4th River Don
A confirming phone call from Matt saw me on the way to fish the "beautiful" River Don in the middle of Doncaster? (at least it is only 50 miles from my house) I picked my way through the burnt out cars and shady looking "non english gentlemen") to the Tower block Matt calls home and after a 5 minute drive through the centre of "Donny" we found ourselves just next to HM Prison, 200yds from "Rail Freights" busiest line in the country, as well as the main east coast rail line and an urban freeway Ah! the joys of inner city fishing, ooops! nearly forgot the "travellers site" directly behind my peg.
Matt usually sells me down the river where the Don is concerned but I didn't fall for it this time, (the last time I came 12 months ago he told me not to bring any ground bait just straight lead and pellet, I proceeded to blank and he caught 9 barbel on "groundbait feeder and boilie" ) so this time not to be outdone I brought everything, groundbait, pellets, pva boilies, sweetcorn, bread anything I could lay my hands on. The 800yd walk nearly did me in! When we finally arrived at the river the sweat dripping off me, I realised I had left my glasses on the roof of the car! Bugger! or words to that effect.
I had "cooled" down on the walk back and was ready for action as I slithered down the 25ft bank to the swims Matt and Adam had made during the "close season". A 2 rod set up one with pellet and PVA and the other boilie and a stringer to start with, a few fish were topping opposite near the willows but Matt had told me to fish the near side as thats where the barbel were (funny that). Well I sat there for best part of 2 hours and never had a touch,the fish were still topping across so a speculative cast to them saw me still biteless,Matt came to see me, he said he had been fishing for "live bait" to try and catch "big" perch so he had his stick float rod out!! he had had 6 chub and some small perch and had lost a barbel? at least when he got back to his peg the "live bait" had jumped out of his bucket back into the river! he did say he couldn't understand why I hadn't had a bite.
A little later Adam came down, carry the biggest pizza box I have ever seen!, he had rung Matt earlier and asked him if he wanted one bringing down but Matt forgot to mention that I might want one! the 1st comment Adam made when he arrived was " I didn't think Matt would have put you in this peg!" The night was getting better.
Well after another hour,Adam had finished his tea, I was still biteless, there was the loudest "BANG!" behind us I had heard since the "Flixborough" disaster in the 70's at least 20 fish infront of us jumped out of the water to see what was going on, apparently the perfume factory just behind the Travellers camp, had "blown up" now it was fire engines, cop cars, police helicopter and bloody ambulances NEE NOing down the road. Deep Joy!
Ah well at least my net never got wet, Matt never landed a barbel but I think he had "27 touches and 16 liners" we left close to midnight and then I hear on the news the funniest comedian of my era has died "Ronnie Barker" so when I got home I ordered the full Collection dvd just to cheer me up!.
Thanks Matt for a wonderful evening (I think!)
Getting right "Fed Up" now all these airport runs are doing my "head in" cos I have to go fishing either after or before!
East Midlands today so it's back on the Trent and meeting a new face, one, I have talked too many times and get a txt message every morning at 07.45, better than an alarm call. Kev Russell is the guy who every morning on his 6 mile ride to work gets off his bike at "Trent Bridge" in the middle of Nottingham and goes down to the river to take the temperature and then txts it to me to put on my website. Kev had taken the afternoon off work to take up my invitation to fish our stretch and we met up on the A46 just south of "Gun City" and wound our way through the back lanes of Nottinghamshire to the river.
The river looked in pristine condition when we arrived it had fished well over weekend with a few inches of water going through,"Hobby" was already there and resting a cracking fish in his landing net prior to removing the hook, she looked every inch a double but when I lefted the net I could tell she was going to a little short of the magic mark, she went 9lbs 13 ozs but a beautiful unmarked fish all the same and kicking off strongly straight back from whence she came none the worse for her encounter with the "ninja".
Kev had set up upstream from hobby and as the grapevine had said he was to cast well out to try to tempt the fish,I had given him a couple of "big" feeders, within 10 mins he was in and after a spirited fight a barbel was resting in the net, a quick photo for his album, unweighed she looked about 5lbs of pure "gold" as she slid slowly back into the river. Kev continued to catch at regular intervals and ended the session with 12 barbel to just over 8lbs. Hobby had left as darkness approched he had taken 4 the biggest his earlier fish and I ended with 5, the biggest a fish of over 9lbs with a few rays missing from its lower caudal fin.
A cracking day enjoyed by all and great day for Kev his best in terms of numbers ever on a river.
The return airport run was due at 5pm this afternoon, so I had decided that a short drive to the airport was needed when I had finished fishing, so the "Upper Trent" was brought into play.A quick phone call to Cahal "Morston" and he parried the foil by putting me onto Paul "Tigersman" (who said he couldn't join me as the tigers had a night game, a likely story!) Paul said he thought the "Priest House" stretch at Castle Donnington was worth a try, lovely bit of water (he said) not very wide but streamer weed, nice little stone weir, gravel runs all the usual traits of the upper trent! and barbel too! (sounded too good to be true!) Kev had said if I was going he would take the day off work join me and stay until I left for my return journey home.
I left home at 7am and the traffic was fairly light all the way to the M1, so a quick call to wake Kev and we met at the Priest House Hotel well before 9am. What a shock! Kevs face was picture as we climbed the flood bank (I assume to protect the Hotel in times of flood). The attributes of Pauls river information were definitely not in view, as the river was at least 5ft up and pushing through at a rate of knots that wouldn't go amiss on the M18 at 3am in the morning! Not a sign of streamer weed, gravel beds or the old stone weir and it must have been 80yds wide at its narrowest point! and my flood rods were at home in my fishing room along with the 6oz leads and feeders!
We walked downstream a short way and as it was 15 years since Kev had been here and he couldn't remember any barbel being caught, we decided to fish opposite the car park in adjacent pegs as our "fishing buddyism" is still making it way forward.
I was lucky to find a 4oz watch lead lurking in the bottom of my bait bucket so at least I should be able to hold bottom, The 1st cast saw the 4oz lead trunndling off down stream so the next cast saw the addition of a 2oz bomb to the lead clip, this seemed to hold a little better so the next casts were all with the addition of hook bait and pva bag. We sat and watched our rod tips remain motionless for what seemed like an eternity, 1st kev would come and see me then I would go and see him! but neither of us where destined to wet our landing nets, the river level had started to drop but the weed still came down, whipping our rod tips round as if a large barbel had taken a liking to our bait. By 1pm I could tell Kev was not enjoying the experience at all. I mentioned to him that maybe he should pack up and drive the 5 miles to his favourite venue at Thrumpton and have the afternoon there, he didn't need telling twice but he did ask if I wanted to go with him, an offer which I declined, all the years on the Yorkshire rivers had hardened me to blanks!
Left to my own devices I watched as a pair of kingfishers went about there daily routine (you missed them Kev!) the river level kept dropping but the tip remained motionless and the gravel runs, streamer weed or the old stone weir never came into view!.
The planes flew overhead into East Midlands airport this one being the one I was meeting so I packed up my gear and met my fare as he walked out of the terminal to be met by a 20 mile traffic jam on the M1 north!
A well arranged 3 day trip this, as it was half term Beth had decided to come with me, taking the boat to sleep on and feed ourselves. Paul, Tony, Kev and Howard had agreed to make it a "fun" few days. the rain had started a few days before we were due to meet and the river had been up and down but fishing well.
We met at the marina mid morning and friendships old and new were sorted, half my fishing gear was dispatched in the others cars and Beth, me and Kev decided to take the boat the 6 miles up river too our stretch, a nice steady drive out of the marina and 300yds up river the engine stopped! Anchor down and layed up mid river, got her going again and off we go, 100yds further on it stopped again this time she wouldn't start, a phone call to Tony and we decided between us that I had the charging circuit set wrong and had flattened the batteries! A quick call to the marina and we were soon back in the berth and unloading all the gear back into the car and driving round to the river.
As we pulled into the car park Chris was like a man possesed trying out his new digital camera, then after taking less than 10 shots he tried to convince me he had filled a 256 mg card up! then found out he only had a 16mg in the bloody thing, the 256 card at home on the kitchen table.
Howard, Paul and Tony had all picked swims but as I had mentioned at the marina the river was pushing through a bit with more rain expected, I still didn't think any of them had gone far enough down stream away from the weir, Beth and me dropped in below Paul and Kev above his mate. Tony had fished here before but was still awaiting his 1st Trent barbel, he liked the look of my new feeders though, Kev had never seen anything like it, a 4oz lead being totally alien to him!
Paul was 1st in, Chris was sat with him, so while he tried to unravel the lines Chris had his 1st experience of playing barbel on a "pin" shouts of OH DEAR! and WHERE'S THE CLUTCH? were heard as the 8lber tried its best to get away, Chris decided he had had enough and promptly gave Paul the rod back he as usual landed the fish with consumate ease and she was after a short rest released back in to the river no worse for her experience with the 2 of them.
Beth had landed a 4lb chub but the barbel seemed to be avoiding her, just after dark I had a 7lber that fought like a demon, a very long fish that went straight back with no rest at all, 10 mins later Beth had her 1st and only barbel of the session a beauty of just about 1lb, not a mark on it and looking like it had been born that morning!.
Tony and Kev decided that a move was in order and they retreated 200yds down stream to what was a bit more like normality to them (2oz leads and a short lob inside) Kev had a bream and Tony his 1st ever Trent barbel not a big one but at 4lbs most welcome after the 4 hour drive up from the south. he had another soon after about the same size and a couple of the resident chub from under the tree, Kev never wet his landing net again. Paul had sneaked out a couple more and a bream but Howard couldn't get a touch, which after his exploits the last time he came up (7 barbs to 9lb+ and 5 chub) was a complete turn around. I had another barbel about 7lb just before midnight.
The river had been dropping steadily since we arrived and was down by about 6-8ins but at just past midnight the heavens opened up and the torrential rain predicted showed its self, Beth had gone to sleep in the car but the rest of us "toughed" it out on the bank but within an hour the river had started to rise, the chub moved in my swim, the shoal must have been huge and hungry as none of them was above 2lb but any bait I put on was devoured in seconds the barbel not able to get a look in. The rain had not subsided at all,Paul decided that retreat was the better part of valour and at 04.30 he had packed up and was driving through the pouring rain, his 2hr+ drive home turned into a 4 hour nightmare. Beth slept soundly through the rain.
When I went back to the cars at just after 9am Kev was asleep but Tony was still on the bank, the rain still poured down and we all decided to call it a day, Kev and Tony left by 11am and Beth and I by midday.
As a lot of water had gone in over the last week, I decided on a short session after work arriving at the river at 6.30pm , the air temp being 17oc! and planning to stay no later than midnight unless they were really 'aving it. I pulled in the car park to see Chris and Andy just starting to pack up so I dropped in the swim Chris had been fishing, he had had 4 barbel but all small. Ian was staying till just after 10pm so at least there would be company, he had had 4 with 3 of them being over 9lbs so prospects were looking up The river level had dropped dramatically after the heavy rain of the previous week and it was only about 1ft above the normal level.
I started with the usual feeder and pellet on the GTX and feeder and a couple of "new" boilies on the 4 piece, after a couple of taps (chub?) the tip on the pellet rod wrapped round and I was into what seemed like a heavy fish, after a couple of dogged runs it was safely in the net, looking like a good 9lber and after a quick weigh in the net she came in at 8lbs 12ozs, another empty fish and looking like she will go over the magic mark when she filled out.
20 mins later and the boilie rod arched over and a completely different type of fight ensued, this fish was all over the river (guessed it was a fighting fit 7lber) after 5 mins or so the net slid under a lovel golden, orange saled barbel, I never weighed it but if it went 5lbs it was lucky but what a fight and that was it, I never had another touch, the river temp was still over 13oC which at this time of the year is unbelievable. so things are still looking good at least for the next few days.
Total for October
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page last edited 21.6.06
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