I was really undecided about what to fish for on Saturday night so as usual I packed all my stuff including the Barbel gear. I haven’t fished for Barbel in a long time so I thought it would make a nice change. Anyway I got to my chosen Barbel spot and I just didn’t quite fancy it so I went a bit further downstream in search of Perch with a plan to fish for Zander as the evening wore on.
I started off fishing worm on both rods which was a mistake really as both rods were going simultaneously. I managed loads of small skimmers as well as a few Silver Bream. Several perch were also obliging but nothing bigger than a pound in weight. I did lose what felt like two very good fish though. Just at that point Mr C turned up with his lure rod. He had planned on fishing a small lure for Perch.
Inexplicably the bites dried up for periods of about 30 minutes at a time on both rods even though they were a fair way apart. Then the fish would come on the feed again.
As it got later in the day I decided to change one of the rods to a section of deadbait in search of Zander. I positioned the bait slightly downstream and continued to fish the worm rod slightly upstream. Within 10 minutes out of the corner of my eye I could see the tip of the deadbait rod knocking away. I struck into something that felt half decent and was extremely surprised when a very nice Perch popped up on the surface. I’ve never had a Perch on a deadbait and it was a fat fish that looked well over 2lb. Within inches of the net the hook pulled. I was gutted. What’s amazing is the fact that I was fishing the deadbait in the same spot as where I had been fishing worm. So why didn’t it take the worm?
I cast out again and within a few minutes the rod tip pulled over very slowly almost as if some weed had get caught on the line. The rod tip slowly settled back into it’s original position before it did the same thing again only this time I struck. I bumped what felt like a fish and I mentioned to Mr C that is was a fish and not weed. I’d got thoughts of a pack of Zander down there. I couldn’t believe that two casts had resulted in 2 bites in such a short space of time. I positioned the rod in the same position again and within a minute the rod tip did exactly the same. It slowly pulled over and this time I made no mistake. I hit into what felt like a very good fish. Th nodding of the head told me i’d hooked into a very good Zed. The fish plodded around before making an explosive run that caught me out. Fortunately the rod and drag did their job. We saw a couple of fleeting flashes and we both thought Pike although it was difficult to tell in the dimming light. It was only when the fish got nearer that Mr C said the immortal words “It’s a Cat!” My disappointment at it not being a Zander immediately turned into excitement and when it was safely in the net I gave out a bit of a “Yeeesssss!” which is a bit out of character for me.
On the bank I couldn’t help but admire what a wonderful fish it was. I know they are not native but I don’t care. We weighed the fish and it came in at 7.8. Only a mere kitten and I dread to think how hard a big one must fight. I slipped it back wondering how it’s life would turn out. Would it grow on to be a 60 pounder or would it be caught by another angler and killed? Was it the result of bigger cats breeding in there or it had got in via floods?
I placed another section of deadbait back out in the hope of a Zander and I fished on with the worm rod. It got to nearly midnight and several more skimmers and silver bream came to the net. The deadbait rod though remained motionless and it was only when I came to reel it in did I realised that it had been snagged for the last two hours. Nevertheless I drove home back up the M1 happy as a pig in muck.