Joining the hundred club! - Ash Morton
My last session out on the bank was spent by the mighty River Trent, I was wanting to start fishing for the Zander, but I was still enjoying my barbel fishing so much that I opted to fish one rod for each, plus I was only six barbel away from catching 100 barbel for the season. I've been having a few bumper sessions of the last month or so, so I really wanted to try and hit that target. My line of attack for the zander was a headless roach/dace mounted on two size 8 trebles and a free-running 4oz lead cast just into the edge of the flow where it drops off a little.
The barbel rod was on a glugged 20mm The Source boilie with a paste wrap on 3ft of braided hook length with a running feeder re-cast fairly often to keep the bait going in. I also attached a mini PVA bag, as I'm a big believer in feeding them, this was fishing quite close in as well in comparison to most folk who fish on the Trent, as i've found that the fish are willing to come really close in and it's a lot easier to bait accurately too. When I started it was a mad rush against the light as darkness was setting in, but I got some hemp 'Droppered in', roughly twelve to start with to help give the swim a kick-start.
I was watching the tip of the zander rod like a hawk and I had at least three good pulls, that when hit, met with fresh air. On the barbel front it seemed quite slow with one small one not long after dark and then another at 8lb plus just before 10pm, just as I was resting the fish up in the edge, the zander rod was away! I hit into a good fish and it put up a great scrap, so I wasn't surprised when a good pike popped up in front of me. It was lean and still in summer weight, but went 17lb 6oz on the scales, so it was a nice bonus. I caught another three barbel through the night including a 10lb 8oz specimen and one of 12lb 4oz that was very plump indeed! When I woke I was on barbel number 99 for the season and was thinking that my chance of hitting the magical 100 mark may have been over, but just as the sun was up and I was having my morning cuppa the barbel rod took off, playing it, it felt a solid fish and wasn't tearing around like a barbel, so I wondered if I may be in to a carp as they have a tendency to swim this way upstream and are often the cuplrits of daylight bites first thing in the morning. Soon enough though I saw that I was actually in contact with a very good barbel. I was absolutley made up as it went into the net and i'd managed to hit number 100 of the season, especially as i've not put silly hours in and really enjoyed my fishing along the way. The fact that number 100 also looked an absolute unit made me even happier. It tipped the needle around to 13lb 2oz and it was also my 23rd double figure barbel of the season. After the pictures were done I sat happily smiling to myself with a cuppa in the early Autumn sunshine, I even managed to add another fish before packing up too.