Blog Posts by Michael Wickens
Since being set my challenge of beating my recently caught personal best chub of 4lb 4oz, I have been doing a lot of thinking and have decided that each river session I have I will target barbel when the conditions are up and coloured, and in less desirable conditions a big chevin will be my target.
Upon arriving at the river I found the conditions to be of a reasonable level, but not ideal barbel conditions, so chub was to be my target. When fishing small rivers such as the Sussex Ouse my number one rule and biggest tip I can give is to pre-bait your swim before you fish it, and I have recently been baiting in a way that I haven't before, but beats every other kind of baiting I have tried. Bait droppers are great, but in such small swims they can cause a lot of unnecessary disturbance. What I have decided to do is dry off smaller stones from the gravel beds, and include them in my mesh bags of 6mm halibut pellets. You can achieve very accurate baiting in this way, with minimal disturbance; perfect!
After allowing the swim to ‘rest' for half an hour whilst setting up, I was ready to cast my feeder out. In my smokey herring groundbait mix I had added a good handful of both halibut pellets and trout pellets, which was all moulded onto my method feeder, with a smokey herring chunk on a bait spike below the hook, then cast to the edge of the main flow. 15minutes later I felt small plucks through touch ledgering, and soon enough the rod flew round and I lifted into what felt like a lump! I was struggling to get the fish moving, but slowly it moved off and got itself into the flow, making it all the more difficult to bring towards the net. Every time I managed to bring it closer to the net it went on yet another run, doing its all to get into underwater snags. It wasn't until I brought the chub over the net cord that I realised it's size, realising why it fought so hard. Allowing the fish to re-gain strength I got my scales zeroed to my sling, thinking this has got to be another 4lber. But no, when the scales spun round to 5lb 11oz I was shocked, as I didn't even know there were chub of this proportion in the river. I had set a new club record, and two friends came down to verify and witness the capture. Come winter this fish will go very big, perhaps even 7lb, especially considering how hollow and spawned out it was!Incredible for such a small river.
After taking another two chub to around the 3lb mark, I
decided to head off to a different swim, and repeated my usual pre-baiting
procedure to get the fish confident. I always like to touch ledger as you can
be ready and get the upper hand on the fish instantly, but after half an hour
my stomach was rumbling and I gave into temptation and opened up a mousse
(strange choice I know). Typically, as I lifted the spoon up to my mouth the
rod belted over, so with mousse thrown all over my swim, I grabbed the rod, but
there was no stopping the fish as it headed into the main flow, and soon enough
the hook link snapped. Absolutely gutted, I pondered upon the thought that I
may have landed what I suspect to be a barbel had I got the upper hand straight
away, but focusing on the past gets you no where, so I again baited the swim
and left it for 20 minutes. Would Mr Barbel be foolish enough to return?
Within the next hour I banked another two chub, both around the 3lb mark, but yet again the barbel had beaten me, but also made me even more determined! Despite stepping up my gear, I'd been beaten again. Next session I will be stepping my gear up even more. I'm thinking a beach caster rod, 100lb monofilament, and a 45lb braid
ed hooklink? That should do it! Joking
aside, I think 10lb mainline will be more appropriate.
I am still shocked of a chub this size coming from the
Sussex Ouse, but I certainly won't complain. This time I definitely won't be
beating my personal best, not until I get on a bigger river anyway!
Tight lines… Michael Wickens