Having caught consistently on my previous trip, I intended to fish the same swim hoping the barbel would still be in residence. I Arrived just before sunrise and it didn't take me long to set up and get comfortable in my chosen swim, the sun was rising and the sky had a pink glow.
Tactics were to be the same as the last couple of trips, standard feeder set up with boilie on the hair.
The day started well and I was getting a few knocks on the first couple of casts, probably chub, so I waited for a "proper bite"! I didn't have to wait long until the rod thumped down and I was into my first fish of the day. It gave me a good scrap, first heading down river, then across. It was a steady fight after that as the fish stayed deep and patrolled up and down the near side shelf. Once it was in the net I could see it was a decent Wye Barbel.
|First of the day 8lb 3oz|
The first fish of the day sent the scales to a modest 8lb 3oz, a lovely chunky strong barbel. As the barbel was recovering in the landing net, I looked up to see the more ever present Black Plague - 4 Cormorants flying up river, no doubt to terrorise the depleting stocks of dace!
The far bank trees made perfect markers to cast to and I kept the bait in a tight area.
Then two consecutive casts resulted in 2 fish, both putting up good accounts of themselves and when on the scales went 7lb 5oz and 7lb 14oz respectively. Over the next couple of hours I managed to land a further two 5's and two 6's also losing a fish to a hook pull. It was a great start, 7 Barbel on the bank within a few hours fishing, although the biggies were still eluding me.
The groundbait that I used in the feeder was quite a stiff mix, with lots of different sized pellets, it was certainly keeping the Barbel occupied. The next bite was a thumper as the rod sprang back then hooped over and I connected to a fish that shook its head then took line from the reel as it powered towards the far bank. This fish felt heavier as it went on determined runs, I gradually gained line and slowly pumped the fish up to the surface, on seeing the net it turned leaving a large swirl in its wake as it headed towards the river bed. Finally it was netted and I let it rest for a while before putting the fish on the scales.
|8lb 8oz - Just look at the size of that tail|
|Rob did the honours - 7lb 10oz|
I was a little disappointed as I tackled up and it wasn't long before the rod was back in the rest as I waited for the next bite. It wasn't instant, however a couple of casts later and I was again playing another barbel. These Wye barbel certainly do pull your string and you always have a fight on your hands when you hook one. It sent the scales to 8lb 2oz and this was quickly followed by a fish in the 6lb bracket.
12 Barbel and it wasn't even midday.
Would I be able to tempt another, it went quiet for a little while then the rod went into action as the tip rattled towards the river and I struck into a heavy fish, instantly it took line as it headed down river and towards the near bank, this wasn't ideal as there was a partly submerged tree to my left, I held the rod out in front of me to try and get an angle on the fish. I could see the mainline just touching the branches on the waters surface, I let the Barbel twist and turn downstream hoping it would head back towards mid river. Eventually it did and luckily the line pinged off the branch and I was back in control. The fish stayed deep, usually a sign of a better barbel, and I played it hard as I didn't want it to head back towards the snag. As it came across the surface I prayed the hook would hold, it was fish number 13 after all!
|9lb 6oz - a new PB|
As I promised to spend part of the day with my wife, I had a couple more casts but no further action, so I packed up and headed home a happy angler.
Note: As I write this I had a phone call from my father who went fishing in the same swim today (Saturday) He landed a 9lber and a new PB at 10lb 8oz, witnessed and photographed by Rob the bailiff. He was happy to say the least.