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Two Little Ducks

Posted by Rob Ward , 09 August 2011 · 5,043 views

On Friday 29th July I began my River campaign on a club stretch of the Ribble not far from Preston.

I joined the club last Autumn along with my friend Graeme and we managed one trip hoping for a Barbel at the beginning of October, unfortunately that day coincided with the first frost of the winter and killed our chances.

As it happens fellow forumite Rik aka 'Addicted to Scopex' also has a ticket and we spent an enjoyable winters day roving the stretch after Pike but again found a freezing cold and rising river against us.

Over the summer I invested in a trotting outfit, admittedly I was curious to find out what all the fuss was about with centre pins. Not wanting to spend a fortune on gear I may only use on occasion I plumped for the 'Marco Cortesi Signature' centre pin from Dragon Carp which set me back less than 30. I teamed the reel with a 13/15ft power match rod kindly paid for by the Mrs for my birthday, it's a Ron Thompson Destructor Match and was just under 40. I loaded the 'pin' with 20lb yellow power pro and for the lot I had change from 85. I must say that on first impressions the quality of both the rod and reel appear to be very good but as they say the true test of the pudding is in the eating...

My first visit this season was the evening of Friday 29th July and ended in a blank but I did manage to find a promising looking new swim. The river was very low and I could see the bottom practically everywhere. My plan for the campaign is to fish evening sessions after work, finding Trotting swims and float fishing until I can no longer see the float and then get the tip rods out and fish into darkness. Unfortunately after finding a trotting swim and threading the braid through the rings of the rod I realised I'd left my loafer float rigs in the garage at home so wasn't going to be able to christen the trotting outfit on this occasion. It's practically a given that I'll forget something on my first session of a campaign! I set up a maggot feeder rig as an alternative and missed a succession of lightening fast bites, as the light faded I set up another rod to fish pellets with an open end feeder but the tip remained motionless apart from when one of the many bats that were out flew into my line!

Second visit was Monday 8th August, there had been a bit of rain over the weekend and during the day so conditions were looking a bit better. I had an inkling we wouldn't be the only ones thinking the same thing and sure enough when at around 17:00 we got to the first of the two farms that provide access to the stretch the car park was full. The second farm tends to be more popular as you can park practically on the river bank however there was only one car there so we unloaded the gear and headed upstream to find a swim.

This time I made sure I was organised and had all of the trotting gear with me. We settled on a nice looking double swim with a steady but fast run at the near bank and a crease about halfway across. I was soon running a loafer down the inside channel fishing maggot on the hook and feeding around a dozen every other trot. I started getting to grips with mending the line and kept moving the float up the line until the rig started tripping bottom and then I started to get bites. Pretty soon I was swinging a small chublet into hand and had broken my first duck - I'm no longer a 'pin virgin'. Another chublet followed and then a couple of Dace, only small stuff but I was really enjoying the fishing. Very simple stuff and very satisfying, I also hooked an acrobatic Trout that managed to throw the hook. Before long the light was fading and I was struggling to see the float so began dripping a few broken boilies into the inside line while I set the Barbel rods up.

I set two rods up, one with a semi fixed feeder rig with a 10mm pellet hookbait wrapped in paste and the other a free running rig with a boilie hook bait. I made half a dozen casts with the pellet feeder straight out in front of me to the crease and then left the seventh cast to fish that spot. The free running rig was dropped into the inside line and fed by hand. I was recasting the feeder rig around every twenty minutes and pretty soon after around the third or fourth cast the tip wrapped round and I was into a better fish that gave a good account of itself. After a brief but brutal tussle Graeme netted my first Barbel from the stretch at around 22:10. Only a small one at around 6lb but I was pleased to have broken my second 'Duck' of the day (unfortunately I've just managed to delete the photo from my phone). That was the last fish of the session although Graeme did lose two more, one to a hook pull and the second snapped his hook link as he'd forgotten to re-adjust his clutch after tightening it to pull out of a snag. There's no fishing allowed after 11PM so we packed up and headed back to the car both eager to get back soon and get into some of the better fish. Whilst not the most productive session it was certainly satisfying to get off the mark!




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