) to see my dear mother. Despite my bi-annual (or more) trips to the south coast it’s been a few years since I managed a session on the Dorset Stour – but what a river! I often refer to the Dove as the ‘Stour of the North’ as it’s very similar in depth, width and other general characteristics such as weed growth.
The 8th August saw me travel down to Derbyshire for the eagerly-awaited (and my first) BCC fish-in. I arrived at the river early, just to get a few casts before the appointed meeting time. The night had seemed pretty warm and the skies overcast, however the forecast for the day ahead was bright sunshine, and so it proved to be. I had a tap first cast though nothing came of it. Despite moving swims nothing more fish-related took place before packing away and driving to the The King’s Head to meet my BCC chums. (Note: the bait referred to in the previous post had finally arrived and, whilst the Hinders pellets seemed fine and as I expected, I was disappointed (and still am) with the boilies from The Hookbait Co. They don’t seem to have any smell. Whilst I don’t fully understand the science behind a barbel’s olfactory organs I thought a slight aroma (at least) would be required. I guess I’ll just have to try them from time to time over the season, if I get a chance to use a second rod!
So back to the fish-in: on arriving at the pub at the arranged time there were very few people about so I ordered a pint and found a seat. Fifteen minutes later no-one had turned up. Oh, (I thought to myself) this is a really great start. I watched the kick of between Manchester United and Tottenham (the first game of the season) and, thoroughly disheartened, drove back to the river to resume. I later found out via the BCC forums that the day had been cancelled, and that I hadn’t been informed. That last point seemed obvious, particularly as I turned up.
Notwithstanding the fact that I was alone, I was determined to have a fish-in, though I was unsure how to go about such an activity, being by myself. Thus I just settled in for an afternoon session on the lovely River Dove. With the conditions as they were, I didn’t really think I stood much of a chance, and moved swims two or three times more in hope than expectation. Eventually settling in a swim I know, I had a look around with the polaroids and was surprised at how shallow it was; barely two feet. Mind you, a barbel angler ignores shallow swims in the summer at his peril! The problem was; how to present a bait in gin clear shallow water without spooking the fish. A long hooklink is the slightly obvious answer, thus I settled on one of three foot. Sure enough, I was soon reeling in a nice chub of 4lb 10oz. The lively little beggar put up a very good scrap. Only thirty minutes later another lively fish caused my rod to slam round in a way only barbel can – and true to the style of bite, a barbel it turned out to be – 6lb 7oz. I wouldn’t normally weigh a fish of this size, however the BCC site has a catch report section. In the fullness of time, an historically detailed record of all the fish caught by BCC members; river, time, size, bait, tactics, etc might well prove useful.
It was a hot day and, as usual after a day on the Dove, I thought I’d leave reasonably early for a last cast on the Goyt en route to Manchester. Lucky I did really as, arriving just before dark, I found ideal conditions and caught a nice barbel on my first and only cast.