Nice To Be Back..

Friday was my chance to make a dash up the M5 for my first session of the year, and try for a Barbel before the romance of “St Valentine” took over…..really?
After a lot of colder weather, the river temp had risen from 3ish c to nearly 5c in a few days. The pressure was dropping and air temps staying above water, so there may just be a chance. I made it there just before sunset and was keen to get a line in.
Within 5 mins the rod was bent over with a good take and a lively Chub, an unexpected and pleasing start, though this fish was very cold. A couple of casts resulted in more plucks and then hitting one of these, I hooked a bigger Chub than the first, this one nearer 4.5lb. I decided to move, as I had a “hunch” for another area, so took the walk. After fifteen minutes I heard a splash, and witnessed a big Otter pop up mid river just above my swim, it then proceeded to swim mid river right over the top of my swim (which luckily was approximatly fifteen feet deep). It sounded like a cow panting along the river heading purposefully downstream, and then dived.
Just as I was thinking negative thoughts for any chance of a bite here, the rod in my hand began to pull – with strength – over in my arm, I was into a Barbel!
It felt like a big one in the ensuing fight, and made some hard run`s before coming to the surface under the rod, and rolling into the net. It was indeed a big one, 11lb4oz in fact. What a great fish to start the year with, and end the longest “in season” layoff I have had since starting out for Barbel in 2006. I had one more cast in the first swim and another nice Chub resulted, time then to drive home and write the card!
Only 4 weeks now until the long lay off so good luck and tight lines.

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