The sun rises on another new season and I couldn't resist a few pre-work bankside hours. However the fish could resist my pellet offerings and I went home with just a couple of Chub pulls and nothing more to show for my efforts.
Fast forward to the following Wednesday and I was back on the bank. This season I have decided to come away from the manic BAA stretches as much as possible. I have kept the ticket on because they are close to home, ideal for quick sessions but am disillusioned with the actions of several individuals that fish these stretches, lighting fires, the ridiculous amount of litter and the constant flouting of rules. Plus I am not a people person with rod in hand and they are just too busy.
Martin already had a Bream in the net when I arrived, a lovely dark fish of about four pounds. I dropped into the swim above him, a lovely nearside run with overhanging trees that just screamed Chub and Barbel. I baited up with a couple of handfuls of pellets and the pair of us went for a wander. Martin knew of a Kingfisher nest just upstream so we went to see if we could spot the owner and also have a chat with the only two other anglers on the mile and a bit stretch. That's what river fishing should be, plenty of free swims, not full of noddies in every available peg.
No sign of the Kingfisher but one of the other anglers landed a Barbel while we were there, a good sign that the fish were feeding.
Within a half hour of returning to our swims (the Kingfisher was hiding) my rod hooped round and after a cracking battle I landed my first whisker of the season, 8lb 2oz. I thought more would immediately follow but the fight had obviously spooked the swim and an extended period of inactivity ensued.
Martin added a decent Chub to his Bream and then a Barbel of his own of about six pounds as the light started to fade. Darkness was virtually upon us when I finally had my second bite. The fish managed to find a snag but thankfully with a bit of careful cajoling it came free. From there on I was on top of the tug-of-war and Martin slipped the net under a lovely long fish for me. The scales don't lie and neither do we!-9lb 15oz of immaculate Avon Barbel. Martin took a pretty good photo considering an inquisitive horse was nudging him in the shoulder whilst he did so.