Working from home has the distinct advantage of being able to finish at a reasonable time and get to the river for a few hours. So, as I sat in front of the computer screen looking at the rain outside I was mulling over where to go and what to fish for. A quick look at the river levels on the internet and the downpour of the previous day appeared to have had very little effect on the rivers. Yes they were up a bit but not as much as I expected but with a bit of extra water on I thought what the hell I’ll go Barbel fishing. I haven’t targeted Barbel properly for about 4 years now so a session was about due. Plus i’d got some boilies in the freezer so it would be a good opportunity to use them up.
It’s amazing how once you’ve made that decision where to go and to what to fish for, how the giddiness kicks in. Now the day couldn’t pass quickly enough but the clock on the screen was on go slow. I went down to the cellar to get my tackle together and I was looking forward to getting my old Greys rods out again and getting a bend in them, potentially. The problem was, I could only find one. I was sure i’d got all my tackle together since i’d moved house but no matter how hard I looked I could only find the one. This was a blow as I really didn’t fancy fishing for anything else. I contemplated fishing one rod but I know I wouldn’t have fished properly because there are two areas in this particular spot that I wanted to put a bait. I also thought about going to the tackle shop and buying a new pair of rods but honestly to god, I really don’t need any more rods at the minute, well I do but not rods of that particular configuration.
After deliberating I knew it was no good. I didn’t have time to nip to Chesterfield to search for my other rod so I decided to put the Barbel session on hold and fish for Zander instead. As things weren’t going to plan I decided to fish a new area of the river. I’d not fished it before but it looked a nice enough area when i’d walked it and I had fly fished for Pike in that neck of the woods before. I knew it would be bob-on for the quivertips so I re-rigged everything and when the clock struck four I was out the door!!
I was on the bank at five and the first thing that struck me was how big an expanse of water it really was. This wasn’t one of my usual little honey holes where you can drop a bait in and almost guarantee success, this place was going to need fishing properly over a period of sessions to try and get the most out of it. The water was swirling back under my bank with a nice slack area further out so I decided to put both rods out at about 20 yards to start with, with the thought that I would have a chuck around to try and pick up a fish or two. Normally if the fish are there the bites will come pretty quickly. One thing that struck me was how shallow it was. I was expecting it to be a lot deeper but I think I only had about 7 feet if I was lucky.
An hour ticked by before I had my first bite which came to the left hand rod. I struck into something fairly dopey to begin with until I applied a bit more pressure and then all hell broke loose. It soon became apparent that it was a Pike and it gave me a right tussle. Eventually I caught sight of it and it was a big bugger too with a huge head but lean. Even so, I was thinking this has to be nudging 20. I could see the quivertipped chunk of Roach hanging out of the front of it’s mouth as I stood there with the net in the water and then with a couple of head shakes the feeder and hookbait catapulted back to me with the fish literally touching the net. Mildly cursing I checked the length of the hair to make sure it wasn’t too long but it all seemed in good order so just put it down to one of those things. At least it wasn’t a big Zander that i’d lost.
The evening wore on and I was soaked due to the fact I hadn’t brought my umbrella. Well the weather forecast hadn’t given rain for the evening but there I was doing my best impression of a drowned rat. Then a bite on the right hand rod and I struck into something solid again. The rod took on a deep curve and again my first impression was it was a Pike and again the hook pulled. It was all a bit strange. I very rarely catch Pike on one inch sections of Roach and yet here I was, I’d had two bites from two Pike and lost both.
With the rain and the overcast skies night time fell a bit earlier. I couldn’t wait to be honest as I just wanted to go home. Well actually I didn’t but I was soaked and I was a bit miserable but I still felt I was in with a chance of a fish. Around 10:30pm the right hand rod gave a couple of taps. This was more like it !!! Then a couple more taps and I struck into another fish. Jag-jag went the rod tip and the fish started to come in relatively easy then a couple more jags on the rod tip and the fish was gone. FFS what was going on. Three fish all lost. Sat there deliberating as I rebaited I wondered if it was either a small Eel or a small Zander. It didn’t feel very big but I would have liked to have landed it just to save a blank.
I put the bait out on the same spot and decided I would leave them there until midnight when I would pack up. I drank the last of my tepid coffee and sat and waited. The night sky played tricks on my eyes as I sat watching the quivertips and it wasn’t until I was starting to think it wasn’t going to happen that the right hand rod tapped away again. Normally I strike straight away but on this occasion I waited, don’t ask me why but I think I wanted to be sure that it was a bite. Tap it went again and a fish was on. It felt like a small one until I got it close in before it decided to make a run for it. There were a few lillies close in and it was doing it’s best to get in them. In the light of the head torch I could see it was a Zander and although not massive it was certainly more than welcome and it gave a good account of itself.
I thought it might be nudging 7 pound and decided to weigh it just to keep my eye in. My estimate was a bit over and the fish weighed 6.6. Still I was chuffed to bits at having caught from a new spot and it’s given me the confidence to fish that area a bit more. The time was four minutes to midnight so I decided to pack up and try and get dry in the car. The weather had been foul all night but there was a sense of satisfaction at sticking it out. I do wonder how I would have got on though had I gone Barbel fishing.
Check back soon for more thrilling instalments from an average angler. I bet you can’t wait can you?