September Diary

September 30, 2013

Well we should have now been getting into the best time of the year on the rivers, but so far the month of September has been unseasonably warm, with temperatures near or above 30 degrees on many days. What little rain we did have, did absolutely nothing to colour or accelerate the flow of most water courses, all of which remain extremely low.


A lovely stretch of the Meuse

30th August

The last but one day of August saw me trying a new spot on the River Aisne near Compiegne. The Aisne joins the Oise in this town, so the size of the barbel is, according to my French fishing buddies similar, that’s to say 6lb to 8lb on average.
I arrived at around 8:30 am and met Christian in the car park of a large very neat public park. Joggers passed by, along the tree lined banks of the river, which I must say looked very attractive. The margins were lined with tall reeds on a river that must have been about 60 yards wide. I set up about 50m downstream from Christian on a peg that had a very shallow margin slopping off to the navigation channel. The barges passed quite close, so as with the previous peg in Compiègne I chose to reel in for each boat so as not to lose any gear. Thankfully I was to find that the traffic was considerably less than my previous trip on the Oise.


Best Aisne barbel to date

I was fishing with 2 rods by 9am, but had to wait till around 11am for my first take, which came on the Quest Absolute Seafood boilie. Despite the shallow margin and the fact I didn’t bring my wellies I was able to slide a nice 7lb plus barbel into the awaiting net.

I was then to discover that the sector has a large head of bream… and for the next few hours they set up shop in front of me and took any bait I chose to put out.. double boilie, boilie/pellet, double pellet etc.. Finally I went to the car and got some 20mm halibut pellets and cast one of those out on the rig.

This seemed to do the trick and I had a nice run, landing a lovely 7lb 12oz barbel. Christian had gone off with another mate Joël to check out some more spots on the river, so I set up the tripod for a photo. For some strange reason, my camera was set on +2 stops and I could not seem to get it back to normal exposure, and all of the pix were over exposed. In frustration I let the fish go, cast back and with a little bit of fiddling in the menus got the camera set to normal settings. I really don’t know how it got set to expose two stops over, as Joël had taken shots of the first fish only a few hours before with no problem. But this fish remained photoless.
A called it a day at 5pm, well pleased to have banked two decent fish.

2/3rd  September

As it was the last weekend of the school holidays, my wife wanted to spend it at the lakes. The mobile home was free so we decided a BBQ by the waterside was a good idea. Now I had to put the rods out too .. right?

2 sept02

Weekend home on peg 6

Peg 6 is just in front of the mobile home and is a swim I’ve fished quite a bit in recent seasons and is one of the best tench pegs on the complex. I put the Free Spirit Tamers out with method feeders in the hope of a nice Tinca. I had a bit of hemp and pellet left from the river, which I mixed with a couple of tins of sweet corn and some broken Tutti Frutti boilies… I used the boat to spread this mixture over the likely looking spots. Hook bait was plastic corn on one rod and a 12mm Tutti on the other. The traps were set by 4pm and I was able to get things ready for the evening.. brolly and bedchair set up and BBQ prepared.

2 sept01

Pleased with this 5lb plus ‘Tinca’, even if its smaller than the average.

By 6.30pm as I was cooking the merguez, I had a run on the plastic corn rod. A spirited fight ensued and I slid a nice tench into the net. At 5lb 6oz, it was a fair bit smaller than the others I’d had from the peg, but it was my target species, so I was pleased.
I was able to get back to my food and beer. I had no more indication on the buzzers, but when I went back to check the rods, my right hand was totally slack. I wound down and found the line snaking out to the left toward the centre of the lake. Nothing was on the end, but I was annoyed I’d not had any kind of indication from the fish…
During the night I had a pair of bream at 7lb & 8lb 4oz, and a small crucian at 2lb 8oz. The rest of the night remained quiet and I packed up the next morning.

7/8th September (Forum Reunion)

This weekend was our forum reunion on the banks of the river Meuse near Bogny. I’d really been looking forward to this, and as it was a Saturday, I was hoping this time that all my clients would show up early and that I could get away before midday. As it transpired, this is exactly what happened and I was able to roll up on the banks of the river before 3pm.


Great weekend with the lads from the forum.

I set up in the swim to the far left, where I’d fished once earlier in the season. The spot I’d banked my double figure barbel from was already taken by other members of the forum. Now I much prefer barbel fishing alone, simply because I think you catch more fish. I’m convinced that on these fairly featureless, navigable stretches of river the fish graze them like sheep and if you bait up and wait the will come to you. However if there are other anglers they can cut you off and prevent the fish getting to your baited area. There were upto 8 of us fishing on the Sunday, so I was pretty sure I’d not catch much in the way of barbel.

Anyway we were there for the food and drink as much as the fishing and we all had a fantastic weekend… loads of fun and some lovely barbecued food from Yannick.
Fishingwise it was a write off for me with just 4 small bream and a lost chub to show for it. The guys that had fished from the Friday night did better with a nice 30lb mirror and catfish of about the same size to Benji, and a couple of mega Ide and a barbel for Francis. Otherwise it was mostly bream that graced the nets.

13th September

Following my lack of fish from the Meuse, I decided to try my luck on the Oise again… Christian informed me though, the night before that the Aisne, where I’d last fished had been producing a good few fish, so I changed my destination.
The day started off badly when I hit a traffic jam in Soissons. The French builders were on strike and decided to leaflet the cars at the roundabouts, slowing the traffic to a crawl. It took me 45 minutes to get through the town..


A drizzly day

The weather was also turning for the worse, muggy and drizzly, and looked to be set for the day. So, on arrival I donned my bib & brace just in case. As I set up in the swim it was still falling so I put the brolly up first before sorting out my gear. I’d chosen a spot on the opposite bank to my last trip, on a quayside near the bridge.
I cast out one rod at 20m and one close in at 5m… I’d bait droppered some hemp and pellet beforehand..
I didn’t have to wait long before the baitrunner spun and I had a frisky little barbel of 5lb 6oz. I then had a real nightmare with the snaggy river bed, losing two feeders and a hooklink.

13 sept03

A fish despite the horrendous snags in the swim

Joël turned up to say hello, and suggested that I move 150 yards downstream where it was less snaggy. I did so but on my first take from a barbel, I was taken immediately into another snag. Despite slackening off and walking down river, the line parted. This was enough for me, so I packed up and moved back to the swim I had fished on the previous trip. At least it had no snags.
I did manage a second small barbel of 4lb 12oz, and a couple of 3lb chub before the bream moved in again and I had 15 on the trot. Despite the big baits… Ho hum!!! I guess Friday the 13th was a poor choice of dates to go fishing.

19th September

After a rather frustrating time on my last two sorties, I decided to head back to Compiègne. Now this stretch has a good average stamp, but the boat traffic makes fishing extremely tiresome at times. You can get upto half a dozen huge barges pass by per hour. This necessities reeling in both rods, or you risk getting snagged up, with the certain loss of your whole rig and feeder.

Due to the relatively shallow depth, the boats drag the river bed stirring things up and no doubt spreadi your feed far and wide. Anyway I set up on the same spot as before, and was pleased to see I was alone on the banks. For the reason I stated above, I prefer to be alone as I’m sure I’ll get more takes.

19 sept01

A greedy barbel, banked twice in the day

I cast out one rod on boilie and one on pellet. Around 10 am I had a take on the Seafood boilie, just as I was loading up the feeder again on the other rod. The result was a nice barbel of just over 6lb. It had a few marks on it, split fins and a bit of mouth damage. I wish people would treat the fish with respect. He had certainly been held in a keepnet and looking at the mouth been lost by an angler with in adequate gear too.

19 sept02

Best fish of the day at 8lb 1oz

All was quiet till early afternoon. I did manage to get snagged by a barge though. It surprised me, as I’d been reading a book.. Try as I might I could wind in fast enough and as he cut the corner, far closer to the bank than they usually come, my line just got caught about 5m from the bank.
I switched both rods to boilies, as it had produced the only take. Around 2pm I had a take on the near in boilie and would you believe the same little 6lb’er as the morning was on the end. Easily recognizable due to his wounds.
The afternoon wore on and I entered the most productive part of the day. I was still confident I’d have another fish. I was not to be disappointed. With nice fast take on the Seafood in the main channel I banked a fit 8lb 1oz fish. Now that was more like it.
Before packing up I managed a further brace of 7’s at 7lb 1oz & 7lb 3oz. Both fish came as a boat was entering the swim… Panic stations…. One hard fighting barbel and a fast approaching river juggernaut. I was terrified they’d end up under the boat or my remaining rod would get snagged. A passing dog walker helped reel in the second rod on the first occasion, and some how I sorted it on my own with the second, jamming the rod with the fish between my knees and reeling in the other rod as quickly as I could, before taking up the fight again. Both fish were safely landed just as the boat went through the swim.
On this trip the Absolute Seafood definitely seemed to work best. On my previous trip I’d run out of it and was waiting for my order from Shaun to arrive. as a fill in I’d fished a dynamite Source boilie next to the pellet, as it was all I could get locally. I had all fish on pellet and none on boilie. This time the pellet remained biteless, yet the Seafood boilie got me five fish.

19 sept04

One of a brace of 7’s

I know Shaun has been having some good catches from the Trent on it too. It seems a really got barbel bait.

27th September

I’d not been able to get out for a few days due to various commitments, and I fancied a return trip to the Meuse. While I’ve not caught many barbel, there, they’ve been decent with my two fish over 4kg, including my first double.
Yannick confirmed that the area below the barrage at Monthermé was a good spot. It’s a fair old trek from my house to the Meuse and I wasn’t set up till after 9am.  Around 10am Yannick popped in to say hello, and I had my first take while we were talking on the Seafood. I struck into thin air.. probably a chub. I cast back out and almost immediately the other rod with the pellet was away, this resulted in an immaculate barbel of 3lb 12oz.


A great looking sector of the Meuse, but no big barbel yet!!

Another take came rapidly to the boilie and a chub of around 3lb resulted. After Yannick left I had a few more takes from chub, until the inevitable bream moved in and I had about 5 or so of them on the trot. The chub though, provided the bulk of the action.. all being around 3lb to 3lb 8oz…
No more barbel put in an appearance.

So there you go a fairly quiet month on the barbel front with just 11 fish banked. Hopefully the weather will improve, for fishing and the rivers will give up a few more fish. I’m still hoping for another double. They do seem hard to find for me. Christian has bumped into a few this year, so I’m ever hopeful.
The Aisne is still really low near to me and doesn’t look at all fishy at present. Once the level rises a bit and it picks up the pace I think it might offer a better chance. Its for this reason I’m concentrating on the wider, deeper navigable stretches, as they certainly seem to have more fish, even if bream are a problem.

Tight Lines


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