An angler's journal

Monday, 2 September 2013

On the bank at last

Where has August gone? It seems ages since I last blogged and it's been a tricky month. Fishing has been tough for most over the past few weeks although I've barely made it to the water's edge. A combination of a family holiday coupled with a bug that not only made the flight home a long one but kept me out of action for the following week. Last Thursday saw me finally feel well enough to make a fishing trip. My destination of choice was the middle Severn. I used to fish the Severn a lot between Bridgnorth and Bewdley but since moving to south Worcestershire it's a good hour's drive and I have the Avon, Teme and lower Severn much closer. However, I wanted some bites and decided the extra drive would be worth it.
A typical middle Severn stretch
 I tried to keep my options open. I would wander slowly to my target area, rolling some meat in the streamy runs in the hope of a bonus barbel or chub. Eventually, my plan was to settle in some deeper water and fish two rods. One with groundbait feeder with maggot hookbait and then a more specialist setup cast 20 yards further downstream. I tried several areas but could not tempt a fish on the rolling meat. I must admit this surprised me a little as it's been a good method for me this season and I'm sure the swims contained a few of my target species. However, this was only a pre-cursor for the main event so I finally settled in an area that I fished before. As mentioned, my main attack would be three maggots mounted on a size 14 hook to 6lb hooklink to guard against any possible barbel breakages. My usual barbel setup was prepared on my other rod with a pva bag to entice any wandering fish hanging away from the main feed towards my bait.

I started to get indications quite quickly that some fish were present and after a few missed bites I eventually started to connect with some small roach. This fish were in absolute mint condition and I
A pristine roach
Variety in the shape of a perch
very much doubt they had been caught before. It was quite pleasant to get amongst some fish rather than wait for one wrap around bite that may never arrive. Although the roach were not huge, probably in the 4oz range, they kept on coming before all went quiet. Quite often this can be as a result of a different species muscling in on the feed and pushing the smaller fish away. I also suspected a predator was in the area as I had seen small fish jumping for freedom on a few occasions. Soon after a much more positive pull registered on the quiver tip. My strike met with something bigger than the roach I had become accustomed to, before a nice perch just shy of a pound was drawn over the landing net. A few more similar sized perch followed before the roach returned together with a few dace and gudgeon.

Meanwhile, my barbel rod had not returned anything other than the occasional tremble. I changed baits to two 8mm Source boilies. The bait was recast with another pva bag of pellets. An angler on the opposite bank, some 100 yards downstream had been enjoying some barbel action with four fish already netted. I had to hope that my regular feeding would bring some fish to my swim. Eventually, without warning the rod hooped around. The unmistakable run of a barbel commenced with the fish surging some 30-40 yards downstream despite a tight clutch. Finally, the fish was forced to turn and I was able to gain some line and bring the fish towards me.  An exhilarating battle ended with a fine looking barbel of 7.5lb gracing the bank. It looked a deep fish that I thought may have been a little larger but it was most welcome as it was the only barbel to come my way during the month of August. The next cast saw another positive bite with a nice chub of 3-4lb safely netted. This two larger fish capped an enjoyable session that saw lots of bites and no less that six species caught. Perhaps I should make the effort to drive that bit further more often?

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