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Tom Baird

48 hrs on the Trent

So yes, I went to Nottingham on the River Trent to do some Barbel fishing. Me and my Son Harry left Sunday morning and made our way to the fishing venue for the next couple of days. My friend Greg and his Daughter Sara came along too. To be honest it was Greg’s idea and invited me and Harry to fish. Greg is what I would say a connoisseur of Barbel fishing and belongs to the Barbel Team PL/UK.

We get to the venue at around 16:30 and find our spot we are going to fish. The water was lovely and near where the Trent’s PB was caught a few weeks ago (20lb 6oz). So, outcome the Barbel Whychwoods 1.75 test curve with GR60 15lb line on them. Greg was teaching me all the tactics and showed me what type of rig I needed to set up etc. Come 19:00 we are Barbel fishing and I was bursting with excitement.

So, the first night, would you believe it no Barbel. Plenty of Chub and Bream, but no Barbel. Now it’s a weird one really. I’m used to when a fish is on, the alarm going constantly. Nope not on the Trent lol. One beep on the alarm, means you have a Chub or Bream. If the reel screams off, then more than likely you have a Barbel. Took some getting used to. Morning came and so did the breakfast. Nothing like a bacon and sausage roll and a tea. Harry even asked for seconds lol, which obviously I cooked.

During the day we took the rods out and enjoyed a bit of float fishing with the kiddies, we were catching all sorts. Chub, Perch, Dace and a Gudgeon to top it off. Never caught a Gudgeon before, so that was a treat. The kids were loving standing in the river while catching fish, I think even me and Greg were feeling just as happy, seeing them loving it. There were a lot of cows where we were and they made sure we knew they were there lol. But it’s their field and we have to respect that, plus we didn’t want to aggravate them, or we would have a scene out of city slickers (If you have never seen it, watch it).

We had a lovely steak with all the trimmings for dinner and had a chill, before casting out again. Moving into the evening still loads of Chub and some really good sizes. Smashing my PB several times. Harry and Sara were also loving these amazing Chub. We got our heads down by 23:00 and was ready for a busy night. 12:00 Greg had a Bream, got to love a snotty. Especially when it’s not on your line lol (poor Greg).

02:15 my alarm beeped, I rushed out of the bivvy and whoop straight onto my back. Now this is the first time I have ever felt old. 20 years ago, I would have been fine, but this time I felt every part of my body in pain (what an old man). Slowly getting up I reeled in and it was a 5lb Chub, so was happy with that. I had three chubs during the night and was happy with that. So, in the end we ended up Chub fishing and had no Barbel, that’s the name of the game. But we had an amazing time and made lots of memories. A big thanks to Greg for a great trip.

Categories
Bailey Payne

Migraine Woes

My Saturday morning didn’t start as I wanted it too, after a week of prep and getting ready for Fishing a new stretch of the Chelmer with some good Chub in, waking up with a migraine is not what I wanted. Having to call off my early morning start to try and get a bit more rest.

After waking up around 10:30 and feeling good, I couldn’t resist but get an hour or so out on a River just to catch a Fish, so I headed 10 minutes down the road to the Wid, a River full of small Chub which should be happy to give me some good sport! It was also a nice chance to Christen my new Advanta River Ambush 5.5 ft Rod. I was hoping to test its paces with some nice big Chub, however this would have to do for now.

The perks of this new small Rod is I can drive with it already setup and ready to go, all I done when I got to the River as attached a very light flat weight and put a cube of meat on the hook.

For an hour session the Chub where more than happy to play ball with me, only after waiting a few minutes the tip tore round, great to see the small chub put up such a good fight and provide some good sport. It then didn’t take me long to add a second who again took a nice cube of meat with an aggressive bite. I was really happy with the action and feel of the Rod, will be interesting to handle big Chub on it too!

It went a bit quiet after this quick two Fish, adding a bigger cube and casting a bit further into the bend of the River, nicely placed between two over hanging trees. It wasn’t long before the feature Image Chub showed up, with another aggressive bite, wanting to pull the Rod in! After a nice little scrap he was netted, maybe the biggest Chub I’ve had from this particular stretch of the Wid. Although still a small Chub. These 3 Fish provided me with a nice hours Fishing, and just the ability to get out, not sure how much it helped my migraine though!

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Bailey Payne

My River Roding Curse!

Today (Sat 4th July 2020), marked my first early start for a while, arriving at my club River for the first time this season at an early 8am. I decided to Fish a stretch I haven’t yet, haven’t even walked this stretch before. After rain last night and a bit during the week I was hopefuly I’d catch the River at the right time, and it looked good, still had a bit of colour and had good depth. The worrying thing about fishing a stretch of Essex River for the first time is how overgrown is it going to be, am I going to be able to Fish it?

The first spot I decided to Fish looked good, it was just the entry to a small weir pool, although I’m not sure how I’d manage to Fish the weir pool, I can Fish just before the River runs into it, there were some nice reeds so I thought it was worth a shot. I used my normal aim towards River Chub Fishing, blended bread in a cage feeder with breadflake on the hook. My instincts were repaid quickly, missing a very soft bite after a few minutes, I rebaited, recast and waited with anticpation. However, it went quiet for a bit. Always in these moments you wonder if you lost the chance and should move on, that is until a few little knocks, which eventually turned into a forceful bite came along, after a good little scrap I managed to land the featured Chub, no record breaker, but a beautiful condition Fish one I was very happy to catch.

Now, my River Roding curse came back, It seems I am only ever able to catch one Fish from this River each session, I’m happy I don’t blank, but would love to be able to get a few more! My task now was to try and break my curse! I walked down and found some amazing looking swims, which must have been home to a few Chub

But frustratingly, this is where it ended for me, I had a few more knocks, and missed another bite which still baffles me when I think about it! However, for a quick morning session, all I was looking for was to catch, but, my curse continues…

Categories
Bailey Payne

River Wid – Unexpected Catches

At the end of my previous post “Exploration of the Wid”, I wondered what different species I could catch from the Wid and the size of them. A few trips will be crammed into this post, as I done some quick evening sessions with different setups.

Tactic #1 – Bread Flake

My first tactic is what I think is the best way to catch Chub, Bread. Buying a cheap loaf of Bread from Asda for 60p was all I needed for this session. I saved 2/3 slices for hookbait and the rest got some treatment from the blender to create some liquidised bread. I used a simple link ledger rig and decided to hand feed the balls of bread. The first spot I wanted to fish had some dog walkers sitting by it, so decided just to fish close by ready to jump in to claim the spot when they left. The first spot, wasn’t very deep, so didn’t expect any monsters, although while on my walks I did spot some maybe half a pound Chub which I thought could provide some good sport. It didn’t take long before I was getting notifications, although looking back, I think this was the sheer amount of small fish pecking at the bread flake, eventually, a Chublet managed to get in before the smaller fish and take the bread. This fish was only small, but was a good way to spend the time while waiting for the dog walkers to move on. Finally being able to get to the spot I had my eyes on, I had to decide what feature to fish first, it had a lovely over hanging tree and a bit of an undercut bank so was spoiled for choice! I first tried the over hanging tree, and weirdly the pecks from the small fish had stopped, but after a while and only a missed bite I decided to try the undercut bank and from a bit of luck I managed to drop the bread flake on top of a Chub’s nose, and he took it on the drop, providing the best fish I’ve caught from this stretch of the Wid on date of posting. This fish is the featured image Fish.

I then moved to another spot I saw which looked fantastic, as the River was bending and loads of reeds. I chose to stay in this spot a bit longer to see the evening out. It provided me two quick Chublets and then it went a bit quieter, and I was getting very weird bites, each one leading to being snagged. Eventually I managed to catch the culprit of these weird bites! It was a good size Crayfish! The Crayfish must have moved in after they got wind of the bed of blended bread on the bottom of the River, a first for me catching a Crayfish, the hook somehow managed to stay in its claw!

Tactic #2 – Float & Maggot

My next method is also as simple as it can get, I used one of my homemade Pole Floats, a number 10 shot and then a small hook length with single maggot on the hook. I planned on just Fishing the one spot to build up the fish feeding and just catch anything that came my way.

This method provided constant bites, and reminded me of my childhood Fishing experiences, just catching anything no matter what the Size, and it was a good hour or so, catching loads of Fish. I probably caught over 30 Minnows on this session, some of them with beautiful little colours, they’re a fish not targetted a lot, but do have some beauitful colours, my girlfriend also quite enjoyed catching them! The Species I was able to rack up using this method are; Minnows, Roach, Dace (My first and PB) and Rudd (Not photographed) – I was disappointed not to see any little Perch as I was expecting at least one. However, it was a good session with a lot of Fish.

Overall, I’ve loved the evening sessions I’ve had on this River and with it being so local and full of Fish it is definetly one I will see myself going back to often. And hopefully I can find some bigger Chub there too!

Categories
Bailey Payne

Exploration of the Wid

During the close season of the Rivers, I wanted to prepare and explore some new local Rivers I haven’t fished before to try and find maybe a hidden gem in possibly ignored Essex waterways. Now a lot of you may say, the River Wid isn’t an ignored Essex River, infact it’s quite well known. That’s true, at least the stretches around Writtle and Chelmsford are more well known. However, I was scouting a small stretch just behind Billericay. Which from what I found while searching the web, hasn’t got a lot of info about it.

On Arrival it was a typical small, overgrown Essex River, in the Essex spring time it wasn’t showing many of it’s secret spots to fish, unnaccesable from the lush foliage. It weaved around, fast shallow patches followed by slower, deeper looking areas. The River on my first walk around was quite clear and a bit lower than I expect it would normally be, but took this as a good opportunity to see some of the fish clearer.

Whenever I scout a new River I like to bring a few slices of bread, in the close season the Chub aren’t shy about showing themselves to enhale some free offerings of Asda special bread. Looking down on the River from a small seemingly unstable wooden bridge, I decided to drop a few flakes of bread to see if there was any interest. Straight away the offerings of bread were darting around from small Chub, Roach and I guess the odd Minnow grabbing and trying to quickly swim off before being chased by the rest of the pack. I thought it was a good sign to see so many juvenile Fish.

After a few minutes of feeding these, soon their bigger brothers started to show, after some confidence was built I assume. The Chub I was seeing weren’t monsters, however, they would definetly provide some good sport come the Rivers opening.

Walking the River only showed more the sheer amount of Chublets around 1-5oz, feeding them and seeing the frenzy of a flake of bread hitting the surface was good fun, and it was reassuring seeing a bigger Chub appear inbetween demanding a flake of bread from the surface. The stretch of the River I walked only had a handful of fishable swims, unless I decided to battle past the stinging nettles. I was confident from this walk I could get good sport from this River, from the smaller Chublets, but also the chance of some of the bigger Chub I saw.

A few questions were left from my visit of the Wid, How many big Chub was there? Could I battle through these Chublets for some bigger Fish? How many Species could I catch from here? The answers to these? Will be found out soon…