So the total weight of Barbel caught since October 2011, minus the two recaptures, finished at 321 lbs 10 oz, an almighty total and extremely impressed that this sort of total is possible from such a small river.
Well today marks the end of a very productive fishing season for me and for Barbel one of my best seasons yet, but I did manage to squeeze in one more short session today and to say the least it was an absolute struggle, today saw about another 5 anglers on the bank and with only one fish caught by stu. After 4 hours of fishing and ready to head home I popped back into a swim I saw a Barbel in earlier in the day but it was a very whiley fish and has definately seen a piece of rolled meat as it twice picked it up in full view and spat it out right in front of me, its amazing to see just how quickly they can suck the bait in and blow it out again without getting hooked but third time around I made no mistake in allowing it to test wether it was cosher or not and whack!, I was finally into a Barbel to rescue the day in the last knockings and what a fight it was too, non stop lunges down into the deeper water and coming inside trying to lodge my hook in the debris but I was determined that this one was going to grace my net and after another couple more of minutes of battling I netted her and a load off of my mind, blanking on the last day of the season would not have been an option.
A lovely Barbel at 7lbs 5oz another pristine fish and 52 Barbel caught since October with only 2 recaptures. More of the same next season please.
The last one for a while, make some little ones now.
Highlights of the season: Beating my Barbel pb now 11lbs 12oz was 11lbs 0oz.
Since June 2011 having caught over 100 Barbel from my local Thames trib'
Setting a new Chub record at 5lbs 10oz for the my little river.
A 182lb bag of Bream on the Thames back in July
My first river Tench at 4lbs 2oz
A brace of 6lb + Chub off of the Thames
Catching my first Rainbow Trout ever in Cumbria
23lb bag of Roach back september including eleven 1lb + Roach
Most amount of double figure Barbel in one season - 3
Today it was a case of finding a shoal of fish to get stuck into before the season ends and try to add to my tally and maybe find a big one to sign off with, so I travelled to my chosen beat armed with my centre pin as usual and my light rod and within 5 minutes I had a take and a nice sized Barbel was on but as soon as I hooked it I had a bad feeling as to how well it was hooked, after the first initial run my fears were confirmed as the hook slipped out of its mouth, thus me ending up with no fish on the bank the first hook slip I've had all season.
So after losing that fish and feeling abit gutted, I packed up and moved on up river, by this time 2 hours had elapsed and still no fish on the bank, during the session I had bumped into a couple of other anglers, Stuart and Brian and neither had any joy themselves, so the day really wasn't going to plan, again.
Perseverance is always key to success and fishing is no different, I had moved from my normal beat and headed even further up river to a stretch that I've never had a Barbel from, but in all fairness I actually moved to this beat to have a go at the shoal of Carp and Chub that are present, but when I arrived at the swim that I saw these fish in, I happened to notice a small Barbel about 4-5lbs just holding bottom ahead of a...... shopping trolley!, so I baited my hook and cast it upstream of the Barbel and trundled it down towards the fish when the bottom moved and my bait vanished yet the Barbel was still sat there unmoved, with my rod wrenching down river it could only had been a Barbel but in the clear water I didn't see it sat there. The fish was very powerful and stayed close to the bottom for about 5 minutes until I managed to get the better of her and then my mouth dropped open at the size of the Barbel when it came to the surface, I thought to myself I need a better pair of glasses if I cant see that lump sat there yet I can see a small one clear as day, the camouflage that the Barbel have is so perfect for this river as you just don't see them even when the river is this low and clear, well anyways I did then land my prize and it was in the shape of this 9lbs 15oz Barbel, just 1 ounce (soooo close to another double).
Beasty, going to be a lovely 10lb + soon.
With that amazing Barbel returned fighting fit it was time for me to head back down river but unfortunately the rest of the session didn't produce anymore fish or bites, so it was time to go home.
Just a short session today not alot of time available to me, so I had to get on and back to my local stretch of the river in search of a Barbel and my day did'nt exactly go to plan and really did struggle abit to find a swim with a fish init, I feel the fish are moving around almost on a daily basis, I started at 2pm and I did'nt hook my first fish until 4pm and I have to admit I was relieved to land it as I thought today just was'nt going to be my day, a 5lbs 2oz Barbel and it fought like stink. As soon as I released that fish I moved off to another swim and instant success, another good Barbel on and again it fought like a madman, just what I enjoy about persuing this species, with my centre pin reel and my light 10 foot trotting rod it is a hell of a lot of fun and really living on the edge sometimes when the Barbel make a dive for freedom as this one did on a few occasions, after a few more dives she was ready to be netted and my day was starting to get better like I ever doubted it. 7lbs 7oz on the scales another good sized Barbel.
But I did get a very nice surprise later on in the session whilst looking about up river in the form of my first ever river Tench, I was starting to wonder just how many species of fish are in this river system.
4lbs 2oz, I was happier than I looked believe me.
But just enough time for one more fish and it was lucky number 3 and the biggest of the day, saving the best til last and it certaintly was'nt easy to catch as it took about 20 trots through the run to get the bait presentation spot on and when I did, I did'nt need to strike as the fish hit the bait so hard and stormed 30 yards downstream and in the current it was very difficult to get the fish back upstream, so after a few minutes of trying to get it to come upstream and refusing to I had to go downstream to the fish to land it and when I saw the size of it up close I thought I had another double on the business end but after I had weighed it, I knew I did'nt but still a very impressive fish that went 9lbs 5oz, very chuffed indeed and that brought up the magic 50 since October. Great stuff.
After finishing work late yesterday and watching the highlights of my beloved Arsenal do over the scousers, I decided that i didn't really want to stay at home so I grabbed a feeder rod and my basic of tackle and headed off to the river for a few hours out in the cold in search of anything that fancied feeding in the moonlight.
So after taking 40 minutes to get there I was eager to get setup quickly and get a bait in the water but unfortunately for about 2 hours that was all I did, moving through about 4 swims in the process, although I was joined by a very vocal Owl which kept me awake it has to be said it was very slow, as I tried so many different baits in each of the swims to no avail and it took me until just before 11pm when I had my first take and it was too quick for me as it came out of the blue and unusually I didn't connect with it but a good sign at least that something was hungry.
With another 20 minutes ensuing after that take I got another take and this time I struck and fish on!, I thought to myself it's got to be a Chub because it fought well but just not strong enough to be a Barbel and when I got the fishes head up it turned out to be just what I thought it wasn't, a future beast of 3lbs 3oz, small but very welcome.
With that little Barbel released, set off to find another swim where I might get a bit more action, after another hours wait and building up the swim with little tit-bits, I got a vicious rip around there was no doubt in my mind that this was a better Barbel, charging around the swim like a train which I do enjoy so much, you come out in the cold of the night and pick your whits against catching a good one and you do, its the fight that has me hooked on this species so much. A good few minutes later and she was ready to surrender, a lovely 6lbs 8oz torpedo landed at about 12.30am, not the biggest but I am certainly not complaining. I did carry on fishing to see if there was another fish that wanted to grace my net but there were no takers. Another success, 46 Barbel since October a great season thus far!!
On Thursday my dad and I went for a short session down the river mainly to see if James senior could catch a Barbel that have managed to elude him on apparently too many occasions over the last few months, so the days task was for him to catch one and it did not disappoint as after just 5 minutes of fishing, we were into a nice Barbel and a good fighter it was too!. After a few relentlessly powerful runs that could barely be halted the Barbel did give up and the task was complete and a nice spring Barbel was landed and at 7lbs 5oz, the ol' bean was very happy. A picture for his scrap book.
So after that bar of gold was revived and released it was my turn to get one but unfortunately didn't materialize as they must have been spooked by the commotion caused earlier, so we decided to up sticks and move up river but again had no joy in catching anything, but saw a couple of Carp and about 8 Chub to around 5lbs, but as dusk settled in we had moved down and set up in the slower stretch and did manage one take, which resulted in a smaller Barbel at 4lbs 4oz, so even when I come out to ghillie for the old man, I manage to catch a Barbel. Happy days still.