Flamin’ June: The Doc Spot
Paul Garner quite likes June, but this year it didn’t like him – although his fortunes changed somewhat with a return to the river right at the end of the month
I quite like June, but for some reason this year June didn’t like me! Two car breakdowns, a minor car accident and an old email account being hacked meant that my plan of having a serious crack at catching a big tench were completed scuppered before they had even begun.
In fact, my planned Kent tench campaign consisted of eight hours of fishing in early May! Still, I will be back, hopefully with no distractions in 2014, and I also plan to spend some time on the two Kent lakes this winter just mapping them out and getting more of a feel for them before the weed starts to come up. Fortunately, there is always next year!
I did manage a little bit of tench fishing though and spent a couple of two-night trips on the St. Ives complex in Cambridgeshire. These were slotted in around being on the bank over that way shooting features, so the planning could have been a little better, but the aim was to fish areas that had previous form and hope. Not a great strategy, but sometimes it is the best you can do.
As it turned out, the tench were not behaving normally, probably a result of the exceptionally cold spring and the lack of weed growth and I failed to even see one roll, let alone catch one.
Something that did go to plan was a trip up to Northumberland, a birthday trip for my wife, who wanted to visit the Farne Islands to see some puffins. We had a brilliant trip, and saw absolutely tons of wildlife and a part of the country that neither of us had ever visited before. The puffins really did steal the show though, they are such posers, and would happily perform for the tourists. We are hardly what you would call bird watchers, but we have done pretty well over the years, particularly when holidaying in Scotland, and next on my hit-list is an osprey. I’ve been on the water a couple of times when they have been in the area, but have always missed seeing them. Hopefully this year.
I tend to give river fishing a miss for the first couple of weeks of the season as it is usually quite busy and the barbel and chub are a bit the worse for wear, but this season I have another little plan that I am working on, which will see me targeting other species on the river during the summer.
As regular readers will know I do like my lure fishing and it occurred to me a while ago that one of the reasons why lure fishing has struggled to catch on in the UK is because we bank fish, with boat ownership very much the exception rather than the rule (compared to predator anglers in Europe or the States) and, as such, our tactics need to be tailored accordingly.
Many lures and methods are really designed for boat fishing and if you use them from the bank tackle losses can be unacceptably high. This led me to want to spend this summer experimenting with cutting lure losses as much as possible and, of course, catching some fish along the way. Hopefully this will result in a big zander or two from the lower Severn, time will tell.
So far results have been very encouraging. My local Warwickshire Avon is a great lure fishing river with lots of perch, small pike and the odd zander, so for short experimental trips it has been ideal. Each trip is normally just a couple of hours after tea, but a handful of pike can normally be banked, along with a few bonus species too. It is still very early days, but I’m making steady progress, and will hopefully be able to report back in more detail in a few months’ time.
On 30th June I finally relented and decided to have a couple of hours’ barbel fishing. Once again, this was going to be a short 7 to 10 evening trip on a stretch I’ve fished a few times before. Why oh why do anglers fish during the middle of the day? I just don’t understand why anyone would want to get sunburnt and catch bugger all when a couple of hours at the right time of the day will see action almost guaranteed. So it was that I met the last of a group of dejected anglers in the car park as I arrived; they had caught a couple of small chub but that was it.
I slotted into a nice comfortable swim and whilst I stripped off the rigs that were still on the rods from last winter, I catapulted a few 10mm pellets and a bit of hemp down the central boat channel. With the rods set up with Fisky feeders, 5ft fluorocarbon hooklinks and a couple of 10mm pellets it was time to sit back and chill out. I didn’t have to wait long, the rod cast downstream bucked once and then pulled around about 3 ft. As I leant forward the rod butt came up to meet me...I guess it was a barbel then!
A couple of minutes later a nice 9-pounder went into the net, the first of a trio of barbel and six chub caught in less than three hours.
It was good to be back!
By the Same Author
- Roach and Reflections: The Doc Spot
- Grayling, Zander and Pike: The Doc Spot
- A Hard Month: The Doc Spot
- Reservoir Ramblings: The Doc Spot
- Back on the Big Ponds: The Doc Spot
- Planning for Big Barbel: The Doc Spot
- Opportunity Knocks: The Doc Spot
- Flamin’ June: The Doc Spot
- Carp of all Sizes: The Doc Spot
- Roach, Crucians, Carp and Tench: The Doc Spot