25 April, 2017 |0
With the terrific results that I’d been getting with the barbel while using the CompleX-T it was a big disappointment to find myself incapacitated following my shoulder operation towards the end of November, as all I wanted to do was to get back to a bit of barbel fishing on the river Nene and to see the tip whack round again. With recovering from the operation and separate arthritis related issues with my right leg, it wasn’t until well into the new year before I was back into the swing of things.
Fortunately, it didn’t take too long before I was getting the odd bite and by the end of January I’d managed to get to the river for several afternoon/evening sessions and had landed seven barbel, including three different 10lb+ fish. The same tactics that I’d used the previous autumn, with CompleX-T boilies on the hair and a PVA mesh bag of both crumbed and whole 12mm CompleX-T nicked onto the hook and some CompleX-T paste wrapped around the hook bait kept producing the goods.
The barbel on the stretch could be very mobile, and catching a couple of fish from a particular swim or area seemed to unsettle them and get them moving about again. I think it was because of this that I seemed to lose them completely for a couple of weeks, only catching a handful of chub for a few sessions. Thankfully a trip around the middle of February produced a scrapper double and the smallest barbel I’d caught from the stretch so far at around 2lb. The next couple of trips also saw some more barbel smashing the tip round, including an old friend that I called “Frosty” that I’d caught in the autumn at 10lb 11oz and in January at 10lb 10oz. “Frosty” clearly enjoyed eating the CompleX-T and appeared to be thriving on it as it made consecutive appearances weighing in at 11lb 8oz, then again just 3 days later weighing 11lb 10oz along with another barbel of around 5lb.
I also managed to squeeze in a social session on the river Ouse with a mate I hadn’t fished with for a while. On the day in question, as I hadn’t visited this particular stretch for a number of years, I spent quite some time walking about, looking at various swims before getting a bait in the water. Both chub and perch were on my target list, so I spent most of the time roaming between different swims fishing lobworm as the hook bait, but with nothing to show for my efforts by mid-afternoon. My mate, fishing a more static approach was in the same boat, but after a long walk to a swim featuring a large overhanging bush, with branches trailing into the water creating a good-sized raft of debris I finally received my first bite of the session. The culprit turned out to be a nice chub weighing 5lb 9oz and a little while later the same swim produced another four bites on the trot. In my excitement, I managed to miss one of them, but the other three pulls on the quiver tip resulted in three 2lb+ perch, the largest weighing in at 2lb 15oz.
Back on my regular barbel stretch on the river Nene, from late February until the end of the season I managed to catch another eight barbel, including one more ‘double’. The ‘double’ turned out to be a repeat capture of the first barbel I’d caught from the stretch on the very first cast on my initial visit, causing me to name it “First Cast”. Back in September “First Cast” had weighed 10lb 3oz, but come the first week in March it was up to a very healthy weight of 12lb exactly.
Altogether, from the turn of the year until the final day of the season I managed to land a very satisfying total of 19 barbel and a good number of chub from the river Nene, including some decent ones up to 5lb 12oz. All the fish were caught on the CompleX-T, which just seemed to go from strength to strength and provided an enormous amount of confidence knowing that I had a bait that the barbel (and chub) clearly loved to eat.
I’d really enjoyed the winter fishing on the river, but I was also looking forward to the fresh challenge of the still waters that I’d chosen to fish during the spring period. I’ll let you know what I get up to in the first month or so of my spring campaigns in my next piece.