WELCOME to our Friday blog. Every Friday we hand over to Carl and Alex Smith – known online as simply Carl & Alex. These super keen youngsters have a passion for making a variety of fishing videos, and provide a youth dimension to our new blogging mix.
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SMALL RIVER BARBEL AND CHUB
LAST Saturday I spent most of my day filming and editing short “how to” videos for our new website I’m working on… But come Sunday I was itching to get on the bank.
Alex was out with a friend so I thought I would spend a few hours by my local Sussex Ouse. We were originally going to fish the Thames with a friend we met back in the summer but, due to all this rain we have had lately, it was pretty full and we had to postpone for another time!
Dad dropped me off by the river around mid-day; I took a glance over the bridge and noticed that the water had dropped considerably. I also noticed there was an angler in the weirpool which was where I originally wanted to fish. “Oh well,” I muttered to myself, there are plenty of chub downstream.
I carried my gear to the first swim after the pool. I have caught numerous chub from here, including my PB, so when I was biteless an hour later I was a little confused!
A switch of swim and bait resulted in a pristine little chub. It seemed that the pellet would not catch a thing but the Bait-Tech Polony was getting bite on every cast! I put this down to the Polony being the stinkiest meat I’ve ever used. Far softer and smellier than spam.
Two chub later, the bites started to dry up. I texted my friend and asked him what he would do in my situation. He reminded me of a swim I had discovered last year. “Ah yes, I’ll go there now,” was my reply.
I set up my chair a little way back from the water and unzipped my bag. I planned to feed little and often for half an hour, then eat my lunch and once I was full, cast out! My feed was mainly hempseed but I had added some 3mm pellets and squirted some Fish Frenzy Injuicer over it to add attraction. I personally think that smell is the most important factor when it comes to bait in a coloured river. When the river is murky I normally use a bigger bait, but in this particular swim I used a trimmed down 10mm pellet and then wrapped it in some halibut pellet paste. Once I had cast out, the paste gradually dissolved and pieces drifted down river.
I had only had my bait in the water for around a minute when the tip whizzed round and line was pulled from my reel. I grabbed the rod and pulled back but felt nothing whatsoever. Strange, I thought but decided to cast to the other side of the swim incase I had spooked the barbel. This time round I was ready, eyes glued to the rod tip. Bam! The classic three foot twitch nearly had my rod in the river! I held on for dear life and gradually gained a little line before the fish turned and disappeared under the far bank snags.
This is why I was using 15lb mainline and 12lb hooklink. The fish made run after run, everytime heading further downstream. I saw the fish’s tail flap over on the surface 7 yards downstream so I put my hand to the spool to slow it down. Eventually I stopped the fish. Luckily it decided to swim back up towards me where I scooped it up in my net.
Yes! Yes! Yes! I was jumping up and down with joy until I noticed the group of people standing behind me. “Oh hi,” I said. They were quite impressed by the size of the fish and one woman even said she thought it was a freshwater shark. I explained it was a barbel and that I had to rest it in the water so it could regain its strength.
Once they had walked on, I lifted it out and quickly weighed and photographed it. My barbel went 8lb and 8oz and was definitely a different fish to the 8lb barbel my friend had caught from the same spot last year.
As it swam off I was incredibly pleased and decided it was time to return to the now empty weirpool until dusk. I didn’t even have a bite but did get a shock when a tractor, which had been clearing the muddy road with water, drove across the bridge getting me, my phone, my camera and all my gear absolutely soaked!! When I arrived home all of it went in the airing cupboard to dry out. My camera still works as does my phone, well at least it does now as I type this on my way to college.
It was an eventful few days as, on returning to the same river on Tuesday, I had a dog eat a whole tin of my Polony meat…..
I had to fish the rest of the session with my pellet hookbaits but still somehow managed this PB chub of 5lb 8oz. And before you say, “Doesn’t look it,” I also thought it was going to be a good 4 but was quite surprised when on the scales it went 5lb 8oz. It was however a very muscly, broad fish which fought like a barbel at first!
NEW VIDEO NOW LIVE! Check out the video below about a session I did a couple of weeks back where my mate Michael and I both get a bite at the same time!
Tight lines to you all this week. Here’s hoping the weather gets a little better. If it stays this chilly, I might be getting out my pike gear soon!
>>> MORE TO WATCH!! If you want to see more of the lads’ videos for free, now, just browse the Carl & Alex channel in this website’s new TV player.
CARL & ALEX’S NEXT BLOG WILL APPEAR ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26.
MONDAY: Carp crews on rotation – Korda, Fox, Nash and ACE.
TUESDAY: Steve Collett, Mail contributor and ultimate all-rounder.
WEDNESDAY: Angler’s Mail HQ – yes, us!
THURSDAY: Specialists from Pike Anglers Club, Korum, Marukyu and Pallatrax, on rotation
FRIDAY: Carl & Alex, Angler’s Mail juniors and video diary makers.
SATURDAY: The Angling Trust – guys at the governing body.
SUNDAY: Colin Mitchell, veteran coarse angler and top journalist