BAR­BEL JOY BE­FORE MY BED CALLS...

Avon hunch pays with a two fine fish

Angling Times (UK) - - DES TAYLOR -

HAPPY New Year! Just like the cen­tre for­ward in a foot­ball team, I started the year with a clean sheet – but for­tu­nately that didn’t last long and I caught some nice fish right from the off.

TUES­DAY

With the air tem­per­a­ture up a bit and a wel­come in­jec­tion of warm rain, I saw a small win­dow of op­por­tu­nity for a de­cent bar­bel in wa­ter which would now surely be coloured.

The plan was to go over to the Trent, but that river was on the rise and to be hon­est I don’t know it well enough to fish there un­der such con­di­tions.

How­ever, the War­wick­shire Avon rises from a dif­fer­ent area of the coun­try and word was it was nice and steady, so I changed my plans – and I’m glad I did.

Once I got there, I spent an hour feed­ing the swim with ‘golf balls’ of soaked pel­lets with a cou­ple of 12mm Scopex/Squid boilies, putting one in ev­ery 10 min­utes just to get the swim primed. I then fished a 20mm boilie on the hair.

Lots of an­glers are afraid to feed in the win­ter, be­liev­ing that what­ever they put in will be left ly­ing on the bot­tom, but I have no wor­ries about this. I know that all my bait will be taken down the river or eaten by other species.

Tonight I fed from about two hours be­fore night­fall and I saw the odd rap on the rod-tip show­ing there were fish present. Then on dark­ness, as usual, the swim went dead. But I knew that a cou­ple of hours into dark­ness any bar­bel in the vicin­ity would start to have a look around.

On this part of the river they swim be­tween two weirs more than a mile apart, so your near­est fish could be a long way away from you at any given time.

At around 8.30pm the rod was nearly pulled off the rests and as soon as I picked it up I knew I was con­nected to a de­cent bar­bel. Af­ter a short but pow­er­ful fight it was sit­ting in my land­ing net and the scales confirmed a lovely win­ter dou­ble of 11lb 12oz.

I fan­cied an­other one, to be hon­est, but the rain came, it went cold and as soon as thoughts of a warm bed en­tered my mind it wasn’t long be­fore the gear was packed into the car and I was on my way home. I ar­rived about 11.30pm and my wife was still up, although fast asleep on the sofa. We had a quick cof­fee while she lis­tened to my story of how good a bar­bel an­gler I am. Well, at least Mar­garet be­lieves

me even if no-one else does...

Will anti-Wal­ter Mitty ear­muffs be needed on my next perch fish­ing trip? I hope not...

WED­NES­DAY

Con­di­tions were too good to ig­nore so it was off to the Avon again, this time a bit ear­lier and with a mag­got feeder rod to ac­com­pany my tried-and-tested boilie rig.

I wanted to stay un­til around mid­night be­cause the river looked so good. I ex­pected the mag­gots to pro­duce but I had noth­ing ex­cept for a chub of about a pound that took the rod over as I was talk­ing to Kevin Wil­mot at An­gling Times.

But at 8.30pm the boilie rod bent over again and an­other dou­ble – 10lb 3oz – soon hit the land­ing net. A dou­ble each trip at this time of year – what a re­sult! Again, I fan­cied an­other take but one was my lot. If I’d stopped all night I might have had an­other take but I had a meet­ing with a fish­ery owner the next day so I needed to get some sleep.

FRI­DAY

Perch-fished a new bit on the river where a carper mate had seen big perch strik­ing fry a few days ear­lier. I started by drop shot­ting but the perch were up in the wa­ter, hit­ting the fry just like my mate said – they were jump­ing out of the wa­ter to get out the way! So I changed to a small Mepps spin­ner and I had a take ev­ery chuck for about an hour.

Then they went off for a cou­ple of hours which is when I changed back to drop shot­ting and caught them again. No big fish – I had them to just over 2lb – but loads to about a pound and great sport.

A bloke came down while I was fish­ing and said he had caught a 6lb perch from there. But af­ter an hour, when he told me he had also caught eels to 9lb and bar­bel to 17lb (a river record) but never taken pho­tos be­cause he couldn’t see the point, I thought ‘here we go again!’ and took no fur­ther no­tice of what he said.

I would have stayed longer but he got on my nerves. Hope­fully he will not ap­pear ev­ery time I’m down there, or I’ll have to wear my anti-Wal­ter Mitty ear muffs!

“At around 8.30pm the rod was nearly pulled off the rests by a de­cent bar­bel”

Next day I fol­lowed up with this 10lb 3oz fish.

A lovely 11lb 12oz win­ter bar­bel from the War­wick­shire Avon.

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