Fish…At Last!

Written by Top Imitator on . Posted in Articles

When I left you last time I had just enjoyed my first session of the new river season, albeit the result was a blank in terrific company on an occasion when, for once, the social was more important than the actual result.

My second trip of the new term came as a consequence of one of my regular fish spotting sorties along a local river where I stumbled upon a group of four or five decent chub sunning themselves over some gravel shallows at the back of a trailing willow. I use the term ‘decent’ in a relative sense here as the average size of chub in what is little more than an overgrown stream is usually around the 3lb mark – and, with the exception of a single ‘runt’ in the shoal, these all looked to be 5lb plus.

A few handfuls of crumbed boilies to the head of the swim not only didn’t spook the fish but soon had them taking bait on the drop and ripping up the gravel looking for more – I just had to pop back with a rod for an hour after work the following evening.

As well as a rod I also ended up bring my son, Liam, whose eyes had lit up when I mentioned the size of the fish as a 5lb plus fish would be a new PB for him. The only problem was that the ‘swim’ as such was only big enough for one and I reckoned it would end up being me taking the back seat…

As far as tackle goes it was a real dilemma; there was weed, reed and a bit of underwater structure in a very tight gap but in normal circumstances I’d be happy to plop out a light link leger with 4lb line knowing I would easily be able to deal with any of the chub I had seen. The dilemma came with the knowledge that the swim often held a couple of very big barbel, and I mean 15lb plus very big, hence the reason I was fish spotting there in the first place…

Should we tackle up with the right gear to catch the chub and risk losing a very big barbel, or go in on barbel gear and make the chub fishing hard work?

In the end I just couldn’t ignore the fact that there could be a huge barbel on the cards and we set up barbel tackle, knowing it would make the chub so much harder to catch in what was gin clear water just a few inches deep. The plan was for Liam and I to take it in turns to fish the swim, swapping over after each fish, and as the senior partner I was in the hot seat first!

The chub were still there and just as keen to break cover for a handful of broken boilies but as soon as I dropped a baited feeder rig out the swim went strangely quiet. With time and a bucket of maggots it would have been relatively straightforward but on a quick hit session we didn’t have that luxury. It took a few feeder loads of fishmeal groundbait laced with crumbed boilies to get their confidence back and, surprise, surprise the fish that broke cover first was the runt and yours truly ended up with the only 3lb chub in a shoal of otherwise 5lb plus fish…

It was always going to take a little while to get the confidence of the rest of the shoal back and the one hour session did, in fact, become a three hour one as we couldn’t possibly leave until we had caught them all – it would be rude. So it was that we returned at 9pm as opposed to 7pm but Liam had banked his first 5lb chub at 5lb 2oz and I had caught my first couple of fish of the season – I’m still looking for the barbel that should be hanging around the same area though…






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