After last weekends night session I was well up for another trip this week and although we'd had a bit of rain over previous days the river was dropping and looked to be in fine form. Phil joined me once again and we headed to a different area which looked a bit more Barbelly this time around.
We got to the river during a heavy rain shower at around 5.30 and made our way to our chosen swims. As you would expect, the rain stopped just after we got setup leaving all the gear soaked and it also left another major irritation in its wake, mosquitoes and flies! The air was thick with the little blighters and I gave myself a very liberal dose of insect repellant to keep them at bay.
Fishingwise I had decided to opt for a boilie and particle approach with idea being that I could hold any passing fishing in the swim a bit longer. Maize and chickpeas don't immediately spring to mind as top Barbel attractors but they are bigger and heavier than hemp and corn and I hoped that they would hold station in the powerful currents a bit better.
As expected the remaining hours of daylight were completely uneventful and by 10pm I hadn't even had a sniff. If it was going to be anything like last week then the period from midnight into the early hours would be the hot time for a bite so I was quite surprised when my upstream rod suddenly signalled a one noter! The fish put up a spirited fight and looked deceptively small in the torchlight as I netted it. On the bank it looked bigger than I thought and it registered a pleasing 9lb13oz on the scales.
After returning it I was just getting ready to recast when my downstream rod tore off and I found myself connected to another Barbel. This felt like a much smaller fish and upon netting it I was proved right, at 7lb1oz it was the smallest Barbel I've had this season by quite a margin. Nevertheless two fish under my belt before 11pm was a good sign and hopefully there would be more to come.
A few sizeable fish could be heard splashing out in the darkness and other than the occasional shot ringing out from somebody lamping rabbits upstream, all was silent. It didn't stay that way for long however as my downstream rod once again zipped off. Soon enough another small Barbel was on the mat and it tipped the scales around to 7lb10oz. Three fish caught, a good result for the upper Trent, this was starting to have the makings of a memorable session!
After that last fish I decided to turn in for the night and made myself comfy in my sleeping bag. I lay there contemplating things and considering how many decent fish are currently present in the upper Trent, based on what I'd already caught, the odds of my next fish being a double were very much stacked in my favour I thought.
It was somewhere around midnight when the Delkim on my upstreamer warbled frantically as an angry fish smashed it's way downstream at a rate of knots. It felt like a decent fish and it kept low and deep even when I got it under the rod tip. Once netted I knew it was a double straight away and the confirmation soon came as the dial spun around to 10lb11oz.
After returning the fish I felt knackered and just wanted to sleep but the fish had different ideas. Over the next hour both rods kept getting intermittent bleeps as fish bumped the line and pulled at the bait. There was a lot of activity out there and I was very much on edge and unable to sleep. It was gone 1am when I found myself playing another Barbel which felt very similar to the last one. After gaining line on the fish it suddenly managed to find a previously unseen snag and everything locked up. After a quick tug of war I managed to get the fish moving again but the line was grating on something. Without warning the hooklink suddenly parted and left me with that horrible sunken feeling that only comes when you lose a nice fish.
I decided not to retackle that rod and just concentrate on the one remaining rod in a bid to get some sleep. Once again though the fish had other ideas and It wasn't long before another Barbel decided to put in an appearance, that one went 8lb10oz. Jeez, it was nearly 3oclock now and although i was five fish up I still hadn't been to sleep!
The rod still kept getting bangs and knocks after recasting and I was seriously contemplating reeling it in. At about half three I heard Phils alarm sound and a few minutes later he came down in need of some assistance with some pics. A 10lb4oz Barbel was a fine result for his first bite of the session and as he returned it in my swim my buzzer suddenly sounded. I thought Phil had caught my line to begin with but the hissing baitrunner soon brought me to my senses and I struck into another fish. It came in surprisingly quickly and I netted it before Phils double had even recovered. Fish number six went 7lb12oz.
By the time everything was sorted after that there was signs of fast approaching daylight, i recast and crawled back into my pit. Mercifully that was it as far as i was concerned actionwise and i did finally manage to sleep. I awoke and made a brew at around 8am and when Phil finally stirred his stumps he informed me that hed had another Barbel just as it got light, only a baby at around 2lb but a good sign that the different year classes are coming through. I began a slow packup and managed to get off the river and home for mid-morning, my bed was well and truly beckoning!