Friday 22 February 2019

Warwickshire Avon – Smelt and Snot Rockets Pt.9 (PB Content)

A contrast in quality, a lovely aged steak cooked up, the ring pulled off a tin of guts and eyeballs, but you see, a small window of opportunity had to be seized, the weather unseasonably mild, ones pike fishing, of late, nothing of note. A visit to an area that harbours some big Barbel, Barbel that don’t venture that far. 
I don’t fish for them all that much, but especially with the water low and still a little chilly feeding times are generally a tiny window, but they should feed, and at this time of year, they should be not far off their heaviest too.

Right time, right place and Garlic Spam !!!!

I don’t mess around where Barbel are concerned, I don’t want an annoying Chub, especially when the session was an hour and a bit, so big baits, equals big fish in my book. A tin of discontinued contraband garlic spam divided in to four, jobs a good’un. 

But I was after a predator as well, so under a float would go a smelt, a bit of double dipping, got to hedge ones bets. 

I passed an angler who had been bankside since the morning and not had a tap, but that didn’t put me off, I know from experience the fish venture out when the light goes and that’s when you are likely to get a bite, there are things with claws here, I’ve seen them, most of the time they are tucked up away in hiding. 

Baits out, sun beginning to dip, waiting time….

Now fellow Blogger and WBAS syndicate member Sean from Off the Oche, Down the River is a bait twitcher when it comes to predators, and I’ve cottoned on to his technique. It certainly works because unbeknown to you as an angler under the water a Pike may well be looking at your bait deciding to take it or not. A twitch now and then to pull the bait out of the position they cannot help but act on their predatory instinct. 

It works with Zander as well, and often when static baits are pulled out of position when a lock is opened on the canal for instance, you can often get a bite out of nowhere.
So not long after the smelt had been out in the relatively sheltered swim a quick nudge of the bait I felt a pull like you would get on a lure. Sure enough the float bobbed and it was away. It was doing it best to get away as well and gave a pretty good fight for its size. Soon landed though and was over 5lb. 

I’m sure if I keep plugging away, excuse the pun eventually it will come good and I’ll bank a nice fish.

Anyway back to the session, a barn owl was keeping me company as the light was going and at one point it was gracefully flying a few meters off the ground on the opposite bank in a display we get to enjoy as anglers as we spend so much time near waterways. Sadly I didn’t have a decent zoom camera with me, so the iPhone had to suffice.

The sun now below the horizon, a lovely amber glow…. 

The first bit of interest, a couple of chub rattles, sit tight. 10 minutes later a couple of pulls, then all hell breaks loose, the centrepins ratchet struggling to cope with the sudden onslaught. I grabbed the rod and used my palm on the pin body to prevent it from powering off downstream. It came to the surface almost immediately and the huge wake it left I know this was a big fish.

I felt like I got it under control at one point as it was headed upstream but then it turned and went again, this time I’ve got to allow it to run otherwise a hook pull might have happened under the strain. I lean in to the fish again and turn its head, this time a nice bend of the rod, the carbon doing its thing, one’s arm aching under the strain. 

There were some hacked at cut reeds to my right and I was worried it would get amongst them before netting but leaning the rod out as far as I could I steered the fish round the hazard, a second attempt at getting it in the net, eventually it was contained as my heart was pounding, not ideal for an old duffer.

Rested in the margins, tackle packed up, time to weigh and photograph. 

A good friend of mine, seemingly a repeat capture looking at some picture, luckily with his winter belly on, and now going 12lb 14oz’s on the scales, 8 oz’s now added to my previous PB.

Happy Days !!!!

Double Bubble, you know it makes sense.


  1. When Mick ‘The Duke’ Brown was smashing the pike in the early days he said there was no secret, he was just lucky - when he ‘retired’ he said actually there was a secret, I never let my bait sit still for long.

    Congratulations on the new PB, fantastic looking barbel, well earned.

  2. Well deserved Mick,5 mins in the right place and all that. I've often regarded the barn owl as my lucky charm,perhaps it's yours too! Quite a few times when I've witnessed one I have gone on to catch a good fish that same session,except the time when one tried to use my head as a landing platform,but that's another story...

  3. Yes thanks,all good. Must persevere to get out more though.


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