By the end of my first week back in work I was ready for some fishing again. During my 2 weeks leave from work I’d had something like 12 nights on the bank at three different venues and although it was enjoyable and I’d caught my fair share of big fish I must say I admire anyone who has to do that for a living. By the end of the fortnight I was ready for a rest, I suppose I’d had my ‘fix’ and was quite content not to fish the last weekend instead choosing to watch my son keep goal for his new team in the under 16s league, a resounding 8-1 victory proving the summer training worthwhile and making for a very proud dad at the end of it.
So back to the task in hand, I arrived at the familiar beat of the Dove late on Saturday afternoon little comes out during the day unless it’s well up and coloured so as I passed over the river enroute my little weir test told me it was low and clear. I was setup and fishing whilst it was still light and had chosen an area not known for its fish producing abilities during normal conditions but I had a feeling it might just tip the balance in my favour if we got a little bit of water on during the night.
I did the usual lead test for depth and found it fairly uniform at around 4ft under the rod tip, this is how I like to fish ideally lowering the rigs into position without creating a disturbance, a few freebies more than usual follow the rig and are generally scattered without too much precision involved.
It was just before midnight when the alarm sounded a take a short battle followed and a chub of 4lb 12oz the result, whilst I take the length and girth for my returns to the Chub Study Group I don’t really count the captures whilst barbel fishing although I’ve had to not count 28 ‘reporters’ so far this season and have all intentions of aiming for the magical 100 chub caught over 4lb in a single season by eventually retiring the barbel tackle once the temperatures drop into the minus zone!!
So with a blank saved I was quite relieved and would have settled for that one chub but at 4:50am the silence was interrupted by the high pitched tone of my alarm, I reached across and leant into another fish. It bolted off at a rapid rate whilst I gained my composure but something wasn’t right, I felt the head shaking and the aggressive run but felt no lump on the end of it, maybe a chub, maybe a large trout but no under the rod tip and with the head torch full on a small but perfectly formed barbel made its first appearance about the water line.
It didn’t like that at all so took a little longer to manoeuvre into the waiting net but eventually was in and within a minute unlike its bigger cousins was splashing about wanting out so I took him onto the waiting mat. I removed the size 8 with care and precision because it had unfortunately hooked the fish through the side of it's mouth and was exceptionally close to one of its perfectly formed barbules.
Perfection in miniature without a doubt, not a newly born fish but at around 2lb and 18 inches long perhaps a couple of years old at best? Anyway a few mat shots and he was returned to rest in the margins but as before was splashing about after a minute so I dropped the front of the net and off he swam well what he actually did was drop into the margins and sulk then after a short while he swam off strongly.
It was 9:30am when I recast both rods after a few hours sleep, no sign of any fish but still plenty of rain and it appeared that the river was rising, a good sign in my experience especially if it brings a bit of colour to the river too.
I had breakfast at 11am cooked for the first time in my ‘Ridge Monkey’ I say that because it isn’t a real Ridge Monkey but the principles the same and at less than a tenner I’d bought it just to see what all the fuss was about. Perfect for cheese and ham toasties or warming a pastie through but what would it make of bacon and sausage, there’s only one way to find out. What I did discover was the bacon was fine but the sausages burnt easily on the raised ridges of the grill pan so frequent flipping of the pan and checking progress is necessary.
That said the end result was most enjoyable and topped with a slice of cheddar cheese both breakfast barms went down a treat. My good mate Rob arrived with his buddy after doing a night on the Trent so I cooked both of them the treat this time in the traditional frying pan and they washed it down with a cuppa tea before leaving around 2pm.
By 5pm the river had risen a good foot and the debris was coming down thick and fast, although I had work the next day by instinct said hold fire and sit it out for dark, one good fish was all I wanted. I'd tied a stringer of 6 boilies around each hook bait in order to try and leave them on offer somewhere near, perhaps they remained perhaps they didn't who knows, I like to think they did.
I had a screamer at 7pm only to find myself attached to a very large branch which I hauled in and discarded it on the bank, time to drop both rods in the margin away from the main flow. Everything was packed away apart from the 2 rods, landing net and unhooking mat. I sat patiently for an hour and a half not wanting to reel in for fear of snatching the bait from the jaws of a monster.
The night sky was incredible, no light pollution just millions of stars, the odd flashing light giving away a plane heading off somewhere warm and satellites zipping across the heavens, it was finally time to reel in and head home no monsters would grace my net this time, back down to earth with bump.