The cumulative effects of some subtle, but tangible changes in the weather seemingly brings the rivers to back life again, as the fish wake from their summer slumber and begin to feed in earnest in preparation for winter.
I was lucky enough to find the river in tip-top shape last week. Warm, wet and blustery conditions for a few days had stirred the fish up and after arriving for an afternoon session I was confident of finding a fish or two.
I started on an upper stretch that is generally good for a few bites. While the fish are invariably quite small, it’s a lovely little piece of water that still requires a bit of thought to tempt a bite. I found the fish in a responsive mood. A bit of loose feed was deposited into a nice run and left to settle. First cast I had a splashy chub of around three pounds. Then three barbel in quick succession that, if they hadn’t been caught so closely together, I would have guessed were the same fish! All about a pound in weight, they were immaculate little fish.
After the bites dried up to the static baits, I reverted to rolling a piece of spam through the swim. It was nailed by a better barbel getting on for three pounds that gave a great account of itself on balanced tackle in a confined swim.
I moved downstream to another stretch in the early evening. I’d soon re-tackled and gently lowered a boilie hookbait with a little pva bag of crushed baits a few yards upstream of some fish I’d spotted laying under the cover of a tree. After an intense half hour of plucks, pulls, dinks and donks on the rod-tip, it finally went round in dramatic fashion and a very angry, fat little common carp of six and a half pounds came to the net. Despite the fact it wasn’t a barbel, I was delighted as it was my first ever river carp.
I was literally packing away the last of my gear, bar the rod and net, when the baitrunner started whizzing. An exciting struggle in the dark ended with a perfect barbel of 7lbs 1oz coming to the net.