March 14 th 2016 - The Last Day Of The Season

The Last Day Of The Season  - 2016

Well, it’s come full circle again and it is the last day of the river season.

I was at Salford Pets for 7.30 to make a few floats. One pike pencil for Kaden McCarthy who is a 14 year old prodigy, a member of Salford Friendly Anglers and is showing the adults how the catch pike in the Mancunian canals and a pair of Perch Bobbers for a competition in one of the groups I am a member of.

By the time the floats were ready for lacquering it was 10.30. I had yet to sort out my river kit. It was a right mess from my last blank on the Douglas. (Something terrible has happened to that lovely little river)

By 11.30 I was in the “ Mighty Megan “and off to a quite stretch of the Irwell, hopefully to bag a few chub…….may be even a barbel. Here’s hopping …. lol

I wanted to christen my new Avon float which I had rigged up the night before. Knowing the run I introduced some freebies as I tackle up. The river looked spot on with a ting of colour and the anticipation was starting build. I love the last session of the river season. It makes me feel like a kid again. First trot down I realised that the float wasn’t right for the run I had chosen. It was a fast run and the Avon’s tip was too delicate. I had another trot down anyway. Two seconds the float buried and I was into a fish.

It gave a good account of its self kiting and tail walking all over the place until I finally got it over the landing net. It was a lovely wild brown trout of about 1.5 lbs. I un-hooked the trout and left it in the submerged lading net while I got out my phone and camera to take a picture. Unfortunately my phone and camera decided to play up so the trout was released without a pic ( sorry ). I switched to a more substantial Irwell Stick Float for the next half an hour but bites were hard to come by so I upped sticks to a slower peg down stream.

Again I introduced some freebies while I set up the Avon rig once more. I had caught chub on this peg before in the autumn so my confidence was up and I settled into my rhythm without further a do. It took a while for my first bite to materialise which I hit and stated to play to the net. I felt the line go slack indicating the fish had shed the hook……BUGGER……
I few casts latter I was in again ………………. And the same thing happened !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cursing like a solider I changed my hook to a lighter gauge and wider gape. 10 minutes latter the same thing happened again !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was getting a little stressed out and feed up now. Three lost fish in the space of half an hour and the swim un-doubtably ruined.
I thought “ BOLLOCKS “ I was off to see my m8 Eric at Little Britain Anglers for the last couple of hours of the day. You never know, I may even repeat what I achieved last year and bank an Irwell Ghost !!!!!!!!

Half an hour later I pulled up at Eric’s but with my phone goosed I had know way of contacting him  so I load up my tackle and headed my peg. I introduced some bait straight away as I have fished this peg twice before and stet up quick sticks. Time was bobbing on know so I needed to get my head down if I wanted to get a decent fish.
I left the Avon in its box for this swim. I had seen a couple of good fish swilling on the surface downstream and decided fishing on the drop would be my best plan for a “ Lump “
( There are all sorts in this stretch. Barbel chub, pike, carp, roach, perch  etc. For £20.00 per year, well worth it )
I opted for one of my newer floats a self cocking “Irk Stick “with a fluorescent yellow tip. Smaller and lighter than there big brothers the “Irwell Sticks “. The one I had chosen takes 9 No 8’s so was ideal for fishing on the drop in 4 feet of water.

After 15 minutes for feeding,  trotting and soaking up the early spring sunshine my little” Irk stick” bobbed and buried and I was in again. I new it was a trout straight away……Why ??????????????
because it flew out of the water like a missile as soon as I hooked it, twisting and turning leaping and diving. This was a truly wild fish and did not like being hooked for one moment but I had him in clear water now and 2.5 lb wild brown trout was mine. The hook came out easily but without a camera I released him straight away and just enjoyed the day. I had another 3 fish A little smaller than the 1st but again, no pictures. Eric Owen (LBA Chairman ) arrived and we had a good natter about all thing fishy and future plans for the river and local canal and generally gassed the rest of the time away.

I decided to change bait and hook with a “ Do or bust “ mentality for the last hour, changed to  a 10’s hook and double worm, hopefully, to hook a chub or barbel.  Eric and I talked for a while about my first time on his section of river when I broke my PB trout in 2014. It was a 4.5 lb fish which left me shaking as it was the first time I had experienced the thrill of a large tail walking trout. At the end of the conversation Eric laughed and said
“ Don’t rule out your chances today Peanut, big fish have been moving in this peg “
A little more enthused by the big mans comments I cast the
“Irk Stick” in on the outside line this time to see if there was a fish just hanging off the main feed line. On my fifth or sixth  trot down at the tail end of the pool my little float shot under and I my Acolyte Plus doubled over taking the strain………………... “This is a good one Eric “ I said........
Hahahahahahahah……told you Peanut, didn’t I just say there were big fish moving. Hhahahahahaha “Laughed Eric. He was stood up know trying to get a look at was she was. She took a little line at first so I tightened up…………………and that’s when she decided to kick into third gear and thunder off to the rapids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Most pools on the middle Irwell are short so the rapids are always a possible escape route for the fish. I only had about 60 yards of line on my close face reel and it was coming to the end of it. Without any choice I tightened up my 704’s clutch fully and held on.
“ Go ooooooon Peanut. Give her some stick “ I herd a voice behind me. “ Is it a barbel? What do you think ? Is it? Is it?
Eric was like a little boy, all excited, asking questions bobbing and weaving his head trying to get a glimpse of the fish……..
“ She hasn’t tail walked yet pal. Could be a barbel. Shit ……………I can’t do it two years on the bounce surely. “
“You never know Peanut. You are in the right peg, right time, right bait and tackle !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I think Eric was as excited as I was !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whilst this conversation was happening I had turned the fish, clamped down hard and gave her some proper stick. I was on 7 lb line straight through, learning my lesson from the previous year when I thought I was going to lose an “Irwell Ghost“. ( Barbel )
She still had not tail walked…………………could it  be a barbel……… mined was racing thinking about the river bed. There were three large boulders in front of me which were worrying…….Five minutes and still no sign of her and back down stream she thundered on a blistering run !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This time when I camped down I took a lot of line back and brought her back in front of me. I kept her quite high in the water, away from the boulders, most of the time …!!!!!!! and she stated to tire. It was then she broke the surface with an almighty  splash. It was a trout…………but ……a bloody bigun !!!!!!!!!!
 “ Shit Mike, that’s better than a good fish “ ………….Eric was buzzing…………… to.
 Although not a barbel I new this could be a new PB trout for me even on fist glimpse. It was a further five minutes before I manged to manouver her over my net, she flipped her tail and rolled. The line had wrapped around the fish and now I was playing it from the tail. Obviously now the fish felt a couple of pound heavier and continued the fight. I could see her boring down with all her strength but even on 7 lb line and the Acolyte Plus fully arched I still had to play her out for a further 3 minutes. Finally I slowly edged her, tail first  over the waiting landing net and took my prize ………………She was in amazing condition as you can see from the pictures………………
 She was 5 lb dead. To say I was well cuffed is an under statement!!!!

I am in a rod race & the only proof of the fish being caught thus year was thus float so I popped it in the pucture. Below is a picture of the fish & the Irk Stick I caught it on.

“ LBA comes good again Peanut “ crowed Eric with a smile.
“ You’re not wrong mate  “ I replied, still shaking………..
I photographed and weighed here quickly then held her in the current for a while until she kicked free…………..
All though you wouldn't think it from my misserable face !!!!!!!!!!!

(I also got a rod race point for the humble minnow. )

Ericlaughed.......He has seen bigger and better fish from this stretched this season but none caught by me and not too many on the float.
“ Oh my god Eric………………..LBA has come good AGAIN……I wont doubt your judgement again buddy. That is 8oz over my PB from 3 years ago“………….
The light was fading now and for the first time in seven hours I thought about food.  Eric proceeded to email me the photos for my blog, which I am very grateful  while I packed away my gear and headed off home up Manchester Road for a well earned brew off Salford Pete and also to show him this years last day capture.
It was almost……… almost as good as the year before when I bagged my first “ Irwell Ghost “ but that’s another tail…………………….

Below is the link to the day I caught an Irwell Ghost !!!!!!



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