Wednesday 4th, Middle Trent
Our twice postponed fishing trip (temps of -10oC and lots of snow and then the christmas festivities) finally got off the ground on a lovely mild January day, it was 10oC when I pulled in the car park with Howard following close behind, Hugh (the birthday boy) was already waiting and Paul turned up 10 mins later,(Les and Mark wern't due till early afternoon) all the usaul niceties were exchanged as well as birthday cards to the "vicar".
Howards phone went off as we talked in the car park, Howard is a "site agent" at a very large comprehensive school in Luton and he hadn't gone round this morning to open up after the xmas holidays, the look on his face said it all! Another call a couple of hours later asking why the swimmimg pool wasn't open!
We let Hugh have his pick of swims and we all settled down to enjoy what we hoped would be an enjoyable winter session.
1st job was to take the river temp, so the ever faithfull "swimming pool" thermometer was removed from its case, now it has been nearly a month since I last fished and it is easy to forget things (especially at my age) so as the thermometer sailed into the river, along with the string (oops!) I knew there was something wrong somewhere? Paul and I watched as it sank slowly to the dark depths of the river never to be seen again?Ah well! no temp today.
The chub had been fairly active over the last week and had been out to 5lbs+ even in the freezing conditions, so a couple of feeder fulls of liquidised bread were dispatched and a nice piece of flake on a size 6 was attached to the last cast. A 2nd rod was put out just incase any barbel were having a go, this one baited with 2 small boilies along with a stringer of the same paste.
The kettle was soon "whistling" away and a steaming cup of tea was shared with Paul who was only 5 yds downstream. A few casts on the chub rod had resulted in a couple of slight knocks and then a "big" twitch and I was into the 1st fish of the day, a lovely winter chub of 4lbs, this was soon followed by another a bit smaller. Pauls tips had remained motionless but his "wallis" casting technique was coming into its own.(more of that later).
A shout from the birthday boy and my rods were reeled in, as I reached his swim he was just putting the net under what looked like a very nice barbel. Les and Mark arrived just as Hugh was resting the fish in the net, she looked to be a very good fish which would go well into the magic 10lbs but as I lifted the net I could tell she had no weight at all and her belly was empty, probably down to the very cold conditions we had encountered over the last 2 weeks (water temp had been only 3oc last week!) The scales never lie and she came in at 9lbs 11ozs, still an excellent winter fish and probably the best birtday present Hugh could have wished for.
As we settled back down again Paul and I talked of his retirment after 39 years with the BBC! I still never saw him on the telly though? He is now looking at a nice little "part time" job, diying all his neighbours properties, he went to see the small business manager at his local council, and got 2 jobs at the guys house! How's the van coming along Paul?? Paul did manage to winkle out a very small chub mid afternoon(think it was only born this morning) so all was not lost. He did however show Les his "Wallis" casting technique and Les was a little overwhelmed watching him cast 50 yards with a 1oz weight on. Les will now be practising every day with his new found knowledge.
A shout from Howard who was downriver of us, saw him stood up the bank saying "look at what I just pulled in? in his hand was my thermometer! we couldn't believe he had fished it out some 3 hours later.
Hugh had packed up as he was being taken out for a "birthday tea", jelly and ice cream I think but before he went we had a little surprise for him as we gathered in the car park. Pauls wife Sue had baked a delicious jam sponge cake for his birthday.
Hugh,(looking like he is saying grace) Paul,Howard, Mark and Les.
Hugh left and we returned to our fishing, 1st one "in" was Les with what he afterwards described as the hardest fighting barbel he has ever caught. not quite the double he had hoped for but all the same 9lbs 15ozs of Trent beauty. Les is known in fishing circles as not being able to smile when having his photo taken (bit like me).
In the mean time I had switched the barbel rod to some of les' special pellets with a small pva bag of pellets, the tip flew round as soon as it hit the water and I was connected to a nice barbel of about 4lbs so my January fish was "in the bag" An hour later the tip went again and this time I was into a much bigger fish, this one tipped the scales at 9lb 13ozs and was a real beauty.
Howard had packed up, and was off back to his Luton home, blanking this time but all the same a "happy chap".
We stayed until 10pm and then all left, Mark taking back his 2 new "Peregrine" Flood rods to compliment his collection.
A hastily arranged trip with "bamboo" saw me on the middle river at 2pm this afternoon,there had been rain in the Trent Valley the previous 2 days and the wind was SW so everything was looking up, warm rain in the middle of winter (nothing better), Kev had txt the temp over in the morning and 2 rises on the trot it was 7.2 this morning,meant a good window of opportunity, the river was a foot up and a slight touch of colour when I arrived, and with the air temp at 10oc everything was looking up.
Tony arrived about 3 and decided to walk down river 200 yds he had a feeling they might be playing down there (oh! he was so wrong!!).
I started with the Peregrine GTX 3rod lengths out slightly down stream, with a couple of special pellets and a small PVA net of pellets. The SU Avon was cast straight out 5 rod lengths out with boilie and a stringer on. A couple of little taps on the pellet rod told me there were fish in the area, so I waited for the inevitable wrap round, it came at 4.15 with a pristine 6lber a most welcome sight on a January day.
The rod was cast back in at the same spot and 15 mins later the tip of the GTX slammed straight over and I was into what felt like a much better fish, she ploughed her way upstream (always a good sign) and after less than 10 mins the GTX had shown its worth (even if it had been well bent!) and she was in resting in the net, a quick call to Tony to come and take the photos (a quick weigh in the net had put her well over 11) as he arrived I had removed the hook and she was soon transfered to the mat and the photos taken, a lovely dark backed fish with orange fins weighing in at exactly 12lbs.
At 5.30 the boilie rod screamed off and another cracking barbel of 8lbs was soon released, this was followed an hour later by another big fish on the GTX this one weighed in at 11lbs 13ozs but was a pristine barbel with the biggest tail you have ever seen! Now not wanting to bother Tony again I had set up my camera with the air release on and so took the pics myself.
but I did get there in the end.
A quick call to Tony to see if he had caught anything, but chub, saw me walking down the bank to help him move back closer to me, (his arm didn't take much twisting) as he settled in the swim down river of me.
Kev had arrived to pick up his new "Peregrine" Flood Rod and ended up staying best part of 2 hours, (I missed the full footy commentary!!) A good draw at Blackburn for the Red Devils though!
I had one more a cracking 8lber but Tony really went to town as soon as he had settled in, ending up with 8 barbel to 8+ and 8 chub the biggest going 6lb 1oz.
An absolutely wonderful nights fishing in the middle of winter, made even better by the thick layer of frost on the cars when we got back to them and a temp of 2oC.
Ah well I can tell christmas is out of the way, I was driving Sue to the airport and she was off to Belgium again!
The fishing gear was in the car and Les was waiting along with Mike Osborne on the banks of the Ribble, I arrived mid-afternoon, neither of them had had a touch but it was nice to Les again, Mike I had not seen for best part of 18 months. Mike rather quickly took up my offer of a loan of my Peregrine GTI as I was still unloading my stuff, they did both help with the transportation to the peg 10 yds away! The kettle was soon on and a nice cuppa was had by all. Les not puking his ring up cos it had coffee mate in (this time).
Oz went away with his new found "toy" he was 50yds up river and Les was 20 yds down,There was a bit of extra flow on the swim I was in, it is a middle to far side cast so the Peregrine flood rods were set up and cast out, the usual pellets on one with a small PVA bag and the other boilie with a small bag of "chops". After about 10 mins Mike came walking down the bank with a huge grin showing from the middle of his beard, "just had one " was the cry "about 5lbs on the GTI and it was 1st cast too" Les and I were stunned to say the least, no shout, no running down the bank, no bloody picture!! don't he know I have to put other peoples photos on here. my readers do occassionally get fed of seeing me with fish?
All was quiet but a lot of crap was coming down the river, it was the worse weed I have ever seen, all sticky black and "gel" like. The tips never moved so it looked like "sit and wait" tactics tonight, so every hour or so,reel in and re bait se if anything came along. At just after half past 6, I picked up the pellet rod to reel and as I lifted it I thought I had picked up a lot of weed, the weed then started to move off down stream like a bloody train, Les heard the clutch screaming and was at my side in a flash, "thats going a bit" was the call and she did, Les did the honours with the net and as she rested a quick call to Mike and he was "sprinting" down the bank. She didn't look a "big" fish in the net but as he lifted her out onto the mat I could tell by his expression there was some weight in her. She was unhooked weighed and photos taken all very quickly and I slid her back non the worse for her meeting with the "yorkie".
She weighed in at 10lbs 4ozs, my 1st ever Ribble double, she had a split dorsal and a split lower caudal fin, so had been in the wars abit but she had the largest mought I have ever seen on a barbel. the weed died down but the fish never played anymore but a cracking session with very good friends.
Les and Mike had both gone by 9pm and I wasn't too far behind, as I drove down the lane back to the village a sight I have never seen before, a full grown badger walking slowly down the middle of the lane he walked for about 100yds as I drove slowly 20yds behind him and then he casually went off through a gate into the field.
I love the countryside.
Total for January
8 Barbel (3 doubles)
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page last edited 21.6.06
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