The river looked in perfect condition this evening, just a touch of colour to it and virtually at normal summer level. Everything was alive, fish leaping about all over the place plus bugs, flies and mosquitos(three bites!) everywhere. I arrived fairly late but only a couple of minutes too late to miss out on the peg I really wanted to fish so I settled into a spot where I have had fish before but it is a third choice peg.
I am still rating luncheon meat as the prime bait for the Avon despite the recent problems with Eels. If they leave it alone for long enough then the Barbel are on to it and seem to get caught. Pellet on the other hand seems to be avoided completely.
I cast out and was getting the now familiar Eel taps straight away. Nothing hittable but at least it was action. If the taps stopped then the bait was gone so I knew exactly when it was time to rebait and cast. I fished a longer than usual hair which meant I avoided hooking the Eels. Third chuck out and I got a hittable bite and played out a fight with a 4lb 7oz Chub.
More taps and recasting followed until I got the unmistakeable screaming run of a Barbel. I managed to turn it and take control. The fight continued to that point where you feel you are winning, the fish was in front of me, out of sight but below the rod tip then suddenly everything went slack. I reeled in lead, hook, the lot, a hook pull! The hook was brand new and hook length were just tied on the bank so I checked the rig but all was good. I felt it was just one of those things. It happens to all of us.
The rest of the short session followed the same routine. Cast out , taps from Eels, landed a Chub (3lb odd) and then a screaming Barbel run. Unbelievable, the hook pulled out again. I have great faith in the tackle I use so I am putting it all down to an unlucky session but if I lose the next one I know I will have to rethink the lot. Confidence in the gear we use is a big factor in fishing and I hate losing it.
I continued for an hour or so later but the swim had gone quiet. Frustrating to lose fish but better to have hooked and lost than to have not hooked at all.