Thursday, 19 January 2012

A good chubbing trip to Duxford

No frost overnight - indeed some rain, not enough to raise the river or colour it, but at least higher temperatures. So a longer trip than normal and down to Duxford at 11:30, planning to stay till 7:00pm. As before, I am continuing the hunt for a large Thames barbel, but I expected today to be more about chub, as the temperature will have only risen a tiny bit, if at all.

The longish walk to the main swims I am currently focusing on left me really hot given the milder weather and my ultra-warm clothes. The three swims close together received their first baitings of hemp and halibut pellets, with hot dog sausage and bacon grill. Then I settled in "swim four", a classic winter chub swim, fishing crust over mashed bread.

Swim Four

I started fishing about half an hour after first baiting and had a bite first cast - as so often the way when conditions are good. But a few seconds into the fight and the fish was weeded in a snag by my feet. Luckily I could just about reach the fish with the landing net and as I lifted it up, the line cames free from the snag. Not a huge fish, 2-15, but a nice start. I rebaited and moved to a "swim five" just downstream whereupon I was bother by a young swan, attracted to my bait (some bits fo bread stayed floating). The swan seemed keen to settle directly in front of me, until I gave it a quick nudge with the landing net handle and it retreated downstream. Like all fisherman, I am rather anti-swan.
A re-bait of swims one to three, then back to swim four. Another take first cast and again the fish ran to the snag below my feet, faster than I could bully it upstream and away. This seemed a better fish, but as I heaved it slowly out of the snag, the hook gave way. Probably ruined this spot for a while, so time for a wander round and another visit to swim five, where I had one bit, which I missed. Back to swim four and a bite second cast. But again the chub made for the same snag. It looked a bigger fish but again the hook pulled loose as I heaved it out.

I will really have to have a think about this swim some more. One solution would be to fish with slightly heavier tackle - maybe the stepped-up Avon rod with 10lb line. Then I could perhaps haul the fish upstream quicker. At the moment, the two lost fish do not bode well should I hook a 5lber or a barbelBut then disaster strikes. I caught my landing net on the ground and the point where the net joins the pole sheered off completely leaving me with no way to re-attach the net to the pole. I did wonder about whether I could really fish on with this, as the chances of landing a fish would not be great. But I thought I would have at least a couple of casts into the prepared swims, starting with Swim two, the most chubby of the three.

Bait now was a hair-rigged piece of hot dog sausage. My plan was to basically cast this and leave it for 30 mins or so. But maybe five minutes later, a good take and what was clearly a chub made for the lower snag. I was able to turn it ok and bring it upstream, but the landing net problem was worse than I thought. In the end, with the chub under my rod tip, I had to lie down flat on the bank and reach down with just the net, scooping the fish up from about the maximum I could reach. Clearly landing a barbel would be impossible.

A rather nice Thames chub, 4-04

I did return briefly to swim four with no further bites, but there seemed little point trying swims one to three again, as I probably couldn't land another fish that way as it got fully dark. So an early finish to the day.

I have ordered a new net and a bag to store it in, and while I was out, a huge order of bait arrived today - mainly barbel pellets and various oil additives. Gearing up for my planned splurge in March when I plan to fish as many days as possible - target is 10 trips in 14 days, with a view to getting some barbel.

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