My plan for this short evening session was to fish hemp and caster in the hope of getting a few barbel feeding confidently early on well before dark, then maybe switch to pellet later on. I got to the areas I wanted to fish and baited up a couple of swims with a few droppers in three locations quite close to each other, so I could rotate easily without having to move my kit around too much.
I had to rescue my kit from a herd of young bullocks at one stage, just as I finished baiting the final area a bit further downstream. I started fishing here while I waited for them to move on. Now I'm not generally scared of cows too much, growing up in countryside and working on a dairy farm one summer as a teenager, I am well used to them, but I'm not an idiot either so I treat them with the caution the deserve. One angler against 20 + cows getting a bit lively, there's only one place your going to escape and that's in the river ! not a scenario I wish to experience thanks. A chap I met in the car park wandered up checking out swims, we chatted about the weather the river conditions and the cows and I pointed out where I had baited just to test his response. Luckily for me he was a respectful sort and wandered off back down stream to leave me to it.
I made my first cast near to the tree on the far bank that I'd just baited up, but my rig fell a little short of the baited area, I left it anyway to see what would happen. Shortly though, I looked up to see the cows had moved on so I quickly made way back there where I hoped the other two baited swims would be drawing in the fish by now. Predominantly though If anyone did come up to fish this length of the river I wanted to be here rather than the second swim.
A small feeder was filled with more hemp and caster and then positioned into a nice crease upstream in the mid river. It didn't take too long before the tip dropped back, I struck and hit a fish. It headed downstream but was stopped and turned quickly. I was convinced it was a chub, but rather than a big wide, white lipped gob, a pointed snout surfaced with barbels on it instead. The fish flopped into the net and I'd caught this little chap ..
|A small Dove scamp at 2lb|
There's been a few small barbel showing in the dove so far this season which is a good sign, and I was really pleased to have landed it despite its small size. It saved me from the expected blank anyway.
I continued with the caster rod for a while, alternating between the two baited areas. I eventually put out my pellet rod into the upstream swim as well. The mini pellets leaking from the feeder obviously attracted attention quickly as the tip started pulling round a little, eventually making me air strike a good strong pluck. As darkness enveloped around me I pulled in the caster rod that had been dormant since landing the small one.
I wondered if the pellets would work for me this time and was thinking about moving the rod to the second baited area when I noticed the tip pull round a few inches in a steady manner, it stopped then carried on again. By now the rod was in my hand and hooping over, and this was result !
|A new PB 13lb 8oz|
The fight was pretty slow and steady, the fish only pulling line off the clutch for a few seconds at one point, but I gained the upper hand quite quickly and soon with a bit of grunt from the rod it was safely over the rim. I wasn't sure how big it was until I tried to lift the net ! Wow, I knew it was a double at least, but then carrying it to the mat I thought my PB had might even have fallen. The scales pulled round and revealed their result, a seasons ambition was achieved in my first dove session of the summer. This is my biggest ever fish, one that weighs more than both of my children's birth weights put together. If I don't manage to catch anymore barbel from the dove this season I will still class it as a good one (it can be hard on the dove you know !). However despite this daunting prospect, this result just goes to prove that it only takes one good cast and one bite from one good fish and your fortunes can change in a second.
|Back she goes|