With what seems like an early Spring on its way with rising water and air temps, there was only one thing on my mind. Barbel fishing on the Hampshire Avon!
I had worked it so I could do a good few sessions over the week. As most anglers know Barbel fishing on the Hant's Avon is not the easiest of tasks at the best of times but there are some very big girls in there, and many sessions can be required to catch 1 if at all.
Using pre baiting is essential when barbel fishing I find. So after choosing my swim, how to tackle it and the spots to target, in went the bait dropper. Packed with hemp, Small Elips Pellet
, crushed Barbel Bomb Dumbells
all glugged in Fish Pro
to give me and edge with its rich salty, fishy, meaty flavours. It always makes me feel extra confident it will attract fish from from down river, if they are not in my swim already.
After losing a very large barbel to what I though was a hook pull in daylight to my devastation on my left rod. My right rod went off in the evening and I lost another barbel the same way. Gutted off I went home and put it down to a bad angling day!
Determined not to be defeated I returned the following day. I stepped up my rigs to a stronger bigger hook and stronger braid feeling confident the fish would not escape this time!
With 10 mins to go before packing up time my right rod went of like a rocket and then suddenly it was locked solid and yet again I lost another huge barbel! Off I went home with my tail between my legs and now I knew there were 2 very large snags in the swim!
I called a R.D.A.A bailiff for the welfare of the fish, who informed me that it was reported last year but snags not found and said the Avon manager Richard would be calling me to come check it out.
So after rethinking the swim I decided to give it another go and moved round 30m past where I thought the snags were and set my new spots ready for action. The Avon manager Richard came to see me that evening and gave me maintenance signs to put up after my session and said Sunday morning he would come down and have a go at sorting it with the equipment.
An hour past and then suddenly my left rod again went of like a rocket down stream I struck and was in! Being super careful I put my net over my head and started walking the fish downstream whilst playing it along the bank to make sure the fish didn't go back upstream to the snaggy area. After a 25 min super scrap I managed to land a big girl.
I called my fishing buddy Ben who jumped in his car and came and photographed and weighed her for me with the weight coming in at 16lb 9oz and a new P.B!
We also established It was one of the lumps I lost earlier in the week as it had a few scratch marks on one side from the snags. So we treated her wounds and released the Barbel safely way back down stream away from the snags and to have a good rest.
Even more better news was to come when Richard called me Sunday morning to say he had found the 2 very large snags and got them out of the water with 3 rigs locked in and that the swim was now clear.
I was relieved it was not just my angling after all and losing 3 fish that week! Good job, happy days, and always report snags to your local bailiff for the welfare of the fish and never let snags Hinder your fishing!
Here are some pics of the fish thanks to Ben John Fairweather and Richard Jesse for sorting the swim top fella's!