Friday, September 14th and I headed off for the first of my River Severn outings of the year – and this year looks like being my last one too.
Normally, January to March I pike fish pools then April to September its bream, tench, perch, etc and then October to December its back to the pike BUT come the end of August I’m usually thinking that perhaps I ought to get a couple of barbel sessions in before the piking starts. So come September I make a bit of an effort and usually manage 3-4 barbel sessions. However, this year, with other things impinging on the month, my first visit wasn’t until the 14th … and as we are away on holiday from Friday 21st – Friday 28th, and as I’m intending to visit a canal on Monday 17th, my next trip to the waterside will be Monday 1st October – and I’ll be lure fishing for pike on a club pool, with Liz hopefully. Its been a short barbel season for me then this year!
Well, I headed as I say to the Severn – a club controlled stretch on the middle reaches (KF/S/HL/M) of the river. The swim I selected was based on comfort and ease of access (first swim on the stretch) really but it does look a nice fishy swim anyway with a current flowing a few rod lengths out but sheltered from the flow by a willow hanging in and over the water to the right and a fallen bare branched tree just downstream which forms a slow eddy … and still quite deep despite the current low water levels.
I initially started off with a 2lb TC barbel rod, 10lb mono mainline with size 4 hook on a 6” hooklength of braid ledgered with a 1oz flat ‘pennyweight’ type ledger attached to a short 8lb ‘weak link’ on a large eyed free running swivel that was stopped on the line so that bait-to-weight tail was about 3 feet in length.
Initial bait was a chunk of ‘Extra Hot Chili Sausage’ (tinned, ‘Ye Olde Oak’ I think) which was cast just over the edge of the current and allowed to swing round with the flow so that it settled ‘on the crease’ twixt flow/static water… and first cast was made at 0730 … and at 0740 the rod slammed over … and I missed on the strike never feeling a thing. So out a new bait went – and over the next few hours I had nothing apart from a few minor nods and twitches of the rod top….
0930 I switched the bait over to cheesepaste – stinky as its about 3 years old! But over the next two hours I had not a touch…
So Plan B came into operation … whilst fishing I’d also been feeding the slack/eddy area regularly with hemp, maize, wheat, rice and dead maggot … so I decided to see if any perch or chub or whatever wanted to play. The rod was switched to a 12’ feeder rod with a light quiver tip, 3/4oz ‘pennyweight’, 8lb line and size 10 hook to 8lb braid hooklength and baited with worm or worm/maggot and the bait cast around the eddy… Most casts elicited a response … most were just quick twitches … but I did manage 2 perch of around 4-6oz each by the time I packed up at 1430.
OK … so plans for next trip are to visit a canal on Monday September 17th – the Shropshire Union Canal this time. A stretch of the canal (AA-SU/WA) that I’ve fished many times before with lures and spinners in search of pike and perch but only once with a ‘general’ bait rod, and that in a match, despite it having some decent sized carp, chub and perch amongst its known residents. I hope to fish an area where the far bank is overhung with brambles and bushes, and is an area where I have had reasonable catches on the lures and lost 2 good perch a few years back which I saw before the hook pulled and reckon they were close to, if not over, the 3lb mark.