( Started this last night ).
This week has been busy to say the least but it's nice to have done quite a bit of fishing, a mix of Pike off the Royalty, some more lovely Stillwater Sergeant's but one species that I haven't fished for much this season is the Barbel, 3 o'clock came and I had finished my days workload and basking in 22c sunshine I could not resist a couple of hours before football this evening, with that in mind I packed a rod and very light roving gear this morning so I could head straight down to the river afterwards.
The plan was to start at the top of the beat and head down stream whilst only staying in each swim for a minimal amount of time to maximize the water covered which does do well for me and today certainly was no different and it proved to be a very good 2 hours fishing. First swim I crept into I spotted a nice Barbel sat on a shallow gravel bar and was actively rooting through the weed for whatever it could find so I gave it something else to think about as my bait trundled up to it, a split second decision proved to be the Barbel's downfall as it sucked my bait in with gusto, I didn't even wait for the tension on the line as I struck into it, then all he'll broke loose....6lb line never felt so flimsy as it swam strongly for roughly five minutes before I finally got the better of it, not a bad'en for sure and immaculate condition too.
|7lb 10oz of muscle|
First cast in the first swim and a fish?? Not the only time that's happened and it feels good to do it again, with the Barbel revived and released strongly it was time to move, next swim was very different and offered a pacey run under some far side bushes, first cast through and the rod slammed around with a Barbel stripping line off the pin, this was a great start to the short session, although it was smaller at roughly 3lbs she certainly gave a fantastic account but I was slightly more cunning and stronger. A third swim after that second Barbel beckoned but it didn't provide any joy unfortunately so it was back down stream to seek out another swim where I may locate some more sport.
After searching through a couple more pieces of water with nothing to cast to I had one ace up my sleeve and I was to rely on this spot being my last swim as I know it sometimes holds Barbel at this time of year up until around November then they push up into the slightly deeper water but it does offer some good cover this time of year and when I arrived a couple of moderately sized Barbel where seen flashing on the gravels, that only meant one thing to me and that was an opportunity to catch and with the second roll through nearly completed the rod gently bent round as a fish made contact with my tasty offering, which by the way was so tasty I contrived to eat more than half the tin before I finished fishing thankfully I left enough (just) to see me through, the fish that had my meat away turned out to be an average Chub of about 4lb but was not my intended target so it was back out with the rolled meat and the very next cast even through the Chub went radio rental a Barbel hammered the next piece of bait that came down and although it was another small one at roughly 3lb they do give a good account of themselves, but after putting the little guy back I convinced myself they were feeding so I couldn't resist a couple more rolls and I was glad I did as I connected with what turned out to be the biggest Barbel of the season so far and a cracking specimen it was too.
Powerful is exactly what this Barbel was, a fantastic battle on a 10ft match rod and 6lb seemed to bring the best out the fish, long sturdy runs down-stream was tearing line off the ratchet and what a great sound it is too, you always know when you have hooked a bigger Barbel because the fight isn't one of a headless chicken burning fuel but a fight that is strong and calculated, my only saving grace is that the Barbus didn't want to head up stream and played out in front of me and through the Polaroid's it looked a good 8lber but as it came up through the water and cruised into the net it was certainly larger than that, a near double might I wonder?.
|9lb 10oz, a beautiful fish to have caught.|
Four Barbel in two hours is bloody good going, these trips don't happen often so when I packed up after the biggy I took some time to reflect on the session and plan to head back sometime in the near future and maybe drive back up to have another crack when time permits.