For the first time in a few years now I decided to revisit one of my old Barbel stomping grounds. Like most things, when they start to get popular I go the other way and move onto something else as I hate jostling for pegs and that is what happened when the Barbel fishing started to get popular on the river.
On arrival there were no other cars and if i’m honest I wasn’t expecting there to be as on the odd occasion that i’ve driven past I haven’t seen any parked up which suggested to fishing had declined significantly since the days when multiple catches were possible.
Walking down to the swim it was obvious no one had fished it or if they had then there was very little evidence. What struck me though was how much the river had changed. It was almost unrecognisable. Areas that used to be clear were now choked with weed from one bank to the other resulting in very little flow in the river. Not that i’m saying it’s a bad thing, as it gives fish cover in the summer from the predators, it’s just a shame they have nowhere to go in winter when the river is low and clear.
It was only going to be a short session from 8pm until midnight. I quite like these short sessions. You have enough time to catch some decent fish and you don’t have all the hassle of packing the kitchen sink like you would on a longer session. I settled down into my chosen spot and fished towards the far bank in an area that was known for Barbel in the past. I knew it was going to be hard and although reality told me that I would probably blank, in the back of my mind I still felt relatively optimistic too due to the numbers of fish i’d caught here in the past.
I fished both rods on boilies and settled back and poured a cup of coffee. I didn’t have a good view of the river due to the vegetation that I was sat behind but all of a sudden a big “bosh” came from the river. I stood up and could see where what was obviously a large fish had shown itself about 20 yards downstream of my bait. I was tempted to stick one of my rods down there but didn’t feel it necessary as it wasn’t a million miles away from my smelly baits.
The last hour of daylight passed uneventfully and on the cusp of darkness the left had rod tip rattled causing me to spill my coffee over my peanuts. I sat there with my hand resting on the rod ready to strike. Another couple of quick rattles but nothing firm so I left the rod to see if the bite would develop. It had all the classic signs of a Chub bite but nothing else materialised. Then another “bosh” right over one of my baits. Could something happen? It certainly felt like I could get a bite any minute.
I rebaited and cast out again before it went completely dark and settled down for the last couple of hours. Immediately the left hand rod gave another rattle but again didn’t develop into anything more substantial. It was a beautiful evening though and the wind kept the mozzies away. Unfortunately the fish also kept away as I didn’t get another bite. Not to worry though as the evening had gone pretty much as expected if i’m honest with myself. It was encouraging to see a couple of big fish show themselves although I guess in reality it could have been the same fish.
I do like a challenge and the fact that the river is very lightly fished these days just make me more determined to go back and see what’s there. There must be some big girls still about and i’ve just made it my mission to go and find one.