Its been a long hard winter which just hasn't released its grip in time to make it a good end to the season. Some of the forum lads have had some success with the barbs through the last few days of the season, but for many its been very frustrating for the last few months as even the grayling and chub have been very difficult to tempt. Maybe with the lakes having been frozen, the cormorants have taken to plundering the silvers in our rivers as well as scaring them out of their normal winter haunts. Time will tell.
I am actually looking forward to the close season, as the new pond has had to be put on the back burner due to the weather, and once it warms up a bit more I shall be out on the Dove and the Trent with the fly rod as well as a little pole fishing, and like many, I am already looking forward to June with the personal stress of the last 12 months well and truly behind me.
12/03/10. River Trent at Weston. Water temperature 44f.
James and myself met up for an afternoon session, but personally I still thought that the water hadn't really warmed up enough to make catching a certainty. Still, we decided to both fish side by side in a good area for several species, and put out four rods on a variety of baits and then sat back and waited. James was the first to find some interest, but his mainline parted like cotton leaving us with no idea of what had grabbed his bait. A short while later I was in to a chub of around three and a half pounds, but apart from a few knocks each afterwards, the next three hours didn't produce another fish, although there were fish finally jumping and topping, but none of which were barbel. With the air temperature lower than the water temperature by 7pm, we called it a day, and I decided to call time on this season. James also decided to fish the Trent on the 13th, and along with a few others, never had a sniff during that session either.
Roll on June.
06/03/10. River Trent at Nottingham. Water Temperature 42f.
A lunch time meet for quite a few of us off the forum, to try for a barbel in not great conditions. The nine of us picked our own pegs with the river back to normal winter level, low and cool. Fishing a variety of baits and generally two rods each, it turned out to be a gruelling 7 hours on the bank for all of us, as just one 4lb 7oz chub was landed, and as we enter the last week of the season its still not looking great.
No doubt there will be an end of season rush on the banks, but its just going to be another blank to round off a very difficult winter for many, with an awful lot of us now just wanting it to end so we can get set for the new season. Depending on temperatures, I may well be out as I have Thursday and Friday off, but its a difficult choice between trotting or waiting at the moment.
20/02/10. River Dove.
Another trotting session, but James nearly didn't make it due his car not wanting to start. As it was I started on my own with another covering of snow and a hard overnight frost making it a very picturesque start to the day. Again favoured pegs were seemingly devoid of fish as I wasn't able to tempt so much as a bite let alone a fish. The river was up a little plus a tinge of colour, but it looked like it should produce something. I kept on trying and finally hooked into a couple of chub in one peg weighing around 3lb's and 2 & 1/2lb's, but that was it. Another angler was also struggling for a bite in his favoured pegs, and had left the stretch before I did.
James rang to say he was up and running, so we headed to another stretch to have a few hours somewhere different. Again the few banker pegs didn't throw anything up, and we chose a last couple of pegs before finishing for the day. My chosen peg turned up trumps after I somehow managed to foul hook a decent grayling near the eye. Thankfully the hook came out in the net and the fish didn't seem to have suffered for it, but what was strange was that I had foul hooked it as the maggots had obviously been heading straight for it. I then managed three more chub at about 4lb's, 3 & 1/2lb's and 2lb's before packing in, so making it a decent days fishing, but a strange one as the grayling just didn't want to play ball again.
With just 3 weeks of the season left, it's starting to look like we are in for a tough ride, as the long range forecast is not predicting spring will finally arrive in full force before the close. Fingers crossed we will be lucky, as I do have some time booked off to try and finish with a flurry.
23/01/10. River Trent near Shardlow. Phase 1st Quarter. Water temperature 42f.
James and myself met up for a mid afternoon session into dark, with the water a few degrees warmer thanks to Friday's heavy rain. The area I chose was perfect for us to fish close together and yet still put four rods out as it had come up considerably more than I was expecting. We put out our rods on four different baits hoping that the fish might come on after 6pm thanks to a 3f rise in water temperature, but four hours later we hadn't had any positive signs and packed in at 7.15pm. We had been hopeful when I first took the water temperature, but maybe it wasn't quite enough to really bring the fish on. Even so it was nice to be back out, and I just hope that we can get some really promising conditions during the remaining weeks of the season.
09/01/10. River Dove.
James, Shaun and myself met up on a cold and snowy morning for a float session with the river looking in fine form. We all thought that we were in for a cracking session with grayling our target species, and we couldn't have been more surprised when we found the going very tough. We fished new pegs and those which had produced in the past, and found some of the hotter pegs very dead. We were not the only ones out and struggling, but for me it was nice to get back to something more familiar in 2010 after a difficult 2009. In total James had 3 grayling including a possible PB, I had a chub, a grayling and lost one, and Shaun never had a thing. By lunch time the wind had picked up and with it the windchil, so we called it a day at 1.30pm after an 8am start.
The long range forecast that I follow has yet again spotted the wintry weather months before it arrived, and is forecasting yet more of the same virtually up to March. Hopefully they have got the remaining weeks of the season wrong, but I very much doubt it, and so more trotting and maybe piking will have to be the name of the game until the end of Feb, when they think that winter will finally let go.
23/10/09. A day trip to the Itchen.
After a busy house move, having to dig out a much biggger new pond, I needed a change so a few of us made arrangements for a well needed trip down to Southampton for a grayling/coarse session on this famous little river. Jeff, Keith, Simon, Leyton, Sash and myself all met up on a very mild day to trot for whatever we could find. To cut a long story short we all enjoyed a thoroughly great day, especially as some of us had never even met before, let alone fished this stunning piece of water. We didn't manage any monster grayling as the low water conditions had made them head upstream to a less pressured stretch, but we all caught an awful lot of fish between us and a total of eight different species. Obviously the bulk of the days catch were grayling to 1lb 4, but we also had chub to over 4lb's, sea trout over 3lb's, brownies up to a pound, roach to 1lb 10, a few salmon parr and a gudgeon and a minnow just to round off the slightly unusual. I have to say that some of the pegs were stunning and a real pleasure to just view let alone fish them, and we may well go back in search of those specimen grayling.
On the house front, things for me are virtually sorted in our brand new house, the jobs list has shrunk and the broadband is on, but I've missed a few potentially good weeks, and we have now slipped in to proper early winter weather. I shouldn't grumble though, as other major changes ( like my son moving in with us ) means next season will be quite interesting as I will be able to get out more often on a Friday or Sunday night. This summer has been a stressful one and this season will end up being a poor one, but the future ones are looking good.
27/08/09, R Trent at Willington. Phase LQ.
I'd had a phone call the night before from Roger Smith of the BMAA regarding how the trent has been fishing since the pollution incident back in the summer. Basically the clubs stretches from Burton and downstream have not been seriously affected and Roger asked if I could convey the message to those that read my diary, that there are plenty of fish about and some stretches are actually fishing very well at the moment, and that BMAA members should not be put off by this unfortunate episode. I also know that some good fish have been coming out to some of the forum members as well, and with all this in mind, I fancied a change of rivers.
I Had a run from something within minutes of the first cast that somehow managed to come off when I picked the rod up, but I wasn't able to get an idea as to what it was.
And then an hour later I nearly lost a rod to the most savage bite I have ever had from the species. Bearing in mind that my rear rod rests are the v shaped gripping type, it hit that hard that my rod was yanked up and out of the rear rest, line was being ripped off the spool at a real rate of knots, leaving it see-sawing backwards and forwards on the front rod rest as well as swinging it away from me, such that I had to jump out of my seat to reach it.
And the culprit was a 4lb 13 chub!!!!!!
Soon after I had another smaller one, but nothing after dark, so I packed up at 10.45pm. I may well be heading back tomorrow with some float tackle for a change, as its a very nice glide for the stick.
25/08/09, R Dove at Tutbury. Phase LQ -2
With the river low and clear I decided to try out a new peg in an area that I haven't spent a lot of time on. It had all the right credentials and looked like it would produce, but by 10.45pm I hadn't had more than a few taps on both rods and packed up early, but its a stretch that I should put more time and effort in to and hopefully will do over the next few months.
19/08/09, R Dove at Tutbury. Phase New -1.
An afternoon session with fellow member James, still seeking his first Dove barbel. The weather couldn't have been much worse being very warm and bright, but a few fish were showing in the middle of the river rather than being tucked up in the shade. We decided to pick a couple of deep and shady spots in the hope the fish would be around, but again this session turned out to be another grueller albeit a very pleasant one due to the weather. Some of the guys are still doing alright with conditions as they are at the moment, the key is stopping till its dark knowing that the fish are definitely there.
18/08/09, R Dove at Tutbury. Phase New -2.
The river was back to normal summer conditions, and I knew it was going to be a tough session. I chose a familiar spot knowing that they would be lying along the opposite bank in a deeper run and put both rods in where I thought they might move up to once the sun had set. But there wasn't a sign of a barbel all evening, and I think the only two bites that I had were from trout.
12/08/09, R Dove at Scropton. Phase LQ -1.
A 2pm kick off with my brother Mark, and I really fancied a few hours on the float first to see what I could pick up. We both started on the float, and I doubt that I could have bought a bite, although brother was getting a few. After a few hours we moved pegs and started again, but the residents were being just as cagey and it turned out in to a lot of effort for little reward. Our catch total was two chub, a grayling, a brownie and a lost barbel at the net. The lower levels and warmer weather are going to slow things down for a while now.
11/08/09, R Dove at Tutbury. Phase LQ -2.
As I walked along the bank, I was surprised to find the stretch totally devoid of anglers with the prospect of a great evening ahead. I opted to fish a peg from the opposite bank for a change, as I'd never really checked it out properly. I was surprised to find a deeper channel my side which the fish must use, as I knew the fish must patrol it up to the shelf at my feet, so I put one rod down each bank and waited. The river itself was lower and clear for the first time in weeks, and the only proper bite came just after 10pm resulting in a small barb of about 4lb. I gave it till 11pm before packing in, and never saw another angler all evening.
05/08/09, R Dove at Scropton. Phase New -1.
For a change of scenery I headed to a stretch that I haven't fished for a few years, as I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out my feeders on some 'new fish'. The spot that I fancied was free, and after just ten minutes I had a barb on, but the mainline parted like cotton, presumably on an underwater snag. Having set up and cast in again, the tip started dancing away within minutes, and I found another suspect fish was on which promptly came off. And the same thing happened just a few minutes later, my suspicions were that they were trout and the rest of the evening was a relentless series of taps and bangs every minute or so which kept me on the edge of my seat for the next two hours. I did manage a chub over 3lb's, but by 11pm the fish had done my head in and I called it a night, but I may well be back again next week.
04/08/09, R Dove at Tutbury. Phase New -2.
It was a rather humid and drizzly walk along the bank, and for the first time in a few weeks the river was actually quite clear with the bottom visible in about 2ft of water. With the rods in I sat back expecting a bit of a wait, but one of the rods started banging and rolling as something dislodged the feeder, but there wasn't anything on the end when I picked it up. For the next few hours both rods were picked on by fish that were not stupid enough to hook themselves, and it became a rather frustrating session to see the tips always on the move, and not a thing I could do about them. By 10.30 the weather had improved so I was tidying things up before packing up, and then one of the rods finally went over more positively resulting in a fish of 10lb 4, and with that I headed home.
30/07/09. R Trent at Willington. Phase 1st Quarter.
For a change, and hoping that the river would be bank high, I headed for the trent not having fished it much this season. The river was bank high, and I headed to a slack that only forms once its reached such a high level. With both rods in and the river looking spot in, I was hopeful of some action, but the next few hours was just a trail of debris, a dead cow and absolutely no fish activity. I decided to check the water teperature and found that it was just 15.5C. At 10pm I gave up with the river still seemingly devoid of life and a real chill in the air. In fact the river was several degrees warmer than the air temperature by then, and I decided that I'd be better off having an early rather than flogging a dead horse, ( or cow ).
28/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase 1st Quarter.
I met up with James and his mate Nathan so that they could have a crack at the Dove for a change, and the early evening weather couldn't have been much worse. We settled into our spots with the river down a little on Monday night, and James was the first to actually loose a decent fish to a hookpull. And that virtually set the tone for the night as I lost a carp at the net and then Nathan also lost a barb to a hookpull. They say things come in 3's, but that was a little too spooky.
27/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase 1st Quarter -1.
A change of banks and pegs for me as I tried a newish spot for a change. The river was looking good with some extra water and colour, but I'd forgotten to bring a coat and I had also managed to snap an isotope on a tree along the bank. I dropped both rods into a nice looking crease and slack and sat back to wait. The first couple of hours were very uneventful, but then the knocks and pulls started as the sun set, and they carried on and on. Fish began rolling all around me, under the rod tips and even a carp was slurping away at my feet in the dark, but it was 10.45pm before a small barb around 3lb's hooked itself. By 11.30pm I'd had enough and headed home.
22/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase New Moon.
The river was down about 10" from Monday night and looked good again. I had both rods in for 6.45pm and sat down to wait expecting a late event again, but at 7pm one of the rods was away. I picked it up and knocked off the baitrunner, but there was nothing on the end, no hook pull was felt at all, but it was well and truly running, so I put it back out and sat down again, and at 7.20pm the other rod was away. This fish tore off downstream a good 30 yards before I stopped it, and then it started to swim back upstream, but it went through my other line although I tried to bring it up the inside. So now both rods were in on the same fish!!!!!!!
I managed to ease both feeders up the line so that I was able to unclip the feeder which had the second rod wrapped around it, and then played the fish to the net.
I could see it was a good fish, and from the pic it could well be a future "Parrot". I gave it till 11pm before I packed up, but it was another dove double for me at 10lb 4.
20/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase New -2.
I'd had an evening session on Saturday night with one of the lads as well as quite a few other anglers being out and hadn't had a sniff like most, but last nights session turned in to a very hectic result. The river was up, coloured and falling, and looked spot on, but I wasn't very sure about the area I was fishing and whether the barbel would still be there. After 3 hours I hadn't had so much as a tap, so I sat working out times and decided to give it until around 10.15pm before making my mind up about stopping any later. At 9.45pm one of the rods goes round and I found myself into a good fish which was putting up a good scrap in the flow, and then a couple of minutes into the battle, the other rod goes over. As I turned around to pick it up, I elbowed an alarm breaking it straight of the buzz bar. I now had a rod in each hand not knowing that I was actually playing a 9lb 14 and a 9lb 2!!!
Five minutes later they are both in the net and I quickly get both rods back in and then sit down for a breather. At 10pm one of the rods goes again resulting in a little scamp around the 5lb mark, and then I called it a day at 10.30pm. Its funny how sometimes the fish come in shortish spells, but not usually that short.
15/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase LQ.
This season I have to decided to spend a lot more time on the dove, and headed to a more difficult stretch for a try. The river had a little more colour than the night before, and as the sun dropped away it looked good if a little quiet activity wise.
The first few hours were very uneventful, but at 10pm one of the rods tapped just a couple of inches, and then again a minute later. Most would put these taps down to chub, but I now know differently and anglers will be able to see some very intriguing underwater footage in volume III of Bob Robert's and Stuart Walker's Barbel Days and Ways courtesy of one of my feeders.
I knew a good fish was in the swim as this scenario is something I have seen a few times now, but it just kept tapping away for an hour, sometimes it seemed it would move off for a few minutes and then return as the rate of taps increased. Obviously it was nosing around, but it wasn't really impressed with my offerings. Just after 11pm the taps stopped, and so I packed up at 11.30pm fishless.
14/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase LQ -1.
It was rather a tense start to this session. I'd stripped off some frayed braid and put that rod out whilst stripping some of my other rod for a 6.45pm start. Within 5 mins the tip went round and it was a barb around 6lb. So I sorted both rods out and got them in just as it was starting to rain, and quickly got my umbrella up. In the distance I can see a very big black cloud very low to the ground and lightening flashing away, and I'm thinking " that looks bad ".
A few minutes later and its pouring down, and then the wind starts to pick up overhead as the power cables start to hum above me, getting louder and louder by the second, and then the wind hit me and all hell seemed to let loose.
I'm now hugging the umbrella with both arms and hands expecting it to be smashed to bits with the rain almost horizontal, and hoping that it won't get any worse. About 30 seconds into what seemed a hell of a lot longer, one of the rods goes round, but I couldn't let go off the brolley. All I could do was watch the fish nodding away, but as it never dragged anything of the clutch I knew it would be ok if it just sat still.
5 minutes later I was able to prise myself off the umbrella and landed a chub around 4lbs, after only being on the bank in total for 40 mins. After that everything went still wind wise and the evening turned out to be quite good, but with mist coming off the fields by 8pm!!!!
And it turned out to be a decent session as I ended up with 3 barbs and 3 chub, the chub got smaller as the night went on, but the barbs got bigger with one around 7lb, and then a 9lb 2 to finish off. At 11.15 pm I packed up happy and headed home with one or two storms still flashing around me.
09/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase Full +2.
The river had dropped a good 4/5ft overnight but was still carrying a lot of colour, and there were already quite a few anglers on catching a few fish between them. I had decided for a change to try a few spots on the opposite bank hoping to drop on a fish rather than waiting for them. It was a chilly evening and a part from a few taps I never had any sort of a decent bite so I packed up early. Its hard this time of the year sitting out till late and I really fancied an early night.
08/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase Full +1.
I knew the river would have some water on, but as I walked the bank I was surprised to find about 6ft of extra water and the river ripping through, as well as Jim Ufton in the peg that I fancied. However that turned out to be a bonus as I dropped into a peg below Jim, and within a few minutes the rod went over resulting in a fish of 11lb 10. After Jim had moved on, I dropped into another peg for an hour and had one wrap round bite which I think was a chub as it headed straight for cover and made its escape. Surprisingly for me, I packed up at 10pm with the river still rising slowly, but I was heading home early happy.
06/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase Full -1.
Another storm greeted me as I parked up in an empty car park, although there were a couple of anglers already on, and I ended up in the same spot that I'd fished last week to try it out for only the second time. For a change I opted for a lead and boilie on one rod down the farside, and one of my feeders down a snaggy inside. Within 10 minutes the inside rod was away resaulting in a fish around 4lb's. I then had a few hours wait until 10.25pm for a second bite which felt a much heavier fish, and I found myself in a tug of war hit and hold battle for a couple of minutes before the hook pulled. A bit miffed I put the rod back out and just before 11pm the battle re-commenced. This time I was the winner and landed a chunky fish of 9lb 12. Neither of the last two fish had managed to turn and run downstream with the rod doubled over, which was a bonus because of the snaggy pacey peg I was in.
03/07/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase Full -4.
As I walked onto the stretch, I was surprised to find no-one on it giving me a choice of pegs for a change. The river was obviously rising after the storms due to its colour and a little weed coming through, so I opted for pellets and a boilie on the rods and sat back. The river was surprisingly dead looking even with a bit of fresh water and colour to it, and by 11.45 I'd had enough with only a foul hooked minnow to show for my efforts. Back out again Monday.
01/07/09. R Trent at Twyford. Phase 1stQ +2.
I had been unable to decide on a spot all day, and the sticky weather had me wondering if it was even worth going, but such nice evenings don't last forever, so I headed out to a stretch that I need to get to grips with. The warm weather had increased the usual weed problem in the river, but I chose a nice looking spot that would help me to beat it. Over the next few hours, I had a few taps and knocks resulting in one decent chub. I did have some company in the shape of a field mouse picking up pellets just a few feet from me, but the highlight of the evening, and a first for me, was when a Kingfisher landed on one of the rods less than ten feet from me.
29/06/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase 1st Q.
I chose a new and very weedy run which then dropped a little deeper so thinning out the weed to give me clear channels to aim at, and for a change I opted for groundbait feeders and pellets on both. The evening was warm and cloudy with a brewing storm just skirting past me, but everything looked good. The peg itself also looked good with a variety of shelter in and around it, and I wasn't surprised to find that the water temperature was 68f/20C. Unfortunately it was also a very quiet session apart from a barb that appeared on the far bank just before 10pm, moving its way up the shallows with its dorsal proudly sticking out above the water. I gave it till 11.30pm before packing in, but a trip to the other bank would make the peg easier to fish and perhaps more productive.
24/06/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase New +2.
I headed back to the same stretch to find no-one around at all, so I had a wander around looking for any sign of a fish, and noticed possibly the same fish in the same spot as Monday night. For the next hour I tried rolling a piece of meat past its nose without any interest whatsoever, so I decided to settle down and wait it out. The wind was surprisingly chilly and I began to think it was going to be a struggle. As it was I had a couple of knocks but nothing to show for it, I wasn't the only one though as another four anglers also blanked.
22/06/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase New Moon.
I headed to a banker stretch, to see if the fish would be more obliging, and found a couple of fish hanging around exactly where I thought they would be. I quickly set up one rod and carefully placed it around 4ft in front of one fish, half expecting an immediate take. After 15 minutes I hadn't had a twitch, so I put my second rod out and checked to see if my target was still in residence, and it was not having moved at all. My hook bait must have been a foot of its nose but it wasn't having it. By 8pm there were three fish nosing around, but it took until 10pm for one to pluck up the courage which resulted in a fish of 8lb 12. Knowing that the others might still be around, I settled down to wait again, and at 10.45pm I was in again with a fish of 10lb 4. I Fished on until 11.30pm before packing up, but the first fish of the season were under my belt, and hopefully it can only get better.
19/06/09. R Dove at Tutbury. Phase New -3.
A change of rivers and a chance to meet up with another forum member, Paul Kirkland, to fish together. We finally settled down into our chosen spots around 7.30pm hoping to stop until the early hours of the morning. Just like the trent the previous night, the river was very quiet apart from the trout which were rising all around us. In fact they were far more noticeable than in previous seasons, and my first fish of the season wouldn't have surpried me if it had been a trout, but it was a 5lb 12 chub. Paul K's first fish of the season turned out to be a nice leather carp and a little bit of a surprise. We gave it until nearly 1am before packing in on a decent night, and maybe another change of location is needed for next week.
18/06/09. R Trent at Willington, Phase New -4.
A change of area to try a stretch that I'd done quite well on through the autumn, and to see how it looked in the summer. Both rods were in for 6.30pm with pellets and one of my own boilies on, in a steady deep glide. A poor one on my charts made worse by the early season blues, but a chance to try out something new in it and maybe learn something. But as is often the case on a poor chart day, the river looked very dead. It was only around 10pm that a few roach and chub started to top, but again there were no signs of any barbel. This season is looking like a repeat of last year, and a change of tactics will be needed to have any luck, but the good thing is the weed is not a major problem at the moment.
16/06/09. R Trent at Weston, Phase LQ +1.
Opening day turned out to be a mixed event for many, but its one that still has a certain aura about it. I met up with George and James who had already been out for several hours to at least get out for a few hours in the evening and wet a line for the first time since March. The river was rather quiet, and only James managed to catch anything at all, namely a bream and a couple of chub. They left me around 10pm, as I was hoping to stop on, but a DIY hell of a close season had left me un-prepared, and I found myself not far behind them due to a dead headtorch. Hopefully better preparation and a better frame of mind will get me going.