I count myself very fortunate that I have a clutch of young fishing pals because I like to get down with the kids, if that expression is still remotely current? But it is undeniably good to fish with those your own age, if only because they are not always on their effin’ phones and know who you are you talking about if you mention Jimmy Greaves or Roger Hunt.
So it was that I was looking forward to a few hours with Richard Hewitt (he of Thomas Turner fame, amongst other accomplishments) and Simon Clark, well known slayer of monster fish. Both are grey-haired, and forget their mobile numbers, and I have wet lines with them for decades so I was anticipating a happy time.
We spent three hours talking (fishy) business, and that left two hours to actually fish for barbel on the middle Wye. Loving Richard and Simon as I do, I wanted to make the time count, which I think I did. The weather threatened the odd monumental shower, but what is that to hardened old guys?
Laugh at the weather is the motto of those born mid last century when Pak-A-Maks (or however they were spelt) and wafer-thin wellies were the height of luxury. As it turned out, happily, all the boxes for a splendid early October afternoon were ticked. Let’s look at those boxes perhaps?
The river looked perfect. High but steady, with a benign brown colour that was not chocolate and threatening, but warm and comforting. Moreover, judging by bankside branches, the level had dropped slightly too so I felt the Barbel Gods might just be smiling.
The swim I had in mind was empty of anglers and was large enough to accommodate both anglers, so conversation about Prime Ministers going back to Gladstone could continue. Moreover, though I had been away for a week, I had baited the big eddy hugely before leaving, and I banked on there being a few fish still looking for scraps.
It was a tad of a walk so we travelled light, like I always prefer to do. Two rods ready set up. Bucket of bait. Net. Pocket full of bits. Unhooking mat. A chair for Lord Richard. What else would you need?
The rigs were so simple Noddy would have no trouble with them. Size 10. Hair. Six SSGs spaced up the line approximately 8 inches apart. No splash to worry us or the fish. Weight enough to get the bait down and just hold it in position. Everything light, tight, and super-sensitive.
Nash Scopex boilies have changed barbelling life for me these last weeks. Two of them at 15mm fitted nicely on a long hair, and would be easy to find I reasoned.
I was right. I kept baiting heavily through the two hours, and first the chub succumbed and finally two barbel, an afternoon of perfect harmony. The three of us had agreed that a couple of fish would do us, and that to leave a swim unspooked is always the best thing for the fish and for the angler. You reach an age when a couple of barbel are enough, and more become greed.
Really, as we disappeared off our separate ways, I thought and hoped a short, sharp session could not have gone better. How nice to have firm friends and a river on fire again!