Jan 2021, first Lot barbel of the year

pelamid

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We do get winter here in the south of France! Start of the year it was hard frosts and even some snow, before that we had a lot of (cold!) rain.

My first attempt for a barbel resulted in one chub, but at least it was over 4lb.

The river temperature must have been very low and I doubted I would get a January barbel this year.

Today the temperature was forecast to reach 11c and there was a southerly wind. Although the river was high my River App on the phone showed the flow had started to drop, so I took a gamble on one of my better summer swims.

It looked a bit bleak when I arrived, but the flow close in was fishable. I was still about 20' back from my normal stance but it was just possible to miss the branches and weed stems.

Garden Jan 21.jpg


Bites came quickly but it was 20 minutes before this 5lb 4ozs barbel hooked itself properly....

Barbel jan 21.jpg


I phoned my angling buddy Alistair and he joined me for a couple of hours. He got just one, but was more than happy to start his 2021 fishing with a nice barbel.....

Barbel Alistair jan 21.jpg


Two more of similar size took my 20mm monster crab boilie. Not bad for a session that started at mid-day and finished at 5pm as we have a curfew at 6pm for this damned virus!

With all the crappy stuff happening just now it was good to get out and enjoy a few hours of decent fishing! :)
 

Roger Johnson 2

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No, absolutely hissing down today, fortunately the house is 6 metres above the “high tide” mark.


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pelamid

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I feel quite lucky that my stretch of the river Lot does not generally spread out sideways when other rivers are properly over their banks!

However......the river can go through at some extreme pace at times!

The barrage and power station at Cajarc controls what is happening downriver along my usual fishing spots. It is rare for it to be completely unfishable but I have to be prepared to move a few miles and on any day (particularly in the winter) take rods that will cope with weights up to 5ozs. As much as I prefer to use a 1.5lb TC rod for barbel I usually have a telescopic pike rod in the car to make sure I am not caught out.

At the end of last year I bought a Daiwa Powermesh Barbel b2 in 2.25 TC. It is light and does not feel like a powerful rod, but it is now proving very capable of dealing with the varying winter river conditions. Took a chance ordering without giving one a "wiggle" but it can lob a heavy feeder a really good distance and yet still allow a 4lb chub or barbel to feel like a fun fight. Bite detection is very good as well! Happy to have found a rod that does so much :cool:
 

Roger Johnson 2

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The Dordogne is hard to predict, it seems to rise before it rains!
I’m guessing it’s to empty the reservoirs to allow for the new water and mitigate rising levels later, the other result is it rarely gets badly coloured as the turgid water from the side streams is diluted by the reservoir water, nevertheless normal barbel rules apply, rising levels coupled with rising temperatures usually mean barbel. Because we’re close to a number barrages here, it also stays warm well into winter and remains cold into May.


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pelamid

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Yesterday my wife and I took a walk along the river at Cajarc. Ended up on a piece of path that had been locked off previously but now allowed a view from the hydro power station inlet to the barrage. That is the barrage that often controls where, and even if, I can fish!

Some photos.....
First is the inlet gate to the hydro plant
IMG_20210125_140553.jpg


The flow comes from the main river in the channel to the left, if not required it diverts in the other channel back to the river and barrage.

Cajarc barrage from PS inlet.jpg


There are other barrages along the Lot.....

IMG_20210125_141234.jpg


So much work has gone into this river over centuries. First it would have been weirs and canal sections with locks to ensure barges could use the river whatever the flow. Then the barrages and power stations allowed full control (well, mostly!) and supplied a surplus of power (at the time) for developing industry.

Despite that human interference the Lot is probably an improved habitat for a more diverse range of wildlife than the original, untamed, spate river would have allowed. For the angler the variety is outstanding, barbel in many sections and more sedentary species often not many yards away. Even crucian carp I have been told, maybe I will get around to fishing for them soon!

1611603230481.jpg
 
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Philip

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Even crucian carp I have been told, maybe I will get around to fishing for them soon!

I suspect they may be Gibel Carp rather than Crucians...but it would be great to be wrong ! :)
 
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