And it doesn’t get any better

It’s gotta be said that my start to the season has been absolutely woeful. Admittedly, I’ve only had four sessions, but really, only one barbel. It’s a poor excuse, even if it’s gaining credence, but the river levels hav3 been incredibly low, and the water for the most part g8n clear. Against that, however, is that my good friend Bill Jackson has had a few, and other rivers ars are also producing sporadically. Ah, plenty of rain before today – though I doubt it will make a dent (or, more accurately) an upward deviation not the Environment Agency’s localised graph.

The good news is that I’m off to the Dove on Thursday, for two days.

Now, with the sad demise of the elips pellet (of which I was a huge fan) and now I’m coming to the very last few grams of my stock, I’m wondering what to use.  I have a couple of bags of other pellets, using the same recipe as the TemeSevern favourites, however they’re very hit and miss when it comes to using superglue. Andy Clitheroe baits Other than that I’m looking at boilies, with a few loose fed smaller pellets as an attractor.  A few of my angling buddies are part of The Hookbait Company testers.  Consequently, I had a chat (via Facebook) with Darren McCann and he kindly suggested one of his flavours.  I’ll keep it to myself for now, as I want to try it first. The next instalment will be along at the weekend, hopefully after a successful couple of days on the Staffs/Derbys border.

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Inauspicious Start

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Perfect swim?

Hmmm – well – three sessions in and, I’ve got to admit, not having the best start to a season.  As I wrote in my previous post, the first was ok.  Since then, however, it’s gone rapidly down hill.  Two sessions on the Dove have come and gone, with only a decent chub (4lb 10oz) as a reward for my endeavour.  And on the way home, on both occasion, I’ve managed a couple of hours on the Goyt.  Only a solitary brownie, during the later trip, has graced my net.

There are all kinds of excuses that could trip off the tongue but, and I hate to say this, I’m beginning to doubt my ability to spot a good summer swim.  In reality, I’ve had good fish from the same swims before so perhaps I shouldn’t be too hard on myself.  Perhaps it is the conditions, after all (one of my possible excuses).  I know the Ribble is fishing its head off, so perhaps big rivers don’t suffer so much when conditions are dry and warm for an extended period?  That seems like a reasonable proposition; after all both the Goyt and Dove can be classed as small.

What else am I doing wrong?  One thing’s for sure, as I’m fishing mostly in daylight I really need to maximise my chances of a fish – any fish – and the Dove is notorious for being favourable to the overnight angler.  This last fact is

Best chub this season - so far

4lb 10oz

totally anecdotal, however, and I’ve caught my fair share of fish during the day so maybe it’s just another in the list of convenient excuses!  So, how to catch more fish, I ask myself.  I’m gently and very slowly arriving at the opinion that I should take a float rod as a second rod and not bother with the spare barbel rod, which seldom gets used.  Certainly not so far this season.  Together with the rod, a couple of stick floats, smaller hooks and a few slices of white bread.  By my reasoning, even if the barbel are not having it, the chub, roach, dace, etc, etc might well be.  There, decision made.

And with that in mind, I need a new centrepin for trotting – to replace the Ikonix.  It’s a nice enough reel, with smooth bearings.  Does the job pretty well.  But I can’t stand the copper-like colour.  Sometimes it really has to be ‘form over function’.

First Session of the Season

I must admit that I was chomping at the bit during the closed season, despite having cast a wet fly, once or twice, to satisfy my craving for casting a line into running water.  The period is a curious invention from a time when little was known, and much was assumed, about the spawning habits of coarse fish.  Why it’s been removed from stillwaters and canals and is still in place for rivers is one only the marketeers can answer.

With the cool weather (considering it’s June) and a lack of rain meaning a low river – I wasn’t expecting much from my opening session on the Goyt.  Further to this, I’d not heard of any fish being caught on the opening day (though I have since).  My good friend Mark Roberts posted a couple of videos/photos, however, suggesting the resident barbel had spawned a week ago, so that was a positive.  Consequent, I would at least be able to approach the river with a decent level of optimism, especially with the additional feeling of enthusiasm of a new season on the river.

All the tackle was sorted and the bait organised; pretty much the same as last season though I’d picked up a bag of halibut boilies from somewhere (part of a deal that enabled free postage) and thought they might be worth a try.  The new Speedia also needed a run out; it’s always good to christen a new item of tackle early in the season. The lHexagraphanding net, bought in February, still hadn’t been put to good use yet either.

The thing about new landing nets is that they can provide a bit of a hoodoo (if that’s the right word?).  Merely the fact I’d bought it last season and it still hadn’t seen a barbel kind of proves the point. Having a quick afternoon peek at accuweather, the forecast seemed fairly clement – thus I left the brolley at home and took waterproofs.  The smock had been bought from a chap (who shall remain nameless) from BFW (the most popular barbel fishing forum about), however following the deluge of rain the poured down upon me, it soon became apparent that it’s not waterproof (as claimed) and the drenching was pretty unpleasant.  Next time I’ll take the old one (which, although it has no pockets, is water tight).

Arriving at the river, I was gobsmacked to discover that there were no other anglers about.  I chose a swim which usually produces early in the season.  The water fairly quickly runs by a large boulder on the opposite bank forming an eddy.  Towards the near bank the depth of the water increases and the flow lessens and becomes a decent sized pool with a sandy bottom.  At the tail of the pool the water shallows and again begins to run more quickly over a rocky river bed.

I set up one rod, having thrown in a small handful of elips pellets, and 20150617 8-8glued a halibut boilie on the hair.  Over the course of the next three hours I had five chub (all chunky fish up to about 3lb) but still the barbel eluded me.  My good friend, Mark Roberts, turned up to fish just upstream; we discussed the possible location of barbel and concluded there must be some in the vicinity – it was just a question of catching them on the feed.  Lo and behold; about an hour later the rod tip whacked round and I had connected with what felt like a good barbel.  The enjoyment and feel of playing such a powerful adversary using a centrepin is second to none.  The fish was netted after about five minutes; photos taken and the fish weighed.  After a couple of minutes of recovery the barbel swam away strongly.

What a great start to the season!

Mid Closed Season

Hmmm, well we’re just over halfway through the closed season and I’m positively chomping at the bit! Having had a bit of warm weather recently has really had me thinking about where to fish during my first session of the 2015/16 season. The choices are as follows: The Goyt or the Dove. Having said that, I’m yet to renew my tickets on either. For the Goyt it’s the Stockport Federation of Anglers; and for the Dove I fish the stretches controlled by The Burton Mutual Angling Association. Being in Manchester the Goyt is the closest. As well as the river, I’ve also been umming and arghhing about which stretch to fish, particularly if I start on the Goyt (which is likely).

And what bait to use? With the disappearance, recently, of the elips pellet – they’re no longer manufactured, apparently – I have to say that a hemp and boilie approach might be the way forward, for the coming season at least. Once I find a good source of cheap(ish) hemp, I’ll post it on here.

Two personal bests

Although, as stated earlier, that I’ve been more than a little remiss at keeping this blog up to date, I should add that it’s been a pretty good season  so far, even if that elusive Dove double still evades me.  For the record, and I can happily report, I’ve beaten my pb with two different species so far this season (not that there’s much left of this one):

Firstly, I’ve increased my personal best chub twice this season.  Initially with a fish of 5lb 6oz from the Dove, at the beginning of the season, the subsequently with a fish of 6lb 3oz (also from the Dove) in late October.  I travelled down to Marston-On-Dove early and arrived at approximately 6am.  It was a perfect day for barbel; overcast and the river had a little colour to it.  My first port of call was to a peg just below the weir downstream of the road bridge.  With no sign of fish there I quickly hot-footed it upstream to an area that’s slightly shallower but with abundant bank side vegetation.  There are some pretty serious tree roots, but also some pretty serious barbel.  Using the tried and trusted super-glued elips pellet I managed to winkle out a barbel of around 7lb.

2014-10-27 Dove barbel

All then went quiet so I had a mooch around at other potential swims.  With no further indication of fish I decided to try another area completely – so packed up the car and drove up to the railway bridge.  With still enough time for a rove around I found a nice looking swim where I could cast just downstream to my left, near to the bank and slightly obscured by reeds.  I didn’t have long to wait before my rod tip started jigging, then was pulled round and the ‘pin screamed off.  The fish pulled hard and I was convinced I was into a decent barbel, initially at least.  Then it just seemed to give up (most un-barbel-like), and it almost glided in towards the net – a chub.  On first view I couldn’t quite believe the size of it and I was pretty sure it was my biggest to date.  It weighed 6lb 3oz I delighted to say.  Such a deep-bodied, beautiful fish!

2014-10-27 chub v1 2014-10-27 6-3

More to follow……..

Back to the blog

Well, I have to admit to the total neglect of blog for over twelve months. The majority of the 2014/15 season has come and gone, as well as the tail end of the previous season. I hang my head in shame!

I’m still waiting for my first barbel of 2015, though I haven’t exactly been hard at it. Most of my spare time, since returning from my contract in London at the end of 2013, has mostly been spent decorating or with my family. Lily’s now nine and Ava two – the latter, particularly, is very demanding and I’m reluctant to turn down the opportunity of spending time with them.

Lily didn’t really take to angling, however there’s still plenty of time!