The last couple of seasons I have targeted the Barbel on the first morning/day and not done as well as I had hoped but fishing likes to throw you curveballs just to keep you interested, on Sunday morning I headed off out the door at 4am as the sky was brightening up, around an hour it took to get to my chosen location and I was in for a shock when I got to the river and noticed how choked it was with weed, my heart sank as I went through swim after swim and almost every one was unfishable, I passed about 5 swims in a 80m walk upstream, nearly halfway up I decided to drop of the gear in a bush and grab the polaroid's, I was seriously hoping I'd find one ok enough to trot a float.
All the previous swims had not even enough space between a run of weed to fish, 3 swims up from where I dropped the tackle I peered into the swim just like the last seven swims and expected the same when I was immediately greeted by a couple of good Roach, that was all I needed to see, all of a sudden the day got perky.
I trickled some flakes of bread downstream and watched with anticipation to see whether the Roach would respond to the offerings and after the first six pieces went down untouched, a small Roach about 8oz came up and took one, which seemed to spark the shoal into a feeding frenzy, needless to say I was set up and out on my first trot and then disaster struck, my float sailed away and I hooked a Chub around the 3lb mark, when the Chub feed in these sort of conditions it seems to be the Chub that always win, poor Roach get bullied out the way by them as I was witnessing, on 5 or 6 occasions I see Roach or Rudd approach a piece of bread and a Chub take it off their noses.
First fish of the season, a Chub, I think it's been that case for the last 2 or 3 seasons now, such a greedy species and other times they can be so damn difficult to persuade. It wasn't long though until I got in connection with my target species, when I cast down amongst the weed and trotted about 15m the float slid away in typical fashion and on the light trotting gear I was given the pleasure of a spirited scrap, just what I had hoped for and when it came close to the net I realised it was a little bigger than I suspected.
A good quality Roach of 1lbs 10ozs, just what I wanted, a 1lb + Roach was for sure welcome and it was about 15 minutes later that I got myself another decent Roach, which again put up a good battle on the 3lb line that was in use, a shade smaller than the first one at 1lb 6ozs but due to the spawning unfortunately did not look in good condition with scales missing on both sides and injuries still bleeding a little, as soon as I landed it, it got weighed and went straight back to cause it no extra stress than it obviously has been through.
But with that second Roach being banked the session took a nose dive in regards to action, the Roach totally switched off and the Chub were only feeding sporadically and I had them to 4lb 1oz which is a good size but not what the journey was for, but some of the Roach that I see in the morning were of absolutely specimen proportions, 2 to 3 dozen of them were 2lb +, I am hoping that the weed puts anyone else interested off of fishing it and telling by the lack of foot traffic and the dense untouched vegetation it will hopefully be ignored by everyone but me, not a team player come fish of this stamp.
Later on in the day, I had grabbed a rolling set-up and went out to go for a late spring Barbel, but I drew a blank, the short session wasn't a waste though as Stu and I watched about 20 Barbel spawning for around 30 minutes, with 2 or 3 females followed by loads of males all competing for the number one spot.