Although the vast majority of anglers in the UK travel to their chosen fishing venue by car, I rely on the rail networks, footpaths and cycle tracks of this country to get me to my angling destinations. A minimum of gear is beneficial when it comes to travelling by bike and suits the way I fish as well. One or two rods and a net handle strapped to the frame; a small bag with all the essential stuff including bait and an un-hooking matt to sit on (and even un-hook fish on occasionally!) is all that I need for these sort of short, opportunist sessions.
I’ve managed a couple of productive trips recently by doing a bit of what any decent marketer calls desk, or secondary research, backed up by getting on my bike and having a good old explore around some areas that I’d not fished before. I spent a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon recently carefully walking and observing a stretch of water not too far from my home rumoured to contain that most enigmatic and handsome of river fish – the barbel. I eventually found a far bank raft where, after gently lobbing out a few small handfuls of hemp and pellets for a while a trio of golden barbel appeared. Little chunks of spam trundled over the gravel close to their weedy homes resulted in two of the three taking the bait, one lost to a hook pull and the other landed – a handsome chap of just over three pounds. A week later I arrived at a different stretch of water where I’d spotted a couple of nice barbel during a previous visit.
Tackling up just as a heavy storm descended on the valley, I regretted travelling quite so light with no umbrella to shelter me from what was some pretty serious rain. Fortunately a group of trees and their dense summer canopy provided me with enough shelter to save me from a full on soaking. After the storm subsided, the extra water coloured up the river nicely and by the time another group of ominous looking clouds started to move into view I’d managed four decent river bream, a chub and a beautiful golden barbel of seven pounds and two ounces.