Tuesday 9th February, 16:00 - 19:30. Middle Avon. 4 C upon arrival, 2C departure. Cold brisk NE.
With no rain since I last saw the river on Sunday it was back down to approximately ten inches above summer level by Tuesday evening.
Although not any warmer recently the gradually increasing day length and rapidly decreasing opportunity to fish the rivers has once again ignited a fuse within me driving me to try and catch a Barbel before the season ends. The same thing happened last year with exceptional results.
Reading about (Boilie) Bob’s recent success with a winter fish from the middle Avon was fuel to my fire. A Barbel in early February, especially given recent conditions is noteworthy and I’ve asked Rob if he will write up his catch on here give us all hope!
I’m not very good at keeping secrets but I’ve identified an area of the Avon I think has the potential for a surprise Barbel so I’m going to give it some attention and try to keep it under my hat until the season ends.
My net is full of holes however as I’m sure most of you will recognise the spot from the photos I’m inevitably going to post here.
Here is a photo of me fishing my not-so-secret swim somewhere below the BAA at Wasperton and somewhere above Hampton Lucy weir. I'm crap at subterfuge.
I had Barbel in mind but was open to other offers and so started with flavoured maggots on the hook and a groundbait feeder.
I was lobbing across to the faster water on the far side and too often my feeder was bouncing around once empty. I added a second strip of lead from another feeder and this helped hold bottom. There was a surprising amount of pace in the current.
I made a few other rig adjustments within the first hour (I won’t bore you with the details) and this itself gave me confidence I was fishing okay.
It wasn’t until dusk that I started to get indications but I couldn’t connect. Often a pluck would dislodge the feeder and it would bounce round again. Interestingly I rarely received a second bite once the feeder had moved. I think it was bouncing off the baited line.
Eventually a more positive jaggy bite resulted in a Chub about 2lbs.
The sky had now cleared and the temperature plummeted. There was ice on my landing net handle and tackle bag. My feet were cold and beginning to hurt. I tried to ignore them.
Once your feet get cold fishing they rarely come back. I had waders on which don’t provide much insulation against the cold. I was still getting the odd pluck on the tip but when my legs started twitching I had to give in and walk back to the car with breeze block feet.
So soaring aspirations but similar results to other recent sessions tonight. I can’t wait to feel the blow of a spring south-westerly in my face again.