I'd spotted a couple of little barbel in shallow water and was trying to tempt them up to the surface with some free samples of floating crust - when out of nowhere a big barbel appeared and stared moping them up. I've really fancied catching a double off the surface.
First trot through she sucked in the crust - I struck and ripped the bread and hook out of her mouth - really thought I'd messed up my chance. But there's no suspense on this blog - I put the photo at the top! Second trot down she nailed it again - and I connected.
Cracking fight as she made her way from the shallows to deeper water - a 10lb 9oz barbel off the surface - biggest of the season so far and my 20th double from the river - absolutely delighted! Second of a 10 barbel haul - all for 65p (the price of a Tesco's loaf of bread).
I call it a gudgeon hunt but it's a wander about with the stick 'n' pin, maggots or bread for bait - so normally it's a mixed bag of fish and a great way to spend an afternoon. But it did include 8 gudgeon...
I had a strict last cast time - it was 18:00 - then I really did have to leave. And having thrashed the ponds to a foam, covered lots of water and changed lure regularly - I'd only banked a small perch - looked like my second trip out searching for pike was going to be a blank.
In the dying minutes I spotted a shoal of small roach on the surface - 17:57 - quickly snapped on a sushi lure - 17:59 - finally had the take I was after - 4 hours of hard work but I got my prize last cast. I quickly popped her on the scales - a 6lb 12oz pike to better next time...
All it's done so far in October is rain - all the rivers need it though. The Small River has been up and down like a bride's nighty! Looked like a fairly dry afternoon (rain suit packed just in case), so a little wander and 4 barbel, a chub and an eel found the net - lovely!
Exciting! Let's start with the results; 9 pike and 56 perch - not bad for 5 hours on the pike ponds with a light lure set up. Weather was glorious and Storm Curl Tails accounted for all 65 fish. Sixty five!
Here's the rub though; 8 of the 9 pike were this years - beautiful mini predators - and pike are pike and I love them all. Looks like they had a successful breeding season this year - good news for the future.
Bad news though - a lot of the bigger females didn't survive long after spawning. It's part of nature and some years you loose a lot of pike - but I did have a follow from a double - I'll be back for her.
The perch were mad for the Curl Tails - they managed to destroy 3 of them - and they don't make them any more. Maxing out about a pound I'm hoping I'll find some bigger ones - next time!