The next swim down was more comfortable to fish from anyway, and as I was thinking of stopping until the early hours for a change that had played some part in my choice. This time I baited the downstream rod with an S-Pellet - as much for a change as anything, the upstream continuing to fish a small crab Pellet-O. Although it was breezy the spot I was in was sheltered. There was cloud cover and the car's thermometer had read 22 when I parked up. It could be a muggy night ahead.
The first visitors to my swim were the ducks. Milling around in front of me and murmuring to each other softly. Next to show up was a barbel. It only took forty minutes for the S-Pellet to steam off downstream while I was in the middle of tying up some fresh hooklinks. A bit of a better scrap than had been the case in this area ensued, the fish proving to be only six pounds or thereabouts. Even with the river low and clear fish can be caught in daylight.
Darkness is arriving at nine thirty now, the cloud cover speeding its approach. At five to ten, with the headtorch most definitely needed, the S-Pellet tore off again. This one was obviously a bigger fish, and again scrapping harder than the barbel had been previously. Looking in the net I couldn't believe it was another double. Sure enough it was. Now it was time to fight with the self-timer on the camera. I'd had a dry run at home as the bulb release I had ordered over the net had yet to arrive, so I knew what to do. The timer on my Canon can be set to take a number of photos in sequence - so should be ideal for fish photography.
Anyone who tries to tell you that a self timer is suitable for taking good trophy shots of fish either holds dead fish up to their camera or is an idiot! I managed more photos of flying fish and my knees than decent pics.
I also notice that because the camera focuses when the shutter button is pressed the balsam is perfectly sharp - the fish not. Self timers? Pah! Nonetheless, despite a little more messing around than is usual it didn't take long and the fish swam away strongly when I slipped her back in the shallows. I hope that bulb release turns up soon.
After sorting myself out again I put a fresh S-Pellet on the hair, a fresh bag on the hook, and recast. The brew had just been poured when the bait was taken. This time it was my kinky friend visiting my net for the fourth time this season. Barbel are intelligent? Ok. Whatever.
In the past the feathery fiends have left me alone after dark. I assumed the swam off somewhere to roost out on the river away from predators, but this night they came begging like shadowy spectres. I threw them some more pellets, but down from where my rods where to try and stop them invading again.
For no other reason than to see what would happen I swapped the S-Pellet for a boilie. It took about three quarters of an hour for that to get picked up by another fish in the six to seven pound bracket. The wind had dropped and the clouds were breaking up. A few stars shining, but not enough for me to make out the constellations. An occasional breeze would spring up momentarily making me wonder if this was a lunar effect that is rumoured to occur. The clouds closed up again. It was, indeed, a muggy night.
By midnight I was getting the feeling that the action was over. Bed seemed a better prospect than the riverside so I left it to the cows, the bats and the owls. The car thermometer read 18 as I pulled away along the track.