Went down to the river today to photograph some Moorhens that I had been watching during the week while fishing. I noticed that around mid day the sun was lighting the birds up really well causing their red beaks to almost glow. The thing to remember when photographing black coloured birds is to under expose to compensate for the camera wanting to expose for mid tone grey. I set the camera to expose for -1 of a stop.
Went to the river again today and found a few barbel. I was fishing blind in this swim and put in about 10 dropper's full of hemp and maggots when I arrived, leaving it to settle I had a cup of coffee and slowly tackled up. After an hour I cast out and started to get line bites straight away, on the third cast the rod tip pulled round and I was into a hard fighting fish that stayed deep a sign of a big fish. In the net I could see it was a long but empty fish, going 14lb 13oz on the scales. After sorting the fish out I was soon into another fish this one going 9lb 1oz, followed shortly after that by a thick set 13lb 12oz fish. All the fish were caught on my combi rig as mentioned in a previous blog post.
Had a few hours out on the river bank this morning. The morning got off to a good start with a Barn owl hunting in a field behind the river. After chucking in some hemp and maggots it became clear that the barbel had moved on but I did have a couple of decent chub feeding well in the swim, deciding to have a go for them I switched to a size 20 hook tied to a short 5lb double strength hooklength, not long after putting the rig I saw one of the chub shake it's head as it realised it was hooked, after a brief battle I was looking at a nice chub in the net on the scales it went 5lb 13oz.
I recieved an email last night from the BBC Autumn watch team saying that they hoped to be using this shot of mine in the Unsprung program tonight BBC2 9-30pm.
As hoped I managed to get out this morning for a couple of hours, I threw in a couple of handfuls of hempseed up stream of the swim so that it spread out nicely on the gravel under my feet. Settling down in the rushes I was soon aware of a movement to my left hand side, it was a Harvest mouse,the first I've ever seen in the wild climbing into my bait box to nick some hempseed. I spent the next 45 minutes trying to get a shot of him but soon gave up once I saw a bronze flash under my rod tip as a good barbel had found my hemp. Lowering in the same rig as shown in my previous blog I waited maybe 5 minutes before the rod tip pulled round and I was into a large and powerful fish. In fact it went on such a long run to begin with that I thought I may have foul hooked the fish in the tail, it was with out doubt the best fight I've had from a barbel. After numerous runs I eventually got the fish in the net,perfectly hooked in the mouth and weighing in at 13lb 8oz, my second biggest from the stretch.
My mate Colin who was fishing further down stream came up to do the photo's, shortly after retuning to his swim I was returning the favour with the camera.
Went barbel fishing again this morning, baited a few close in gravel spots and soon enough got three barbel feeding on one of the spots. They seem to prefer the maggot and hemp approach at the moment, suppose they've seen enough of the boilie and pellet this season. Any way using the combi rig I mentioned in an earlier blog I lowered in my hook bait and within 10 minutes I saw a nice barbel suck in the maggots, split seconds later pulling my rod tip round. I don't think I'll ever tire of sight fishing for barbel. After a good fight a near double of 9lb 10oz was in the net.
The problem with fishing under your rod tip is that you end up catching a fish and then you spook the shoal,packing up I baited up with 6 dropperfulls of hemp and maggot, maybe I can get out for a couple of hours in the morning.
As promised heres a couple of shot of my combi rig. the hook is one of the new Drennan specimen plus patterns in a size 16.
Monday and Tuesday morning I was back out fishing for barbel. The flood that came through on Friday had cleared leaving enough visibility in the water to use my favourite approach for barbel, feeder fished maggots. I have been using a very fine braid for my hook length called Corastrong, being very supple it needs to have a small PVA bag attached to the hook to stop tangles. This becomes a real pain if your constantly casting or as in the last two day's it's drizzeling. To over come this problem I tied a combi rig using just a couple of inches of braid attached to 10lb mono using an albright knot with a number 8 shot used to weigh down the hook length pinch on at the knot junction. The rig work great with no tangles and the barbel seemed to approve with a 9-02 on Monday and a 10-03 today. I even managed to add a bonus 2lb+ perch. In a future blog I'll add a picture of the rig.
Last Wednesday I had a chance to visit Woburn deer park again on the way to visit my parents. This is one of my favourite places to photograph and in the past I've managed some pleasing results, this year however has been a bit of a struggle for me we most of the deer being away from the foot paths that criss cross the park. On this morning however there seemed to be a lot of Red, Sika, and Pere David's deer over the side that I like to photograph, I think that this may have something to do with the couple of gunshots I heard coming from over the other side of the park.
First up were a big herd of Pere David's deer near the road, being careful not to spook the deer onto the road I took a few shots of a stag that I could isolate from the main group, the light was rubbish though and I struggled to get a 60th of a second at iso 1600.
Next up was a few Red deer, my favourites and I managed to get some half decent pictures of a female and calf as well as the usual stag's
Then on the way back to the car I came across a Sika deer stag with his ladies.
After my trip barbel fishing on Tuesday morning I checked the weather forecast and it looked like we could get a nice sunset, with this in mind I made arrangement for Helen and I to meet good friend Jacko at Fen Drayton,Cambs to witness the Starling roost there. Jacko was after some nice wildlife footage for an up coming angling dvd he is filming while I was after some stills.
Having never witnessed the roost before we were not let down with a reasonable sky and some nice flocks being chased by Sparrowhawks. Hopefully I'll be able to return to improve on my results before the winter is over.
At the beginning of the week I had a couple of mornings after the barbel on my local river. With the river still being low and clear I decided that the maggot approach would probably get the best results. Looking in my normal spots it became clear that the fish had moved, luckily wearing polariods and walking the bank I was able to locate 3 fish tucked in under some near bank rushes in about 2 foot of water. Creeping into place I threw in some hemp and maggots upstream and soon had them feeding. I now had to wait for them to drift out of the swim and then lower my bait in no further than 6 inches from the bank, with the bait in place it didn't take long before a barbel made a mistake and I was soon battling a hard fighting fish of about 8lb. Having caught the fish I packed up but not before introducing some more bait for a return in the morning.The next day I repeated the results of the day before with a different fish of about the same weight.
Both fish were caught on the maggot feeder rig discussed in a previous post.