Don't make plans, take opportunities
It was looking like I'd be tied up pretty much all of the coming week, and there were night time frosts forecast. Better hit the river then. Another gut feeling saw the car carry on past the track it had been drawn down the afternoon before. The stretch looked deserted and the wind, chilly as it was, from a direction that wouldn't have made the fishing uncomfortable. The lure of a bank that wasn't vertical and slippy was too much. I got my timing a bit wrong though. It was getting dark as I put the rucksack on my back and made the short walk to the swim.
Out went a boilie, well upstream, then a pellet downstream. I sat down to check the position of my chair would allow me to grab either rod easily when I had to leap up and grab the downstream rod! A scamp was unhooked at the water's edge. Before I could rebait I was playing a fish on the upstream rod. A slightly larger scamp. The gear was arranged to my satisfaction before both rods were recast.
And so it progressed for most of the session. Not quite so hectic, but bites at regular intervals. The third and fourth bites resulted in dropped fish. The fourth one right at the net, which never happens to me. I didn't change the hooks or resharpen them, although they were checked, and everything else hooked stayed hooked. Hook pulls just happen. I no longer fret about them. Write them off and move on.
At quarter past nine a barbel bite resulted in a small but immaculate chub. At eleven the same rod, fishing the pellet, slammed down and bounced in the rest, then slammed down again. The fish pulled a bit at first then gave up until it was under the rod end. I couldn't work out what was going on until a large pair of white lips revealed themselves over the landing net. Peering down in the faltering light from my Petzl I saw a chub that might just need weighing. After confirming the weight I rested it in the net while I set up the tripod. Normally I wouldn't bother with a self-take, but large (to me) immaculate chub are like large immaculate (I refuse to say 'pristine') roach. Scarce. These two species always seem to lose scales as they age. This chub was near as dammit scale perfect. As ever I failed to capture this with the camera.
The sky was clear, the stars and aeroplane lights bright, there was no mist on the water despite the cool air and the haze up the valley. It was a pleasure to stop until midnight. I'd caught a few barbel, seven in fact- including the Kinkster which had visited my net for the sixth time this season, I think. It had been fun. I'd pushed my barbel count for the season to an all time high (which isn't saying much). But the highlight had been the chub. One big fish or a lot of middling fish? I'll take the loner every time. Then again, I do like getting the rods bent.