With one car in the car park the angler just had to be in the swim I fancied, and he was. Not to worry, he said he'd had a good day and two other anglers had caught a few as well. I headed for my second choice swim. Two baits were out and the first cup of flask-tea half drunk by twenty to eight when the downstream rod signalled a bite. I placed my cup down carefully and landed a lovely small, about 2lb, blank-saving, barbel. When I went to rebait I saw my cup had fallen over. Typical...
About half an hour later the other rod indicated a bite. The usual slamming takes have been notable by their absence lately. The fish are hooking themselves, but only tap-tapping the rod top. I'm not sure why. Anyway, this second fish was a bit bigger, in the six pound bracket and a dark golden colour. It had fallen for a five crab Pellet-O 'snake'.
These long 'snakes' look like they won't be good hookers, but so far they have been okay. I think the fish suck them in like a piece of spaghetti, which is why I use a hook that is about the same gape as the pellets' diameter - to slide in easily after the pellets.
By nine it was dark enough to watch the glowing isotopes on the rod tips, and at ten past the upstream, snake, rod tapped again. I leant forward to the rod and pulled into the fish, but before I could stand up to play it across the river I heard the other Baitrunner screeching as that rod bucked in the rests. It had to happen one day! I netted the first fish, which felt half decent, as quickly as I could, standing on the net pole to prevent the fish swimming off with the net and grabbed the downstream rod. The line was slack but I soon made contact with another weighty fish that soon joined its pal in the landing net.
Although this was the first time I'd had two barbel on at once I have experienced quite a few instances, with chub too, of baits ten or twenty yards apart being picked up within seconds of each other. If the baits were feet apart I could understand it. Either one fish or a shoal moving through the swim. But spread out baits being taken at the same time is a bit more difficult to explain.
The night carried on in a similar vein with fish falling to both rods at regular intervals until elevenish when things started to go wrong. I managed to find a snag, losing a couple of rigs, then had a couple of bites that turned into snagged rigs. Neither bite seemed to result in a hooked fish, and I got both rigs back - albeit one with a straightened hook - so maybe chub were the culprits.
As soon as I stopped casting near the snag the problems went away and two more fish were landed. One of them coming as soon as the bait had settled. The rod tip bounced before the lead gripped the river bed. There was a pause. Then the tip started bouncing again! The final barbel came just before midnight. Reaching for a made up mesh bag of mixed and crushed pellets I found there were none left, so I cast out the hookbait and started to pack up.
I have a feeling that, like the barbel, I had moved in on bait put in the swim during the day. You won't hear me complaining though! I headed home warm and happy having caught ten barbel in just over four and a half hours and having thoroughly enjoyed myself.