Up at five for an early morning barbel mission, I met Darren just after six who was already fishing. The water was painfully low and clear, the rain overnight hadn't materialized. We soon started seeing barbel in the clear water but we couldn't tempt them to take a bait - although they were hovering up the free samples.
After a couple of hours all we had to show for our efforts was one mitten crab. Then it rained. We sheltered under some trees knowing that soon the water would colour up and vastly improve our chances. When the rain stopped and with the water rising we went exploring.
We covered a lot of water, and saw a lot of nettles. Darren was using sweetcorn, I stuck to stink bait 4 (SB4) but despite the water looking really good, we had just one lost fish to Darren while all I managed was a boot-lace eel. Home time of 3pm came and went. Darren mentioned fishing in one of the first spots we'd tried - he'd baited it up with corn a couple of times throughout the morning.
First cast and a couple of minutes later something tried to rip my rod into the water, a great fight and a fish that didn't want to show itself. After a while the fish began to tire, we could see it was a good fish, but it wasn't until Darren picked the net from the water we realised it might be the one I've been searching for (Darren's already in the double club).
The digital scales read 10lb 6oz, a pound off for the weigh-sling - another bloody nine! I didn't realise Darren had zeroed it... I'd got my first double - fantastic, bloody brilliant! The best photos and the ones of the other side of the fish are on Darren's camera,
While I was holding the fish in the water to recover Darren had a big dace, over half a pound but in the excitement we didn't weigh it. Soon we were fishing again and it wasn't long before I had another rod ripping bite, how I missed it I don't know - I was probably just sat there smiling.
I left it to the last minute before packing up and heading off to meet my girlfriend, just as I was about to leave Darren shouted I'm in. A great fight on his light line and a 6lb 11oz barbel to end the session. Darren's barbel campaign is underway. Despite a slow start a fantastic day was had by all.
Barbel Challenge June 2012:
77lb 7oz | 14 barbel | 5lb 8½oz average | 10lb 6oz best