Saturday, 12 July 2008

Done Again

Working shifts as I do, I get to fish midweek most of the time. That's great, since it means I can avoid the crowds and usually get the swim I want. Every few weeks however, my rota works around so I have my time off at weekends and so it was last time out. The tench pit is far too busy for me to bother with at weekends and so I decided to have a day or two on the river fishing for barbel.

Another good thing about fishing weekends is that I get to go with my son Joe. Regular readers will recall the last time Joe and I fished together, at Blithfield, when he beat me soundly, catching more and bigger pike than I did. Well in an effort to prove that that was a one-off, I took him with me to show him how it's done - bad idea!

We'd had a fair bit of rain the previous day or two and the Ribble was up by a couple of feet with plenty of colour in it. Now those are good conditions generally but high water often brings a big problem with it - weed. The weed was fairly bad in fact and most of the anglers on the stretch had a poor time of it, many of them packing up early, but Joe and I chose swims where there is a bit of shelter from the current close in so we were able to hold out without having to reel in every five minutes and clear the line.

There were six anglers on the stretch and only one of them caught any barbel - but it wasn't me! I had to be satisfied with five chub, a bream and an eel. They all took mini-boilies glugged in a strong fish flavour and fished over a bed of hemp, birdseed and pellets. The chub were awful old tatty creatures with big heads and long thin bodies and while the biggest weighed little more than three pounds I'm sure they were much bigger in their younger days. The bream was a very odd creature. A male, it was heavily encrusted with tubercles all over its body, not just on its head. This too was around three pounds and it fought like no bream I've every had before, leaping clear of the water several times and giving its all.

So who caught the barbel? Well I'm sure you've guessed. First bite of the new season produced a rather nice barbel of 10lbs 11oz and he followed that up with a six-pounder. Methods and bait were the same but he was obviously in a better spot. I followed up that trip with a day out on my own on another stretch of the river and did catch a few barbel but nothing near that size.

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