The new fishing season started just under a fortnight ago and, despite having had three sessions, I’m still awaiting my first barbel. The first took me down to the River Dove where I was feeling pretty optimistic as a couple of lads on Facebook had done well on opening night. One friend, in particular, Grazy Roberts, had already surpassed his personal best. What a start! Anyway, I arrived and parked the car, only to the told by a couple of lads from the kennels (I don’t want to give too much away) that the gates were being shut at 7pm, much to my dismay. Whatever, I was there now, so I determined to give it a couple of hours before driving to another area upstream. The levels were slightly up and the conditions, generally, were excellent. Alas, it proved to be a short and barren session as there were absolutely no signs of any fish. So, as 7pm was just a couple of hours away the lure of finding a swim I could spend a few hours drew me back to the Disco for a drive upstream.
My second favoured swim looked nicely overgrown and a great prospect. That was, at least, until I heard a shout and looking round spotted a chap fishing the far bank. Protocol suggests it’s bad form to fish so close without an invitation, so I was on the move once more. None of the other swims in the vicinity looked particularly ‘fishy’, so I jumped in the
car once again and move to another spot. It’s a bad habit, I know, but I keep getting drawn to areas where I’ve caught before, especially when time’s marching on and the session end is approaching. My third a final swim, was one I’d fished a couple of times before, though not since the end of last year. Suffice to say I was also fishless there. The Dove’s a long way to drive for a just a few hours on the bank – the potential of the river keeps me going back, however.
Tackle-wise; my cane rod’s going to have a few outings this summer as I feel I badly neglected it last season, in favour of the Hexagraph. That together with the Fred Crouch Jet, braid mainline and a braid hooklength (around 18″) seemed just about right. For bait I had a choice of pellets or spicy boilies – I’ve not caught on the latter yet so my confidence has yet to reach a level where I can fish just one rod with that on the hair. My go-to bait is a couple of pellets with a flat side shaved off, glued to the hair. And that’s what I went with, switching to the boilies later. Neither, however, had the desired effect. It might seem a little one-dimensional to use pretty much the same tactics time and time again; though I believe fish to be simple creatures. To be a successful angler, location is of primary importance, followed by bait presentation……and, last but not least, bait. Some manufacturers would have you believe that they’ve produced a magical bait that will snaffle a fish every time. If you get the first two right, the bait makes very little difference. I say very little, not none. Certainly a good quality bait will conquer a lower quality bait.
Once the fish have been found – and in this the angler is confronted by different factors on different rivers; very much dependent on size and other characteristics – the second piece of the jigsaw is presentation. Again, much is dependent on aspect such as water clarity, depth, underwater features, etc, etc.
Anyway, I digress, and will perhaps revisit those subjects again in the future. I shouldn’t forget this is a blog, though..and will get back briefly to my second the third sessions: The second saw me on the River Goyt. The levels were also slightly up with plenty of colour in the water. There were no reasons to use a long hooklength so I stuck with 18″ again, and again fished the two glued pellets. The cut a short story even shorter (the sessions was only two hours) I had about three casts and managed to catch a small trout.
The last session of the trio again found me on the Goyt, though upstream of the previous visit. The swim had very different characteristic and is one I’ve caught many big barbel from before (my pb included). This time around I had to settle for three chub, albeit two were around the 4lb mark. Not bad, even if not the intended species.
At this point I should also add that in stark contrast to the first week of last season, the Goyt is fishing very poorly. It can only get better…..or can it.