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Winter Diary

March 10, 2014
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Frosty conditions but the barbel fed.

With the onset of Winter I did very little fishing. While it has been a pretty mild winter by usual standards it has been wet and still fairly cold. Not really my favourite conditions either. Added to this, due directly to the heavy rainfall, the rivers have been in constant spate since before last Christmas.

dec0301-4282f78

Just under 7lb and the best from the stretch last year.

I did get out a couple of times in December before the level and flow got too much. I concentrated on the Aisne river as my sessions were invariably short and travelling didn’t seem like an option. I wanted to consider.
December :  
A short outing to one of my favourite swims saw me get a couple of decent barbel  the first of 6lb 12oz was the best I’d had of the peg all season. The bite came very quickly after casting a Rahja Spice with a paste wrap into place. After a couple of hours during a recast of my left rod, my remaining rod was away again and I had my second fish, smaller this time though at 4lb 11oz. It again took the Quest Rahja Spice and wrap combination.  This saw the end of the feeding spell and I had no more action before I left.

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A wintery river Aisne

I managed two further trips to the river on a couple of swims before the winter took its grip and the river became unfishable. I had three more barbel, no big ones though, of 4lb 2oz; 5lb 11oz & 4lb 10oz. All three of these fish fell to the Absolute Seafood and paste wrap, two fish actually grabbed the bait first cast after only minutes in the water; just shows how attractive the combination is.
These two sessions proved to be the last of the year and with Christmas approaching I was not out on the bank until the New Year.

January:
Unusually for me the year kicked off with a spot of piking. I’ve never been a big predator fan, but they seemed to offer the best chance of a bend in the rod. My tactic was suspended dead baits over the dying weed beds on the Croix Blanche lake. I managed three runs that day but only connected with one fish that turned out to be an immaculate double of 10lb 4oz.

5jan01-4322a3e

A double figure pike of 10lb 4oz

A further blank pike trip was my only other foray in January.

February :
My mate Séb had been fishing a small gravel pit down the road from my lakes that held a large he’d of modest sized fish, upto mid twenties probably. He’d had some success on the Method, even in the coldest of conditions. I decided to give it a go myself as the rivers were still not fishable and my lakes were pretty dormant.
First trip saw me catch a modest sized tench of just over 4lb. Séb though had a good session with 5 fish to upper doubles. A couple of days later with reasonable conditions prevailing I was back on the banks. It’s a very popular and crowded venue in summer, but in the dead of winter I had it to myself.
My mate Laurent joined me mid morning, but I’d yet to have any action. The day produced three runs, two were single figure commons, and the third a 4lb bream. But they all put a bend in the rods, which for the occasion were my new Free Spirit Hi’S’ Big water barbel rods.

15feb02

A chunky little common on fake maize

A week later I was back in the same swim, this time accompanied by a chap Ludovic, who had contacted me on this blog and wanted to spend a day on the bank with me. I’d agreed to his request and so it was I spent a pleasant day in his company chatting about fishing.
I had a bit of action too landing three carp, two small singles figure jobbies and the last bite producing a mint 15lb common that gave the new barbel rods a very good work out.

The last session of February I did on my own venue, Method feeder fishing in the hope of one of the large coarse species, either tench, crucian carp or bream. This gets me the honours on our forum Challenge…
I only had one bite on fake maize that produced a large crucian of 7lb 2oz.

22feb01

A mint 15lb common on the new Hi S barbel rods

The last few days have been glorious and I’m really looking forward to a new year on the rivers. The target this year is a barbel over 5kg (11lb) and hopefully a few more doubles too.

Tight Lines
Gareth

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