An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Monday, 3 November 2014

A Window of Opportunity - Chub and Barbel

October half-term is a time I always look forward to. Some of my most memorable catches have occurred at this time and it usually coincides with favourable conditions that often see the rivers carrying some additional water and colour. This year was no different as we experienced something of an Indian Summer with daytime temperatures in excess of 15°C at the end of October. With conditions like this it meant only one thing: Barbel. These days sees me attempt to juggle my urge to fish whilst being a family man. Therefore, shorter sessions when the opportunity arises are the order of the day.

A typical Avon Chub
Tuesday evening saw such an opportunity arise. It was a small window but with ideal conditions, one worth pursuing. With time at a premium, the short trip to the Warwickshire Avon was made. I had about two hours worth of fishing before my 6.30pm curfew. I spent the first part of the session trying to winkle out a Pike but this failed miserably. As dusk approached, I switched my attentions to Barbel and a ledgered meat bait was cast mid-river. A few taps followed but it wasn't until dark had descended that I struck into a fish. A solid looking 4lb Chub was the result and more than welcome. For half hour or so the fish seemed obliging although I wasn't on top form and missed a few opportunities. I finished at 6.30pm with three Chub all in the 4lb range however this could easily have been six or seven if I'd got my act together.

A super start at 8lb 9oz
Wednesday saw me back on the lower Severn with me fishing my usual 4pm to 8pm session. Regular readers will know I had experienced some reasonable success recently [here] so I was keen to tap into this and improve my tally. My first fish came within the first half hour to the upstream rod which was baited with pellet. Nothing unusual in itself except I hadn't used it as a hookbait for ages such was its poor return for me over the past year. I don't really know what made me use it on this day so I put it down to angler's intuition. Whatever it was it brought a lovely conditioned 8lb 9oz fish to the bank and got my session off to a cracking start. All went quiet until around 7pm when the downstream meat rod brought a lively fish of around 7lb to the net. No more action was recorded in the remaining hour so home I went.

The following day saw me return with my brother-in-law for a short session. The hope was to tap into the usually obliging Zander population for 90 minutes or so before settling in for a Barbel from sunset until 6pm. This meant we could return to the our respective families for a sneaky visit to the pub and keep everyone happy. The Zander fishing didn't go to plan as we somehow managed to find pretty much every snag going and with lost all but one of our deadbaits. I was still mildly optimistic that I might be able to present a chance of a lower Severn Barbel to my brother-in-law but the rods remained motionless until 6pm when we had to reel in. I do think however, that if we had stayed a bit longer then a fish or two would have come our way. It's my opinion that when conditions are favourable, the lower Severn Barbel patrol up and down the stretch and it's just a matter of time before they stumble upon your bait. Tonight we went before they had reached us.

My final session was Sunday. Again the session would be 4ish until 8pm. With cooler weather on the radar and a return to work the next day this was likely to be a final chance for a Barbel for some time. The sunset was certainly fitting for such an occasion. A clearing sky revealed a moon in its waxing gibbous phase, it's reflection repeated on the glass like river surface.
A beautiful sunset
Darkness finally brought what I came for. A wrenching bite started a rip-roaring battle that ebbed and flowed before a good fish was netted. The scales revealed even better news as the fish was just about a double at 10lb 2oz; a great way to finish my break. The fish also had a distinctive mark towards its tail so should be easily identifiable if its caught again.
A 10 pounder was reward for my efforts
Two more barbel followed in quick succession; the first approximately 8lb in weight with the other just over 7lb. With a hour to go I thought I might be in for a bumper haul but two lost fish, one to a pull, and a sudden disappearance of the fish by 7.30pm saw me fail to trouble the scorers again.

A chunky 8 pounder followed
Before I go, this week also saw the blog's 2nd birthday which has seen almost 60,000 visitors. I appreciate all those that look in from time to time and as always urge to make comments either about the articles or how I might improve things.

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