Hello and a warm Welcome back to Fishing For Memories.
It seems the weather is very settled currently and Southern England is enjoying some well earned heat and sunshine,which makes a change given this summers erratic and some what torrential rain at times.
Robert and I decided to hit the Thames for another 24 hour session,we had been steadily introducing bait over a few days and had solid hopes as I had decided to ring a few changes with the pre-baiting and throw a few different ideas into the mix to get the fish really digging about and having to work a bit more at finding the food,this I was hoping would make them really mooch about,well the day finally arrived for our session,we got down late afternoon so as to give the boat traffic time to ease off from its usual steady pace,needless to say we were both chomping at the bit.The swims looked perfect,the river whilst still carrying a reasonable flow
was looking as good as ever,with the usual bits and pieces of flotsam and weed rafts passing by intermittently.
We decided on the usual tactics that have been working for us this season: One rod out on Halibut Pellet and one rod out on a 20mm Boilie,running rigs 12lb main line and 10lb and 12lb Sink Braid respectively,to size 8 Kamasan Animals and 3oz leads.
The late afternoon ebbed by peacefully and quietly,the last of the boats had started to ease off, my left Halibut Pellet rod which had been casted to a marginal feature signaled a staccato bleep that unclipped the swinger,yet did not develop into a full blooded take,it cross my mind was it some of the large Chub playing their usual quick hit bites,ten minutes later and the same again happened bleee....eeeep and back down the swinger went way to fast to hit,whatever it was was toying with the bait and me at the same time,another five minutes past by timelessly,The old faithful Heron called out in the distance,I watched my rod with interest and amusement,when would I get my answer?
Another five minutes passed by and all of a sudden the swinger flew up hard and true and the reel went into a powerful fast lunging run,I locked up and leant in to find a very deep surging run from a fish that stayed deep just sounding and plodding away tight to the bottom,I thought to myself "this is a damn good fish,whatever it is", part of me said Carp as the fish felt very similar to The Thames Carp I have had,I was edgy the fish was making plans to dive for some marginal tree about 8 meters downstream and the way it was running was not giving me a lot of options,it was gathering ever closer to it,so I tightened up as much as I could allow and let the rod take more of the lunging and pressure,I knew I was risking a hook pull,but this was my only option,doing so worked and the fish changed direction and headed back up my way albeit with more pace,Robert had turned up in my swim and was I glad to see him,he saw the fish as it broke the surface and remarked as I did too "thats a a fair lump of a Barbel",for the first time I caught a glance of her girth and shoulders,I replied to Robert "this is a bloody large double". The thoughts of cracking my Thames pb of 9lb8oz was flowing and ebbing through me,my mouth was dry,she came to the surface again only to lunge and head back down again to the dark depths,eventually she was in the landing net,Robert took a look in and remarked "that is a cracking fish,must be 13lb at least",I was all smiles and akin to that of a school kid all over again,out on to the landing mat she went and into the sling,the scales tipped round to 14LB 8oz,I was abashed and without speech,I had smashed my Thames PB and Barbel PB by a clear 5LB,Robert`s comment was enough as we looked on "that really is some fish Mark"
So we was off to a spellbinding start,the left rod was re-cast into the same area later that night,I had a stop start sprint and shake run and was into a quality Thames Chub which went 6Lb8oz exactly,could things get any better for us?
Apparently it could,Roberts rods had been silent but as I chatted to him re-counting the night so far his right rod screamed off downstream,I saw a bow wave as the fish came straight up and sped off downstream, mentioned to him "that is a Carp" Robert was not so sure,but one thing was for certain,this fish was not going to take any prisoners if it could help it and made its way for a weed bed further downstream,Robert muttered "this things steaming along,wonder if its another big Barbel?".Only time would tell,Robert applied pressure to the fish and it kited further out into the river,towards one of the sunken obstructions Robert had found before,he felt it grinding against the snag but managed to bully the fish away and after a lengthy fight a Beautiful Mirror was in the net,I commented as I lifted her,"this is a good fish",she was slipped into the sling and weighed,she went 28LB 8oz.To say we were having a good session would probably be one hell of a gross understatement.
Well we was ecstatically happy by now,this was a blinding session and we could ask for no more.Later that night however my right (boilie rod)that had so far been silent belted off upstream and across the river,I was met with another solid resistance and a deep surging run,by now I was beginning to think there was a pile of red letter days coming in one session,what was I into this time? The answer was soon forthcoming and it was another double figure Thames Barbel which weighed 12Lb. Robert had joined me in my swim after I had landed the fish and said to me,with a broad smile on his face "can this session get any better?",I replied
"who knows,at this rate it could well be possible!"
My right rod was re-cast to the same area but I swapped the boilie round for a slightly larger Halibut Pellet,but all remained quiet until the early morning which saw me have another sprinting run on the right rod,that went up along tight to my near margins,after a few minutes of pacey running upstream a pristine,pretty young Mirror of 7lb 8oz was in the net,probably a fresh stocking since the floods,it should grow into a very nice looker in time.
by now it was around about 6am or thereabouts,so I re-cast the rod to the same area with another pellet on and at around 7am was met with another sprinting run from yet another good Chub which weighed in at 6LB exactly.
Well what a session for us,two cracking specimen Barbel,a beauty at 14lb8oz and an absolutely beautiful Carp of 28LB8oz along with a Brace of 6LB Chub and a small Mirror of 7lb8oz.
Can anyone ask for more?I don`t think so some how,this without doubt will live a long long time in our memories as a great session for both of us,but thats the thing with the Thames,you end up with such a collection of great memories,as our sessions this season so far have shown.
I think William Wordsworth put it best.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill.
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep.
The river glideth at his own sweet will.
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still.