13.3.09 LAA stretch of Avon at Stratford
The fat lady's warming up her vocal chords and I've a loud ticking noise in my head. That can mean only one thing, it's the end of the season madness'!
This day has been booked off with work for some time, and I've a pass out from the missus tomorrow.
Still smiling from my earlier success in the week with the Chub, I decided to once again go all out for a Barbel before the curtain comes down.
Stratford was the venue and a bucket-load of home made 'special' groundbait with various hook baits was the plan of attack.
Arriving at about 08:30 in the recreation ground car park my heart sank as I saw through bushes an angler in what I thought was the spot I had my mind set on. As I drew closer I could see he was 'comfortably' downstream of where I wanted to be. Hands up who's not been in that awkward situation where you're in the favoured peg and someone sets up within spitting distance of you, making everyone uncomfortable for the duration.
I set two rods up. First a Barbel rod with a groundbait feeder and hair rig. Second a maggot feeder rod to while away the hours until dusk arrived - in my opinion the witching hour for Barbel.
Second cast on the Barbel rod and wallop - the tip bangs round and line is pulled from my bait runner before I've had chance to get my hands on the rod. The fight is powerful but thankfully incident free. I've soon hailed the guy downstream who joins me on the bank and who articulates my unspoken assessment of the situation - 'this is either a carp or a good Barbel'.
The fish powers upstream causing me to give my verdict - 'this is a Barbel'. I then catch sight of the fish in the water and see this is one serious Barbel. I start gibbering at this point and there's therefore no value in relating anything I said after this point as it's all rubbish.
Once in the net the sheer size of the fish becomes apparent. It was like as the guy lifted it up from the water in the net it took on a scale and proportion which couldn't be judged whilst it was 4ft below in the water and belting around. It took me a while to come back down to earth.
Anyway, enough verbiage. It was a fat fish that weighed 15lbs 14ozs. A new PB.
I met a guy in the afternoon who was there when the previous river record (16lb 4oz) was caught a couple of years ago around sausage island and he identified it as the same fish.
I went on to catch just two Bream both about 3lbs during the whole rest of the day.
One final thing. My fishing pal Pete with whom I am currently engaged in a fishing challenge spent last week on Gran Canaria chasing things other than carp but also finding some time for a carp fishing day trip during his stay. During the trip he caught a 29lb 3oz and 30lb 0oz Carp.
In the past few days I have argued vehemently that these fish should not be included in the scores for our fishing challenge. Principally because the targets we set were in the context of the fish we could hope to catch in the coming year. Assumed in this was that we lived and fished on waters we knew within the UK.
Suffering from the slight delirium of a two PB week, I have reluctantly agreed that these foreign fish are now valid within our competition.
I think this shows that despite being caught outside the UK, on loaned tackle and where the fishing guide had not-only pre-baited the swim but also tied, baited the rigs and cast them, my generosity is exceeded only by my model good looks.
So the scores on the doors are now......
The way this week's gone he's going to need every point he can lay his brummy hands on!!!! :)