Fishing hadn't even crossed my mind during the busy work day but a phone call from Andy asking what time I could get there jogged my memory. Completely forgotten I had arranged to meet him for a quick evening session chasing Barbel. Luckily the van was still loaded with gear from the previous trip so after a quick tea of scrambled eggs on toast and rushing the chickens and ducks to bed early I arrived bank side at 7.30 pm.
Andy was well entrenched in a promising swim and getting a few twitches but being short on time I felt the urge to get into the water and roll some meat about. Waders on and in no time I was fishing.
For quick smash and grab sessions I find there is no better method. Unusually this time it took quite a few rolls down the swim before hooking into a fish, a hard fighter in the fast water.
My run of baby Barbel was continuing with another fish of about four to five pounds.
I checked the line taking off about six feet that was frayed, retied and waded back out for another bash. The bait can't have even hit the bottom before I was into another fish. This fight was much more deliberate, more powerful than the previous and when a big tail slapped the surface I knew I was into a biggie. That feeling of tension and nervous energy washed over me as only happens when you are knowingly playing a big fish. I prayed for the hook to hold and gave thanks that I had taken the time to check the line as the fish powered towards the tree roots and potential freedom. The rod took on its full curve and with as much side strain as I dared muster I turned it back into midstream.
Eventually I started to get the upper hand, a couple more less spirited surges later and I was slipping the net under a proper Barbel.
Thickset across the soldiers, long and deep but hollow from her recent spawning exertions she still weighed in at a pleasing 11lb 2oz. Would love to meet her again when she's back to her top weight.