Monday, 8 July 2013

Daytime doubles, gonks and nocturnal perfection

Well at last the sun is here and it is rather toasty to say the least, I decided to head out for a trip on the Loddon last Tuesday, well before the heatwave descended. On a previous trip I had lost a rather large barbel at the net that I estimated at over 15 pound.

After a steady tussle it awoke just as I was about to net it and powered off, eventually resulting in a hook pull, heart in mouth, to heart in the pit of my stomach within seconds. But what will be will be,the fish were evidently happy to feed a bit and an angler can not ask more than that.

So on Tuesday I made my way to the river, it was breezy, the odd patch of rain and looked as picture perfect as ever, as I was setting up I spotted some movement in the adjacent field and sure enough a rather pretty deer was picking its way through the field with not a care in the world, I managed to get some lovely footage of it on video, before it  picked up on my scent and bounded off into the distance, barking as it did so.

This epitomizes what fishing is about to myself, the journey as a whole, just seeing the deer would have been enough in itself, but I was kept company by many creatures during the afternoon, from kingfishers and robins, as well as two squirrels who were seemingly fighting for treetop dominance and involved in a ballet that any martial arts choreographer would be spellbound by.

I decided to start off on the quivertip and a size 14, maggots loosely sprayed into a few favourable areas, the bites were forthcoming and one being particularly savage, ripping rod from rest, chub sprung to mind, a quick change to bread and a few chublets up to a pound were soon resting in the net, chopping and changing between bread and maggot I began to receive those typical bites associated with gudgeon.

Savage knocks and taps, this diminutive species never cease to amaze me, inside each and everyone there is the heart and gusto of a fish ten times larger. Each fish plump and long, full of the joys of summer, pearl scales, vibrant colourings, each one holding warm childhood memories of days gone by, they are the perfect mini species and without doubt one of my favourites.

These were followed by a scale perfect bully boy who decided to muscle in on the action. As you may know I was very lucky to land a perch of 4+ last season from this waterway, I am now wondering what other perch might be lurking in the shadows along this particular reach of the river, especially with such a good populace of gudgeon and minnow around this area too.

Later in the afternoon I decided to switch my attention to barbel and one rod was cast to where I had lost the larger fish the week prior and the other to an overhanging tree, both rods out on Thames baits tb1.

There was always a chance that if the fish I had lost did not snaffle the bait up, then one of this rivers other bars of gold might peruse the sweet shop window. Around 6pm and between switching from short sleeve to jacket in hope that I could  trick the mosquitoes into thinking that there was not a tasty reward to be had beneath the material, I received a rod bending bite and a spirited battle began, I was instantly plagued by thoughts of the recent hook pull and if it would perhaps happen again.

After a very energetic scrap, a lovely looking barbus (11lb) was sat in the net, this fish had a distinct scar around both flanks, but was simply beautiful and so very placid on the bank.

Buoyed somewhat by this fish I decided to chance my luck and fish into cover of darkness. It was a nice night, the on and off patter of light rainfall, owls calling out whilst hunting the opposite bank and mice trying on regular occasions to circumnavigate my defenses in hope of a morsel or two.

Around 11pm I had another bite to the same rod and this fish gave an even more hectic fight than its larger companion, surging through the water like an aquatic exocet missile. 

One of the most scale perfect barbel I have seen (8.1) and with not a single blemish on it, this was my cue to head off home, a happy trip of gonks, daytime doubles and nocturnal perfection.


  1. Unlucky on the lost biggie Mark. Still it would seem that you have at least made up for it with the capture of some lovely fished.

    Great to hear about the deer. I love spotting wild deer and then watching their reactions as they pick up your scent! Great stuff mate.

    1. Thanks Nathan, it was very enjoyable in more ways than one, never just about the fishing it encompasses so much more, as you well know yourself, yes the deer made a massive dash once it picked up on me watching it, such beautiful animals and they have a turn of speed yet remain graceful as they do so.