Well that's my week gone! I've not bothered blogging - but have kept detailed records in a notebook; as events unfolded. My previous blog entry seems as far away, from reality, as is possible. The barbel of the R. Stour have beaten me - I'm simply not able to invest enough time into their pursuit. I no longer have that single-minded, obsessional, mind-set that was once part of my approach. I spent four nights, in three different swims, for absolutely no return.
I am confident enough, in my ability, that I will catch them if they are present, but when they are nomadic individuals (not shoal fish) my tactics have involved setting a trap. I lay down a bed of particles with a hook bait positioned in the centre, and await my visitors. Twice, in 2014, I've been exceptionally fortunate to have two (very large) barbel discover my banquet and subsequently end up in the folds of my landing net. As for the rest of my sessions? Eels - party poopers!! They have nothing to recommend them, although I have to respect the fact that they are native to The Stour whilst my quarry is an, recently, introduced alien. Can't have it both ways?
|Sandwich Coarse Fishery - 17 lbs 4 oz|
A short, fat, incredibly, thick-set, fish - most welcomed
Yes; I have been exceptionally lucky to have intercepted some very large barbel, but my life is far too complex to allow a return to those, crazy, obsessional, times of my past. Fishing now has to fit into my life - family life doesn't revolve around my fishing. For anyone, with unlimited time or zero commitments, (un-employed social scroungers) the river offers the potential to produce a barbel of a huge size - it's all about location. Find these nomadic individuals and get a bait to them - "barbel are not difficult fish to catch" (That's a quote from Lawrence Breakspear) I simply don't feel that I'm able to give to project enough focus to ensure the best return for my efforts - I am happy to walk away, without any regrets, knowing that I couldn't have done any more, given my level of time and ability. It's not the last time I'll fish the river, but I can't ever see that there will be the need for me to chase these fish - when I go back it will be on my terms!
So I was on the brink of despair - there was just no way could I face a fifth night beside the river. I needed to bend a rod and the commercial fisheries came to my rescue. I took Emily across to Sandwich Coarse Fishery, on Wednesday morning, and was able to secure a couple of night sessions on the venue. I'd only ever fished it for perch previously - Kevin was superb - he suggested the swims to look at.
I used my barbel rods, on that first night, coupled with my ABU Cardinal 66X's, taking three carp to 17 lbs 4 oz - such a relief to bend a rod again!
|My swim at Sandwich Coarse Fishery - I look like an advert for "Dragon Carp!"|
That CK "Stakeout MK II" is perfect for this type of short session
Back again the next night, I took another four carp - to 16 lbs 12 oz - but this time using centre-pins on my tench rods. The whole commercial fishery thing is, for me, about recharging my batteries. Four doubles in two trips - stuff that has to be taken in context. I've not become a better angler. overnight, but used the venue to rekindle a bit of confidence and enthusiasm.
|If it's not about the size; then it has got to be about enjoyment?|
Two centre-pins on my tench rods - snag-ears and home-made indicators.
I'd spoken to Gadget, about getting across to Longshaw Farm for an afternoon session - on Friday. He's still not back to 100% - but he just wanted to get back fishing. It was a short session, less than four hours, but we both enjoyed ourselves - Gadget was happy to get away from the mundane waiting for an "all - clear" - before he's allowed to drive again. I managed to winkle out a 12 lbs 2 oz Common; which was my fifth double in three trips - happy daze!
|Long Shaw Farm - 12 lbs 2 oz (Five doubles in three days!)|
|Gadget - just happy to be back outdoors!|
This one was about 8/9 lbs - for the first session since a stroke - job done!
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