I had a few spare hours after working in central London towards the end of last week, so naturally I decided to go fishing.
I’d travelled in with my trusty travel rod and a little bag with the bare essentials. I was accompanied by a friend to the wonderful little urban river we’d elected to try. Our plan was to try trotting in search of silver fish and then to perhaps try fishing a bigger bait at dusk in search of a barbel or chub.
The weather was overcast and very mild, but occasionally a cooling breeze provided welcome relief from the humid conditions. After working in a hot office all day escaping to the river for my first session of the new season was just what the doctor ordered.
It was also my first trip to this fascinating waterway – a venue that’s had its fair share of issues with pollution over the years. Yet it seems to have bounced back again and offers some interesting and varied fishing for local anglers.
I must admit I was simply enjoying walking along the course of the river using my polarising glasses to find likely looking spots and finding signs of aquatic life and it was well over an hour before we actually settled down to fish.
Feeding maggots into a lovely looking deeper run soon had little fish darting around in an effort to get to the grubs. It was magic watching them and soon my friend landed the first – a little chublet. He soon added a dace, a roach and some other chublets and I was itching to have a go. I did, and landed a chublet as well, a lovely little fish that darted around the river determinedly.
It was already becoming gloomier when I decided to go for a wander with my rod, net and a bag of bits and bait.
Despite trying some really nice looking areas, nothing took a fancy to my link ledgered spam. I almost walked straight past a swim that looked a little too shallow at first, but with some cover at the end of the run it looked like it was at least worth a cast into.
Despite giving it half an hour or so, nothing materialised. My friend had joined me by then and just as we were debating whether to make a move I noticed a long fish roll just off the faster water – barbel!
I repositioned the spam at the top of the run. It was probably five minutes before the rod top began to nod and a fairly gentle pull was met with a strike and – fish on! It was a classic, feisty battle and the barbel gave a good account in the flow. I was able to play the fish quite hard though and we soon had it in the net.
The barbel was bang on 6lbs and in good shape after spawning. It took a while to nurse the fish in the water after an energy sapping scrap but its strength returned and it was soon powering off back into its urban home. It capped what had been a memorable first session of the season.