Oh no! The season is less than two weeks old and it's two Jack's Pike in a row. I think I'd landed 12 barbel by this time last season, I've only managed about 2 hours fishing all week, a blank for me but Darren did catch a small trout... Need to get back on it!
It's a sign weather has been mixed up this spring when I saw four stag beetles earlier today - 2 females & 2 males, I couldn't photograph the males as they were in flight.
Normally their brief period of fighting and breeding should have been over weeks ago, and I'm not sure tonight is going to be stag night, there doesn't seem to be enough around. I suspect the fish, who take their cue from the weather are behind as well.
This afternoon I headed out in search of a roach, but the few I did find couldn't be tempted - I did open this season's account with a dace - which I was very pleased to see!
As evening approach myself and Darren spent a couple of hours trying to find a rogue feeding barbel, but I'm sure they have other things on their mind, the only thing that took a fancy to a cube of luncheon meat was a chub.
I had planned to take the week off work but with the fish not playing, and with storms and showers forecast for the rest of the week I think I'll head back into the office tomorrow... Perhaps things will sort themselves out next week?!
The day was finally here, after 3 months of talking about it, 3 months of planning we were about 10 minutes late!
Barbel were the target, and within about 5 minutes of our first casts both Dan and myself had a a couple of tell-tail knocks, we were both poised over our respective rods waiting for that inevitable rip-round bite...
About four bite-less hours later a text from a mate fishing just upstream revealed he'd just had his first bite and landed a little barbel - something was wrong, they weren't playing.
It was always going to be a risk, targeting barbel this early on when the spring was really broken up. I think they have spawned, but only just.
A bite out of the blue on Dan's rod and a cracking fight saw us avoid a blank with a 4lb 3oz fish, but it was early bath time - I had planned on spending the day chasing them but we headed off at 7am, thanking the fishing Gods that at least we'd seen a fish.
It's the time of year I traditionally make plans in the excitement of the new season, plans that are forgotten within a week. So this year I'm going to keep it simple; the plan is to not get obsessed with one species or one river.
I quite fancy trotting for dace and roach, fishing surface lures for summer pike and perhaps some new venues targeting trout and bream. Barbel will still be on the radar, but hopefully there will be a bit more of a mixture, let's see if I stick to this one.
But I do need to set a season challenge, I like having a target to chase, and this year it's going to have to be pike...
I thought of a few ideas:
• A double every calendar month of the season
• Ten doubles from 10 different rivers
• 500lb of pike...
But I have to be realistic, weather, time and no local pike fishing (plus sticking with the overall plan). I think 200lb is a tough enough but achievable target, and still far more than I caught last season. Perhaps I'll get obsessed with it, in which case I'll up the target...
Seven days to go...
And it's going to have to be a great season to top last years, slightly half-arsed video I made at the end of March and never bothered to upload.