River Irwell Barbel - Another Dream Realised
My first swim drew a blank.
Eventually I landed this tired lady. This fish was the longest , leanest trout I have ever caught but the fight was tremendous, so much so it took me a further 10 mins to nurse her back to health and release her to fight another day.
Wild brown trout on the pin. Very nice.
A smaller trout followed but no chub or Irwell barbel. I am beginning to wonder if the Irwell barbel are like
I have never even hooked one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Delving into my rover bag I chose a ready made rig. A 12 no 4 home made stick float was my weapon of choice along with my 14 ft Conni x and my new Okuma centerpin real.
With Salford Pete comfortably nestled behind me I was ready for my last session of the season.
Fifth trot down I hooked good fish which tail walked all over my swim. It was a wild brown trout of about a pound and a half and I thought it had totally feeked up the fishing for the rest of the session.
Another hour passed with out any bites not a fish moved and Eagle who was in the next peg up stream had not had a touch.
The light was fading know. " Looks like there will be no fireworks for me at the close of the season " I though as my hand crafted 12 No 4 stick float was travelled nicely down the
“ This is the last time I can trot a float for three months “
” Jesus it’s a fish …..and a good one to ………
My new Okuma started smoking as line poored from the spool …as the fish powered upstream straight for Eagles line his peg was strune with boulders and underwater debris so I could not afford the fish any more line but for some reason un-beknown to me the fish turned at that point and streaked back towards me.
Furiously gaining line on my pin I tried to keep in touch with her. At this stage I still had not seen the fish so I didn’t know what species she was, could be a big trout or an enormous chub. Five minutes had passed now, I still couldn’t move her of the bottom so I gave her a little more pressure , boy , she did not like that and she motored off down stream this time on another smoking run towards the tail end of the pool where it shallows rapidly and changes into rapids. I have caught many barbel over the years but I am VERY rusty when it comes to playing these powerful fish. I remember the down stream runs towards shallower boulder ridden water as the most dangerous part of the battle due to the barbel swimming in and around the boulders and wearing the line or just plain snapping you off around a snag. With my thumb on the pin exerting as much pressure as I dared I tried to stop her second run, once , twice , three times ………… she still took line off me
“ Jesus. What do I have to do to stop this fish dad “
He just chuckled and smiled …………….. I would come to understand why latter …
I think he guessed what she was at this early stage but never said a word as he didn' t want to break my concentration.
It was a gamble .............. my Conni X doubled over under the pressure, I shut my eyes and waited for the sound of a crack off !!!!!!!!!
It never came ...............
Luckily for me the gamble paid off and she turned , thank god and she bored up stream again but she was tiring now and I stopped her in the deeper water in front of me. “She wasn’t the only one who was tired after ten minutes ……..........
Another five minutes passed, that’s 15 minutes and I could see my stots on my hook length.
She was coming up. Three seconds after I saw my stots she surfaced and time literally stood still !!!!!!!!!!!!.
My eyes nearly popped out of there sockets when I got my first real glimpse of her.
Huge golden flanks and massive pink pectoral fins rose from the depths into view, coupled with a pointed snout and whiskers …………..
It was an Irwell barbel………..
The adrenalin coursed through my veins at this stage as I still had not landed her.
“ The Irwell Unicorns “
for two years and now I had one in my grasp, and it was a belter.
“ Come and have look at this Eagle it’s a barbel. I have just won our bet and for filled our blood oath“ lol.
“ Shut it Peanut ……you haven’t caught a barbel ……..............….have you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“ GET YOUR ARSE OVER HERE AND COME AND LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS “
“Lets have look then Peanut “ says The Casterman from under his dodgy dearstalker hat............
I slowly pull in my keep net and reveal my prize.
“ Bloody Hell, that IS a bonny fish Peanut well done pal “
I could feel myself glowing with The Casterman s praise – He caught a barbel from the River Irwell 15 years ago……. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6 lb 7oz was agreed by us all as a total weight.
( Its the first barbel I have caught on the centerpin to)
I can not describe how I felt.
" Elated "
Is the best word I can think of.
Me & The Casterman.
Eagle on the last day of the season nursing the mother of all hangovers
Casterman & Salford Pete
"You'll catch nowt if your not out"