The elation of catching a R.Don double in such a short space of time was there for all to see, I was beaming! No one can ever confess to targeting a river to walk away with your prize within hours, but that luckily for me happens now and again. Now that I had caught that pristine 10lb 5oz specimen and river number 16 achieved on my challenge I thought briefly about packing up and leaving as mentioned in my previous post.
However I decided to stay and with the rods lying dormant for a little while I decided to bring in one rod and roll meat around the swim to see if I could conjure another bite, that bite didn't take long, as I got pretty far down the run after a long roll in the slow paced water a tiny little pluck could be felt, which I struck and that was met with some force, your typical powerful fight at depth unfolded with lung busting runs upstream to where it would come on the inside line then charge back off downstream, stripping 20 yards of line off at a time. 5 minutes or so had gone past now and I still couldn't see the culprit in the torchlight, another run upstream had me hanging on and easing off my hold on the pin just so it wouldn't cause any issues such was the power, a break-off by this point would have been devastating as I knew by now it wasn't a small fish or even a medium sized fish for that matter, but throughout all of this fight I couldn't quite rule out a Carp.
Another strong run was easily curtailed as it tired, then seized my opportunity to get it towards the net and into view, when she did come into view I nearly had a heart attack! this fish was big and it was a Barbel! Just how big I couldn't really tell but it was very big, enormous by Don standards, which at the time I didn't know about. I left the Barbel in the net to rest up after a brilliant fight and got my camera in position and sorted out the timer, sling laid out and scales ready to rock.
The next five minutes went past in a blur. When it came to lifting the Barbel out of the river it became apparent this fish wasn't 12/13lb etc, I had a sneaky feeling she was way over the fifteen pound mark and very quickly I got confirmation of this as the scales held on 15lb 4ozs!!! the second largest Barbel I've seen or caught ever! I was in dreamland but what made this even more special is two bailiffs who were downstream came along to witness this amazing capture who in turn once I cradled her for a few trophy shots made it fairly clear that this fish was actually a new river record which should be claimed, initially I was a little bit taken back and declined the opportunity but with some persuading I quickly came around to the idea and thought why the hell not!
So without further ado, here she is!
And if the 10.05 cut it fine this blew it out the water! Two doubles in an hour off of a river I'd never stepped foot on before, I really was done now. I packed up, loaded the car before setting off for Wetherby to tackle the R.Wharfe, a river once again I've never seen nor fished before, could I keep this incredible run of form going?
|A fish of impressive proportions and on my new pin too!
***Update - The Barbel Society have ratified the claim for the River Don record, so I am officially a record holder :) ***
Happy as a fisherman could be !!!