Stepping out into the darkness early on Sunday morning I felt like Odysseus wondering what kind of shenanigans the river gods may have in store for me this morning. After seeing Andy get turned inside out by an unseen monster on Tuesday evening I had taken a heavier rod with me as my Shimano barbel classic had begun to feel a little inadequate for my liking, as had my 10lb fluro hook links. The rod was replaced with a 2lb specimen rod and the hook links with 12lb mono and 15lb sink braid. I know this may seem a little heavy but the swim I intended to fish is tight and snaggy.
As I entered the field I was pretty excited as every thing just felt right this morning. My rods were all set up and once in position all I had to do was bait up and cast out. It was just getting light when I swung my first cast into the swim. With the rod on the rest and the tight set bait runner on I sat back to await my fate.
Five minutes later the bait runner sang as the rod jerked violently over. The sheer power of this fish was amazing as it motored under the over hanging trees. Once in the open water I slid down the six foot bank knee deep into the Avon, net in hand. After cutting out half the weed in the swim a very welcome jinx breaking barbel was in the net. Only problem now was how to get myself, the rod and a landing net full of beautiful barbel back up the slippy bank. After unhooking the fish I threw the rod back up then intended to try and lift the fish in the net up and hopefully scrabble out myself. It went quite well until I tried to push the net up a little further onto the grass only to hear *snap*! Once back on dry land I discovered the source of the sound - the spreader on my fox predator spoon net head was no longer attached to my landing net pole.
Forgetting about that I turned my attention to what now looked like a much bigger fish than I had previously thought. In the sling and on the scales I was amazed to find find that not only had I broken the jinx I had also bagged my first double and beat my PB with this 10.3lb beauty.
After releasing the fish in a shallow swim down stream and spending some time ripping off the old spreader and replacing it with a spare one from my carp net and botching in place, I cast out again thinking it may be a while till I got another bite, if I got one at all. Again I settled down to relax. About the same amount of time had past as before when the same happened again. If the first fish was powerful this one was on steroids. After a desperate battle it finally came into the open and rather than going back in the river again I managed to perch on top of the bank and stretch out enough to slip the net under another good barbel.
This one took the scales round to 8.9lb and brought the barbel challenge point within my grasp. Shortly after Keith replied to my missed call which had originally been to ask him for the lone of a net head as I knew he was coming this was on his way to the work party, but instead he got a rather excited angler babbling down the phone about barbel .
I'd had two out in an hour so another cast could well produce another so in it went again. After two liners and a good spell of nothing, I had thought that was it for this swim when low and behold off it went again. this time the culprit was a fish of 5lb the point was in the bag.
With three barbel, a new PB and point in the bag I was done fishing for the day and slowly packed up with a seriously cheesy grin on my face. By now the early morning dank had been replaced by glorious sun and the river looked absolutely stunning, though after the session I had just had I might have been a little biased.