Canterbury Tales Part Ten - Rewards a plenty

Thu 05 October 17


October 2016 through to March 2017

As summer progressed and autumn approached I was still recovering from the broken radius bone, plans of eel and rudd sessions were postponed till next year and I did a few little river trips ,covering water carrying as little as possible.

Stalking a river is always fun ,seeking monsters and trying to catch them is something special and I encountered some nice fish along the way., A lovely roach of 2lb 10 oz along with another just shy of 2lb were caught on a trotted, tiny piece of flake on a 16 hook after trying initially with maggots, which lead to me catching perch upon small perch..

The switch to flake fished held back along a crease line immediately made the difference ,the juddering fight of a big roach coming towards the net is always a nervy moment, and the red fins in the net are always a moment to quietly celebrate.

Perhaps the most satisfying capture was a dace of a pound exactly ,I spotted it amongst a shoal of decent but far smaller looking fish and it lead to a 2 hour game of cat and mouse. I continued trying to get the big one to take the single maggot on a 20 and to avoid hooking one of the smaller ones ,as that would have surely spooked the shoal in the clear slow flowing area that I was presenting my baited rig in. I had a good vantage point to watch what was happening and lost count of the number of times I had to pull the rig away from one of the smaller fish in the shoal. I kept trickling maggots i the area, the big dace eventually started feeding hard ,intercepting maggots that were passing a piece of streamer weed that it was taking cover beneath. It then made its mistake and put up a great scrap on light gear before eventually seeing my side of the argument.

I also managed a personal best river perch that I stalked on a lobworm from an overhanging tree on the far bank. This absolutely stunning example of the species weighed in at 2lb 12oz and was very pleasing to see these perch doing so well after the horrible perch disease took such a toll on the species a few years back. I’ve also had a few nice perch from a few different areas as well, clearly showing that they’re thriving at the moment it seems, and clear river perch are stunning fish with such vibrant colouration, which makes them a total joy to catch.

Summer and early autumn were mainly dry here in sunny Kent, with the hottest day of the year falling in mid-late September, with temps hitting well over 30c it took even the forecasters by surprise. On these hottest day I was having a couple of hours after barbel, I sat there thinking “ I reckon its hotter than forecasted for sure” but thankfully the barbel didn’t seem to care .


barbel caught in 30 degrees


As October arrived, my thoughts now turned to pike and chub. This year autumn and winter were very dry and cooler than average and my pike season started in an area where I’d seen a very good fish the year previous. The first fish I managed was a nice fish of 15lb 14oz ,a good start but I knew this was definitely not the fish I had seen. Then a couple of weeks later, my sardine was picked up by maybe the fish I was targeting. After a brilliant scrap a new river PB of 23-03 was in the net

It wasn’t just pike though, ,also spotted a shoal of river carp,,3 commons 1 mirror ,not monsters but fun to have a try for. I was lucky enough to catch the 3 commons ,all on sweetcorn ,but the mirror which looked a pretty fish eluded me.

With low water levels and major bank side tree cutting taking place over miles of river the chub fishing was always going to be tricky. I had some nice fish to a tad over 6lb but the one or two big fish id seen earlier in the season remained elusive and conditions were never good for roach or barbel, so I predominately pike fished during the colder months.


barbel caught in 30 degrees


it was mid February ,I was planning to go to a local lake piking but by the time I got myself ready it was too late in the day, time for a rethink. I decided to go to a bit of river that’s done me well late season in years previous. In truth it hadn’t fished well this season but as the pike get closer to spawning time they seem to gather around this stretch so I thought I’d give it a go.

I fished 2 rods in a long slack, area of water, one with a legered sardine ,and the other with a float fished herring right at the top of the slack. With the river so low and clear I was able to watch a good fish circling the sardine, this is when the float on the other rod was taken under with severe force. as I struck a heavy feeling fish bolted downstream at high speed, an explosive fight followed with the pike jumping clear of the water at one point, eventually a new river PB of 25lb 4oz was on the mat, to say I was “chuffed” was a bit of an understatement !!

New river PB 25lbs 4ozs

Tight Lines

Iain McDonald