A NEW BOOK NOW OUT. Targets set and achieved.

My third book, 'Targets set and achieved' is now complete and ready for sale. As the title suggests it reflects the past seven years of my fishing. Twenty different rivers where double figure barbel were caught, crucians and roach to near record size, perch, chub, tench and bream to make the mouth water. All will be in the pages and well illustrated with lots of colour photographs.

There is a 1000 copy print run of the hardback edition and a further 40 leather bound copies for the connoisseur.

Copies available from myself just email phlpsmith9@aol.com or ring 07980 394864 for details

Still a limited number of leathers available.

Alternatively use the web page http://www.philsmithangler.co.uk/ where you can order by Paypal or credit/debit card.

Friday, 30 August 2013

The search for double figure barbel.

My self imposed idea of getting a double figure barbel off different rivers continues to affect my choice of venues and this time it has impelled me to return to the River Goyt at Stockport.  I’ve done a number of trips here and caught on most of them but the double has eluded my efforts, this time I hoped to correct that so that I might move on to other rivers.
                                                                      River's very low.

Arriving at midday I found the river to be very low, in fact the lowest I had seen it in my limited number of visits.  No problem, the barbel must still be here but those conditions can make fishing more difficult.  I had come armed for a two pronged attack, casters with hemp but backed up with a few boilies for the flyer rod which would be fished either upstream or down depending on the character of the swim.

                                                                    Successful swim

In these conditions it is easy to see how so much tackle gets lost with the river at normal height, there are pebbles going from small right up to bolder size along with other debris.   Obviously it was a case of choosing one of the pools or deep runs still left and I decided on a run not far below the weir.  Quite pacey and about 4ft deep it looked the part and just maybe it might be a route the barbel would use between the weir and pools downstream of the spot, I could only hope.

With the rods already set up for boilies I soon had the first bait sent out just upstream of my position and I then set about changing the second tackle over to suit casters.  Before I could complete that task I got a sharp knock on the baited rod and then the tip just bounced as the fish obviously moved downstream with the bait.  At this stage I assumed a chub had taken it but the strike quickly convinced me differently.  In that fast flow I had a very good fight of a barbel that would prove to be the biggest I’ve caught of this river at 9lb-5oz, A great start to the trip and it did give me a bit more confidence for the rest of the session.
                                                     A quick result this time.

The following hours were bit of an anti-climax in that the most exciting thing that happened was me trying to get photos of the three dippers that kept me company through the day.  These are amazing birds that can swim under water even in the fast water in this area of the river.
                                                                        Dipper at work.

As darkness fell I did take another two barbel of 4lb and 6lb sort of sizes and these proved to be the only barbel caught over the trip.  Disappointed?  Yes, but at the same time it was a good trip with a new river pb so maybe not that disappointed.


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Variety is the spice of life.

As with most weeks it has been a mixed bag, both in target species and results.  On the Saturday following the Barbel Challenge I went back after the eels, a quick and easy overnight session that resulted in a total blank, maybe next time.  I had arranged to travel down to the Kennet region to stay with John Found for a three day trip so early Tuesday I arrived on the Kennet and we met up to give the barbel a hammering.  Not to be and even though we were prepared with casters and hemp just one 7lb fish fell to John, very disappointing and as with so many of these occasions without explanation.

The following day we were due to go down to Johnson’s Lake on the Marsh Farm complex, crucians are the target here and at this time of year a 3lb plus fish is the target weight.  We float fished from about 4pm through to 11:30pm but struggled just two crucians falling to John’s paste one smaller in size but the other at least 2lb plus.  One of the problems was the large number of one inch fry that stopped the normal fine tactics we know work.  We caught roach, rudd and tench in reasonable numbers but the crucian bites were probably amongst the dips and waggles that were occurring all the time, it needed a suicidal fish to show its interest.  With two days gone and virtually nothing to show for it we approached Thursday wondering what it would bring.
                                                                    These were the target

Choosing two different swims to those used on the Tuesday, we began the bait and wait tactics that were the order of the day.  I’ll run through mine but John would be duplicating the same with very little difference.  My swim was typical of the Kennet in that much of the river sections are left almost undisturbed and there are lots of features to fish to.  This one had a large bush going out into the river just downstream and on my bank, the opposite side had smaller bushes running along the bank these giving about two or three feet of cover over the river perfect for the fish to feel safe in.  There was a slight gap in the line that allowed me to bait drop across against the bank and lay a trap for fish moving up and down through the swim.   A pint of caster mixed with hemp went out and the swim was left to mature for an hour or two.

Unlike John I do use two rods and I had decided to fish a pellet alongside the near bank bush so having chucked half a dozen pellets in I cast out and could wait for fish to turn up.  Sometimes there is a fish already in the swim and this was such a time, after just a few minutes the rod top went round and I land a hard fighting 5lb barbel, nice start.   After perhaps an hour I baited up again with a similar amount as the first time, the hemp is the attractor and the casters will hopefully keep the fish in the area once they arrive.  If you cast out too early there is every chance you will catch but the fish you catch was one of the first to find the bait and now you need another to take the chance.  By leaving the area time to mature that first fish comes into the swim and then leaves, later he returns with a mate and leaves again.  Now other fish are picking up the signal that there is food about and apparently with danger so they tag along as well, on clear rivers I’ve seen this happen and when you cannot see in then your need the hope that it is happening just the same, sometimes it is not, but when it works you can bag up.  Today was to be such a day and when I topped up the swim again about thirty minutes later I cast out the baited rig.
                                                              The caster rig
This is a running leger and 15lb braid going to a size 10 Pallatrax hook, one artificial caster is threaded onto the hair and then three or more live casters are glued to that, nice and simple, but deadly.
                                                 Superglue shows but the fish don't mind
I did not wait too long before the first barbel made an appearance, often they take within moments of that first cast but maybe there are not quite as many fish here as on the Trent or some other rivers.  These fish are fit and healthy and the fight does remind me why I love to fish for barbel.  This one went 8lb-7oz and it was followed through the day by others of 5lb, 6lb and of 8lb-12oz and the cherry on the cake a 10lb-2oz fish that would not keep still for its photo.  All the time I would just give the occasional top up and break in order to give the fish chance to return but once they know the feed is there they are reluctant to give up completely, I’ve even seen barbel continue feeding while I’m playing one already hooked from next to them.
                                                      Pristine 8lb-7oz Kennet barbel
Meanwhile John had been keeping up with my catch rate; in fact his best fish until near the end was the same as my first one at 8lb-7oz.  Then he beat my running total with a 10lb-8oz fish, his tenth of the session with a bonus? bream.  The walk back to the car at dusk was certainly more pleasing this evening than those previous two, but then if you don’t fail how would you know you have succeeded?
                                            Lively 10lb-2oz hence too much fingers showing.
Back home and with all the rain being forecast on Friday night/Saturday I thought the river might respond so on the Saturday afternoon I made my way up onto the River Derwent with the intention to fish into dark.  Lots of people did have significant downpours but I didn’t and the river was still low and steady.  Today I would use boilies and had chosen to fish Source under my own bank and Crave on the far bank alongside a line of overhanging trees.  It was a nice night, mild and fairly still only being disturbed by the passing trains that run between Derby and Nottingham.  Trouble was I was also only disturbed by a single chub of 4lb-14oz and a snotty bream about 6lb that I did not weigh.  Always better than a blank since for just those few moments when the bite initially occurred it might have been a barbel and the heart rate jumps up in eager anticipation only to fall back again with the lack of powerful resistance that is the signature of a big barbel.

                                                            Bait to use for the Derwent
                                                           Near 5lb Derwent chub.
Until next time I wish you tight lines and lots of sport hopefully I’ll have the same.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The 14 river challenge.

The idea was for three anglers to fish on 14 different rivers for 24hrs each in the attempt to get a double figure barbel off each of them.

As I've already mentioned on these pages I had joined this challenge with the intent of completed the four rivers in the area of Nottingham-Derby, namely the Dove, Derwent, Trent and Soar.  Before it had begun I gave a forecast of doubles off six of the rivers this being a good result to my mind.  I'm pleased to say that this has been annihilated and with just six rivers completed to date there has been a double off all of them, with a total of ten doubles being recorded.
                                                             Dove 11lb-3oz

The Ribble and Goyt had already been done when I joined Jerry Gleeson and Paul Floyd since Paul had taken one off each river in the 10lb range, so now we went on to the Dove where he completed a hat trick with a fish of 11lb-3oz.  Only one other barbel was caught with Jerry taking a fish of 8lb-12oz.  I just got chubbed out with no sign of the barbel coming my way.
                                                             Derwent 11lb-4oz

Now we moved on to the Derwent using the Derby County angling Club section kindly arranged through Alan Booth, he also came down while we were there passing valuable information to the other two lads.  The section lived up to our hopes and two doubles were caught but they again fell to the other lads.  At 11lb-4oz and 11lb-7oz they pleased the lads who took one each and added a smaller barbel each to the total catch on the list.
                                                                Derwent 11lb-7oz
On to the Trent and we were highly delighted when Jerry caught a 12lb-8oz barbel and he later added another double of 11lb plus to the growing tally.  This time I did manage to add to the double list with an 11lb-1oz fish whilst Paul had two fish in single figures also getting smashed by a probable carp.
                                                                      Trent 11lb-1oz

                                                                  Trent 12lb-8oz
Last section for me was a move to the Soar arranged through the LEVAS committee who again have our thanks for the 24hr permits for the other two lads [ they will be getting a full permit each now for themselves]. 

As had been the case on each river there was no action until dark but then Jerry was back in action again taking a quick fire brace of doubles at 10lb-3oz and 12lb-10oz, quite amazing to get two doubles brace with 12lb fish in each off two rivers with a genuine 24 hr period.  I took a 8lb-12oz barbel with a double figure carp, bream of about 6lb and chub of perhaps 3lb for a nice mixed bag all these fish falling to the ever reliable Source boilie.  Unfortunately Paul's run came to an end with a blank but with his results so far he could not be too disappointed.
                                                              Soar  12lb-10oz
The lads moved onto the River Severn to continue the effort while I retired home to catch up on my kip.  A tremendous effort by the lads and it goes to show that there are still fish there to catch on numerous rivers.  Various tackle and rigs combined with a number of different baits, all caught on their day and I’m sure we will see yet more doubles before they finish.

Thanks go to the various sponsors, The Hookbait Co, Dynamite, G-Force and Print Biz to name some of the help that was given.