If this is your first visit and you'd like to start from the very beginning then click on the September link under Blog Archive on the right or simply click here but please be aware that my first post is a lengthy account of the past 12 months and may require a good bottle of red wine to accompany it's reading!!
In the meantime here is my second post which will cover my fishing exploits during the autumn month of October 2011......enjoy.
3rd October 2011 - River Ribble
I had planned a weekend trip to the Severn at Rossall but unfortunately it didn't happen so inspired by the great session we had last week we headed off again for the Ribble and a Monday evening session. The levels were low and the weather forecast heavy showers so we didn't want to build our hopes up but sometimes it hard not too!!
We arrived around 5:30pm and from the top of the bank could see why we'd been catching so well the week before, there was a bed of sandstone or rock clearly visible under the low waters surface and this formed a channel where it dropped off running upstream across our swim, a good holding area for barbel, so quickly we set up and cast out with renewed anticipation.
I tried a little experiment and decided not to use any ground bait, no pre-baiting or hand balling in, no cage feeder with the tried and tested 'time bomb', no...well er ground baiting. To be honest the conditions weren't too good, the wind was blowing up stream causing choppy white water waves on the surface, there was a lot of leaves in the main flow and chances of catching looked slim to say the least.
My set up was simple, free running 3oz grippa lead, the pear shaped ones with a hole in the middle, a 2 foot 12lb mono hook link and a hair rigged 11mm halibut pellet to a size 12 wide gape barbless hook.
The only free offering was a small PVA mesh bag of elliptical pellets 8mm and 12mm, I like the elliptical because they're not so quick to disappear down stream (apparently) I also plugged the hole in the lead with a small piece of halibut paste.
On my other rod I was using one of my home made pebbles because I'd snagged up and lost the grippa lead (£1.40 was gutted) and the same rig set up.
Well it took an hour and it was hard to differentiate between knocks and the leaves snagging on the line but at 7pm there was no mistaking the take, it took off like the proverbial freight train and after a good scrap it was in the net...
Ribble freight train barbel 8lb 11oz of pure power...
Mr Ward took the photo from it’s good side as on the other side the poor fella had his rear most barbuel (spelling?) missing completely, it was healing but wasn't an old wound by any means, no doubt a recent scrap possibly with braided hook link. Hence, in the photo, the strained smile as I don’t like to think of these magnificent fish being mis-treated (and I don’t think Bertie looks too pleased either), still he fought like a 'goodun' and, after I waded in to rest him, he swam off strongly into the dark depths of the Ribble.
I'm still going to cart a kilo of ground bait around with me just for that comfort factor but I'm now confident to try having a go without it and only introduce it if things go slow or they don't seem to be interested in a single hook bait. I did loose feed a pouch of pellets about 4 times in a 5 hour session but I'd have done that anyway.
Still a big fan of the hemp in a block end black cap feeder to get a bed of particles out there but didn't have any hemp with me, still it looks like I didn't need it.
Only a couple more came before the cloud cover lifted, at 8:20pm a good 7lb 6oz to Mr Ward followed at 8:45pm by a good 6lber to me so we packed up at 11pm and headed home.
8th October 2011 - Atcham River Severn Barbel Fish-In (Unofficial... well sort of anyway)
As I write I'm busy preparing for the long session at the weekend. As is usually the case a few of us at the last barbel fish-in decided it would be a good idea to do it again soon so a small group of (some might say) fanatical barbel hunters have arranged to meet up at Atcham on Saturday to try and tempt a bertie or two onto the bank.
Some even keener anglers have planned to stay over Saturday night and fish through till Sunday evening although that may change if the fishing isn't so good or the gusty winds we're experiencing at the moment blow our 'overnight accomodation' into the river along with ourselves.
I have a plan B which at this stage involves packing up early on Sunday morning and heading up north to my other favourite river the mighty Ribble which has seen a bit of extra water these past few days but I'll make that call on Sunday and report back on here all the fun and games of what should be a very enjoyable weekend...
Friday night and the AA man has confirmed my car has a broken cam belt and is probably a write off.....boo hoo, never mind I was going to change it for a diesel anyway!!
Thankfully my fishing partner Ash has kindly offered to take me to Atcham tomorrow so it's still game on, the river has risen by a metre and will be fining down nicely by tomorrow evening....the show must go on ;-)
It was a mid morning start for us as we packed my gear in to the car and I was amazed just how much Ash's hot hatchback could hold and with the rear seats folded down everything was packed so we set off for the Raven cafe and a welcomed breakfast.
We arrived to find Bill was already tucking in to a much needed full English after a sinking a 'few' beers with his lads the night before. Fully fed and watered we headed for Atcham and arrived around 1:15pm which seems to be the perfect approach to river fishing in the autumn as most of the action tends to happen mid afternoon and into the evening.
It wasn't a great turnout and with only 6 of us we decided not to draw for the swims so we headed off to our chosen pegs. Ash and I headed to the double peg just inside the left hand field where we'd fished at the previous event in September and more importantly where Ash and Phil had a busy session a few weeks before taking 2 chub and 8 barbel out in a frantic evening session including a specimen barbel at 9lb 7oz.
Ash 2 weeks earlier on the same peg with a specimen of 9lb 7oz...
So with the water levels having risen earlier in the week and a lot of cloud cover our hopes where very high for the forthcoming 36 hour session.
I was already set up and cast in straight away using a 3oz grippa lead which struggled to hold bottom in the flow towards the middle of the river but I wanted to continue the experiment of not using ground bait so I stuck with it and cast my second rod out about a third of the way out on a crease that looked promising.
Ash had one rod out and was setting up his second when he dropped everything and struck in to his first fish of the day a barbel of around the 6lb mark.
Ash with his first fish of the session a pristine 6lb bertie barbel...
which decided to come alive on the bank...
and Ash has to employ some quick thinking goal keeping!!!
Bill was doing very well on 'Duffers' peg just to the right of the pump and was into a barbel first cast, another five followed in quick succession and by 8pm Bill was heading home pleased with his afternoons efforts.
We on the other hand hadn't had a tap since the first barbel and undeterred fished on into darkness, the fish were there out in front of us and kept topping and splashing around but we just couldn't tempt them onto our bait so eventually we retired to get some sleep and reflect on a very disappointing session.
Early evening view from our swim...
Sunset at Atcham...
We expected heavy rain around 4am so we'd put the umbrella's up in front of the day shelter to keep our feet dry but I slept like the proverbial 'log' and awoke at 9am to a couple of friendly dogs investigating our overnight accommodation.
I set the rods back up and cast out with renewed enthusiasm and set about breakfast although Ash decided his sleeping bag was far too comfy and had a lie in!!
Ash very reluctantly getting his lazy backside out of bed!!
Bacon butties went down very well indeed...
After breakfast we weighed up the swim and it was clear that the river had dropped around 12 inches overnight.
The green algae clearly indicates that levels have dropped overnight...
We had to make a choice, move swims to something a bit more productive or up sticks completely and travel to Rossall. After some debate we decide to give Rossall ago in the afternoon and fish through till 10pm which I was pleased about as it would be my first visit to this magnificient stretch of the Severn.
Atcham had not produced the goods for us but with Bills half dozen and Lee (who had been on the fish-in and had a great session on the last peg at the top of the stretch) taking nine barbel out of the swim the best reaching over 9lb it wasn't a complete loss and we all enjoyed the day. Bob had retired earlier in the evening without a fish on the bank but once again had enjoyed the day.
Wayne and Rick had a great day and had a barbel at 3:30pm at 4lb then at 8pm it went a bit mad and Wayne lost 3 due to them bombing into the weed beds, he then got a barbel on the bank at 5lb 4oz and Rick had two at 4lb 8oz that went to the weed beds and he ended up snapping his rod in half!!! (Bob's tip - if it's weeded up solid put the rod down and take the bail arm off, usually the fish will spit the hook and you'll be able to retrieve your rig. If you have to pull for a break once the fish has gone then tighten up the clutch and keep the rod pointing straight at the snag, either reel in or walk backwards - never with the rod bent under pressure!! Remember to re-adjust your clutch before recasting)
At 11pm Rick had a 2lber and he also lost 2 but both reported having a great time, here are some photo's from from Wayne and Rick, well done to both of you on a productive days fishing.
We left Atcham at 1pm and sadly it was my first blank of the season but we were both optimistic for the 8 hours ahead.
9th October 2011 - Rossall River Severn (Plan D)
First cast at Rossall was made at 2pm and I was really impressed by the beauty of the place, the pegs are steep but the high banks protect you from the wind and the river is narrower here than Atcham making it easier to cast towards the far bank.
I was set up on the right and casting down stream with one rod towards an overhanging tree and the other close in the margins to my right.
View down stream from our peg...
At 3pm my margin rod wrapped around and a short fight later I'd saved myself from a certain blank with a chub around the 4lb mark.
First Rossall fish for me a respectable chub of around 4lb...
Next it was Ash who started a barbel bashin' campaign that resulted in me becoming his gillie bi*ch for the day!! Not that I minded as it was great to see Rossall performing at it's best and during the day too...
4pm and Ash is off to a good start 6lb 1 oz...
4:15pm and a stunning 7lb 4oz barbel is on the bank...
and a view from the front...easy to spot again as left front barb is missing
4:45pm come here you beauty...Ash is on a roll
a respectable 6lb 13oz and my netting arm is getting tired!!!
5:30pm and the best fish so far at 7lb 6oz...
I had a couple of chub knocks and retrieved a half eaten pellet then Ash is in again but after a screaming run was snapped off at the hook...but at 6:30pm I strike into my first Rossall barbel and after a fantastic scrap is was my turn to have a photo taken...
6:30pm and at last the gillie gets his first Rossall barbel at 7lb...
7:00pm and barbel no. 5 for Ash at around 4lb 8oz...
and again at 7:30pm around the 4 to 5lb mark...
Ash was only fishing with one rod to avoid a double take and at 8:40pm he reeled in to make up a new hook link so I had a cheeky little cast in his swim!!!
I'd had nothing during the ten minutes or so it took Ash to re-tackle so I reeled in and 'allowed' Ash to cast back in to his favourite spot.
Within 2 minutes he had a run on and whilst I was in the process of congratulating him (again) my margin rod wrapped round and I was also in. We both played our respective fish and then realised we only had one net set up!!
We then invented a new Olympic sport we called 'synchronised barbelling' and managed to bring both into the net at exactly the same time!!
"are you sure mine was the smaller one of the two?"
Ash's barbel weighed in at 6lb 11oz and mine at around 5lb and we even managed a self take of the two simultaneous captures before Ash returned both to the water and rested them in the same net before letting them go.
a double landing in the same net...mine at 5lb and Ash's at 6lb 11oz...
Well that was it for the barbel for that night so we packed up at 10pm and headed home with 10 barbel and a chub between us reflecting on what turned out to be a fantastic weekend barbel hunting and promising ourselves we'd definitely be heading back to Rossall soon once I've sorted out a new car!!
Bob (aka Ash's Gillie Bi*ch)
29th October 2011 Rossall River Severn
Well it had been 3 weeks since I last visited the banks mainly due to the lack of a car. However the transport problem was solved when I bought a rather nice diesel Passat estate the weekend before oddly enough from a very nice bloke in Market Drayton not far from the river Severn. I took Mr Ward with me to look at the car and he did comment on the way down that we should have taken our rods but I was using Mrs Roberts new Peugeot 206 so that really wasn't a good idea!!
The new wagon 1.9 TDi130 diesel Passat Estate lovely...
I'm delighted with the new fishing wagon and it easily accommodates all my tackle in it's spacious boot and I'll also be able to get my head down with a sleeping bag in the back should the need arise.
Spacious boot and the split rear seats fold down for my rods...
I decided to revisit Rossall the scene of young Ashley's magnificent 7 a few weeks earlier, indeed I intended to head for the same swim and arrived at 2pm after a very comfortable journey in the new ride.
Back to the same swim where Ash had 7 magnificent barbel...
I was setup and fishing for 3pm, the level was around the same as before and I cast one rod straight ahead into what I hoped was barbel alley and the other to the right hoping it would come to settle under the tree on the far bank.
Both rods remained silent so I set up my tip rod and went stalking around 5:30pm. It was dusk as I settled into a swim just upstream of my base, I wanted to try some simple bread crust so I had a longish hook link to a size 6 hook and a single SSG shot about a foot from the hook to take it down.
By 6pm it was almost dark and I cast it out straight ahead into the main flow and watched as it floated on the current downstream. The bail was left open until it was roughly 30 yards downstream so when I closed the bail arm it had the desired affect and as the line tightened it settled under the over hanging tree about a rod length out in the slack crease.
Within 30 seconds the 2oz tip whacked around and I was into my first chub which did the usually thing and dived into the bank, it was 'hit and hold' fishing but I managed to gain some line on it and eventually scooped it into the net.
A perfect Rossall chub caught on bread crust...
Not the biggest resident I'm sure but still a very welcomed chevin and for me the method I used to catch it made it more of an achievement than just sitting tight on a ledgered bait. It was safely returned and swam off strongly. I tried another swim but it wasn't to be so it was back to the barbel swim hopefully for some night time action.
I fancied another chub so I put a big chunk of luncheon meat on the hook and cast the tip rod in to the right letting the flow take it downstream and then closing the bail arm leaving it nicely tucked into the near bank. I placed the rod down and put it against a chunk of wood so if I did get a take it wouldn't drag the rod in.....
It had been raining and the banks where slippy under foot, I re-baited the barbel rod with a pellet and stood to cast. As I manoeuvred into position to cast I slipped and went down like the proverbial sack of spuds and snapped the butt section of the tip rod.....gutted, it was an all rounder rod with an Avon section 3 tips and a 2" extension but still I didn't damage the barbel rod so I cast it out and retrieved the line on the tip rod then packed it away.
I soon stopped thinking about the broken rod when at 8:15pm the right hand rod screamed off and after a great fight a decent barbel of around 6lb was wallowing in the net.
The first barbel of the night at around 6lb resting in the net...