So, back to the same swim again this week but in relatively calmer conditions. I’ve only fished a few of the swims on this stretch for barbel so far. I didn’t get there till nearly nine in the evening so I didn’t fancy looking for different swims to try at that time of the day. I suppose I could be accused of taking the easy option, which I'd put down as a symptom of fishing mainly short sessions. (A change would be forced on me later in the session though.)
The colour had dropped out of the river a bit since last time and the water level was definitely down since then, more of the gravelly bank was now available to stand on out of the flowing water. The flow was pushing through at about a steady jogs pace so it would require a five or six ounces of lead to hold bottom. I soon had two rods out, meat down stream and pellet up, in a bit of slacker water. There was the odd a bit of weed coming down snagging the lines and pulling the leads out of position a little, but it didn't stop the hook-baits holding for a good twenty minutes or so.
After a short while I missed a strong pull on the meat rod that might have been a chub, but then there was nothing further to trouble to rods for the first hour. Around 10:15pm I heard a snuffle sound behind me and looked around to see about 40 pairs of eyes watching me intently. Now cows are usually OK with me as long as they’re at least 20 yards away, but these were of the young feisty bullock ‘horns n all’ variety, so when they besiege the back of your peg leaving your only chance of escape if they were to “turn” a swim for it in the drink – I do tend to get a little bit twitchy. It was obvious what they wanted as they made it quite clear I was in standing in their way. They had come for their evening drink before bedding down for the night and I was stopping them from getting to it. I thought about staying and holding my ground waiting for them to move on, but as they steadily closed in on me I finally bottled it, hastily gathering my gear and sidling my way carefully past the flat left hand edge of their semi circle, feet in the river treading in the shallow water running over the gravel as I went, hoping I didn’t spark off a panic stampede.
I headed down stream to look for another suitable swim in the last remnants of twilight. Safely nestled behind three strands of barbed wire was a smooth area of water on the near side bank with a crease flowing from near mid river diagonally across to the far side bank. It looked perfect for a cheeky bait down the edge, with the option of holding another bait out along the crease. The only problem was spotting somebody already sat there about 20 yards down that I hadn’t noticed in the dim light until he moved his head towards me, I thought he was a bush! A quick apologetic wave and I stealthy moved on further downstream looking for another likely spot. I soon found a similar area between perfectly straight banks that looked pretty un-exceptional apart from the flow on the surface. There was a crease further out, too far out to hold a bait on easily in the flow though, but the near bank had a channel of smoother water that fanned out 30 yards down spreading across the width of the river. I had a good feeling about this “glide” so cast a rod in with a boilie just a small chuck off the rod tip into the calmer water. Soon there were a few small plucks that might have been fish but I suspected weed to be the culprit. I wound in to find that the float stop positioned up the line had gathered a bit of weedy debris undoubtedly the cause of some of these indications.
I swapped the hook-bait over to a pellet as I’d been continually trickling in a few micro pellets up stream at the head of the run so they could trundle along the bottom hopefully drawing fish up to my neatly positioned larger hook-bait. Time was now pressing on, it was getting on for 11pm (and on a school night!) so I was thinking about packing up soon, “I’ll just give it five more minutes”. As I was practically counting down to wind in, the rod tip ripped round and the bait runner fizzed as line was stripped off. The fish was soon turned and slowly eased back upstream towards me, after a short but steady fight the fish staying low all the way it was time to net it. This fish hadn’t given up yet though and with a few head shakes dived down again using the flow to its advantage to gain back a bit of line from me. Next attempt and it was netted but had put up an impressive fight for only a small fish. I had guessed it might be bigger during the fight so was a little surprised to see just a five pounder in the bottom of the net. Still it beats a blank any day of the week and I’ve found a new successful swim into the bargain. The move proved to be a good one thanks to the cows. However it's time to try another river for barbel next I think as I get a bit stagnated doing the same thing too often, besides there’s some rivers more local to me that I’ve not really targeted barbel on in the past. It could be time to rectify that next time….