An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Off to a flyer

The past year has been a challenge for most. With the ongoing pandemic, my work has dominated this past 15 months and rightly so as there's been a lot to do for the greater good. However, it has come at the cost of my own personal interests. I noted that only one entry on this blog had taken place since June 2020. To be honest, not that much fishing happened and when it did I wasn't really prepared so unsurprisingly there was little to write about. When spring arrived, I was determined to try and make a bit more effort to make time and balance things up. I did a fair bit of cycling during the April and May, raising some money for Prostrate Cancer along the way. I used the Easter break to attack the garden after moving house at the end of last year and finally I was determined to go fishing on the rivers again once the season reopened on June 16th. 

Of course, it fell on a work day and I had meeting which delayed my start but I finally made it to the river at about 7.30pm and promptly baited a swim with the trusty dropper. Eight loads of hemp and mixed pellet were deposited just off a far bank tree. This is quiet part of the Warwickshire Avon away from the crowds but several seasons of investigations has seen me find a small population of barbel on the stretch. I gave the swim half hour to work its magic as I went for a stroll. A pellet baited rig was cast over the bait with a second rod baited with boilie and placed mid-river for any nomadic fish that passed through. 

A few taps and raps were seen as the evening progressed. The stretch has a big population of chub who are always first on the bait but nothing developed. By 9.40, I was starting to think that a typical underwhelming opening day session was about to play out. The 16th June always brings eternal hope and anticipation but as anglers reading this will know only too well, it is often an anti-climax. I'd told myself that I'd need to start thinking about packing up not long after 10pm with a busy day ahead the following morning. 

Then at 9.45, without any warning, the pellet rod suddenly wrapped round and the first fish of the season was on. A great battle ensued as the fish made several blistering runs across the river. I caught a glimpse and it looked a decent barbel as its golden flank flashed beneath the surface. It was then safely landed and allowed to rest. This is vitally important during the warmer months. I could see it was a very solid fish as I lifted it onto the unhooking mat. The scales showed 10lb exactly meaning I had just about scraped a double on the first day of the season. I'm not sure I have managed that before and it was a great way to begin the new season. By the time I'd returned the fish safely, it was time to call it a day. I really hope this is the beginning of more positive year ahead and there will be plenty more stories to share. 

A great way to start the season

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