Probably the biggest talking point for the month of October was the weather; extremely mild and, without a doubt, just too good for fishing as whatever species I have been targeting could just feed 24/7 and on whatever they wanted, as the natural larder is still full. Trying to pinpoint feeding times in such warm conditions is almost impossible; all I could do was keep placing a bait in known swims and then keep my fingers crossed, so to speak.
Looking at my diary inputs, the start of the month saw temperatures in the twenties, yet this was coupled with high pressure and plenty of showers. These unseasonable temperatures did dip a few degrees mid month, yet it was still more tee-shirt than thermal weather. Then, come the end of the month, the big storm hit which saw my barometer reading changing from 990mb to 1022mb in less than twenty-four hours, what I call ‘the kiss of death’ when it comes to catching. However, at long last we did experience the first ground frost on Wednesday 29th, yet come twenty-four hours later the morning temperature at the same time of the morning was more than ten degrees higher!
Stringing together consistent sport, especially when you are targeting numerous species, is hard, so if, like me, you have struggled through this period, don’t be deterred. It can be expected.
My diary inputs show that a bait was in the water for 132 hours during the month. I wish I could say it was my bait, but my actual fishing time totalled thirty-four hours. Up on last month, which is encouraging. The rest of the time was split between guiding (93 hours) and feature producing (5 hours).
Barbel were the main target and at the start of the month they seemed to be feeding well. My most memorable barbel catch was one of 7lb 8oz taken from the Wye. Nothing special in size, but most rewarding as it was taken on the float after reading how Dave Harrell backwinds whilst float fishing. I did slide the net under another big fish, one weighing 12lb 2oz, yet being a repeat capture from the previous month meant it didn’t quite beat the one on the float, even though it was taken from a different swim on a very hard stretch of the Loddon.
Another customer also finding barbel action was Tim, who slid his net under his first ever double, one weighing 10lb 6oz, and if it wasn’t for losing another big one later in the day, another brace of doubles would have been recorded. The barbel, however, did seem to disappear as the month progressed, yet the chub came on the feed. No big ones, mainly in the 4-5lb range. but a sure sign that winter is coming.
Another species that started to show was perch, with myself spending the day on the river with a bait box of lobworms. Although not huge, I set myself a target of a two-pounder and on the very last cast of the day took one weighing 2lb 6oz, along with two 4lb 8oz chub earlier in the day. Andy Ford and Mick Brais from Sky Sports also caught a few on a day out we had at the end of the month.
One disappointing part of the month has been the crucian fishing at Enton. Some years these go into a feeding frenzy as they build up reserves for the coming winter, yet although we have targeted these on numerous occasions, catching more than a couple each evening has been rare. Fishing partner Chris did break his personal best with a crucian of 3lb 4oz yet, to put it bluntly, the fishing has been terrible. So bad that, in fact, we have decided to leave these alone 'til next year!
Although I have written a number of articles this month, most using old catch images, I did get out to Godalming’s Broadwater with young Nash apprentice Jake Curry. The session was what can only be described as an eye opener, as the method we thought would catch didn’t. Come the end of the session we were asking loads of questions as to why it turned out the way it did, which is great as the session was for a Nash ‘Think-Tank’ for Coarse Angling Today.
I’m looking forward to November as having knocked a couple of time consuming distractions out of the way, one being crucians, I can now dedicate much of my time to barbel and, with the weed and bankside cover beginning to die, it should be a good month. I’m not expecting loads to see the bottom of my landing net, but I am hoping that a very big one does. Time will tell.
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