So that time of year has come around again and the rivers are once again open for business as usual. The start this year has been somewhat hit and miss for me but I've certainly landed a few fish albeit not always my intended quarry!
Opening day was the usual massive anticlimax and although conditions were seemingly perfect, the much anticipated Barbel never materialised. We were joined by Steve Collett and cameraman Ian who both came down to do a feature for the anglers mail . A lot of thought goes into setting up the various shots and it was fascinating watching the pros in action.
I did manage a bream of over 7lb and three Chub to 5lb and I lost something which felt suspiciously like a Barbel or a Carp to a hookpull so odd catch a few. I was a little disheartened after building my hopes so high for some Barbel but nevertheless it was great to be back on running water again and getting a few bends in the rod.
I headed to the river soar the next morning with the lure rod and after catching a Chub on pretty much my first put in I was hopeful of some fast and furious action.
The fish however had different ideas and the Perch in particular were conspicuous by their absence. By the time I had worked my way down to the bottom of the field I'd only added a small tail walking jack to my tally with very little interest from much else.
I decided to try a nearby weirpool in a last ditch attempt to build a half decent bag and was rewarded with several perch and two more Pike, the fish obviously preferred the faster and more oxygenated water in the muggy conditions.
That evening Phil and I were back on a different stretch of river which, based on past form, is usually a dead cert for a barbel. Just on darkness I managed to lose a fish in a snag after a truly brutal take which nearly pulled the rod in. I could feel the line grating through something from the off and it didn't take long to lock up solid before suddenly everything fell slack as the badly damaged line parted. Just as I was cursing my own luck a call came through from Phil telling me he'd caught something special and was in need of assistance. I grabbed my camera and headed upstream to find that Phil had indeed landed a beast, all 14lb11oz of it! Always good to get those PBS in early mate, well done!
The following day we went out with the lure gear and were joined once again by Steve and Ian for another feature. I won't delve into the events too much because it will come out in the feature but we did have some good action on surface poppers and Steve caught a very special fish indeed.
The next evening I was back on the Trent on my own and still determined to catch a Barbel. The taps on the rodtip as darkness fell certainly had my confidence through the roof so you can imagine my disappointment when my first proper pull of the evening turned out to be another Bream!
It all went quiet for a while after that until around midnight when I struck into what turned out to be a decent Chub of 5.8. With all the obvious spawning activity across the river over the previous few days the fish proved to be hollow and I'd certainly like to reacquaint myself with it come the winter time.
I packed up shortly after but I already had plans for the following evening ..........