An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Friday, 18 March 2016

Barbel: Season Finale

With the rivers high and coloured, barbel were the only viable option as the final weekend of the river season approached. Saturday came and we were greeted with a fine spring like day and with it some warm sunshine. This, amongst other things, scuppered my original plans for a trip to the lower Severn. Instead I had a day playing with the family before a quick whistle stop visit to the Warks Avon. Arriving mid-afternoon, I found the stretch to have a few more visitors than usual. But this didn't really matter as I had already decided I'd stick to one spot and fish a feeder upstream with worms and a lump of meat downstream. About 90 minutes passed without anything whatsoever to report. I did however photograph an eleven pounder for another angler. At least there were biting!

This small barbel saved a Saturday blank
Decision time approached and I changed my original plan to stay static and headed approximately 150 yards downstream. I settled in to my new swim and employed the same tactics. The worm rod had been in the water for all of 2 minutes when the tip began to rattle. A short but spirited effort saw a small barbel of few pound come to the net. A blank had been saved and justified the move. It was soon after that I noticed quite a few fish trapped in the puddles that remained followed the recent high water. Species included roach and perch and they were not tiny fish either. Both I and another angler saved more than a dozen fish and it explained why the field had been visited by so many seagulls during that afternoon. No more bites came and the session ended around 7.15pm.
Monday saw the final day of the season. I had hoped that I could leave work at a reasonable time to give me a couple of hours and the chance of a last day barbel. The river had dropped dramatically in 48 hours that had gone and with the water temperature similar my hopes were high. The colour had also started to drop out so I thought that chub would also come into play. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Sport was slow, in fact nothing at all happened. Coupled with a biting easterly wind it made for a
The final fish of the 2015/16 season
pretty miserable couple of hours. The stretch was pretty busy and I hadn't seen so many anglers on the stretch since late summer. It seems they too were struggling. Dark came and with it the only chance of a bite. With tactics similar to those employed on Saturday, my chances of success were pinned on a humble lobworm and chunk of meat. It was after 7pm by now and with this all hope was fading. I was about to start gathering my things when the worm rod finally jumped into life and a fish was hooked. It didn't tear off so I suspected a decent chub initially. That was until it made a powerful run for mid-river. It was a comfortable affair and a barbel was soon netted. A pristine looking end of season fish made sitting in the cold worth it. It wasn't a monster at 7lb 8oz but a most satisfactory conclusion to the season.

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