.....Gets his present, on Monday I turned 26 and had the day off work sorted out a while ago, choosing what to target was fairly difficult as there was the Pike and carry on the good vein of form, go after some large chalk stream Rutilus Rutilus or spend a few hours roving for a Barbel and after much deliberation, that was my choice.
For October the weather was very warm and it still felt like summer and with the sun out, hardly any clouds in the sky, fish with a pair of polariods on were very easy to see and saw fish in swims that I haven't seen them in all season, though I haven't fished for Barbel much due to my targeting of the Pike recently and a mix of different species in the earlier part of the season, but both the Barbel and Chub were in positions that were almost impossible to cast to or even trot down to and maintain good presentation.
One Chub did slip up, a chunky 3.5 taken on the ever impressive cane rod trotting a small piece of meat, second cast and the 6BB Drennan Avon float hit the bottom of the river, good little scrapper, after that we headed off upstream, trotting through all the swims we could access, after short period of time the whistling that always proceeds Stu started to sound in the distance, it wasn't long before he got to us, looking through the water onto the bottom I started making out shapes on the bottom, Barbel! and a few of them, two of which were big fish were around 9-10lbs, that would be a nice present I thought to myself and that Chris my bro' and Stuart were standing there watching me meant that I had to catch the biggest just to show off.
So after 20 minutes of persevering I changed from the trotting and switched over to my favourite tactic which sorts out the feeders and the shy, a couple of minutes slipped by and whack!, the rod hooped over and I struck, nothing!, what probably happened was the Barbel picked up the bait or nudged it, to test it's credability and evidentally failed it's test, a short while later it happened again and I saw the Barbel come up in the water to meet it and the same thing happened, I saw with my own eyes what happened and it was the latter, the Barbel came up and tested the bait and dropped it and to rub it in, it was the biggest of all the shoal.
Well above is that fish at 10lb 9oz, a double which I was so chuffed about, the fight on my split cane rod was phenominal and the look on Stuart's face whilst I was playing it was the look of horror and I have to be honest, this was the sternest test it has had yet and was unsure of what it's capability was, but the picture of me with my a good birthday fish is the proof that the rod held firm and has probably never seen such a fight and it also had a bit of a sentimental value about it too, as the original owner of the rod, George, my girlfriends late granddad, passed away 6th October 2011, so two years after his passing and I deployed the Seeley into the best possible battle I think I could have had, truly perfect, the third time lucky trick, the bait vanished but I left it 2-3 seconds then struck, again the rest is history.
Later on during the session there was cause for celebration for Chris aswell, after catching my Barbel I was teaching him how to roll and what to do, we roved around a mile or so of river and after a while it all started to come together and on a 3rd roll through he had a tug on the rod and after a few minutes he had his first ever Barbel rolling, a good day all around.
Proper battler at 4lbs.