Hook Lets Me Down

22nd June, River Kennet
Weather: Fairly warm, sunny spells. River: Low, clear(ish)
Arrived: 16.00, Left: 23.00

Fished one of my favourite swims on this venue, using groundbait/pellet feeder & pellet on the hook. Unusually for the swim, it took a little while for a fish to show. I’d been there for about an hour, when I decided I needed a  drink. So I put the baitrunner on and round to get a drink from my bag. No sooner had I turned my back, than I heard a splash. Looking round, I saw that the rod had been pulled off the front rest (it was resting in the shallow water at the edge), but the rear “gripper” rest was doing its job. I grabbed the rod and found myself attached to a fish. It was a barbel of 4.02, and put up a surprisingly low key fight. In fact I thought it was a chub until I saw it. Next cast, almost the same thing happened. I thought I was safe to have my drink, and was in mid swallow when I saw the tip wrap round. Hurriedly putting down the bottle, I got the rod and was playing another barbel. This one went 6.02 and fought more like a barbel should.

I had to wait another couple of hours for my next bite, a full-blooded pull. Again a barbel was the culprit. There was a worrying moment when the fish went into some sort of snag and I could feel the line rubbing against it. However, the line held and the fish came out. A few minutes later it was in the net. It was a good fish of 9.08. Re-tackling to clear the line where it had been damaged in the snag, I re-cast, and was almost immediately in again. In a repeat of the last fish, it took me into the snag again, but as before the line held and the fish was pulled back out of it. When I saw it, I could see that it was a similar size as well. But when I was just about to get it in the net, it came off. I thought the hook must have pulled, but on examining the rig, I saw that the hook had actually broken, which was very annoying. I’d not noticed any sign of damage to it when I’d taken out of the previous fish. That proved to be the end of the action for the day.

Very pleased with the Torrix’s handling of the two bigger fish, and also pleased with the Daiwa Sensor line I’ve started using. I had 8lb BS on, which twice survived being run into a snag and still held, even though there were 9lb plus barbel on the end. Not so pleased with the broken hook, but this is a pattern that I’ve been using for quite a few years now, and have had some much bigger barbel on them, so hopefully this was a one-off.

Swifts – seems to be a lot of them this year. It was fascinating to watch them darting around, feeding on the many airborne insects. There was no respite for the insects when it got dark either, as the bats then appeared to carry on the feast.

Barbel 4.02 Pellet
Barbel 3.08 Pellet
Barbel 9.08 Pellet

River Season Kicks Off

18th June, River Kennet.
Weather: On the cool side, mostly overcast, windy. River: Low, clear(ish)
Arrived: 16.00, Left: 23.00

First trip of the new season, great to be back on the rivers again after the unsuccessful attempts to catch a canal carp, and a chance to test out my new custom-built Torrix rod. The river showed no signs of having benefitted from the rain of recent days, with it being as low as I’ve seen it at this stage of the season, and as clear as it ever gets these days.

I was mildly surprised to find only two other anglers on the stretch – a sign of the times perhaps? When I first had a ticket for this stretch back in 2000, there would always be quite a few people during the first few weeks of the season, but that has tailed off and it is not unusual for me to have the venue to myself, even on a weekend.

Before settling in to a swim that was quite good to me last season, I dropped a few boily and pellet samples in to a couple of other swims. I started off using a groundbait/pellet feeder with pellet on the hook. On the second cast, the feeder had hardly settled, when the rod top was yanked sharply round and I was into my first barbel of the season. After a lively but fairly brief scrap, I had a nice barbel on the unhooking mat. Putting it on the scales (I always weigh the first barbel of the season – it helps to get my eye in!), I settled for a weight of 6.15.

Next cast was almost a repeat of the previous one, as another barbel was hooked very quickly. This one was smaller though, going about three and a half pounds. I was beginning to think this might be the start of a red-letter day, but it was not to be, as – apart from a chublet that snatched my bait – there was no more action in this swim.

About eight o’clock, I decided to try one of the other swims that I’d previously baited (I’d also repeated the baitings about an hour earlier), and switched tactics to a straight lead and a boily on the hook. I did get one pull there, but missed it. It may have been a line bite. Because of the sign of fish being present I stayed in the swim probably longer than I should have and didn’t get round to trying the other swim I’d baited, which was probably a mistake. The only “bites” I had for the rest of the evening were from bats hitting the line.

So slightly disappointing that the session didn’t fulfill its early promise, but no complaints as even catching one barbel per session sends me home happy. New rod christened – and it handled the fish very nicely, though obviously I would like to test it on bigger fish. And the predicted heavy showers didn’t materialise, which was a bonus.

Barbel 6.15 Pellet
Barbel 3.08 Pellet

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