Met up with a couple of mates at Evesham Country Park (used to be Twyford CP) to fish the day ticket water. It rankles having to pay when I've got 3 books! Still I'd been told that Bidford down to Evesham had been fishing well (The Bait Box in Evesham) and the bailiff told me there had been an unsubstantiated 17lb barbel in the spinney there. But he would, wouldn't he?
My mates think that a full English is the best way to start a session so it wasn't until 9:00 that we met in the Cafe in the Garden Centre. 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 saus, beans, mushrooms, fried bread and toast later we drove down to the pegs. Time for a nap maybe? The heavy mist was just lifting as we set up. I picked a swim with a couple of trees on the opposite bank to shade the soon to be rising sun and a nice inside glide, or so I thought, down to an overhanging tree.
I soon discovered that the flow was on the far bank and only really came into play about 1/3rd of the way across so this ruled out a trot on my bank. Still, I started off with the same rig as usual, a running 2oz lead with a 3' flouro hook length to a size 10. My super glue had decided that it didn't want to play (anyone recommend a brand that doesn't stick itself together after just a couple of uses? I know, it's probably operator error.) So gluing elipses was out of the question. I started with a 10mm Source boilie which had been glugged in Halibut oil and left to soak in hemp and hali crush - found that in a magazine, it makes a lovely looking mess! Coupled with a mesh bag of pellets and crushed boilies it was cast to the far bank under a tree. 2 or 3 hours later the bailiff came for the money and told me that the boat channel was the place and to use BIG baits. I thought I'd leave that idea till later, and tried under the near bank tree.
Of course the bailiff knows best! So, having tried boilies, soft oily hookers (now, now Jeff) larger drilled pellets and even maggots, I brought out the secret weapon. Luncheon meat. I always try to take some as it's often saved my day. A ragged piece, roughly about 2", was hair rigged with a slightly longer than usual gap between bait and hook. I thought that as I was using such a big piece of meat with a size 10, I wanted a reasonable gap so that the hook didn't get mixed up with the meat once in the mouth. I chopped up some more meat and made a good sausage length mesh bag of it and cast right into the middle of the boat channel.
I spent another hour watching a spotted woodpecker investigating a dead tree just upstream.
No, you can't see him as just as I took the photo the little bugger flew off. After just a couple of re-casts, still with a lump of meat, the tip was dragged round and although the bait runner was on I was pleased that I wasn't too far away from the handle. After some dogged hugging of the bottom and exploring most of the swim, a spirited 8lb 4oz came to the net. Nicely hooked in the corner of the mouth, so maybe lengthening the distance between the hook and bait was the right idea?
At that pont my mates decided to call it a day. Just 1 gudgeon, fairly hooked, was their sum total. I was intending to stay until the gates were closed at the Country Park entrance but hunger (I know, after that breakfast) called so I packed up after giving it a couple of more hours.
So I am no longer an Avon barbel virgin.