I flicked the banded pellet beyond the streamer weed avoiding the low lying branches from a fallen Willow, that had been felled by last years storms. The bait is aided by the current gently taking it under the branches that offer the shelter Chub desire.
This is the scene I find myself in. Gripped by the tension of the moment, knowing that my cast had found the ‘spot’. It would only be a matter of time, seconds even, before the rod tip wrapped round.
Wow, I love fishing tiny rivers, I can get my fix almost instantly.
So with the on-set of the traditional fishing season I planned my regular trip with my mate Craig to Frensham Big Pond. Fishing the ‘first night’ of the season for the Tench is something we have done for many years and we have had some real bumper sessions in the past with the Tench being relatively easy to catch; if in the mood.
However, this year the weather has been hot leading up to the 16th and with the water temperature slowly rising it meant the Tench had other things on their mind.
The reeds that line this beautiful lake offer perfect sanctuary for spawning fish and as the sun slowly rose over the Surrey hills they started to explode into life echoing the sounds of crashing fish going about their business.
In the next couple of hours the spawning activity increased and with that our spirits dropped. This normally spells the end of any fish feeding, but one of Craig’s rods burst into life and he managed a nice plump 6.02 lb Tench followed shortly by a low 5 lb fish. However this proved to be the end of any further action and we decided that it was best to let them be and come back for a go later next month.
Not wanting to give up so easily, and anyway, with the river season now open we decided to give our local River Blackwater a go. After a spot of lunch and change of tackle it wasn’t long before I was flicking out a piece of bread flake on a light ledgered set-up to any passing Chub that might be on the look out for an early season snack. The secret to this type of fishing, as I have mentioned before, is to travel light and keep very stealthy. Wearing polarised sunglasses makes spotting fish easier and it wasn’t too long before a couple of Chub came to the net saving a blank on the day.
A week later three hours on a different section of the river was enough to give me my fix. Again the weather was hot and clammy, but I managed to find some Chub under a tree sheltering from the rays.
Switching from bread flake to pellet produced an instant bite that snagged me in the low lying branches of the tree. Retrieving my terminal tackle and replacing the damaged line gave the swim enough time to settle. I was sure there was another chance. This proved to be the case as the tip swung round within seconds and this time I managed to guide the Chub into the waiting net. Although smaller than the one I lost earlier I was still happy with the end result.
As I eat up the miles on the M4 heading for the Welsh boarders, my mind slowly clears of work distractions and fills with thoughts of hard fighting barbel. My destination today is to be the River Wye, to a section I have not set eyes on before. The fact I have not fished this particular stretch before doesn’t worry me, as I have yet to discover a spot on this magnificent river that has disappointed.
As the car approaches the river’s valley and the lanes narrow, my spirits are lifted higher when I spot an early morning Pheasant, hedge hopping. I slow to take in the surroundings, my GPS tells me I am close to my destination. This is confirmed as I see her meandering through the fields to my right.
I pull into the car park and look down the field to the river that is a short walk away.
As I unpack my tackle from the boot of the car I am conscious of travelling light. When approaching a section of river for the first time there is often a lot of walking involved and it pays to be selective of essential items only. One of these is a flask full of tea and after walking down to the rivers edge it is time to pour a cup.
The previous day, Storm Doris had blown through and deposited what must have been a large quantity of rain on the Welsh hills as the river was swollen and pacy.
Tackle for the day was a 4oz cage feeder (to hold in the flow), 3ft fluorocarbon hook link, size 8 barbless hook along with my trusty 1 3/4lb barbel rod and 4000 size reel spooled with 10lb breaking strain Gardner Hydro Tuff line. Bait was to be hair rigged pellet and softened pellet in the feeder.
Casting out for the first time gave me a good idea of how strong the flow was, and it was clear from the off that I would need to find a more sheltered spot that offered an opportunity for the feeder to hold. Often some dead weed or debris would pull the feeder out of position and you would see large trees floating quickly past you.
After about two hours a local dog walker mentioned that the river was about 3 metres up on normal levels and that was after falling 2 metres from the day before. This offered some encouragement as I realised that the level was still falling. With falling water levels, there appeared to be reduced flow, meaning better presentation and after a short wait from a recast the rod tip registered a bite.
The fight was just what I have come to expect from a Wye barbel and after a spirited battle I slid the net under a pristine fish of 8lb.
As the water level dropped further, this first fish was followed, in the next two hours by fish of 5lb 8oz and 6lb 7oz.
The Wye does what it does best, and that is, deliver the goods with stunning scenery and hard fighting fish. You may ask, why travel so far to fish for a few hours? Do I really need to answer that?
A recent holiday in Jamaica gave me the opportunity to try something I hadn’t experienced before – Deep Drop fishing Jamaican style.
A mornings fishing was booked and I was looking forward to it. Speaking to the captain the night before, he suggested that we try trolling lures for Marlin, Kingfish and Barracuda as he had found a weed-line 6 miles out and the fish would be there!
Settting off from Montego Bay at 6am the sun was just coming up.
The captain set his course in the direction of Cuba. We were on the lookout for signs of fish, typically birds diving or weed lines. It wasn’t long before we found sea birds diving and did a pass through the area with the trolling rods. But no luck.
What seamed like halfway to Cuba we found the weed-line.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that we had two chances; both screaming ‘takes’ ended with fish falling off within seconds. Jamaican’s don’t get too upset by these setbacks and tend to go into chill mode, so when in Jamaica…..
A chilled out captain suggested we revert back to the first plan which was deep drop fishing. This is basically dropping a bait over the edge of the boat 300m below. The rods are jerked up and down to attract a fish to bite. When you get a bite the hook is set and you then let technology take over. The reels are fitted with small electric motors to get the fish up quickly, otherwise it would take ages. The reels get the fish up to a point where you eventually take over and play the fish for the last 10m or so.
This is fishing Jamaican style and not what I expected. But I did mange a few Red Snapper.
Seven hours later I was back on dry land looking forward to a cold beer. I have to say that although I didn’t get that Marlin the whole experience was very enjoyable, while catching the Red Snappers saved the blank. It was certainly a memory I will not forget quickly. Thanks to Captain Martin and his crew.
My name is Cliff and I have finally decided to blog about my fishing exploits.
Making this blog will help me categorise my fishing trips and photos, making it easier for me to refer to them in the future. It will also enable me to share my experiences with others and hopefully learn something along the way.