An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Monday, 1 January 2018

In the nick of time

December has been tough. Snow, changeable temperatures and high water have sent our rivers into disarray. Apart from my PB chub earlier in the month, I have had to settle for a run of blanks despite targeting a variety of species. With the last day of the year upon us one last trip to the river beckoned. I had hoped to visit the Wye for pike but the a rising river put paid to that. The Severn suffered the same affliction but the Warks Avon was falling and would be fishable.

I arrived at lunchtime. The river was tearing through but I knew that some swims downstream would afford me some more favourable conditions. I started by throwing a lure around a backwater that contained lots of prey fish sheltering from the high water. It was a bit of a long shot given the heavy colour and so it proved. After half hour or so I trudged off downstream empty handed to where the river widened and the flow became more to my liking. Two rods were cast into place. One on meat, the other with homemade paste. A couple of hours passed with nothing to report. The thermometer
Finally, the December barbel arrives
showed 7°C so I remained slightly optimistic that something would feed. With an hour or so of light remaining, the paste was swapped for lobworm. Soon after the meat bait showed a few signs that some fish might be on the move. Time was running out as New Year's Eve plans beckoned. Eventually, the worm rod started to bounce as the upstream bait was dislodged. A fish was on and was brought to the bank without much fuss. I suspected a chub but a small barbel was the culprit and how welcome it was. I have been attempting to catch a barbel during every calendar month of the river season. December had let me down so a barbel on the last day of the month was a bit of a god send. The fish was returned and no sooner had I put he net down then my other rod lurched round with a typical 3ft twitch. A fish was hooked and it felt good. It powered downstream and I have to be honest and say there was little I could do to stop it. Unfortunately, the pressure against the extra water in the river proved too much and the hook pulled. Moments later I slipped on the treacherous banks and ended covered in sludge. An eventful 5 minutes or so!
This Wye double proved to be the highlight of my summer

The light soon faded and no further fish
showed and with that came the end to my fishing for 2017. It's been a decent year. The start was of the year was slow. A uneventful winter didn't match the previous one when I experienced some great perch fishing. The spring saw me have a go at some carp off the surface. I'm not a huge fan of carp fishing but find this particular tactic rewarding and I had fish to just over 16lb. Not monsters but good fun whilst the rivers were out of bounds. The summer came and it was all about barbel for me. I had set myself a challenge - to prove that the Warks Avon could produce barbel away from the popular venues. It turned out to be a huge success. Choosing a less than obvious venue I  went on to have a one of my best summers on the river. There were no monster but I had fish over 9lbs and proved that you don't have to be fishing Marcliff, Salford Priors, Fladbury, etc to experience great fishing. However, the highlight of the summer had to be my first Wye double. A superb looking specimen that came from spectacular surroundings. But the seasons soon change and with it we travel full circle back to my PB chub of 5lb 7oz that turned out to be a bright light in an otherwise bleak winter so far.

A PB chub 
Some fun off the top
With 2018 upon us I do hope that the predator fishing will improve. It simply hasn't got going yet. I also aim to snare a barbel for the the final three months of the season to hit that personal challenge of a barbel every month of the river season. Hopefully, it will prove easier than the last few weeks. Have a great New Year and tight lines for the rest of the season. 

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