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October Diary

October 31, 2013
7oct01

Evening on the Marne

Well the year is just zipping by so fast. One blink and there goes another month. October has been quite a busy and varied month with lots of little sessions on the variety of rivers I have at my disposition.
With the end of the holidays we’ve seen all the summer anglers disappear and once again the banks are deserted. So I wanted to make the most of the time left, getting out a couple of times a week,  before the winter arrives and we all go into scratching for a bit mode for our fishing.

1st  October

Today I was invited to have a go on a new stretch of the Oise. I met up with the chap Chistianin in  a bar in the quiet little village of Quiezy. I had fished with him a couple of times already. After a quick coffee we headed to the stretch of the non navigable Oise in question. Getting to the swim entailed crossing through some private land and my fishing companion for the day knew the owners, so we had no worries getting access to the river bank.

1oct02

5lb 8oz Oise fish

The river Oise here looks a lot like the Aisne just down from where I live, but it certainly seems to hold more fish. Anyway we’d had a rather late start but the weather was fair and the sector looked inviting. It was quite narrow and on a bend. The level was low, but we had a fair bit of depth in front of us.  Due to tightness of the swim we fished just one rod each.

I started off with a Seafood boilie, and quickly had a 5lb 8oz fish. Second cast and it was off again with a smaller fish. I alternated 16mm halibut and Seafood boilie and in total had 9 barbel; most in the 3lb to 5lb bracket with the best fish 5lb 15oz. We called it a day around 5pm.
It was a nice bag of fish from a nice stretch of the river.

3rd  October

Prior to getting stuck into the grape picking, forum member Benj, suggested a trip to the Marne to a sector he’d had a few fish from to over 8lb. We met up at his house in Damery and drove on down to the river a few miles away at Cumières. The swim was very steep but looking out at the water in front of us it screamed barbel.

3oct02

Nearly 7lb


Benj offered me the downstream option, how could I refuse? The crease was at about 25m to 30m out into the river so it was here where I placed one rod with a pellet and a boilie baited rod was cast down the right hand margin. The bites were not long in coming and the first fish of 4lb 6oz got me off the mark. The pellet seemed to be producing the bites and a chub of 4lb was my next fish, followed by a nice barbel of just under 7lb. I continued to get action with a total of 6 fish but the seven turned out to be the best.
I persuaded Benjamin, who was struggling to get a bite to try a pellet, this he did and soon banked a nice 7lb fish followed by another slightly smaller. It was definitely a pellet day.

7th October

Following some hear say that a few big barbel had been caught on the Marne right in the town centre of Epernay, I felt that it was a lead worth following up. Unfortunately with so few barbel anglers around, bonefide captures are very hard to track down, so I often find myself chasing ghosts. But if I want to track down the swms where the big fish reside, I need to keep testing new areas until I find one. I have to rely on my own fishing, which despite being exciting and challenging has seen me fishing pegs devoid of fish or full of small ones.
Anyway Epernay was a bit of a disaster. The barrage on the nearby Lac du Der had been opened and the river was absolutely tanking through. My largest 6oz feeders were just getting swept away, and what’s more straight in to snags. I lost three feeders in three casts so decided enough was enough.

I headed back to the swim I’d fished with Benj earlier in the week…really just to get a fish and have a bend in the rod, as I knew I’d not break any records. The river did look great mind. Anyway the session went as planned with a fair few fish falling to the rods 6 more barbel to 5lb 8oz & six chub the best fish was a fine chub of 4lb 4oz.

9th October

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A classic looking barbel swim

On the following Wednesday I had to take my step daughter Josephine, to her riding stable, but i didn’t really want to hang around while she groomed and rode her horse. I therefore nipped down to the nearby river to tray a couple of hours on the Aisne at a swim I’d been baiting since the previous weekend. It’s a classic looking barbel swim near a bridge with a series of rapids to the far right and a deep pool in the centre

It was drizzling when I arrived but the run looked inviting. After only five minutes the pellet was picked up by a small chub. I cast it back out, the 100g feeders were holding just fine.

9oct01

A long fish with a big head

After a further 40 minutes the rod trembled, ah!! A bream I thought. Then it did it again so I struck. But his was no bream as it started to take some line. Once I got it into the margins the triangular dorsal left no doubt that it was a barbel. Only a 5lb 8oz fish, but very long and with a big head. I’m sure with a bit of a bell y on it it could have gone 8lb or 9lb. I was well pleased with my two hour session and as I packed away my rods the telephone rang. It was Josephine ‘I’ve finished!’ .

11th October

The quest for double figure barbel in France is proving a little more difficult than I would have thought. I’m getting a lot of fish, but they seem to mostly be in the 4lb to 6lb bracket.
One of the sectors I know where you can be pretty much guaranteed a better stamp of fish is the town centre at Compiègne, where I’ve already had fish to over 8lb.

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The Compiègne Swim

So with the desire to step up my average a bit I headed out to the is stretch to see if I couldn’t bag a better one (or two.. not greedy)!
My intention was to try the opposite bank from my previous trip, but once I found the entrance to the track I also found that workmen were present and had blocked the access with diggers and trucks. I therefore turned around and headed to the previous swim.
Once I’d set up and put up the brolly as it was by now drizzling rain again, I cast out a pellet on one rod, as it had been catching the fish on the last couple of occasions,  and a Seafood boilie on the other.
After an hour the pellet rod bounced, then again so I struck. Yep it was on and my first fish went tearing up and down the swim. They really do put up a struggle on this steep bank. The fish went 7lb 4oz, with which I was well chuffed.
A hour went by before the baitrunner started to buzz and a 6lb 8oz fish was added to the tally.
Around this time the boat traffic became quite dense, it really is a pain in the wotsit here! They come so close to the bank, as we are on the inside of a bend, that there is no way to leave the rods out. This calmed the bites down for a couple of hours.
Around 2pm when I’d finally been able to keep my lines in the water for more than 10 minutes, the pellet was away again. This one put a really good scrap, and at 8lb 3oz was the second biggest I’d taken from the stretch.

11oct01

8lb fish from Pompiers Swim

As is usual on the swim, which is situated near a cycle path, you get a lot of people stopping to chat. This was the case today, and just as we were talking about the fish on the stretch, my rod was away again and the forth barbel of the day was banked at a fraction under 7lb.
I was pleased with my day, but the stretch is far from being my favourite. I don’t especially enjoy urban fishing, but there is no arguing with the fact that most of the decent fish come from town areas.. One only has to look at the Seine in Paris which is producing some very good barbel and some whopping great carp too.

18th October

Today I fancied another crack at the Meuse. I headed to Revin, to a swim I’d fished in the summer and banked a good 7lb barbel. There are a lot of swims in this Ardennes town, and the average size of the fish is pretty good too, and it’s a place I had my first 4kg fish.
The first swim proved a bit of a nightmare. Despite fishing just as I did the first time, for some reason I just found snags this time and after 3 hours and 4 feeders lost I decided to try another swim.
I decided to go back round to the Intermarché swim where I’d had that first 4kg.
Soon after casting out on the new peg, I had activity on the rod tops, always a good sign. One of the taps was in fact a fish and I found myself playing a barbel. It was only 6lb but a start.
The next cast saw a decent chub pick up the Seafood boilie. At 4lb 8oz it was the best I’d had this year.
Things quietened down a bit after that and the big barbel I’d hoped for didn’t materialise. As I stared at my rod top I saw the line suddenly go slack. I wound down, but thought I’d hooked the bottom. It started to move and I revised my guess to a plastic bag. As it came under my rod top it moved and I saw it was a small carp. At 9lb 12oz it was not quite what I’d come for, and ugly thing with a defoemed mouth that made it look like a crucian… but hey its better than blanking. It also turned out to be my last bite of the day.

23rd October

Once Benj had finished harvesting his grape crop he was keen to get back out on the bank. I had to drop my wife off at the station in Laon at 5am which meant I was able to join Benj at his house around 8am.
He’s sussed out a new swim in the Marne not far from Damery. The track to the riverside was somewhat muddy and it was like a stage of the Camel Trophy to get there. Fortunately we both had 4×4’s so it was in fact good fun slipping and sliding down the track.
The swim was indeed very inviting, a big slack area to the left in the bend and a nice run to the right. I set up in the run and left the slacker water to Benj.
Despite the promising nature of the stretch only one bite was forthcoming to Benj’s rod, in the shape of a 5lb barbel. It was to be our only take, so around midday he suggested we retire to a nice little riverside restaurant ant then try another swim in the afternoon.
We enjoyed a very nice ‘entrecote’, before setting up on the second peg. Benj had done well on the swim in the last week with fish to nearly 9lb and losing a decent carp too.
We decided on one rod each, and once the feeders were cast it was Benj who got the first action with another 5lb job.
I finally got my first bite of the day with a 6lb fish. Throughout the afternoon I managed a 4 fish in all, but no monsters.
All in all a very enjoyable day’s fishing, despite losing 4 feeders.

madfred mag

Managed to get my pic on the cover of Madfred’s Mag

26th October

The evening before the next rip I was pleased to see an article of mine published in Madfred’s Online fishing magazine. This is the first article in French I’ve had published and even if it is a free online issue, I was well pleased to be able to offer my approach to French barbel angling to a French audience.

The next short session saw me once again attempt to get a decent fish out the Aisne. It’s my closest river and thus one I’ve fished the most. But my results have been very disappointing, with only a handful of barbel falling to my rods, and then only modest sized ones.
A swim that had purportedly produced a very big fish earlier in the year was  my choice. I also been told it was best in flood conditions.

26oct01

An Aisne fish from flooded swim

I’d welcomed my clients to the lakes on the usual Saturday change over. Fortunately they’d all arrived early thus leaving me with a few hours to wet a line.
I got down to the river and cast out two rods with large feeders. But there was an absolute conveyor belt of leaves, branches and debris coming down, that made it impossible to hold a line in place. I therefore decided to change swims and find a quieter stretch.
The next choice looked far better, no leaves and a deeper looking run. I needed 6oz to hold, but it was fishing. One rod had Rahja spice and the other a Seafood boilie. After 25 minutes the Rahja had a positive knock, on the next recast I noted that indeed the boilie had been chewed.
As soon as the feeder was back in place I got another bang on the rod top. This time I felt it was strikable, and instead of the expected chub it turned out to be a barbel of 5lb 12oz.
That was about it for the afternoon and at 3.30pm I called it a day.

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The Aisne up and coloured

30th October

With the heavy rain and rising rivers I knew that the spots of my last two trips, where it was only just fishable, would be comprised. The Marne and the Meuse were very high and tanking through.
I thus figured that the navigable parts of the Oise would be a better option. I started off at Choisy au Bac on the Aisne where it jions the Oise, a swim I’d had a 7lb 12oz fish from in August.
I set up and was easily able to hold with 5oz feeders. I stayed for 3 hours in the first swim, but had no action, other than a bream. I opted to move a few clicks downstream onto the Oise at the Pompiers swim.
When I got there it was obvious that the level had come up here too a fair bit. I cast out 6oz feeders and only just held with these. However the large amount of leaf litter coming down soon made this impossible on my usual & productive line. I cast a bit closer and that seemed to work. I was able to hold for 15 to 30 minutes. The boat traffic was not too heavy either.
This didn’t really go as planned. I only had a couple of takes which resulted in two small barbel, one of around 3lb and one of 6lb.
I admit to being disappointed, especially as the locals informed me of a double taken from the swim a few weeks ago. Two different anglers, who stopped for a chat, mentioned this so I guess it could well be founded.
This may not be my favourite stretch, but so far its produced some of my best fish, so I guess I’ll keep at it here.
So there you go a fairly busy month of fishing, and some good catches. I still haven’t found the Eldorado if barbel fishing where I have a better than even chance of a double. I can’t believe they are as rare as that, I just have not found them yet. The Quest then continues.
Tight Lines
Gareth

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