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Self improvement

Cheers. Sleep? What's that? Haha. All part of life's journey isn't it and worth the suffering long term.
There are, some lovely waters. Sadly though the other one I want to get to know, Severals I can't park there anymore. "No commercial vehicles" I could park at the bottom but that's a 2 mile walk to the top end. North end farm holds some very big barbel but is according very difficult, not sure how it could be harder though to be fair...
Exactly the same principle Stephen,...not sure how big they are?
The reason I use a fine wire 10 is because it won't split a 6mm boilie....well most of the time anyway!
I got out this morning. Slightly revised rig but not 100% what I want, sadly I didn't have time to get the bits this week.
So here's my current business end;

And the completed rig ready to cast;

No Barbel but a plump 5lb Chub;

So on to the further. I nipped into the tackle shop on the way back to see these Guru Bayonets. Not exactly what I thought. They are very small, about 8mm long and the diameter of the bayonet itself is quite thin, to thin to grip a drilled pellet. So I'm going to make my own. Floors to sand and paint though this afternoon sadly.
I only use that rig for 6mm boilies , rather than risk splitting them with a baiting needle.
Going by your pics, you seem to be replicating the general idea ok.
I just made this rig up using a 10mm boilie,...ran out of 6mm's yesterday.
I would normally use standard hair rig for a 10mm and pellet

Well, a 5lb chub ain't all that bad is it?;):D
It's not, they go like stink at that size, sometimes better than the fat ones. Trouble is with Chub they're not Barbel, haha! It does at least prove some worth in the method though I spose.
Today I chosen to mix things up a bit. Firstly I'm on a venue I've not fished before. It's a known Barbel holding venue and it's deeper and darker than the clear shallows of Throop's Beat 2. I've perched myself 50 yards down from a boulder weir and I'm fishing a 1.5oz cage feeder stuffed with scalded pellet which I soaked in hemp water and krill extract which stinks, yum, to my double 6mm pellet bait. Fingers crossed il wangle out a few buttery Chelvin and you never know what could follow. Here's a photo of my swim.
Well to put it politely the landing net wasn't required today. I've got a different stretch that I like to fish that il be spending the morning on Thursday, prebaiting on Wednesday. Not holding my hopes up for a Barbel but there's some fantastic Chub to be caught up there.
Just to update this. I missed out on the prebaiting, ended up in the tattoo studio for six hours! Bit longer than I anticipated. The Thursday was another stinking blank, a 6oz Dace rattled a false alarm but that was that.
The temperature has really dropped over the last week, ground frosts most mornings.

The short days are killing week day opportunities. I'm on the bank Saturday, the pellets are staying at home and I plan a hemp and caster approach. Need a bit of encouragement as I've never managed to get through the silvers on this method in the past.
In the search of improvement we must include our failure as openly and readily as our success. Yesterday morning was a failure.
I awoke at 5.30am for breakfast and to sort things out to arrive backside at 6.30am. Looking out the window revealed an accurate forecast, rain, sideways and lots of it. Despite the temptation to hide in bed I went out. So sticking to my plan as I found the river in the condition I was expecting, still low and clear, I set about introducing my bait. A pint of hemp followed by a pint of maggot, these were to be bait dropped in on the deeper run on the opposite bank. Two droppers in the dropper failed to open. Checked it over, no problems, recast. Hemp scattered across the water as the front snapped off. The pint of maggot had to be catapulted in.
I left my swim for an hour while I tied up a 2oz maggot feeder helicopter style with flourocarbon hook length and hair rigged maggot. First cast I was sure the tip would fizz, but it sat motionless. I recast every 20 minutes. The feeder scattering a mix of maggot and hemp. 3 hours in bite less I switched to a 3lb leader and a single maggot on an 18, just to prove there were fish there if nothing else. Still nothing. Not even a minnowed maggot skin. At this stages I decided to move. A known deep fluids under a bank side tree. Same.
5 hours, 0 bites. One broken bait dropper and I managed to crack a pole in my shelter too. Bad session.
Keep on keeping on Stephen,...it's tough going at the moment with the current conditions. The barbel are tucked up and are very wary,...even if you have been able to locate one or two fish your best chance would probably be after dark.
Even the chub seem to be keeping their heads down when only a few weeks ago they could be seen cruising just below the surface advertising their presence.
The key is, as always location. If you're not sure what areas to target sometimes it's worth going out light and try a roving approach.
Target chub by flicking a bait such as cheese, meat or ledgered crust in all the likely spots, and also a few of the unlikely swims. You may only latch into the odd fish but once found you can return and try a more subtle approach such as trotting.
The presence of decent chub can sometimes be an indicator of a likely barbel swim.

I'm keeping an open mind about target species at the moment and have just filled the freezer with deadbaits as conditions would seem to favour pike.
Stocking up with all that pike bait is bound to trigger floods I reckon!:rolleyes:
Conditions look better for a barbel for the start of the week and I will try an hour or two tomorrow and Tuesday.
Never go out with just one bait dropper, I always take three if I intend to drop bait in a swim,....pike love to have a snap at them!
Cheers Dave. I'm trying to remain positive and persistent. Sadly I'm grounded this weekend fishing wise but I've arranged a few hours tomorrow evening. So I'm going try a bollie approach in a likely swim. Just sit on it in the dark for two or three hours, use the PVA method as before and really unless I get a take il be aiming to make one cast in that time. What do you think? Obviously roving is out the question in the dark.
I've actually had that bait dropper about 5 years without incident so it's not bad going I spose, these things don't last forever.
This evenings successes and failures. Well let's get the important bit sorted, yes another sodding blank. Just call me Lilly. So that's the failure part. The success part? Well I resisted the temptation to recast making one single accurate cast. I also sat in the dark till off time something I rarely do, I normally get windy.
Winding in revealed what I didn't want to see, no bait. I really don't want to consider when that came off. That's my last Barbel session now for at least a week, not only is the weather on drop but I'm tied up time wise, most likely won't be back out till the 26th.
To update on this, I've had a few blanks of late. It's been bloody hard and the Barbel are on the back burner due to the water temps.
This time of year it always goes wrong for me and end up resorting to silver fish to keep catching. I've stuck it out though in the hope of the Chub. Trying short sessions and multiple methods, maggot and hemp, mince the lot. Finally on about session 6 it's the cheese paste that did it. I was almost taken a back when the pin started screaming in the dark. My 9ft quiver doubled over and a few minutes of dogged fight in the dark a fit December Chub of 5,8lb graced my net. Not been so happy to see a chub in many years.
A quick pic and back to the gloom;

Hopefully I've cracked the Chub again and will start banking more often.
Just thought I'd update this, thought it would be nice to keep it rolling through the coming season as a kind of blog to see how things progress and wether I truly do "improve my corse fishing".
I've had a fair while off, particularly from the rivers. December was bleak and I couldn't find the Chub, so I squeezed in a few sessions on some of the clubs still waters for silver fish. With the wife becoming less mobile I was off the banks through January and our Daughter arrived, all 8lb 10oz of her kicking and screaming on January 24th after a 19 hour labour on one hours sleep for us both. Those two weeks off were a blur but I'm happy to report we're starting to get it right sometimes and today was my first session back on the river. With march on the horizon.
When while I've signed up for a charity half marathon in October and I've got my toy car in 1000 pieces that have got to go back together for a track day in early summer.
Back on the fishing. Sleep deprived I realised I hadn't actually sorted out what I was doing or where I was going this morning. My cheese paste, which I totally forgot about has gone mouldy. I've been watching the wether though and I thought I'd get away with a pellet approach. Sadly I didn't arrive at Throop till 9 and had to get back for stuff at home for 12 and hopped from swim to swim spending about 45 minutes or so in each, well you guessed it blank. Talking to others some were doing well others blanking and this coupled with the match report last week tells a tale that the Chub at least are very much tucked up in tight shoals still.
So now I'm walking back up river to the Car. I'm looking to spend the last two weekends of the session on North end farm with fingers desperatly crossed attempting to grab an end of session Barbel.
Just to update, with little one taking up so much time the season ended before I had chance to do much. Other projects took over my free time and aside from a few floater fishing trips for puddle pigs, which was great fun, one afternoon I had about 30. All in light gear.
The new season started and saw me starting at 4am. I chose my familiar water Beat 2 of Throop. I was delighted on my second swim to see a Barbel, about 9/10lb. Average for Throop, but Barbel aren't a regular site on the Stour these days. I fired out some pellet and it didn't spook, nor did it get stuck in. The Chub moved in though and taking on board the advice given I lengthened my hair length. 40 minutes of rod tip rattling and plucking and it started to go quiet, I peeked over the foliage to see no site of the Barb and the Chub had also backed off. I rested the swim and kept checking back over the next few hours to find the Barbel had not returned. Popped upstream to a known Chub holding area and banked one around 4lb, still hollow from spawn. That concludes my first five hours on the bank this season.
Today I popped to my new campaign fishery. After walking a good mile in beautiful surroundings, bitten to death by flies and sun burnt I only made a few casts. Today was a fact finding mission really. I did manage to find a pair of plump Barbs on a gravel patch. A spray of pellet didn't interest them, in fact they simply drifted away. In fairness it was mid day and bright as it can get.
I'm confident in my presentation, but I think the weak link is my swim preparation.
I've decided rather than litter the forum and because I'm rather limited with bank time, to do monthly updates. So here's month one.
I've really resisted the temptation to stray from my goal. So far I've kept to this fishing Throop just twice, the second time for only an hour. With fishing time really limited to one session a week on average at present there's not much time to "waste" on Chub.
So have I caught a Barbel this season from my new venue, short answer is no. Have I seen Barbel, damn right, every session without fail. Banking them, actually getting them feeding has been the issue. Maybe I've been to heavy handed, I have been dropping a mix on halibut pellet and hemp with limited success, ok no success. Three sessions like this later, including one whee I was working local and baited my chosen swim every three hours, it's clear this isn't the right way forward here. Time to rethink.
Prying myself out of bed at 4am I jumped in the van. Gearing myself up with a longer 4ft hook length and a lighter lead a mix of crushed and whole boilies were PVA bagged and slipped into place. 45 minutes later the tip wrapped round my hopes were up as I struck, it became clear after about 5 seconds this wasn't a Barbel. Moments later a large but spawned out Chub hit my net and tipped the scales at 4lb10oz. It's not what we want but it's a start and a big damn improvement from the three blanks... the kitten, (oh yeah the wife brought me a replacement cat for our anniversary to replace my old moggie that passed age 18 in January) had to be at the vets by 9.30am so I had to pack up a touch early. Leaving a Barbel visible in my swim, grr. Off home to work on the kitchen, sick of that kitchen already haha.
So now we wait, wait for the weekend with greater confidence. Il pop a photo up once I'm on laptop.