Well, what can I say? Last Sunday I had the absolute pleasure of achieving my goal of targeting and slipping the net under a R.Ribble double - seen in my last post. Just seven days later I have already added to that feat so here is how it went.
I had a couple of plans running through my mind but in the end it was a toss up between the Kentish Stour or the Sussex Rother, it being a bank holiday weekend I assumed the KS would have been busy so after opting to fish the Rother I went to bed and had a lay in too. I finally got up around 0715 and loaded the car then made the hour journey down to the river.
I arrived in the car park to find two other cars so it was nice and quiet, this meant it gave me the luxury to move around. I walked downstream and fed some pellet and broken boilies into likely looking areas that I would fish on rotation. Every 20m has a feature that you know should hold fish but unfortunately there isn't many fish present, just handful throughout miles of river, it really is a needle-in-a-haystack kind of task.
|Poised, waiting, unexpectantly.|
I stayed in each peg for anything between 45min to 1.5hr just to make sure if anything was present it gave them plenty of time to build confidence, but only one of those pegs gave me much of an indication which was almost certainly a chub bite that got me springing into action to strike at nothing, crafty fish. That peg however would feature again on my way back up to the car. Around 1400 I stripped down the rod and switched to rolling meat as the river has a decent bit of pace of it. Ideal for rolling meat. It's a tactic that has had its hand in a few successful missions and hoped it would do the same for me.
|The rolling set-up ready to leave base.|
Around 1700/1730 I packed in the rolling meat to which I had no joy even though I covered some brilliant looking pieces of water. Once arriving to that peg mentioned previously I switched back to my static approach as it had been rested a few hours, before I set off rolling meat around 2pm I had thrown a few small chunks of meat in to hopefully stir something into feeding.
I popped the rod out off a nice steep slope where the river drops suddenly from 1ft to 6ft which seemed like a sensible place to position my bait, an hour or so later whilst munching through my sweets the rod savagely hammered round and my 70 year old match aerial pin roared into life as a big powerful fish steamed off downstream, I was in no doubt it was a Barbel from the outset.
The initial run was extremely powerful and had my 1.75tc 12ft rod bent round to the butt as I put absolutely everything into stopping the fish from going under the trees as I knew even with 12lb line I stood little chance of getting her back out, the area I was fishing was gnarly, littered with weed, overhanging branches and a submerged tree which ran downstream that was about 50ft long, I was literally running the gauntlet with a fish in tow that knew it surroundings well and had no intention of making the battle easy.
I simply had to put the power and faith into the gear, thankfully for me I was slowly gaining on her after a few minutes, my heart rate couldn't deal with it much more, such an adrenaline rush when your backs against the wall. Slowly but surely I began to win and seconds later I shipped out the net on top of a weed bed and at the third attempt I got a glimpse of a solid Rother Barbel resting up, safely in my net. What a relief that was and my prize was this powerhouse, glistening in the sunset, its these moments is why I do it all! All the blanks, all the travelling, hot, cold, wet and windy, the expenditure on club books, fuel etc, every single penny well spent.
|Sussex Sunset Seeker, 12lb 10oz!!! GET IN!|
|What an awesome beast, this sight never gets old.|
I had done it! For a moment I was speechless, every one of these fish are very hard won and some anglers don't see one of these Barbel all season! and those who are lucky to catch them 60 blanks a season are commonplace with just a couple of fish breaking up those blanks, utter madness. The winning formula, a big chunk of meat with a small PVA bag of little bits of meat.
I could not have been more chuffed, truly epic and this wonderful looking Barbel completes river number 21. 2 achieved in the last 7 days. How could I possibly top that. Time is tight in my life at the moment so I do need things to work out when I do get out fishing. It has done on my last two trips and very thankful for it too.