Monthly Archives: July 2013

Change of scenery

Had to visit the Severn at Pixham to see the revetment carried out by the EA for Flood Defence purposes. It seems that the bank required armouring to slow down erosion, and although an initial cause for concern, it may be that the stable layer of heavy rocks will actually make fishing more comfortable. The swims were in fact easier to fish at low water, and if the rocks stay in place, no detriment to the fishing. We shall see.

The afternoon was spent at the BS stretch at Bransford, and with low, warm water it was not going to be easy. I had four chub and a barbel of about eight, so not bad considering conditions. There have been several nines and a ten from Bransford this season, and a nicer bit of river you could not ask for, with proper steps and secure car parking close to your swim. I will be back in a week or so, after a flush of rain has freshened the river and got the barbel moving.

I returned down South for a day fishing for the mullet in Christchurch Harbour, and was jammy enough to take a fish just over seven pounds. They are tricky, enigmatic fish, and sitting in a boat in the wide open expanse of the harbour made a nice change from the river bank. I’ll be back there too!

By |July 21st, 2013|Pete's River Diary|Comments Off on Change of scenery|

Gnarled old fish

Another couple of barbel today, but both were clearly quite old fish. As barbel get older, they seem to show signs of fin damage, which mostly repairs itself.

An honest 9.15 was also a bit blind in one eye, but still capable of feeding and fighting hard. The dorsal was very long and scythe-like, and the gnarled fins and patchy scales told the story of a long life, and often the damage is due to being caught and mis-handled.

The smaller fish had some tail damage, but very old and well-repaired, and the cause could only be guessed at. It was about six pounds, but could have been more than 15 years old, and probably a male. I have caught it before, two years ago, from the same swim.

The fresh young fish are also there, however, and there are increasingly encouraging signs of younger generations coming through.

An old acquaintance in the form of a mirror carp of about twelve pounds had me thinking he was a barbel for a while, tearing off across the river in a sizzling run. This fish was caught by me a few years ago, a mile downstream, and his distinctive tiny mouth can not be mistaken. It is difficult to put a forefinger in the tiny tube of a mouth, maybe a simple deformation, or a result of hook damage perhaps, but he can still feed greedily and take my bait again.

By |July 14th, 2013|Pete's River Diary|Comments Off on Gnarled old fish|

Big barbel bonus

I fished a swim I have never fished before today, and used the old watercraft to try and work it out. Not difficult to do really, since there is very little serious weed yet and hard to spot weedbeds, let alone any fish, as the water remains very coloured with algae/diatoms, whatever.

I just leaded around in an area of strong even flow, upstream of a normally very weedy area, and baitdropped a bit of hemp and crumbled boilie into a likely clear spot. Lots of drifting weed was coming down, so a heavy backlead and sunken rod tip avoided most of that.

Three fit chub came in the first three casts, then a bit of a quiet spell, but with a feeling that there was life in the swim, I sat back with a sort of inexplicable confidence, as the hot sun slowly began to lose the fierce intensity that had made fishing almost unbearable that afternoon.

The chub would have rattled any barbel, but it was not long before the firm, continuous purr of the ratchet signalled a bite from something more substantial than a chub. It fought like a chub though, and came towards me shaking its head, and only when it carried on upstream past me and started to take a bit of line did I decide it was a barbel after all.

A good solid ten and a half pounder, and a satisfying fish from the new swim. An hour later, the pin really did scream off, and a fish that simply would not stop had me convinced it was a carp. It hurtled off downstream and across, burning my thumb on the spool, then did it again for good measure before burying itself in […]

By |July 8th, 2013|Pete's River Diary|Comments Off on Big barbel bonus|

First Avon double and more chub

A twelve pound barbel is a nice way to start the season in terms of double figure fish, and this fish was a longish, lean and probably fairly old fish, but it fought like a tiger despite its age.

At first I thought it was a chub, as it shook its head and thumped about, but it soon realized what was happening and screamed off downstream and convinced me it was no mere chub.

I think I have caught it before, same swim, same time last year, and if so it is a fish that stays at home, unlike some, which are real roamers and are never caught twice in the same place.

Hard to see in still, but the baitdropper and a bit of dragging the lead and bare hooklink across the bottom will find a clear spot, though there is a nasty snag in the swim too, a sunken tree trunk half buried in the bottom, which takes no prisoners.

A young, clean, spotless eight pound barbel, from the next generation, came next cast. The scale readings from the Avon barbel scales that we have been sending to Bournemouth University indicate a good range of year classes and a sustainable barbel population, and despite the miserable, negative moanings of some, the evidence is that the Avon barbel are holding their own and showing signs of stability and some improvement.

The chub are still coming thick and fast, and fight really hard on the barbel tackle; strange how they are almost a pest when barbel fishing, but a worthy sole quarry in the winter on finer gear, and much more welcome at that time of year! They are learning fast, and once caught a time or two they will […]

By |July 1st, 2013|Pete's River Diary|Comments Off on First Avon double and more chub|