Sunday, 6 October 2013

Mishaps mayhem - Double trouble

Writing this and thinking about one of my trips back in September feels a bit surreal now. I was having some enjoyable fishing trips and trying to tempt some of the larger barbel from the Loddon, two of my prior visits had been a combination of blanks with and without crayfish nightmares thrown in for good measure.

But my third trip was a bit too eventful for my liking, having packed up my rods I went to drop some broken up paste into another swim, a little bit of a future investment if you like. Not happy with my position on the bank, I instead decided to hold on to a branch from a nearby tree. The voice in my head was echoing warning words, "branch dead, wouldn't take your weight in a thousand years if it was still alive". I foolishly ignored this and grabbed hold of the branch, as I began leaning a little over the river the inevitable happened, "crack!" and that was it I was clutching thin air and doing a good impression of a cartoon character before falling in yet again. A thick mixture of silt and mud, along with a sinking feeling is not something I would recommend any angler to experience at any time, be that day or night and has to rank as one of my most scariest mishaps, as I did genuinely think I was not going to get back out again, had this happened during floods then I would have been in serious trouble.

Sitting in the car on the way home was an interesting affair, mum mentioning asking at regular intervals "Mark why do you smell like s*%t". I have to admit that I did not divulge anything about falling in until I was back home and still don't think I have lived the incident down, Once back home  with my clothing in the washing machine and a hot cup of tea inside me, I sat thinking over what had been a bit of an unpleasant experience, trying to work out why I had decided to ignore my inner voice and put my safety at risk on the river, there was only one real reason and that was a mixture of over confidence and total idiocy on my part.

Not having any of my usual baits I opted to put together a mix that had done me well in the past as well as some matching paste with which to wrap round the bait, along with this I had made up some luncheon meat broken into irregular shapes and then soaked in some Sharwoods Thai curry sauce.

A few days later and I was making my way to the river, it was a very pleasant late summer day, a light breeze and nice amount of sun. On reaching the river there was no mistaking the fact that it was running very low and looked a bit stale. Two thoughts were in my mind, either target a deeper area, or try to place some baits along the weed and cabbage patch areas of a shallower spot.

I decided on the latter, one rod placed upstream, just shy of cabbage patch beds and with one of the fresh boilies which I had decided to trim down, glug and wrap in paste. My other rod was placed downstream where there is a slight difference in depth and a lomg trench where food particles do tend to collect. It was not long before I started receiving attention on the upstream rod, followed by a slow, meandering run, which turned out to be a very well conditioned bream of 5lb.

I was buoyed by this early fish and rather happy, a quick cast back out and check of the luncheon meat rod showed that crays were indeed about, not wishing to risk being pestered I switched to the same bait as which I had taken the bream on. The rod had perhaps been in the water for forty five minutes and started receiving light plucks and taps, certainly not the usual tug and static hold the crayfish give. An hour past by and during that time there had been a good few plucks but no committal, no full blooded bite was forthcoming. As I sat wondering if perhaps the fish were in a far to apprehensive mood, all hell broke loose, the rod arching round and baitrunner purring.

As it plodded downstream it was fairly evident that I was playing a rather hefty fish and the rod did not disagree as it bent round, a game of give and take began, me giving and the fish repeatedly taking was how it began, a wind of reel handle, followed by steady "tick tick" of the clutch.

When my prize was finally beaten and I slipped the waiting net under her I could have jumped for joy, it was a beauty, long wide and a powerhouse of a barbus, with one very powerful paddle.

At 14lb it was a new best for me from this river, words failed me as I looked upon its bronze flanks, it is moments like these that are really special and a grin that could last quite a few years was etched on my face for the rest of the evening.

As night time crept on, the upstream rod which had been very quiet since the initial bream, did not give any warning as it tore off into mid-river and after quite a nervy battle which saw this fish head under some sunken tree trunks and back out again followed by diving into two different cabbage patch beds, I finally had another barbel in the net, this fish had a slight amount of  dorsal damage, perhaps from being kept in a keepnet at some point?
Unfortunately I only have the video footage of this fish as my battery packed up on me and I had left my spare one in the charger at home. Weighing in at 11lb 2oz's it was another nice fish and the cherry on top of what had been a very special fishing trip.

Once I had packed up I decided to sit a while, taking in this trip and to give a long look at the river, thanking it multiple times. The relationship of angler and river is an interesting affair, one I would call a passionate love and each waterway has different reasons why it attaches itself to you. I have many wonderful memories of my father spending time teaching me to fish on this waterway and if he had not, would I be having the mishaps and fishing adventures today?


  1. You're on a role Mark - nice going.

    1. Well When I fell in I certainly was on a roll Dave, not sure a couple of fish constitutes to being consistent, but I will gladly take it with both hands, as I know how quickly the river can begin frowning instead.

  2. Top fishing Mark!, two quality Barbel, they are only going to get bigger still as the winter settles in, you are on a proper swim there, stick with it and who knows what's next??!!

    "Fishing at it's true best, Mysterious and Unpreditable.", that's my conclusion of angling.


    1. Cheers James, agree with you on that, although I am quite looking forward to some winter perch fishing mate.

      You have come to a fair conclusion there too and it is that mystery and unpredictability that helps make fishing trips what they are in my opinion.