A stunning sunrise accompanied me this morning as I made my way along the banks of the Warwickshire Avon. A good start to what I hoped would be a busy day full of hard fighting Barbel. I set up leisurely, there was no need to rush as I had plenty of time unlike most of my recent sessions and when I struck into a fish on the second run through everything was going according to plan. However it was at that point that everything started to go wrong. I was just beginning to get the upper hand when the hook inexplicably pulled. I rebaited and on the fourth cast I ended up snagged up.
The two major problems with float fishing fast swims are hook pulls and snags and I had experienced both within the first couple of minutes. There was a fair bit of weed in the swim so with a decent amount of pressure it is normally easy enough to release the hook. I gave the rod some side strain, not too much or so I thought when suddenly there was a loud 'crack'. The rod had snapped in two places! What an utter disaster. I hadn't planned on fishing two rods so this was the only one I had in the van. As the river is only fifteen minutes from home I packed up as fast as I could and made my way back to get a spare. I was just leaving the car park as a couple of anglers were just arriving and I knew that my swim would now be taken.
Having picked up another rod I made the decision to try a different stretch of the river which is not as heavily fished and where there is a lovely swim perfect for trotting. I baited the run with Hemp and broken pieces of meat and within no time I was into another Barbel. All through the fight the fish felt heavy and I was just about to get my first glimpse of it when I suffered another hook pull. I am beginning to think it is time to look at alternative hooks to the ones I am currently losing.
A few more runs through and I hooked another fish and this time it did stay on right to the net.
Not quite a double but at 9lb 12oz a good fish that went some way to making up for what had transpired previously in the day.
As I was beginning to tire I changed tactic and swapped the float for a lead weight. First cast the rod hooped over and line started to fly off the bait runner. The battle was fairly short lived though and I soon netted one of the smallest Barbel I have ever caught.
An immaculate specimen and a good sign for the future of the river. That was the last of the action for the day unless you count the Kingfisher who was very busy all morning.