Tuesday, 5th August 2013, found me travelling down to the banks of the River Severn at Hampton Loade, downstream of Bridgnorth, specifically the day ticket waters of Kinver Freeliners (of whom I’m on the waiting list for membership of).
It was the second visit I’ve made to this stretch in the last two years, the first slightly earlier in the year along with a committee member who had kindly invited me for a updating my skills session for barbel there – it had been many years since I’dfd been barbelling and techniques and philosophy, etc had changed somewhat in the intervening period. Ie in the ‘old days’ if the river was 4′ up you didn’t bother going, nowadays it seems that that’s ‘getting there’ and more water the better.
Anyway, we have had a prolonged very dry spell recently but in the last week have had a good drenching with a few storms passing over. Although this has not greatly improved the river in terms of depth (just about over the lower bounds of ‘normal’) it has added colour and a few barbel have started being caught. So I had this in mind when I set off on my travels for the day.
I left home at around 0645, arriving at 0720’ish, Paid my £1 parking fee into the letterbox on the car park and proceeded off down the river – travelling relatively light for me – only exception to ‘light’ being that I took my fishing seat and umbrella along with the necessities.
Over the course of the day I fished 3 swims – on mainly luncheon meat as bait but did try cheese paste boilies too. Tackle consisted of a 11′ TFG Classic Barbel rod (2lb TC), fished with 10lb line to a 3′ hooklength of 12lb braid. Each swim was given a two hour or so period to prove its worth but the first two swims proved negative with not a single touch at all. The third swim, which a passerby told me was the best swim on the stretch (and also by the bailliff when he came to collect the day ticket monies) was proving much the same – until the bailliff advised of the best game plan for the swim – cast well over and downstream and then let the end tackle swing on the current into position in a channel between the far bank and a near bank feature. Having done this I was almost immediately getting fishy attentions with chub type nudges and twitches – but unfortunately nothing of a stereotypical barbel ‘smash’… Anyway, by the end of the day I had landed a 3lb 3oz chub and, on the final cast of the day as it was to be, an eel of around 8oz. The eel had swallowed the hook despite the bait being 2 pieces of luncheon meat of 3/4″ square each and I had to cut the line in the end as I was unable to access the hook to free with forceps or disgorger without damaging the fish. The hook was barbless so he/she should be able to shed it easily though.
Also at the second swim , there was a mallard duck that seemed to have a small hook and a short piece of line in the angle of its bill (not sure if it was the duck that is the photo below… as it was trailing from the opposite side of the bill). I did try to catch the bird by feeding it cheese balls and catching it as it stuck its head under the water to grab them. However, Mrs Mallard had other ideas, and although I did get one chance to perform the plan, I missed! After that, she’d readily take the balls but as soon as my hand went near the landing net handle, never mind hold it, she was off. Don’t know how I’d have coped if I had have caught her… angry Mrs Mallard might have been a bit of a handful, I’m thinking. Anyway, she seemed quite happy, was feeding apparently without concern and the line length was quite short so unlikely to snag firmly and trap the bird so hopefully nature will take its own course to rectify the situation.
And that’s it for the day…. due out again on Friday with Liz but she’s still not decided where she wants to go.
Pics of the day: