Before I knew it it was dusk and I was struggling to see my float. I went through stick float, then stret-peg and finally touch-ledgering variants with my 14ft float rod and centrepin before it dawned on me I'd taken all the wrong gear to the wrong place with too little time. That's Autumn evenings for you.
Last night - and before Leamington Angling's committee meeting - I tried to catch the single biggest grass carp in Snitterfield reservoir off the top. I think I've caught the second biggest twice now already this year.
Failure was cemented when after two hours of catapulting out floaters seemingly all the carp in the lake started taking them six inches off the bank about thirty yards downwind. I stealthily moved down the bank a little and they obviously backed off a little more. I moved again (now with the light fading badly) and they 'did one' en masse. A blank then.
Tonight I should have been doing other things but I ended up going fishing for a few hours on a Leamington stretch of the Avon. I think Sunday evenings taster had got under my skin.
I'd intended to dabble for Dace again and put out a barbel rod as a second chance but the peg I'd earmarked was occupied. My second choice peg was also taken by none other than Tony Miles who let on it was his buddy in my first choice peg. Bloody angling legends! Seems you can't move for them round these parts sometimes.
Oh well, I only had my short handled landing net with me so the peg essentially chose itself.
With the light already starting to fade I dropped the notion of dace and put out two rods in the hope of a barbel.
At dusk I had four solid ratatats on the tip, none of which hooked up. I've had such a dire season for barbel I started to question whether there was something wrong with my hooks or terminal tackle.
Dark arrived around seven thirty and the ratatats ceased. I set set myself the end point of eight thirty unless there were further indications.
At eight thirty I wound in my left hand rod after weed once again caught the line and dislodged the feeder. This had been happening all night as seriously large clumps of summer growth broke loose and moved down river.
At eight forty I'd packed away everything I could have apart from my second rod: folding landing net, bait, etc.
I looked at my watch and thought, "I'll give it till eight forty five".
At eight forty five I stared at my one remaining tip and thought, "Go on you bugger. Go! PLEASE!".
And do you know what? It did!!
It went round and stayed round in a thumping curve which has become something a recollection for me this year.
I picked up the rod and everything was solid. The fish, whatever it was, was buried in streamer weed. I leaned the rod to the left for downstream purchase and the fish broke loose, powering upstream. Now I know you're thinking what I'm thinking when a fish powers upstream.
Now solid again, but this time level with me in the streamer weed on the far bank. On the move again, upstream.
Weeded once again but now it's above me so I have the upper hand. Dipping the rod down and left I soon feel the thud thud of direct contact.
Rod is high now. I need this fish up in the water if I'm to land it. It skates, still upright, towards me as I both slide down gravel the bank and unfold the landing net in a single motion. It's in!
You know it's a good fish when you lift the net out of the water and this one exceeded my expectations.
So I make no apologies for showing you all of the photo's I took of my12lb 9oz Warwickshire Avon barbel. My second largest to date and only my second barbel of the season....and it's a minter!
|12lbs 9oz Warks Avon Barbel.|
|I finally got a self-take right.|
|The other side.|
|Resting in the edge.|
|Swam off upstream.|
I was shaking a bit and shouting "Get in!" alot. More so than a teenage raver in Ibiza, and so much so in fact I actually did 'get in' when I slipped off the bank after returning the fish and got a booty-full.
Nothing lifts the soul like the capture of a good fish.
With a full four days exciting fishing ahead of me in the upcoming week I hope I can now maintain the momentum. I'll let you know.
Here are the current challenge scores: