Last night I headed back out on the river for a spot of fishing unsurprisingly. Well I say spot but that’s five nights on the trot now but i’m really up for it at the minute as winter will be here before you know it and then i’ll be restricted to trips every other weekend. So I figured i’ve got to make the most of it while I can. I got to the river a bit earlier than normal. I got my bits and bobs done at home so figured why the hell not.
On arrival I had a walk along the stretch. The river was still up a touch and had a nice tinge of colour to it. There were a few spots that took my fancy but I eventually chose a spot that involved a bit of a walk (no surprise there). For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to wear my winter bib & brace and my arctic rated neoprene wellies and walk for twenty minutes in the mid-afternoon sun to my chosen spot. By the time I got there I was soaked with sweat. I do sometimes have to question my logic in these situations.
I wasn’t expecting a bite anytime soon in the bright sun but it was nice to be beside the river on such a glorious day. I put two rods across the river to a snag and a third rod setup for Chub fishing just short of mid river on the inside of the crease and settled back into my chair.
The first couple of hours were uneventful before I had a dropback bite on the right hand rod of the two that were up against the snag. I hit into the fish and I knew I had to get it away from there as quickly as possible so I applied maximum pressure before the fish had chance to know what was going off. I got the fish to mid river and I knew that barring any mishaps then it was just going to be a matter of time before it was in the net. I was quite shocked really because I wasn’t expecting a Barbel in bright sunshine. You used to be able to catch them in the day but now they only seem to come out at night. I got the fish in the edge but I still hadn’t manage to catch a glimpse of it as it was keeping deep. It hadn’t gone on any long runs which was a bit uncharacteristic but I was thinking back to the bigger Barbel i’ve had and neither did they so this could be something special. Anyway, it turned out it was something special as up popped an immaculate Common Carp. I certainly wasn’t expecting that but what a welcome surprise and change. It wasn’t a biggie, weighing 10.7 but I was chuffed to bits to get one out the river.
I rebaited and cast out to the same spot and before I even had chance to put the rod in the rest, the left hand snag rod was away. Fumbling around I threw the right hand rod down on the floor and picked up the left hand rod to get it away from the snags as soon as possible. I could feel the ling “pinging” on the sunken tree but with a bit of pressure and a few cursory words I managed to get the fish away from the snags. This was unreal and I couldn’t believe my luck to get two fish in such close proximity to each other and this one felt a better fish. I got the fish in closer and I was expecting a decent Barbel when up popped another Common Carp and it was bigger by the looks of it. There must have been a few of them out there scoffing my bait. I got it in the net and knew it was a fair bit heavier than the first and this was confirmed when the scales pulled down to 14.7.
What a session this was turning out to be and we hadn’t even got to the best time yet. I recast both rods so they were in the right areas and sat back in anticipation of what was to come along next. The next few hours passed uneventfully though. Around 9pm I had a recast with fresh baits and cleared any debris off the line. If the rods were pulled out of position for whatever reason then I wouldn’t be able to recast them in the dark and get them where I wanted them.
As I sat there in the dark I was treated to a wonderful meteor shower. Every so often I would catch a glimpse of a meteor as it burnt up in the atmosphere. It’s wonderful to be out on night’s like this and it’s difficult to explain to non-anglers what a pleasure it is to fish and enjoy such a spectacle. Catching fish becomes secondary in all honesty. But then, out of the blue, my mid river Chub rod was away. The scrap was terrible and I literally reeled the fish in. Expecting a tiddler I was shocked when a Chub of around five pound graced the net. I quickly unhooked and returned it and recast and put a scattering of freebies out before sitting back and returned to watching the night sky.
I checked the time and it was just before 11pm. Where had the time gone? Last time I looked it was only 9 and those two hours had gone in the blink of an eye. I could see the left hand snag rod bent over due to loads of weed caught on the line but I just had to leave it on the hope it hadn’t been pulled out of position too much. I needn’t have worried though because the next thing a gaggle of swans came downstream and wiped both rods out. They had caught the line and dragged both baits out of position. Fortunately they didn’t get tangled up as the last thing I wanted was to deal with an angry swan in the dark. I sat there thinking that was my night over but I wasn’t in a rush to get back so thought i’d have another half an hour. I’d still got the mid river rod that was fishing how I wanted it and while ever the baits are in the water you are in with a chance, as they say.
It’s a mighty fine job I did stick it out because a short while later the mid river rod gave out a couple of bips on the alarm and I could see the rod hooped over against the night sky. Whatever was on the end wasn’t coming in without a fight and at this point I would like to say it was a Barbel but i’d given up guessing after i’d had two Carp but the way this thing was going I was pretty certain it was a Barbel. My suspicions were confirmed when up popped another pristine fish. As I looked at it in the net I could see it was a long fish but thin. I had my doubts that it was a double but when I lifted it out after it had recovered I thought “oooh yeah that’s a double”. I was cock-a-hoop as the scales registered 11.10.
What a night it had turned out to be. I’m constantly shocked by what keeps coming out of the river, although i’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that anything is possible now and I shouldn’t be so shocked. We’re only in August and so far it’s been a pretty good start to the river season. The fish have been a bit on the flabby side, but they generally are at this time of year but come winter when they are at their maximum weight then I think there maybe a few more surprises to come. I’m certainly hoping that’s the case anyway.