26 September 2011

Medway Barbel 2011

This year one of my ultimate targets was to catch a barbel. My chosen destination was the upper reaches of the River Medway. The stock of barbel in these known stretches are fairly low but a double figure fish is possible, in fact the record for this particular stretch is 16lb. Don't be fooled into thinking these fish are easy to catch as the big Medway barbel are known to be elusive and clever fish.I arrived at my chosen swim in the weir and to my surprise I was the only fisherman on the stretch. Usually the upper reaches of the  Medway are extremely pressured and so I fish during the week when possible. Both rods were set up with 8lb line, one rod was hair rigged with a mono hook link incorporating a method feeder and the other a standard bolt rig. The rod with the hair was fished with a 22mm halibut pellet and the feeder crammed with trout pellet paste. The other rod was fished with peperoni fire stick (HOT!!!).

I arrived  early morning at the break of dawn and set up for a long day. The morning temperature was low and I was extremely cold which was strange as when mid day arrived my t-shirt came of as it was so hot!!!

The day passed quickly when at 2pm in 28 degrees heat my delkim sounded waking me up from a deep sleep in which I had caught a 10+ barbel. I instantly knew I was into a barbel by the shear power. The fish stayed deep and then powered away every time she was near the surface. By its strength I was sure the fish was 8lb + but to my amazement when she surfaced she was not the monster I expected but, it was a barbel. The fish weighed 4lb 1oz, was in immaculate condition and is a new PB. I was extremely happy to have caught my first barbel. Next year I will have my night ticket to fish the stretch and so will aim for that elusive double that all anglers dream of.

Tight lines

19 September 2011

Back to The Eden 2011

After failing at catching a Keston Tench I decided on the 17/09/11 to fish the river Eden for some perch and Chub. On my new ticket I have a stretch of Eden which is approximately two miles of beautiful scenery with not another angler in sight. Although I have spotted some large chub in the river they are not as numerous as in the free stretch so therefore harder to catch. My tactic was simple,  free line a lob worm with a couple of split shot placed at around eight inches from a size 8 korda longshank. These are great hooks for worm fishing as the worm can be threaded onto the long shank and remember always barbed or the worm will wriggle off.

On my first cast I had a few tugs and hooked into a small fish. I was quite amazed at what I had actually caught . An extremely large gudgeon found the bank swallowing a large lob worm on a size 8 hook!! I estimated the weight at around three ounces or so which is large considering the British record is 5oz. No chub were landed that day but I did find a nice pool which the river goes from shallow gravel entrances to deep water (a perfect fish holding area). I managed four really nice perch up to around a pound.

The next day I was back down the river again at around 2pm so not the early start I had planned but nether the less I was there. After an extremely frustrating fishing session where I had walked miles over fields trying every likely fish holding hot spot I had nothing to show for my efforts and blistered feet. When walking back down from the river I noticed some rather large fish grouped up in around a foot or two of water over gravel. To my amazement on further inspection, and help from my Polaroid's I discovered they were in fact a shoal of large bream. This was certainly not the habitat for Bream and they were not small either. I cast a lob worm in the holding current and immediately it was taken by a bream (the smallest one in the shoal). I didn't net or take a picture but the fish was around 5lb!!, so not that small and the largest in the shoal must have gone 8-9lb. Amazing considering you could jump over that run of Eden and walk through it without getting your knees wet.

17/09/11 - I was up a six am sharp and had planned to fish with my mate Phil and his brother. Phil doesn't fish and so it would be me and Phil's brother (Martin) wetting a line. Down to the free stretch of the river Eden we went travelling light so we could easily move around the river bank. I tried all the likely chub holding areas and ones I know have produced before but no fish were caught all morning from me or Martin. Just before we were about to leave my rod whipped round and a fish was hooked on a large piece of bread flake. Within a few seconds it was off (gutted). It felt a good fish but that's fishing.


18/09/11 - I went down to my ticket stretch of the Eden and blanked again miserably. On the way home I decided to have a quick go on the free stretch. Settling into my favourite corner swim I cast out a lob worm to some sunken snags. The rod whipped around and I was into a powerful fish. It weeded me up twice and I cant believe the hook didn't pull but luckly it stayed firm. Eventually he was in the net and weighed at 3lb 10oz. Not the biggest Chub but very welcome following a grueling four days fishing the Eden.