Red Letter Days- Zander and Pb Barbel

November 8th-9th 2007.
We had discovered a barely fished weir pool on the Warwickshire Avon that had produced all sorts of fish during 2007, Barbel to 12lb, Zander to 10lb, Bream, Eels, Pike, Roach, Chub, Perch, Gudgeon, you name it we caught it out of that swim. We couldn't stay away from it, it was that good. Cockney Steve said that for his birthday we should get some 'tinnies' and go night fish it. The forecast was mild so I agreed.
The swim in question is well over a mile away from the car park, across two stiles, three gates and a railway line. Quite a trek with bivvies and chairs etc so we invited a few non-fishing mates along to help us with the gear. The beer and banter was good while setting up and we started fishing as darkness fell, Zander being the target.
With the Zander's well known dislike of resistance I fished running rigs with large rings to 2oz leads and small Roach deadbaits. These were cast to the far margins and beta lights attached to the rod tips. I was to stay awake as long as possible to watch for the finicky bites of the Zeds. Steve had decided to hedge his bets and fished one rod for Zander and another in the fast water for Barbel. We set up, cracked open some beers and settled in for the night. As darkness set in I received a tap, tap, tap on one of my rods and I struck into a fish. Zander are not reknowned fighters but this one gave a decent account of itself in the faster water but in little time at all it was in the net.
A decent start to the evening weighing in at 7lb 14oz. I followed this up with another smaller Zander and a small Jack Pike. Around 3am we ran out of beers and decided to get some sleep in order to start again at first light.
The early morning brought little in the way of fish and staring a blank in the face Steve lost heart and packed up. I checked with him it was ok before carrying on fishing, even casting a single Halibut pellet in his swim, he did not mind. Within minutes the pellet rod was away and I knew that it was a good fish. It kept deep, plodding around in the weir pool before shooting off downstream with me having little control of it. Eventually after what seemed like an eternity it was close to the net and my legs went to jelly when I saw the shoulders of a large Barbel. Thankfully it went straight into the net and Steve's first comment was "it's not that big mate". I knew it was a new pb and when he lifted it out the water he knew also.
We put it on the scales and I thought it was my birthday not Steve's as the dial sailed round to 13lb 4oz.
An immaculate big Barbel and one happy angler, look at the bags under my eyes though.

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