After coming close with a few decent ‘nines’ river enthusiast Graeme Roberts decided earlier this week on a last minute visit to the upper Severn at Llandrinio to chase his seasons target of a double figure barbel.
I arrived at Llandrinio last night at 9pm, more by chance than anything as I’d originally planned a night on Micklewrights with my son but that was called off after a blank session on the Dane in the afternoon and Adam decided he’d rather go home 😦
I headed for the swim Ash had emptied a few weeks earlier, it was pitch black due to the low cloud and fine mist and as I approached the edge of the river there was Shamous (Shaun) doing a late one!! First time we’d met but what a top bloke, we agreed I could pitch up about 10 yards upstream as he didn’t plan to stay that long and we had a good old natter over a brew or two.
At 1am Shaun called it a day after a few runs in what we knew was a very snaggy swim, the river had dropped to 2 metres and you could clearly see one snag protruding out of the water.
Both rods showed no interest during the next day. Evening arrived and it went pitch black again around 6:30pm so having had no luck on pellet or a bunch of maggots I dug out the trusty meat and started cutting it into cubes about an inch square. I then trimmed the corners off (something I always do) just to make it a bit more unusual in shape and used the trimmings to fill a few PVA mesh bags.
I put heavier leads on to stop the rig drifting out of position as its very deep here and the slightest flow dislodges anything less than 3oz. I cast out leaving the other rod on pellet just to see how the meat fared.
Around 8:30ish the meat rod was off and I was into my first barbel of the session, it stayed deep plodding around on the bottom but eventually came to the net and weighed a respectable 8lb 4oz.
I re-baited and cast the meat rod to the same spot and lifted the pellet rod to reel in, I felt a sharp resistance and thought I’d hit the invisible snag that Shaun had pointed out the night before but thump thump on the rod tip told me I was in again, surely not a barbel but yes it was this time came up quickly and was splashing around the surface by the snag. Duly photographed and weighed it tipped the Avons around to 8lb 9oz so again I was really pleased.
I recast the rod to the same spot behind the bush on the far bank. At about 12:30am. I was getting the odd single bleep from debris clipping the line when all hell let loose!!
I lifted the downstream rod and I was in 🙂 it headed straight into the invisible snag so I grabbed the net and started walking towards it reeling in as I went, once there I had the rod tip touching the water so it must have been no more than 10 foot beneath me.
There then followed a 15 minute stand off whereby I tried every angle known to man to dislodge the snagged fish and I knew it was still on because you get that horrible grating sensation as the line grinds against the snag.
Eventually after slackening everything off and residing myself to certain loss I pulled one more time and gained about a yard of line, thump thump again and the fish was still on!!
It disappeared off downstream at a rapid rate of knots but I managed to turn it and eventually drifted it over the net. My head torch shone down on a very decent barbel but I went to take my glasses off realising they always look bigger with my gigs on and was a bit shocked to find I wasn’t wearing them!!
I let the fish rest for a good 5 minutes till it could support itself in the flow and walked back to my bivvy with a big grin on my face, not that I thought it was a big fish although it was certainly a ‘nine’ but more because the battle was won with that snag that had caused so much grief.
I casually put the fish on the scales just to confirm my guesstimate and couldn’t believe my eyes (now with the glasses on) it went all the way around and past the elusive 10lb mark settling at 10lb 5oz, my first double figure barbel and boy was I pleased.
A few hurried self takes later I returned old Bertie to the margins and let him rest again, the net was open in the flow and he just sat there flexing his gills almost sharing the moment with me until eventually he swam out and even then just hovering in my torch light before a flick of his tail as he dropped out of sight.
I waited a good hour or so before recasting both rods. The amazing night session was finished off nicely when at 5:45am another take on the meat revealed a cheeky barbel on the munch at around 4lb and exactly an hour later a greedy chub of around 3lb fell once again for the meat. They were both unhooked in the net at the waters edge and returned straight away.
This place really does hold a good stamp of barbel albeit few and far between but as I’ve said there are bigger and I’ve now got my sights on a club record or two 😉