An angler's journal

Friday, 21 August 2015

Back with a bang with an Avon double

After breaking something of a mini barbel drought on the middle Severn earlier this week, I visited the Warks Avon hoping my fortunes had indeed changed for the better. I arrived at my chosen venue at around 5pm to find it surprisingly busy. The area I had hoped to fish had three anglers fishing it so I was forced several pegs upstream. I set up two rods - the first was a straight lead with a PVA bag cast to a far bank tree; the second a cage feeder with a pellet hookbait. This was to be recast every ten minutes initially cast downstream.

A decent bream
The first hour was quiet. The boilie rod on the far bank remained unnoticed while only a few nudges on the pellet rod maintained interest. I then decided to change the bait. Instead of pellets, I nicked several maggots onto the size 10 hook and recast. The result was a positive bite soon after with a bream of about 4lb the culprit. The clear conditions meant I was able to see the fish clearly battling and with it a blank had been averted. It just goes to show how a simple change can make a big difference to a otherwise lean spell in a session. Unsurprisingly, the swim then went quiet.

As sunset came, the light faded. The witching hour had begun. With it came the sound of foxes frolicking nearby whilst I caught the silhouette of an owl hunting above the far bank. I then heard an angler a few pegs upstream battling with a barbel, at least they were feeding albeit not in my swim. As dusk gave way to dark, I heard the three anglers downstream depart. I continued with my traps set. Bait was now my dusk time favourite: Spam. However, time was running out in order to abide by club rules. I heard a sizeable chub crash downstream while my peg remained devoid of action. I remember thinking why would the fish be in my peg when they could be in that downstream area, eating all that bait deposited by the three anglers and with it be completely undisturbed? I then made another decision which changed my fortunes. I packed up all my gear except the essentials. I then wondered downstream in torchlight with just a rod, landing net, mat and rest. I had about 10-15 minutes to make it count. It was now or never. I settled in the middle of the three previously occupied swims and cast my bait mid-river. Without any rod tip indication, I set the baitrunner as my only means of detection in the now dark conditions. I stood at the rod butt and waited. Around 5 minutes elapsed when the sound of line peeling from my reel had me jumping into action. The strike resulted in one of the most scintillating first runs I can remember from a barbel. It powered off downstream at an alarming rate. Fortunately, Avon barbel tend to stick to the main channel so I was happy to let it go in an area I know is free of snags. Then out of the blue it turned and moved upstream so quickly I struggled to regain line in order to keep in contact. By now I had the fish under the rod tip and after several more runs it was ready for the net. It was a stocky fish that went 10lb 3oz. It looked heavier in the dark but it was, on reflection, quite short in comparison to its bulk. So a second change had resulted in a fish meaning I felt pretty pleased with myself. I have no doubt had I stayed in my original peg I had have gone home with just the bream to show for my efforts.
A stocky 10lb 3oz Warks Avon barbel
If you enjoy fishing the Avon and Severn then my barbel guides may be helpful. Take a look at the Severn guide here and the Warwickshire Avon version can be viewed by clicking here. As always, comments are most welcomed as are visits to my Facebook page which can be viewed by clicking the Facebook tab on the right side of the page.

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