Sunday and I'm bored and with overnight frost predicted for later in the week I thought I'd get another session in while I could and while the barbel were feeding. Arriving at the river rather later than I had hoped I walked past an angler on the far bank, two rods out, sat in his comfy chair head buried in a book. I don't know how people can read books when they are fishing. Even when I'm bivvied up for a few days and the fishing is slow I can't concentrate on reading anything that requires my full attention for long periods. There's always too much to see going on around me. Mind you, I know a bloke who goes fishing and has no interest at all in wildlife. He reads books when he's waiting for a bite too...
I continued downstream to a spot I hadn't fished before ,and a boilie went in under the rod end where some overhanging grass provided cover over a clear patch before the streamer weed starts, and a pellet was cast beyond the streamer weed that extends to mid river and wound back to the weed. Then I sat down to bag up some pellets and tie some rigs before it went dark.
Within a few minutes the close in rod showed signs of chub activity. It was an overcast evening so I wasn't too surprised. I was in the middle of tying up a spare pellet rig when the rod arced over and the baitrunner buzzzed like an angry wasp. However, when I leaned into the fish it didn't feel like a barbel heading downstream, more a flappy thing on the end of the line. A bronze flanked chub was soon wallowing in the net.
I then got a premonition that the barbel weren't going to play, but the chub were. After dark I wound one rod in and spent an hour in a swim that I am sure will produce for me eventually. One day I will have to give it more time, or perhaps it needs more water in the river, but it is going to throw fish up. This time it didn't, so I moved to a swim that rarely fails me.
Almost straight away both rods showed chub rattles, and it wasn't long before the downstream rod rattled, and kept on rattling telling of a hooked chub. Another five pounder was quickly returned. Half an hour later there was a repeat performance. My premonition had been right. One more move, to the 'rat hole', to try and get a barbel.
I spent the final hour and a half of the session listening to the scurrying in the undergrowth with just one chub tremor and no fish to show for it.
Time was when to catch three five pound chub would have been a red letter day, but times have changed and such fish are fairly commonplace on many rivers. I didn't even photograph the second two fish. Maybe if I had caught them by design on 'chub tackle' I would have. But I'm not sure. Chub don't do a lot for me - except when they are about the size of my hand and I instantly think of pike for some reason...