So, when it became clear that another window of opportunity might be available, I did all I could to be ready. I changed my bait, rig and hook size - altered the particle mix with the addition of a spicy additive and was on the river by 19.30 hrs - swim baited up within 30 minutes and a hook bait in the water some 45 minutes later - just as the light started to fade. Bev had offered the ritual "tight lines" as I departed, but cautioned against reading too much into it - "you'll catch nothing again - as usual!" Such confidence in her husbands' ability.
I knew different - I could feel it. The omens were all in my favour; surely tonight was the one where it all fell into place. Darkness descended and I contented myself watching the Daubenton's Bats as they skimmed across the surface of the water, occasionally catching the line causing a bleep on the alarm and a flicker of the rod-tip. Just after 22.00 hrs it happened. The rod tip wrenched round, the alarm screamed into life and my Matt Hayes centre-pin span wildly as a fish bolted off with my bait. A fantastic scrap ensued before I was able to slide the net under the first barbel of 2014. All 12 lbs 10 oz of it - never has a fish been more welcome.
|If anyone knows the swim from this background - they will probably be on first name terms with |
|Never easy getting that "perfect" self-take shot.|
Hands all over the flanks and too much glare - how I wish Benno had been there
As with all of our fish - I made the effort to record both flanks, so to aid id of individual specimens as the project moves forward.