Bob Roberts’ di­ary

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Contents -

I’VE not fished my favourite tench drain this sea­son be­cause it has been prac­ti­cally pumped dry by farm­ers ir­ri­gat­ing the sur­round­ing fields. Things are get­ting crit­i­cal up and down the land and un­less it rains soon we could be wit­ness­ing tragic events. Low flows and de­pleted oxy­gen lev­els are putting fish stocks at risk and there are re­ports of some small rivers dry­ing up com­pletely. These are wor­ry­ing times. Let’s hope we get a mini-mon­soon be­fore my di­ary is pub­lished and please, think care­fully about where you fish, what species you tar­get and maybe leave that keep­net at home.

Week one...

When the fish­ing is likely to be tough I’ll some­times force my­self to fo­cus and try that lit­tle bit harder. Forty years ago when I was in the early stages of what even then ap­peared to be a steep learn­ing curve, I’d stand knee deep in the River Idle and ask my­self: ‘What would Kevin Ashurst do now? Would he be catch­ing? What would he do to make some­thing hap­pen?’ It may sound a bit bonkers but it worked for me be­cause I’d con­stantly be tweak­ing my tac­tics un­til some­thing worked. And it still helps me, though I’ve moved on from look­ing to icons for in­spi­ra­tion. The River Trent was on its knees, low and stale; lit­tle was be­ing caught and I had to choose be­tween stay­ing at home and watch­ing the World Cup or work­ing ex­tra hard on the river for what might be scant re­ward. Of course, I chose the lat­ter but came up with a chal­leng­ing twist. I would take on the might of Rus­sia. Yep, they would kick a ball around and I would fish, one bar­bel would equal one goal, let the best man win. I love lis­ten­ing to football while fish­ing. It’s some­thing I’ve done since I was in my teens. They just go to­gether. Ba­con and eggs. Straw­ber­ries and cream. Football and fish­ing. While Rus­sia had home ad­van­tage play­ing in St Peters­burg I lev­elled the odds by choos­ing a favourite swim, one where I had pre­vi­ously never been beaten and only ever suf­fered one goal-less draw. The scene was set. I baited up with hemp and small pel­lets us­ing a drop­per and waited pa­tiently for 40 min­utes be­fore cast­ing out. Usu­ally I catch a few chub first but they were not at home. The tip re­mained mo­tion­less. The first hour dragged by. Noth­ing. But 30 yards down­stream I could see bar­bel crash­ing out of the wa­ter in what I can only de­scribe as a com­plete snag pit. I could safely cast eight yards down­stream but no fur­ther.

An­other two hours dragged by with no in­di­ca­tions and the game was soon due to start. I was hop­ing to get at least a goal ahead be­fore they kicked off. No chance. Then Rus­sia went a goal up. Des­per­a­tion time. There was no point in bait­drop­ping again. Nor was the feeder hav­ing any ef­fect. So what to do? Cat­a­pult­ing hand­fuls of pel­lets or boilies can have a neg­a­tive im­pact when the go­ing is tough but I started think­ing about pel­let wag­gler fish­ing. The steady plip-plop of one or two pel­lets can cre­ate a re­ac­tion. Not enough to scare the fish but maybe enough to make them in­quis­i­tive. Rus­sia go two-up. I’m now in­tro­duc­ing two pel­lets, pause, two pel­lets, pause, one boilie. And so on... Rus­sia go three-up! Nooooo.....!!! And then, out of the blue, my tip wraps round and, boy, does this fish not want to be landed. I’ve scaled down to a size 14 hook and the fish is stuck in some streamer weed. Some­how, I man­age to free it with­out pulling the hook. Take your time Bob. With relief I watch it glide into the land­ing net. She’s prob­a­bly a scraper double. Three-one! Could the come­back be on? Out goes the feeder again. Bang on the money and it hardly set­tles be­fore the tip hoops over. The fight is just as hard as the last. Bru­tal stuff con­sid­er­ing the small hook but I’m safely on my way to three-two with its iden­ti­cal twin. Well the game’s into the sec­ond half , just in the nick of time my rod comes alive and I’m in for a third time. The pres­sure is now on. I’m not just bat­tling a fish, I’m tak­ing on the whole Rus­sian na­tion. I feel like Harry Kane lin­ing up to take a penalty. Yes...!!!! Get in! Talk about feel­ing chuffed. What a come­back. A hat-trick of nine-pounders in the space of 45 min­utes. And the whis­tle goes for full time.

op­po­nent beaten An­other tough Cup’ match in my ‘World 999 call. One­ofa of­nine- hat-trick pounder s

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