Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
Having had a couple of disappointing saltwater sessions (bass that I couldn't catch - I'll put a page on about my failure soon), I decided to spend a couple of hours on the river. I was using a little (J7, black and silver) Rapala on my bass spinning gear with a 15lb wire trace for fear of pike. The lure only goes down half a metre maximum so there's not much chance of dredging something up from the depths.
The river is about as low and clear as I've ever seen it, despite the heavy rain that we had the other day. Algae and duckweed are pretty well everywhere so I spent a fair amount of time picking filaments and leaves off my plug (almost anything kills the action). My confidence wasn't helped by the sun blazing down from above. The first bite was a pike in a weedy slack but it failed to hook itself - bummer! I moved on downstream and had a small perch from a stretch overhung with trees. At least it was a fish. To be honest there weren't many places that I could get at to fish so it was probably twenty minutes before I found myself wading across a fast glide that just about reached up to my thighs (thank heavens I managed to seal the leak in my waders). I tried casting to the slack pool on the far bank but the chub, it seems, were not in residence (they usually are). My next cast was up and across to some overhanging bushes, narrowly missing a swan that was just where I wanted to fish. The lure was almost back to my rod tip when a chub which had been following grabbed it and hooked itself on the mid-body treble. After the usual non-fight I took a couple of pictures before unhooking the fish - a nice one of about four pounds.
I had a couple more chucks and then threw the lure straight upstream of where I stood. A swirl and a tug showed that there was another good chub up there but I missed it. I thought that was it for that place but, just in case, I had another cast to the spot that the first one came from. A big shadow was following the plug, I held my breath and kept winding. It looked like the biggest chub ever. Would it take? As the lure came to the surface at the end of my retrieve the fish lost interest and settled down just by my feet. I stared into the water through my polaroids - it was unmistakeably one of the biggest barbel I've ever seen - certainly in the teens of pounds. Bugger!!!! I've never had a barbel on a plug but it must be a possibility.
I made my way back upstream to where I started and waded out into the tail of a deep pool. I fanned the casts across the deep bit and on about the fourth cast the lure was taken with an almighty splash. A metre of line was dragged off against the clutch and I could see a flash as the fish turned well below the surface. Pike! I thought. I was wrong again, this time it was a chub, and a beauty of five-and-a-half pounds. I took a picture or two before it was realeased - what a good way to finish.
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