Anglers Mail today claims that a record chub has been caught at 9-05. Inspired by this, I have reverted to my traditional chubbing tactics for today's Thames trip rather than the hybrid chub/barbel strategies that I have been using the last few trips.
And the result? One small dace of about 3 inches, that somehow managed to hook itself on my six 6 hook, while being too small to actually indicate a bite, and a modest chub that might just have made 3lbs. Not at all sure why things worked out so badly, as conditions looked really good. Yesterday's rain will have made little difference, but it was a grey and overcast day, the river was quite warm (42F), it looked perfect. I baited about half a dozen swims with a mashed bread and hemp mix, fishing crust, but couldn't get a bite for hours. Not a touch in spot after spot that I'd had loads of chub in recently. How could every swim be quiet? The chub I did catch came at around 7:30pm, when I had just about had enough. I did notice that there was a lot of fry activity tonight, for the first time. Maybe they were out because the chub weren't. All very odd.
A 9-05 chub is a ridiculous idea. Not that many years back, I was really pleased to catch a 4lber, then I gradually started to get some 5's, and in the last year or so the number of 5s I've had has really sky rocketted. I have caught one 6 lber, and that was in the mid 1990s from the Hampshire Avon, a fluke catch I always think as I was roach fishing at the time. My current goal is a 6lb fish from the Thames and I have come close this year with one of 5-10. A 7lb fish seems miles away, but you never know with the Thames.
I have maybe 5 or 6 more trips planned before the end of the season. Maybe I can get one full day out - perhaps next Tuesday - and travel a bit further and fish somewhere where I might have a chance of a barbel. It hasn't taken me long to think that a Thames barbel is a really tough proposition.