It was the first week of the season and I was keen to get some time in on the banks of my beloved Hampshire Avon. I had managed to squeeze in a couple of previous trips and caught chub and barbel on both occasions but today I was up early for a full day of it.
Arriving at the river at 7 am I was greeted by the warm sunshine and the sight of a couple of shadows drifting in and out of the weed beds hovering up a few loose fed Elips Pellets.
I lowered a bait in position and scattered a few more freebies in and sat back. I had waited an hour when I looked in and saw a barbel approaching where my rig was lying. I took a step back and by the time I'd sat down on the chair the centre pin was screaming. Within a few minutes, a lovely Avon barbel of 9lb 11oz was laying in the net, photos done I slipped her back and decided to move onto another stretch.
I settled into a deeper swim where I could sit back and enjoy the weather rather than keep peering into the swim to see what was or what wasn't going on. Over the next 4 hours I had a couple of chub around the 4lb mark and decided to move for the afternoon one more time to a different stretch I hadn't fished yet this season. I arrived at 3.30 pm and walked the bank and to my excitement found 2 good sized barbel chasing each other around in the sunshine, why they do this I will never know. I lowered my rig in place with a couple of trimmed down Large Elips glued back to back and glugged with Blitz Concentrate and scattered a few more Elips over the top.
For the next hour I watched them as they often came right in over my bait but avoided picking it up. They were very recognizable as one was very golden coloured and one was dark and as I was watching them a rod length away from the rig my pin screamed into life and surprised me. Another fish must have entered the swim without me seeing and tore of downstream. As she fought under my rod tip the golden coloured barbel would swim beside her, not wanting to leave her side. I've seen this before with big barbel and have often wondered why they do this.
Having netted the fish, the honours were done with the scales and camera and a June best weight of 14lb 5oz was recorded. The fish was released and as I peered in I caught a glimpse of the golden barbel just leaving the swim. Another cast was called for so I clipped on a new rig with bait and bag attached and swung it out a little further where I saw the fish leave the swim. I scattered out a few more pellets and turned to sit down but I never made the chair.....
The pin once again screamed off within 30 seconds of being cast out and a heavy fish tore off downstream. After a battle of about 10 minutes up, down and across the river I netted another good fish. On the scales she went, and another June best of 14lb 15oz was recorded.
The brace had a combined weight of 29lb 4 oz which beat my previous best by 2 oz.......
I released the fish and watched her swim off strongly in the clear water, a sight to remember.
The magic of the Hampshire Avon has once again showed itself and has given me another memory to cherish.
I will never tire of fishing this magical waterway.