Angling Blog 12th March 2015

Thu 12 March 15


That’s it then for another three months; no more river fishing as the season comes to an end, and by the glorious 16th, I’ll be champing at the bit ready to get out on the river banks once more…

A final river session for me this week, and a trip to the beautiful Derbyshire Derwent, on the outskirts of Derby, courtesy of The Earl of Harrington’s Angling Club which control a good few miles of prime river fishing. Over the past few weeks, the river has been throwing up double figure barbel like clockwork, and after seeing club star Mark Harrison post pictures of his four doubles in the last week, I felt the urge to visit the river in the same area around Borrowash where The Earl’s Derwent has it’s downstream boundary. I hoped for a barbel or two, especially a big double, but was more than content just to be able to sit out in the spring sunshine and enjoy a day by this stunning river.

A two rod set up was the order of the day, so my pair of trusty Sonik SK3 twin tips are just the thing for this river, offering both sensitivity and plenty of grunt if needed. Twinned with a 6000 series reel and with 8lb line straight through, I felt able to tame anything which fancied a fight in relatively snag free waters… relatively snag free…. I’m always indecisive (well, nearly always) so often set up with two completely different rigs to hedge my bets so to speak. My first rod was a purely barbel affair, a 2oz feeder packed with pellet groundbait and laced with dead maggot was fished on a short paternoster, then the hooklink was baited with a Mainline Baits Hybrid wafter, which would hopefully offer a little bit of visual movement in the flow to catch the eye of nearby barbel and a tiny bag of pellets was just nicked onto the size 8 Vardis ‘Classic Boilie’ hook for even more attraction.

The second rod was to be fished with maggots on the hook and in the feeder; a slightly lighter set up with a 4lb hooklink and size 16 hook was fired out tight to the far bank trees, and left to settle in the flow. I hoped to pick up a grayling, chub or perch on this rod, so expected action fairly quickly. I knew Mark had been catching his barbel on maggots, so I was hopeful I’d hit something as all bases were covered! By this time, the clouds had burned away leaving warm sunshine and a gentle breeze; not ideal weather, but I only have limited time on the bank, so had to make do!

Within ten minutes, a slight nod of the boilie baited rod could have been a leaf hitting the line, but then it arched over in the classic barbel lunge and I was firmly attached to a fish, and a big one too! I’ve been using these 2lb test curve Sonik rods for some time now, (hence the rather grubby cork handles) but they have easily handled fish to 32lb, so the river barbel held no fear as I knew they would cope. This fish went a little bit mad though, and in less than thirty seconds had whipped around a sunken branch (relatively snag free swim remember?) and the line parted! I was extremely disappointed to have lost a fish so early in the session, especially as I rarely lose one to a breakage, but put the bait back out in hope…

Other anglers were arriving on the stretch, and it quickly filled up with fellow fishermen enjoying a day of good weather before the season end. As the hours passed however, it became apparent that the fishing was awful! Angler after angler passed me on the way back to the car park with tales of biteless hours as the river just simply switched off in the bright sunshine. I contemplated packing away the gear, but a rattle on the maggot rod told of some interest! A further knock had me picking up the rod, and a thump at the other end told me I’d connected! Grayling offer superb river sport, and if you haven’t caught one, you simply must try it; it’s super fun too! A spirited scrap resulted in a grayling of around 1lb in the net, and I’d saved the blank! A quick snap and the fish was safely returned, the rod recast, and the line tightened… No sooner had I sat back down than the tip flinched again and a second grayling, somewhat smaller, graced the net. Two in two casts; was all the steady baiting I’d done about to pay off?

The short answer is that it hadn’t; these two fish were the only fish of a tiring and frustrating day, but it seemed I’d caught two more than many others on what was a disappointing day. It won’t put me off returning though as I know the river here gives up some simply stunning fish, and at just