Friday 23rd Sept.
With all the various jobs and activities completed that go along with normal life I decided that trip to the River Teme would be in order. The day had been promised as bright and sunny, a prelude to a promised mini heat wave next week. With the river really low and clear there are many anglers that moaning about the fish being even more difficult to catch, I’ve perhaps been fortunate in that it has not seemed that way for me with barbel being caught on every visit to this river so far this season.
On many occasions I have related one of my current favourite statements of “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” It seems obvious, but it is also well worth repeating since so many anglers seem to break the rule at the first minor problem. We all have blank sessions so not catching fish over a trip or two, does not mean the method is ‘broke,’ keep the faith and give it a chance to come good again. In sport the equivalent statement goes something like “ Form is temporary but class is permanent,” and this is shown to be true in so many areas, football, cricket, athletics, you name the activity and it will apply. The manager/trainer keeps the faith and often he is rewarded with a return to form, do the same with your bait and tactics.
Still, back to my trip to the River Teme and the fact that my chosen method would be the same as had produced the goods so many times for me this season. Open-ended feeders with a 50/50 mix of hemp and mixed pellets, along with 8mm pre drilled pellets on the size 8 hook. No bait dropping, just regular casts into the same area to build up the feed and attract the fish to the hookbait. Although I always approach the river confident of success it is still pleasing when the first barbel makes its appearance. This time the fish came quite quickly, on other occasions it can be late on in the session, but as long as it happens who worries?
The capture of that first barbel was the prelude to a most enjoyable afternoon and before dusk fell I had added a further five barbel, and a chub of about 3lb, to give a very pleasing total. The barbel ranged from the 6lb mark through to another double of 10lb-3oz, a fish that impressed the chap that sat talking to me at the time of its capture. This angler had been relating that he had only caught one double off the river in the previous two years of trying, that fish gave me a total of five barbel going into double figures from the Teme this season. Did that make me a better angler than him? I would suggest not, and the only difference is that I am more fortunate in which fish pick up my baited hook and long may that situation last.
Saturday 24rd Sept.
I had arranged another trip after the zander with Mervyn, this time his grandson Curtis also came along. Following that last zander trip mistake, I had a full compliment of tackle along with a chair for comfort. I’m too old to sit about on the deck using just an unhooking mat, it gives you back ache and it takes too long to stand up to hit a run should you get one. Years ago I could wonder the river without a chair for the whole day and think nothing of it, but as those years have passed I have done it less and less, now it is to be avoided at all costs. Settling into my chosen swim I soon had two rods set up, with one to be fished using a dead roach section as bait, and the other using a lamprey section. These baits were sent out into the swim and I settled back to enjoy the almost summer like weather that was with us at the moment. First action came on one of Merv’s rods but he passed it over to Curtis and he went on to land a spirited 4lb jack pike that had given a good impression of being a medium sized zander. Both Merv and Curtis then went through a period where they had a number of takes with line going out but nothing there on the strike, most peculiar! Meanwhile I had no action whatsoever, I pondered the question, “Is it better to have nothing happen or is it better to have the takes but missed them,” I’ve queried this previously in my mind and as on those occasions I did not have an answer. Then in the mid-afternoon Curtis struck a fish and went on to land a new personal best zander weighing 7lb-11oz. A long, lean, fish that would almost certainly have been at a higher weight in its earlier days, that gave us hope, but then it went totally dead.
About 5.30pm Curtis suggested I move along to the other side of their fishing position since at least they had seen a number of indications where as I had been totally dead, the move was made and an interesting discussion followed. Curtis suggested that should I catch a zander he could claim the credit for suggesting the move, Merv made the point that I might have caught if I had stayed where I was, so should I blank Curtis would have the blame! He was not too sure about that, but at 6:45pm he was happy as my roach section went for a walk in the company of a zander, good strike and I landed a fish that went exactly the same weight as the barbel the previous day, 10lb-3oz, my first double for many years but hopefully not the last of the season.