An extremely busy christmas at work this year had severely cut out any hopes of getting out on the river until this morning when I decided on just going out really light and taking as little gear as possible, so I could move around quickly and cover alot more water.
My aim today simply was to locate and bank a Barbel, being one of my favourites I like to fish for them as often as I can and today seemed almost perfect conditions for it, with my local river recently coming down after being almost out of its banks and debris 3 foot up trees where the river washed tons of rubbish, it looked very good still with extra water still being pushed through with a greyish tint that I always associate with good Barbel fishing.
My first port of call was an old mill that has a deep pool that is practically covered with gravel and in the summer is used for spawning by the shoals of the Barbel that make their way up to the shallows at the tail end of the pool and I know they frequent there in the winter but thus far have struggled to conjure up a bite let or lone a fish but that's fishing and this session was no different when I spent around 30 minutes rolling a bait through and also static bait to see if anything was feeding.
After a short walk down river I was peering into each swim to see if I could spot anything and straight away I noticed a very size able Barbel between 10-11lbs and I needed no time to decide on whether to fish the swim but the swim is very open so I had to get in very stealthily to avoid spooking the fish, cast one: rolled through, fish on, Barbel not the big one which turned out to be 3lb 9oz, cast two: rolled through again, fish on again, Barbel again but not the big fish but for its size fought very well and after a couple of minutes a Barbel of 4lb 2oz was banked and released, cast three: rolled through and a Barbel of about 7lb picked up the bait and dropped it immediately, cast four: nothing, cast five: I rolled it through same as the last 4 times and with all the commotion that the last 2 Barbel made I was surprised to see the big Barbel open its mouth and suck in my meat, then all hell broke loose and for 7 mins after that I was fighting a big Barbel that was a definite double but how big was anyones guess, second time of asking I landed her. Just what I expected when I first saw it on the bottom but not a long fish by any standards but very thick set and quite deep as well, after waiting over christmas to get out on the bank to have a go for a Barbel I got my wish and a double to!
(5th cast) A proper lump at 11lb 1oz and alot fatter than the picture suggests.
Plenty of joy so far and I was only in that swim for around 20-30 mins, roving downstream further I did come across a few Carp and as I was debating whether to fish for one when a Barbel flashed up on a gravel bar in front of me I put a bait just up above it and within 5 minutes my rod slammed around and a good sized Barbel was on the end ploughing through the swim, spooking another couple of fish out of the swim, a few minutes later a 7lb 2oz graced my net.
After capturing that Barbel I did move downstream further but I didn't manage to catch anymore Barbel with 2 small Chub coming to the net, then the rain came back with avengence and the gusty wind also whipped up which put an abrupt end to my session and off home to watch Arsenal to see if Walcott will score again up front for us.