Well, three sessions and only one fish over the past couple of weeks. Not a great return, though having said that, I’ve fished a couple of unfamiliar swims and mostly kept away from where the circus congregates on an almost daily basis. The stretch I refer to was, until recently, much less busy – but with reduced access due to parking and more anglers on the bank because of someone’s misplaced view that a prolific stretch should feature in the angling press (more of an ego problem, if you ask me!), I haven’t been able to get to any of my old favourite swims. Paradoxically, the most amenable stretch in the area is free and, thus, not under the control of any angling club.
My second most recent session saw me visit an area of the Goyt I hadn’t been to for more than 7 years. It’s a stretch that belongs to a small club and doesn’t see many anglers. One of the very first swims is a rather nice looking weir, quite wide with gravel run-offs and one which holds barbel. For a change – and I’m not keen on using two rods unless in very exceptional circumstances – I had one rod close in and one mid-weir; in the white stuff. And in another departure from the norm I decided to leave the pellets in the bag and use and boilie and pva approach. It was a bank holiday and I was blessed with a longer than usual stint on the river. With that in mind, I guess I was fairly confident as I know the weir holds a decent head of barbel. What I didn’t take into account (and if I’d thought it through it was bleeding obvious!) was the large number of dog walkers and stick throwers that would, over the course of the day, appear on the opposite bank and disrupt my peace and harmony. After a biteless day it would
almost be clutching at straws to solely apportion all the blame to the dog-lovers. I should probably also point to the sunny conditions and the extremely low levels were currently experiencing, as well as the bait I chose over the usual pellets. I purchased some Dynamite Baits Crave boilies (from Amazon, of all places) and they smell rank, literally. The long and short of the day is that I returned home fishless, and with my tail firmly between my legs.
The next session saw me on a familiar stretch, and even though I’d only fished the swim twice, I’d caught a six pounder last time out. It was only to be a short session – 6.30pm to 10pm – and a Wednesday night so a good chance that my good friend Mark Roberts might be around later on. Furthermore, there had also been a touch of rain over the previous night, and the water had a bit of colour (something that often gets barbel feeding). There were a couple of lads fishing the first swim I passed, though they were fishless at the time. Hoods up and fags hanging out of their mouths; they didn’t look completely enthused with their lack of success thus far. Within the hour they were to go home, offering me the remains of a tin of luncheon meat. I politely declined as pellet was, for me, the choice for the day. Since Hinders (and everyone else) have given up selling elliptical elips pellets they now sell only round elips pellets (now there’s a contradiction), so I have to use a knife to create a flat section on each pellet, before gluing. It works well enough. I’ve also started using Gorilla superglue, rather than the Loctite variety – the latter’s dispenser always seems to get bunged up.
Mark arrived around dusk and took the swim the two lad had vacated. Within five minutes, and before Mark had a chance to cast out, my rod time slammed hard round and a fish was on! From the initial resistance, it felt like a strong fish and perhaps my first double of the season. After a few minutes of rod-bending satisfaction Mark (who had scampered up in the dark) slid the net under an ever-so-slightly deformed barbel. After resting the fish for a few minutes it was weighed, photos taken, then rested again before being gently returned to whence it came. 9lb 4oz. The first double can wait. There’s not much to say about the third session other than to comment on the weather, which was wet, and the fact I’d had the forethought to take the brolley. In terms of fish a solitary chub proved to be my
saving grace. Just after dark. I’ve booked a half day next week to try for another fish or two. Now, should I try the Dove (which isn’t fishing well by all accounts) or try one of my favourite Goyt swims?