River Season Kicks Off

18th June, River Kennet.
Weather: On the cool side, mostly overcast, windy. River: Low, clear(ish)
Arrived: 16.00, Left: 23.00

First trip of the new season, great to be back on the rivers again after the unsuccessful attempts to catch a canal carp, and a chance to test out my new custom-built Torrix rod. The river showed no signs of having benefitted from the rain of recent days, with it being as low as I’ve seen it at this stage of the season, and as clear as it ever gets these days.

I was mildly surprised to find only two other anglers on the stretch – a sign of the times perhaps? When I first had a ticket for this stretch back in 2000, there would always be quite a few people during the first few weeks of the season, but that has tailed off and it is not unusual for me to have the venue to myself, even on a weekend.

Before settling in to a swim that was quite good to me last season, I dropped a few boily and pellet samples in to a couple of other swims. I started off using a groundbait/pellet feeder with pellet on the hook. On the second cast, the feeder had hardly settled, when the rod top was yanked sharply round and I was into my first barbel of the season. After a lively but fairly brief scrap, I had a nice barbel on the unhooking mat. Putting it on the scales (I always weigh the first barbel of the season – it helps to get my eye in!), I settled for a weight of 6.15.

Next cast was almost a repeat of the previous one, as another barbel was hooked very quickly. This one was smaller though, going about three and a half pounds. I was beginning to think this might be the start of a red-letter day, but it was not to be, as – apart from a chublet that snatched my bait – there was no more action in this swim.

About eight o’clock, I decided to try one of the other swims that I’d previously baited (I’d also repeated the baitings about an hour earlier), and switched tactics to a straight lead and a boily on the hook. I did get one pull there, but missed it. It may have been a line bite. Because of the sign of fish being present I stayed in the swim probably longer than I should have and didn’t get round to trying the other swim I’d baited, which was probably a mistake. The only “bites” I had for the rest of the evening were from bats hitting the line.

So slightly disappointing that the session didn’t fulfill its early promise, but no complaints as even catching one barbel per session sends me home happy. New rod christened – and it handled the fish very nicely, though obviously I would like to test it on bigger fish. And the predicted heavy showers didn’t materialise, which was a bonus.

Barbel 6.15 Pellet
Barbel 3.08 Pellet

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