The river Loddon is a tough river to conquer. It is true I have had success in the past, my personal best Barbel of over sixteen pounds is proof of this, but this season I have struggled to maintain consistency.
I got chatting to a fellow angler earlier who had been informed by his enthusiastic friends that this particular stretch was full of barbel and would be a good place to put a bend in the rod. After spending a few hours on its banks realisation was starting to set in that this could not be further from the truth. A fact that was making him consider making a longer journey to the Wye or the Trent to fulfill his fix.
You see it’s a question of patience and it seems that few have this attribute when it comes to understanding a stretch of river like this. I will not admit to knowing this stretch as well as some but I am starting to get a ‘feel’ for it.
Treading its banks again this Sunday afternoon I wondered what was in store for me. Could a Barbel or Chub be tempted? The weather was bright and dry and after the passing rain that had been with us all day yesterday I had expected to see a little more flow and colour to the water.
Even at this time of year this section of the river is small and overgrown, it is often a case of placing your hookbait into spots, no casting is necessary. On my way to the end of the stretch I fed four swims with a little hemp and two or three broken boilies, it was my plan to spend no longer then 30 to 40 minutes in each location before moving on.
My plan was interrupted a little when two other anglers decided they would also give the river a go today. This is unfortunately the risk you take with pre-baiting spots as they promptly dropped into two of them. Staying a little longer than was planned in the first spot gave me the chance to take a sandwich and a drink contemplating my next move. As nothing was biting in the first swim I decided a quick move to an un-baited spot was on. In this spot the rod tip twitched a little indicating something showing interest but not enough for a bite to develop. On reeling in it was soon found that the Crayfish had been responsible. There are quite a few on this stretch now. After replacing the whittled bait with a new one the same result unfurled.
Time was getting on so after another move to one of my pre-baited spots was uneventful I decided one last move was in order. This spot opened up a bit giving more room to the angler. I had also decided a change of bait was needed to avert from the Crayfish, more in hope than any pre-conceived plan. I had some Lobworm left over from last week and hoped a Chub or Perch would oblige.
The bait had been in the water a minute before the rod tip twitched showing a bite, but my reflexes were too slow as my resulting strike met with fresh air. I contemplated calling it a day fearing this action might have spooked the swim. I decided however to try for one last twitch.
This time I held the rod and reel in my hand with only the top section being supported by a rest and the line passing through my thumb and forefinger. When the bite came I was ready and met with solid resistance on striking.
The result was a surprise Perch of 2lb 4oz. Happy with this I called it a day.