Friday, 3 July 2015

Barbel and Bailiffs

Lilly pads, reeds, Canadian pondweed and a fallen Willow tree. A hazardous swim that necessitated stout tackle if I was going to land any sizeable fish. There was only room for one rod but knowing this part of the river well I knew that the second rod would be superfluous and I didn't need to create any more hazards. If a Barbel was going to take my pellet offering this evening then it would be a case of hit and hold(and pray!).
The Chub were first to move onto the bait and the rod tip danced away until one hooked itself. It stood no chance against the strong tackle and was in the net double quick. No point in weighing it, a quick photo, it felt surprisingly warm, and back it went.

It was soon followed by one of its mates again weighing about 3lb-odd. Meanwhile Andy in the swim above me was showing me how it was done landing a succession of Barbel up to 8lb 8oz. The light was fading rapidly and I was beginning to think it was not going to be my night.

The kingfisher joined us on the far bank, grabbed some supper and sped off downstream no doubt to feed its fledglings. A welcome distraction.
I looked back at the rod just in time to see the unmistakeable never-ending tug of a hooked Barbel. I was on it in a flash. The clutch was set as tight as I dare but still it started to scream as the angry Barbel made its way across to the far bank willow. I applied more pressure and managed to turn it. Its next move was upstream exactly where I wanted it to go as there was more open water there. I coaxed it towards me into the slack water but the Barbel realised my plan and set off on a tremendous run towards the lilies flat-lining the rod. Thankfully Barbel don't like snags like Chub do and upon reaching the lilies it poked its head into them and then changed its mind, speeding back off towards the far bank. I began to think the clutch was set a little too tight and again the rod flattened out and the backwinding reel handle wrapped my knuckles. Ignoring the pain from my left hand I turned the fish again back into open water and after what seemed like an age a big mouth appeared. This was my opportunity and I speedily reeled the fish into the waiting net.
"That's a double" Andy informed me peering into the net at the now resting Barbel. "It bloody better be after that battle" I replied. And thankfully it was, 11lb 9oz of stunning Warwickshire Avon Barbel.

There was no point in fishing on, Andy's dogs had eaten the remainder of his luncheon meat while his back was turned and I had a hankering for a cold beer.
we began to pack up and then a very rare event took place. A bailiff appeared and asked to see our licences! I have been back fishing eleven years now and this is only the second time this has happened! Keep up the good work.

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