I must have done something right in a previous life to warrant the run of luck I'm having in my fishing at the minute. Every which way I seem to turn I bump into a decent fish. I'm not complaining and to be fair, I would love for it to continue throughout the winter but I'm sure a few blanks are on the cards in the not to distant future. That said, they will be a lot easier to take now I've achieved my winter target. Last winter I had my heart set on targeting some massive chub. I was lucky that the planets aligned on quite a few of my sessions resulting in a good number of 6lbers, two 7s and a mega fish of 8.1lb. This winter my heart has been set on catching a few big barbel. Now I still consider any barbel into double figures a big fish but really and truly, I wanted a 14lb plus specimen, not a PB but when they get to that size they really do look in a different league.
My first visit to the river resulted in a big fat blank but I did manage to walk the entire length of the stretch and pinpoint a few swims both snaggy and open water for my return. Where possible I like to fish for fish away from where they live. I would rather coax them out of their homes onto a spot where I have baited and have a 100% chance of landing every hooked fish. Loosing fish due to fishing to close to the snags isn't good angling in my book. My second visit resulted in a last minute wrap round just before kick off time from a perfectly formed, yet modest size barbel of about 4lb. I looked at her as she was resting up and thought to myself "stick 10lb on her and that will do". Well, my last visit coincided with 40mph wind and heavy rain but I thought, he who dares. My brolly turned inside out twice, I got soaked right through to the bone but when the tip slammed round and I was met with a very satisfying resistance, it was all worth it. For once, the fight was pretty unspectacular, just how I like it from big fish. One big lunge at the start then I lead her to the waiting net that my good pal Dave Perrott was holding and she was mine.
It was clearly a very solid and large framed fish so when it went 14.10lb on the scales I wasn't surprised. Awesome fish, in awesome November conditions. I just need to get down the tackle shop now and get myself another brolly!