The disappearing landing net...
I settled into a spot that looked quite promising when we first had a look a couple of weeks ago, it was basically a cattle drink and I fancied it as my best chance given the still, low and clear conditions.
I cast out both rods around 10:30pm and got the tea on, a very tasty'peppered steak with new potatoes and mushrooms in an onion gravy sauce, I wasn't expecting much from the fishing but the food was second to none.
The night came and went without as much as a chub pluck so I knew it wasn't the right swim to be in at the moment, the cows dropped in to assert their authority, have a dump on my door step and take on board a gallon or more of river water.
A move was in order and I decided on a swim known as the suicide swim due to the over hanging willows, it was actually an area I'd fished quite a lot last winter and had a nice barbel from it whilst free lining a lump of meat for chub, it didn't quite make a double but as they say was 'great fun on lighter gear'
I was setup and cooking breakfast by mid-morning and I felt confident this swim would produce especially after dark so for now I baited the obvious down stream area under the willows and also a deep near margin spot just upstream of where I was based. It was then time for some roving with bread flake on the float I was surely going to tempt an unsuspecting chub.
The first area I came too had a small sandy area that revealed some predatory presence and although I'm not naive enough to believe this beat was exempt from old otter I do believe their is a balance created by nature and it should be accepted.
I didn't get a take in this swim or the next swim which also cost me my homemade chubber float with an over zealous cast getting stuck in the opposite banks foliage so eventually it was time to return to base camp and get sorted for an evening of fun and hopefully some barbel frolics.
The first thing I'd done before I went trotting was feed the suicide swim not just in the obvious places downstream under the willows but upstream just before a substantial overhanging tree, I'd not caught from this upstream swim before but it was deep on the inside and who knows what lies beneath.
It was 7pm by the time I set the traps, I didn't feel it necessary to wait any longer so a fresh Hook Bait Co. Spicy Fish Pro dumbell was carefully selected and a plug of paste in the lead, I wasn't using micro pellet in the blockend feeder simply because there was insufficient flow to empty it out between casts.
It didn't take long before the upstream rod sprang into life and a very nice barbel was heading for the net, 8lb 8oz and although it was dusk it was real boost to my confidence and proved that the least likely areas can produce a fish or two if you feed them first and slip a bait in on the quiet.
The next fish came less than an hour later however in order to extend my landing net handle I'd incorporated a homemade extension of a bankstick and once the fish was landed dig the spike into the bank to rest the fish whilst I setup the camera. So just as the splasher chub approached the net the extension handle decided to part company and I watch the whole landing net and handle disappear into the river!!
Fortunately I'd setup a smaller net on a storm pole so it was quickly deployed to scoop up the chub who'd long since stopped splashing about and came in without a fuss.
The next run again came from the upstream rod and this time proved difficult to net due to the limitations of the short storm pole but eventually it was sat in the margins resting in the light of my head torch, a lovely looking barbel slightly smaller than the previous one.
After another peppered steak supper it was time to settle down for the night, I was happy with the result so far and watched the dancing bats ping against the line. It was 2:30am before the next lot of action and a decent chub of 4lb 13oz.
Fifteen minutes later and Dru was ringing to say he'd had his second of the night so I jumped into the car and drove upstream to take the photo.
A couple of hours later and Dru was in again so off I went and took the photo's really pleased for him after 3 years in the making a hatrick of Dove barbel in one night was a great achievement.
At 5am another chub for me at 4lb 6oz but it looked like it had been in the wars, scales were raised and lumpy and it had a fresh wound to it's stomach which I treated before returning it to swim away into the shadows.
With a couple of barbel and a brace of chub I'd have settled for that but at 9:50am the upstream rod was off again only this time the shaking of the head told me it was another barbel but when it came to the surface I was delighted to see it was a youngster of no more than 2lb 6oz but clearly a good sign for the future, sometime size really doesn't matter.
Finally as i was packing away I remembered the lost barbel net and landing net handle so with very little flow I started casting and dragging along the bottom until on the third attempt I hooked into it and to my relief dragged it back onto the bank.