However, I like many other Barbel anglers see this as a window of opportunity, with the river full of colour surely the fish are more likely to find their food source completley on sense of smell, taste and opportunity. Using a big, smelly bait is my usual choice for such an occasion. Baits such as flavoured luncheon meat or glugged pellets usually do the trick.
As my eyes wondered along the horizon all I could see was water and lots of it! It was creeping into the field and perhaps 7 foot higher than on my previous outing only a few days before. This meant only one thing, I would need to find a slack spot which is easier said than done when the river is lapping through at a rate of knots.
I come across a chap who had just arrived at the river scratching his head somewhat.
"You're brave" I said to him. "Most anglers just turn around and head back to the car when it's like this".
"I would have but I've come across from Yeovil and I don't fancy the drive back".
We had a little chat about the state of the fishing on the river and I headed just upstream with a slack in mind. As I arrived I was still in shock at the height of the river. Big swirls were forming out in the middle and branches I would normally cast under were submerged by the oncoming waves.
As I mentioned earlier, in conditions such as these, a big smelly bait seems to work best to attract your chosen quarry to your bait. I settled on Luncheon meat and used a Robin Red soft pellet to hold it onto the hair. A method that has worked well for me in recent weeks.
Combinig this with a 4oz gripper lead I dropped my bait just in front of me to the right, unlike my fellow angler who had cast out into the middle of the river and struggling to keep his rods on his rod rests I located a slack and wasn't troubled in the slightest.
It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining but it was bloody freezing with a sharp strong wind cutting through to my bodys core. A tree floated up river and a couple of mallards were seeking sanctuary on a very copious looking mound amongst the water. It took all of 5 minutes for my fellow angler to move swims and fished just one peg up from me as fishing downstream was nigh on impossible.
I only had a small window of opportunity as I had to pick up my fiance from work, so time was of the essence. No sooner than having got off the phone from my old man who said - "you won't catch anything when the river is like that" - my rod sprung into life and slammed round.
It's hard to tell the size of the fish when the river is pushing through as it was, it adds to the excitement and the overall battle. It's important to use a rod with a bit of backbone in such conditions and it can be the difference in steering the fish over the net or loosing a fish to a snag. After only a couple of minutes a beautifully proportioned Barbel lay in the net. No monster but a welcome fish in such conditions.