A Crab: Following the advice given to us on this blog and on the riverbank, combined with a bit of Google Earth research, myself and Dan set of to explore some new swims. We arrived during the final hours of daylight for a quick scout about before we settled down to fish.
We split up and fished a couple of pegs apart. No bites until darkness fell when Dan missed a small rattling bite. Next up he's phoning from the swim downstream so say he has landed a crab! I went running down to get some photos - I caught one last year and the photo didn't come out so I wasn't missing this chance.
I even got brave enough to hold it for a photo for scale. I'm pretty sure it's a Chinese mitten crab again, it was very aggressive, I'll look it up tomorrow. [Edit: Chinese Mitten Crabs]
Next up Dan hit a barbel, the five we were after! Or so it looked in the water before it came off at the net - he needs to find a lucky penny or something - his luck has to change soon!
A Barbel: Meanwhile I was fishing just upstream when a guy walked up behind me and introduced himself, he recognised me from this blog and had been reading about the Barbel Challenge and our quest for a double. I can't name locations but, with his local knowledge, it turned out I was fishing painfully close to a good barbel holding spot.
On his advice I moved a short distance & started fishing again. Ledgered luncheon meat was cast out, and we sat and waited. I lost track of time but it was a while before I had a rattling bite - followed by the classic barbel grab and run. Good fish on! And while he ran downstream to get the net from Dan I had a great battle in the darkness. He returned and after several more heart-stopping minutes, and powerful runs, he slipped the net under the fish...
The scales pulled round to 11lb 4oz, I quickly slid the barbel onto the unhooking mat to weigh the net... 1lb 8oz... I awarded myself 9lb 4oz on the bank, and have since corrected my maths... A new Wandte PB of 9lb 12oz, so close to a double - but do I care about those four little ounces? NO! What a fantastic fish! I was more than delighted!
Thank you so much Stuart. Thank you!
After returning the fish I cast out again, after a while Stuart left, I sat there for another bite-less hour before calling it a day. And then Dan wrapped things up with an eel of about a pound.
So the Barbel Challenge now stands at seventeen fish for 36lb 13oz and we have our eyes on a bigger prize - a Wandte double..!