Awake early, should have drawn the curtains, as always in the summer my barbel gear was packed and ready to go. I shot down the river, love wandering about fish spotting in the early morning sunshine - and landed 4 barbel and two chub - ace!
For the records: 7lb 10oz, 3¾lb, 3lb & 2lb (Plus 2 chub to 4lb 6oz).
I’ve caught pike, trout, chub & shad on the fly but I fancy adding a few more species this season - first target: a carp. A few hours on a shallow little pond, plenty of carp and importantly lots of fly life.
Stalking fish I tried a few patterns before one nailed a black & green zig-bug - and they don’t half fight on an 8 foot #4/5 weight rod! Over the next couple of hours I added 4 more to 8lb 12oz - great fun!
Taking advantage of the light summer evening I was standing up to my neck in stinging nettles watching a big barbel cruising between the weed beds. When I saw my moment I gently lowered a freelined piece of luncheon meat directly below my rod tip...
She nailed it straight away and ploughed into the weeds while I got stung by every nettle getting her out - but it was worth it when a summer double was resting in the net - until I popped her on the scales - 9lb 15oz - but who cares about 1oz - what a beauty!
Well not quite yet - but I bet they're starting to get suspicious of an easy meal! A couple of hours in the midday sun, not ideal conditions but three more barbel added - taking the season total to 20.
Three very long months but it was the day we've all been waiting for - the glorious sixteenth! And as always I wanted to start the season with a bend in the rod - there are no guarantees - but I thought my best option was to target the local barbel.
I only had the morning so I was on the river just before sunrise. Due to the last couple of weeks of summer rain the river had recently flooded but was back to reasonable height and colour, and as soon as I had enough light I was wandering about stalking fish.
And I soon found one - my season opener was a scrappy little barbel about a pound. As the sun got higher in the sky and visibility increased so did my confidence. Fish after fish found the net and it was very difficult to drag myself off the river just after midday!
I landed a total of 17 barbel to 8lb 8oz, including getting two snagged and wading out to free them, plus a couple of bonus chub - what an opening morning! No monsters but that wasn't the point - fantastic fishing - I'm sure I'll be back very soon!
I've had a bit of a break this closed season, I've been out a few times - but very little fishing compared to the last few years. Only a week until the season opens though and I can't wait to hit the river - new line on reels, plans made and I'll be on the water opening morning.
I always like to set a challenge for the season so along with the regular targets I’m going to try and bag a 30lb+ carp. I’m not really one for bait and wait, initially I’ll be trying to stalk one off the top during the summer - and work from there...
As always I’ll be after pike from October, I landed 73 last season - but this year I should really try and bag some bigger fish. And I’ll continue chasing local barbel over the summer - again setting a target of 100 fish - and try not to leave it to the last minute this season!