So there's the first reality slap for today - eleven weeks ago I had just caught my first barbel since 1985 and yet yesterday I was griping that I'd not caught one in three weeks!
I ventured off to do battle with the R.Stour fish, arriving at the venue around 17.30hrs. I wandered down towards my swim only to be confronted with Ian McDonald - fishing in a swim that we are very familiar with. After we exchanged the usual pleasantries, I introduced myself and that was the start.What a fantastic bloke - full of useful tips and theories about the barbel of this river; one that he has completely mastered. It was a bit of a lesson (eye opener) to hear that he'd had nineteen fish from the river, thus far! I trailing way behind with just four. We spent nearly 90 minutes chatting about the fishing, people we knew and the world of angling politics - he is a top man! I gave him my blog & e-mail address; he gave me his mobile number - how cool is that?
We parted company and I got set up for the session ahead; floating/drifting weed being a major problem after the recent period of rainfall. I got wiped out just after 19.40hrs and had to recast my rig, yet it couldn't have been too bad as I had my first barbel of September less than 15 minutes later. At 6lbs 2oz it is the smallest specimen any of us have taken; Benno taking great pleasure in reminding me what it does for our average weight statistics when I rang him with the news. I didn't care, it was a barbel and one that means so much more than a simple statistic - I've worked incredibly hard for this fish.
|The lens cap, off my 18-55mm, is the only item I had to hand that gave the fish a sense of scale.|
I grabbed a few images of the fish, layed on my weigh sling, just for later reference - before returning it to the river. The moon rose in a clearing sky and it was time to come home. I got indoors to find a wonderful e-mail from Steve Gale (North Downs and Beyond) awaiting me. We haven't always seen everything from the same viewpoint yet have experienced an uncannily similar route to where we are now! Hertfordshire, Tring Reservoirs, Ashridge Forest, Birding, Dungeness, Mothing and so many other aspects of our parallel universes. He has the computer nous to have linked this nonsense to his superb blog - I am truly humbled. If only I possessed the knowledge to reciprocate - that's the trouble with being dullard, even the fish I seek have more intelligence than I?