I'd spent many days walking in pursuit of trying to find some barbel and they really weren't showing themselves much. The Avon has so many hiding places for them to hole up in and elevation and a really good pair of polarised glasses are a necessity. Any slight disturbance would send them scattering for shelter so casting was minimal and had to be gentle.
I'd been targeting an area where a few fish had been grouping up and had taken 3 fish in the previous week or so. One particular fish had evaded me on a couple of occasions and although I had caught her smaller cousin at over 14lbs I really was intent on dedicating some time in her pursuit.
I'd arrived at the river around midday and spent a little time loose feeding a few Medium Elips Pellets in very close to avoid any unnecessary casting of the lead.
To have any chance I needed to lower the lead in gently and position the rig under the weed where they felt safe in their own sanctuary.
Over the next 4 hours I watched the fish come in and feed around my rig and on several occasions ejecting my hookbait. I've never tied so many different rigs up trying to find the answer to tricking my target fish. I was beginning to feel beaten, no matter what I tried they were proving to be far more clever than myself. I had a pint of hemp left so I decided to dropper this onto the spot I'd been fishing and rest the swim.
I returned to the car to pick up an alternative hooklength material, this being of the coated braid type, Kryston Mantis gold. My last chance of coming up with a cunning plan to try and outwit these crafty fish.I tied a short 4 inch hooklength up with a blowback ring up the shank of a size 12 Gardener talon tip hook.
The last 20mm I peeled the coating off to give it a little flex above the hook.
I super glued 2 cut down Elips Pellet, glugged in c food liquid back to back to the hair and attached a semi fixed in line 3.5 oz lead with back lead above.
The fish now seemed a little spooky and were reluctant to come up on my baited area. I decided to lower the rig in about 6 yards downstream where I watched them enter the swim from. Rig in place I sat back and purposely made no effort to keep looking in and just enjoyed the warmth of the sun. I only had to wait 20 minutes when the reel went into meltdown and a fish was on!
An incredible fight began which seemed to last an age but in reality probably only 5 minutes, during which time I encountered that horrible grating feeling as the line took a pounding through the weed beds. The line held firm and so did the tiny size 12 and the fish lay in the folds of my net.
A massive thank you to my good mate, Richie Martin for popping down to do the honours with the camera. I could not have asked for anyone better on the other side of the lens.
The fish turned out to be the one I'd been targeting, a fish I first saw on the bank 6 years previous and one I'd given up on catching.
The dream is achieved and her weight although not vitally important was 16lb 4oz.
Happy days 😁