Back after the Barbel…

Managed to find a few hours yesterday evening to finally get my first trip of the coarse season up and running. The venue was one of favourite little rivers and the traget species was of course, Barbel.
I arrived and walked the banks trying to spot some fish, it wasnt long until I had found some. First cast resulted in a Chub around 2lb in mint condition. On the second cast the rod bent round and I was into my first barbel of the season, a good fish of about 6lb, unfortunatly the fight was cut short as the hook pulled near the net.
After moving further downstream and finding 4 or 5 more barbel mixed in with countless chub I made yet another cast just hoping a barbel would get there before the chub, it did, a smaller fish which managed to shake the hook again after a short fight. Without too much disturbance in the swim, the barbel were still present and I gently lowered my bait into position. Just as the barbel were homing in on my bait 3 dogs jumped in slightly upstream ruining everything and eventually mistaking my MKIV for a stick they could play with!
I moved downstream again and cast to some fish, these ones were much more cagey and I managed another small chub. I then realised there was a Pike sat under the far bank, maybe this was putting them off a bit.
I returned to the previous swim to find the barbel back and this time I managed to land one, a prestine 5lber that really gave me the run around in such a tight swim. Walking further upstream I managed a smaller barbel, by this time it was much cooler and so I gave the fish a quick snap before slipping it back.

I decided to give one more swim a try before I went home, a place that I had seen barbel in the past. Sure enough upon arrival I could see one small barbel mixed in with a mixture of both big and small chub. I lowered my bait in close to the near bank and watched as the barbel was sniffing around not 2 feet below me in the clear water.
The light was fading and all of a sudden 4 more barbel came from nowhere – all fish in the 6-8lb bracket, very good fish indeed for this river. I could see the fish picking up my bait and spitting it back out a milli-second later, a great spectacle but bloody frustrating! After about an hour of this unfair teasing I finally managed to hook one. It was too dark to see the fish properly now but I could tell it was one of the bigger fish as it lunged and ran under the streamer weed. I finally managed to slip the net under it and she was mine.

Around 7lb of pure gold.
It was great to be back on the coarse scene!
Adam Rawson
Dad, husband, maker of split cane fishing rods and lover of the great outdoors.

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