I revelled with glee when the rains came down the start of last week. This was followed by a constant monitoring of the EA graphs which gave hour by hour information of the water level of the River Avon.
The day off sorted and Jacky dropped off at work, I arrived to find the river looking perfect and deserted. With no worries for getting a swim I settled in front of the huge swirling eddy aside the weir pool. Even with flotsam spinning around on top of it I knew my lines wouldn't get hung up on any of it as the cut down towards the edge of the flow.
I knew my decision to come here was a risk but it could be worth it. The barbel here seem to average on the large size, even though there doesn't seem to be a huge population. My knowledge of the unseen topography of the area should of helped, but things had changed! New snags had been deposited by the high water as I soon found out.
After sitting on my first casts patiently I reeled in only to snag up in the centre of the eddy, losing everything pulling for the break. I tried to avoid it as the second rig was retrieved found the other side of this large object, and straightened my hook.
I fought it out for a few hours losing a hideous amount of gear in the process, but in the back of my mind I knew hooking a decent fish with that monstrous snag in front would probably end only one way. So I moved on to another likely spot in these conditions.
Here my baits received loads of the wrong sort of attention. Eels tore my meat to bits constantly nibbling away as it lay on the gravel bottom. Pellets fared better but the paste wraps also suffered from the eels and small fish to.
Not one proper bite did I receive all day for my efforts. Two greedy albino skimmers which looked rather embarrassed to be caught scoffing a 20mm pellet, plus a foul hooked boot lace eel was all I could muster.This was very disappointing as the river was in perfect condition, maybe the best its in been all year.
A few days later I joined Martin on a trip further down river to an area with a good reputation for barbel fishing. A large population of mixed sized fish, still above average river conditions combined with getting into one of the best pegs on the stretch made me wonder how could it go wrong.... Not one fish was landed in the entire area all day between a large few anglers.
Bites were received. Chub, I suspected were responsible for cheekily stealing meat baits this time. Only one of those suspected chub bites bent the rod round enough for me to strike, and that went into thin air as suspected the long hair rig prevented the hook from even being in the fishes mouth.
Again this barbel thing is fast becoming a farce. The worst of it is that I have other things I want to do coming up soon, which will start to put pressure on the short amount of time I have to fish for them. So now I am beginning to wonder whether it is actually my methods that is the problem or am I just in one of those streaks of bad luck again!