Have you ever fished a swim that you really think you should never have?, whether it be dangerous or simply not the cleverest thing to have challenged. Well that happened on my last outing which was in search of Roach to start but their lack of showing made me change my target species to something a little more bullish, namely Chub and Barbel. Now I was only using a light trotting rod, Sheffield pin with 5lb straight through and a 4BB wire stem. With only the Roach in mind to start with I only had bread but I know that wouldn't mean I'd blank for my new target, if anything bread can out fish any other bait, meat included when it comes to Barbel and Chub.
Having left the areas where I typically target Roach down to the more trickier stretches I donned my cap and glasses holding out some hope I could find a fish or two amongst the thick weed, this season the weed growth has been incredible, never before have I seen so much, plus I'm also seeing it crop up in places where it never used to which is making fish spotting harder, the positive side to that is that if i can't see them then others are going to struggle too!. With more than a mile walked before I got to the more likelier runs was I expecting to see fish, hey presto there were three Barbel and a Chub sat just off a shelf, all three Barbel looked decent, two were certain doubles and the other couldn't have been far off, the spot where these were though was not fishable, no clear access down and the river too dangerous to get close to. I decided to inch myself down whilst trying to avoid snagging my waders on the briars as I descended, the closer I got to the river the more I was starting to regret my decision.
Alas, I continued with my plan, having pinpointed their rough position I flicked out my float and set the depth slightly over so the bread flake would tantalisingly bounce on the bottom, the float began to trot down smoothly toward the area I saw them not two or three minutes previous, as the bait dropped over the shelf of weed and when the float cocked it completely shot out of sight, could only mean one thing! I flicked the ratchet on and it screeched as line pissed off the pin, I thought to myself I've hooked a smaller nuttier Barbel as it was very erratic, twenty or thirty seconds in I was struggling to keep the fish from burying itself into the weed, I had no choice but to jump in the river, luckily for me I had waders on, otherwise it would have been an uncomfortable journey home. Between 3-4ft in pacy river water made me quite nervous for a moment whilst I got a sure footing, by now I'd been playing the Barbel for a couple of minutes downstream and still had no idea what size it was. Now being in the water I felt I had more control but the constant lunges into the ribbon weed and thick Ranunculus sent shuddering vibrations through the rod, everytime I thought it was going to come off, slowly but surely I was gaining line and now maybe five minutes into the battle I got a glimpse of the fish I was being bullied by, this was no little'n.
As she approached the net I could clearly see I'd hooked the largest of the three I was watching, how about that for luck, 33% chance of getting the one I wanted, but what surprised me more was the other big Barbel was shadowing this fishes every move, as my one cruised closer to the net the unhooked Barbel swam to within a foot of net as it lay in the river awaiting my prize to give up, an experience I've not encountered at such close quarters it was amazing to see, nearly as amazing to see my first double of the season slip over the rim of my net, job done!
|Another float caught monster :)|
On the scales I was not surprised to see the digitals rest of 11lb on the nose, very good nick and clearly more room to fill out it was the beginning of what will be a productive Autumn for the species.
After watching her revive well and swim off I had the difficult task of getting out of the river, that was hard enough but during my time in the water the level had risen by nearly a foot in just the 10-15 minutes I'd spent in the river made it even harder, plenty of scouting the bank for a reasonable place to get out I decided to call it a day. Got to love failed Roach sessions, so often pays dividends to try something else.
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