The pursuit of a Thames barbel goes on. Armed with loads of hemp, sweetcorn, two types of meat and some boilies, it is back to the stretch a few miles from home that I have been focusing on these last few weeks. Six swims are baited, with a plan to fish sweetcorn till just before dark, then meat baits for the next couple of hours.
In my first swim, the "inside crease" from previous blogs, I manage a small pike. This attacks my bait as I am winding in and is then persuaded to take a piece of spam. I was rather surprised that it didn't bite through the line, but was hooked in the scissors and just avoided the sharpest teeth. Weighed just over 7lbs and was perhaps the reason I had not had so much as a touch when fishing corn before that.
The local crayfish fisherman was about laying some traps for the first time on a few weeks. I have discovered his name is Bernie and he knows my wife - his wife is one of my wife's customers. When he was down here the other day, he saw a nice 5lb chub come out of the swim he had just set his traps in.
My next spot was to fish the swim where I had the two bite offs the other day. Given today's events, I was a little more convinced that a pike might be to blame. First cast I had a really good bite which I missed (but which didn't bite me off). Second cast I hooked a fish and soon landed a nice chub, avoiding the snags in the raft and under my own bank. I had thought it was probably a high 3lber and wasn't going to weigh it, but it just had a bit more thickness about it and turned out to weight 4-04. So perhaps it was a chub that bit me off before.
By now the rain that had started about an hour after my arrival had grown a bit heavier - not enough to dissuade me from carrying on though. Hopefully it will rain for a few days and perk the rivers up for my binge of fishing planned for next week.
Just before dark I was back at the swim where I had the pike and took a chub of 3-15 first cast. Though I stuck it out another hour or so, no more bites occured.
One effect of the rain was that the walk back to the car was quite tricky. It usual takes about 20 minutes, but the path had become a slippy quagmire and tonight it took nearer 30. I fell over once trying to walk up a muddy slope, and the last hundred yards by the river were very nasty. You really don't want to fall in a winter river in the dark. If only I could persuade Bernie to let me drive my land rover down through the farm and park in the actual field where I fish - what luxury that would be.