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Pilgrim's Progress

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Pilgrim's Progress Pilgrim's Progress

Following a run of five fishless sessions I wouldn't quite describe myself as desperate, but I felt like it would be nice if I could actually see what a fish looked like again!" - Stewart Bloor

The Reverend Stewart Bloor, perhaps better known as Sedge in the pages of FISHINGmagic, is an ordained Minister and Director of the Sedgley International Christian Ministries.

He is also a very keen angler, having come back to the sport in 1995 following a break of several years. In this regular column he will tell us about his progress as an angler - his thoughts about the sport, what he learns, the fishing trips he makes, the anguish, the humour, in fact everything he experiences as his angling career develops.

THE DOVE IS EASY, BUT THE SEVERN PLAYS HARD TO GET

Following a run of five fishless sessions I wouldn't quite describe myself as desperate, but I felt like it would be nice if I could actually see what a fish looked like again! With that in mind I set off for another session on the Dove in pursuit of barbel. One of my aforementioned fish-free trips had included one on the Dove, although in fairness to both the river, and myself, I had hooked two fish. However, both were lost due to freak incidents with tackle letting me down.


A very welcome 7lb fish that ended a run of five blanks
But that was then, this was now.

The 'easy' Dove - Low and clear

On arrival at the river's edge I was not surprised to discover that it was very low and clear, due to the extended dry period we were in at that time. In fact I had never seen the Dove so low in all the three seasons I have been fishing it. When the sun shone brightly through the odd clouds that obscured it, combined with my polarised sunglasses, I was able to clearly see way across the river.

However, I was not deterred. I have come to expect the Dove to produce when conditions suggest otherwise. Taking a water temperature reading of 16, I was actually very positive that this session would not be number six as far as blanking was concerned. And that was the case, when within half an hour, the rod on the far bank came to life. A barbel had taken the boilie, no doubt attracted by the pellets that the PVA bag had deposited around it.

At 7-7-8, the fish couldn't be described as a monster, but it was nice to be back amongst the fish again. It almost became two in quick succession when a moment or two later, I pulled out of another barbel. As the afternoon wore on I heard a fish crash in the next swim. Looking, as you do, almost instinctively, I was then greeted by the sight of another barbel clearing the water. It was just like a dolphin show, the fish cleared the water by a good 15 cm.


A PVA bag is an effective way of placing bait
I had to be up early the next morning for a work related meeting and so intended to fish no later than 10.00 p.m. This is one good thing about autumn, the nights drawing in mean you can get a few hours of into-dark fishing, and yet still be home at a reasonable hour. At the height of summer, the same equivalent approach means you don't pack up until the early hours!

Subduing the monster

And so with it being well and truly dark my rod bent over at such an angle I feared for its safety! Striking, I could barely apply enough pressure to stop the fish from reaching the safety of snags. But even though it initially seemed like a battle that I would not win, miraculously I somehow managed to subdue the monster that was at the other end of my line. But even at the net it wouldn't surrender easily and made several lunges for freedom before finally conceding defeat.

An obvious double, I was particularly happy to see it not only register in the 10lb bracket, but to go one better and clear the 11 barrier - 11lb 1oz to be precise. By now it was time to go home. And with it still being fairly early, as far as the night was concerned, what better way to celebrate than with a super size Mcdonald's milkshake on the way home! I do know how to celebrate in style, don't I!

Onto the Lower Severn


When darkness fell, the 11lb fish came out to play!
It had been three weeks since I was last on the lower Severn, and once more the river was beckoning me. By now there had been some heavy rain, and I was expecting to find the river up and running. However, apart from a bit of colour, it was no more than the level it had been all summer. I was fishing a new section; one that I had my eye on previously but had never fished.

Making my way to the platform positioned at the water's edge I was greeted with a whole load of angler's rubbish that had been left by the previous occupant of the peg: luncheon meat cans, sweetcorn can, crisp papers, etc. I know it's a society problem, but it certainly doesn't do us any good does it? It doesn't exactly help the image of angling and will only work against us. Why, oh why, do people have to behave like this? What's the matter with them?

But perhaps even sadder than finding the litter was the encounter I had later that evening with one of the club officials who happened to be visiting the stretch. I told him about the litter and expressed my belief that anglers who behave like that, when found out, should be expelled from the club. He replied that the club needed the money and didn't like to confront the problem in case it meant lost revenue, and that they would sooner go round the venue and pick up litter. I couldn't believe what I was hearing!


A disgraceful sight - the angler's litter on the Lower Severn
The session itself ended as a blank, however, it was visit number thirteen to the lower Severn this season! I've caught just eleven barbel so far, averaging out at less than one per session. But now that we are entering autumn proper, it's definitely time for the big boys to put in an appearance; so hopefully in the next few months I'll have something good to declare as far as the lower Severn is concerned. However, I shouldn't be too hard on the river up to date, it has yielded a fish of 13lb 11oz already this season to me! And that's not a bad fish at any time of the year!Lower Severn barbel results table

River Dove barbel results table

Dove Sessions: 6

Weight of fishHow many caught
11lb +2
10lb +1
9lb +1
8lb +2
7lb +1
6lb +1

Lower Severn Sessions: 13

Weight of fishHow many caught
13lb +1
12lb +0
11lb +0
10lb +0
9lb +1
8lb +2
7lb +4
6lb +1
5lb +1
Under 5lb1

Do you find that time has a habit of flying by? I do. Certainly, the saying 'time waits for no man' was composed by someone who knew what they were talking about.

I've recently paid a visit to the River Trent and when I thought about it, I realised it had been thirty years since my last visit! Hence the title of next week's Pilgrim's Progress 'BACK ON THE TRENT - AFTER THIRTY YEARS!'

To find out how I got on, check out FISHINGmagic next Thursday. See you then.

The Reverend Stewart R Bloor
Sedgley International Christian Ministries
PO Box 1216, Dudley. DY3 1GW.
Telephone : 01384 - 828033
Web site : www.sicm.org
e-mail : missionscentre@sicm.org

Pilgrim's Progress - read it every Thursday!







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