Last nights trip, I headed to the Trent to fish for barbel and zander, one rod out for each. Two swims were baited up with caster and hemp just a slight chuck out off the margin shelf into probably 6ft of water and the zander rod was cast to an overhanging tree to my right up stream a few feet.
The bites started straight away and I soon had a small skimmer bream heading in to the bank. As it broke surface near the margin, a largish pike, maybe a low double, shot out from virtually under my feet and tried to snatch it. I quickly whipped it out the way but it fell off the hook onto the bank and slid back into the water. It sat on its side for a second or two then swam away into some marginal reeds where it was duly snaffled by the waiting pike, a shower of scales in the water the last I saw of it. I contemplated fishing for the pike with a wobbled dead bait but decided to leave the dead bait out in case any zander did turn up.
On the barbel rod, I swapped to pellet on the hook as I didn't want to bring about another skimmer slaughter by continuing with the casters. The pellets were soon getting the chub and roach excited, but they were either not able to engulf the bait and hook or were especially cute and trying to free the pellet from the hair? I struck a couple of these lighting jabs on the tip, but none connected to any fish.
The rain had been falling lightly on and off all evening but it was not uncomfortable, the brolly was up but I was just as happy sitting away from it near the rods by the waters edge. Darkness eventually fell, and I had just recast the pellet rod after changing the pellet as I normally do after around 20 minutes to be sure that there's a decent bait on the hook, wafting it flavours into the current. I was contemplating packing up and heading home when the rod suddenly wrapped round, alarm and baitrunner screaming off.
I hooked into a strong fish that continued to power off on the clutch downstream under the overhanging branches of a nearby tree. I lowered the rod to the surface with it hooped right round and pumped the fish back up stream towards me. The fish played ball pretty well and was soon on the surface. When I first glimpsed it I wasn't sure if it was in fact a good chub, because the length of it seemed smaller than that of a barbel. It was actually just a very short but fat fish, kind of the front half of a double all big head and barrel belly, but the tail half of a mere 5 pounder, - weird. The fish attempted to slip the hook with a few more power lunges in the margin, then was safely in the back of the net.
After a quick photo and a visit in the sling, this last gasp cheeky 9lber was slipped back into the dark depths of the upper trent.
The zander were only noticeable by there absence !
That's barbel from three different rivers so far this season, not bad going for me.