Monday, 1 August 2011

Jolly Boys Outing, Anchor Meadows

So the weekend was here.  I left Banbury just on 6am and pulled up on the island at a quarter to seven. As expected most of the swims below the weir were taken, one by Martin who had been there a couple of hours already! He confirmed that the "Barrels" swim at the top of the island was one of his choices and, as I'd fished there previously, I decided to give it a go.
The river was very low and clear but I still hoped that the fish could be tempted from beneath the streamer weed and put one rod alongside the edge of the scum that had collected downstream of the barrels and the other on a nice long clear run between the weed. As soon as I'd got most of my stuff sorted, the most important act of the morning was started.
A scrumptious bacon sarnie!  No barbel, or the carp I hoped to be lurking under that scummy cover, showed any interest but I started picking up small chub on elipse pellets on my downstream rod. I spent some amusing minutes watching the moorhen family tempting the chicks from the nest trying to show them how to peck through the detritus for food.
Gradually the others decided to drag themselves from their pits at home and turned up. Jeff was the first to put up his home from home and Lee and I joined him in this mensa-like activity. (Well, for me at least, Lee had a brand new "pop-up" version. From the left, Chez Lee, Chez David and Chez Jeff.
The afternoon was blooming hot and we all struggled to catch. Danny and Andy, fishing the point just above me had success with deadbaits and pulled in some pike but I couldn't add to the small chub from earlier in the day.
Here's quiz question. Whose bike rack is this?

Only joking Danny.

Around 6ish Keith came calling and he suggested we walk on water to the inviting-looking pub on the far bank for a pint or five. Looking across the river it didn't seem open, which was strange as it was early evening on a scorching July day with the kids on holiday. Surely any self-respecting boozer would be full of families and anglers enjoying the day? Anyway, Jeff and I voted Keith the scout and sent him across to suss it all out. "It doesn't open 'till 7" he told us when he had braved the torrent for the second time, so we waited another hour and crossed. Lee and Martin followed a couple of minutes later. (Can't post the vid, too big?)
Lee had asked about waterproof cameras knowing that both Jeff and I had one, so I took the opportunity of demonstrating to him the benefits. My foot and his feet at 6".

At last we were in sight of some nice ale and a welcoming mine host.
Well, the first bit was right but while waiting for the foaming stuff to be pulled, we were frostily told "we only serve NON DINERS (yes he did say it with that inflection) drinks up until 8 o'clock".
Mnnnn, not the welcoming mine host we'd hoped for then. As we were the dregs of society we went out back into the garden, after all, we wouldn't want the sensitive souls inside to faint at the sight of us!
Then, to add insult to injury, when Jeff and Martin (?) went inside just after 7:30 for refills, they were told that "this will be the last order sir, won't it". FFS, don't ever, ever venture into this pub run by he-who-has-his-head-up-his-arse.

So we crossed back over to our bank and after my second BBQ of the day, chili ribs for lunch and chicken pieces for supper, a group of us gathered on the point watching D and A try for more predators while we sipped a beer or two. Joe Chatterton turned up unexpectedly and it was nice to put a face to the name. Luckily he hadn't brought his rods so he couldn't shame us by sorting out a double or two.
Midnight came and as a few of us were flagging, I decided it was time to retire for the night.
I woke about 5:30 the next morning and after 10 minutes or so went down to the bank where Danny, Andy and Keith were already up.
Despite fishing all night Danny had a couple of bits of interest but nothing to show for them. I did notice Keith doing something strange, it looked as if he was scanning the water for fish,
but on closer inspection he seemed to be having trouble with his trousers.
After a couple of fruitless hours in my swim I decided to move downstream where Jeff had pointed out a depression in the river bed.
Note: Friendly Swim but NOT Friendly Pub.

Fairly soon I was into a species we all expected to catch on this weekend. A barbel. Not the biggest ever caught but at least it was one, and my first of the season. I'm almost embarrassed to show it here.
Still, it's points on the board. (The red face wasn't the result of too many beers the night before, just too much sun).
Eventually everyone had left by midday except Jeff, who's staying for a few more days and will, no doubt, catch a nice double at night rolling his meat down the faster water. After getting a jump start from Andy - cheers mate - due to a flat battery, I too packed up and was home around 2ish, knackered and sun burnt but I had a most enjoyable time with the rest of the bunch. Next time a catfish challenge!


  1. Twas a great time for sure, even that landlord who must have crawled out of his own arse to 'serve' us was the butt of some choice mirth! I actually laughed myself into a stupor over the evening what with Keith's mentalist casting and all and had lost the will to talk by eleven. I put in the two succeeding evenings from six or seven till one in the morning after a big bab for two bream and a dropped fish that felt chubby, so any barbel however small was a right result.

    Nice foot shot BTW. Well, I say nice but mean nice shot, bad feet. Have to get my underwater camera skills up to scratch methinks...

  2. Least you got a barbel to the bank, David. Good work.