If a man speaks in a forest, and his wife's not there, is he still wrong?

My first barbel!

As a child, I used to spend many an happy hour fishing on the local "beck". I used to read books about barbel and dream of catching one. Tonight, I caught my first. Mike took me to the River Nidd. He's been fishing there extensively over the last couple of years and has had a 10lb 11oz specimen - that's big for the Nidd.

The scenery was beautiful - just like some thing from Mr. Crabtree! Anyway, we picked our spot and Mike helped me setup with the intention of sorting himself out when I was fishing. I used one of his rods as he jjudged mine to be over-powered (my only rod is a carp rod I bought to go sea-fishing with)

I'd been waiting for around 15 minutes when I got my first take. You don't get "bites" when fishing for barbel - they just go!

I jumped up, grabbed the rod, and started reeling in to try and keep out of the snags. The fish went like a train. My fixed spool clutch was slipping - it really was Screaming Reels!

Then, the reel fell off the rod!!! I kid ye not. The reel clamp broke and I was left trying to hold the reel on the rod whilst attempting to keep the locomotive on the end of my line out of the multitudinous snags. By the time we got the reel back on the rod and I could begin to apply any real pressure it was too late - the fish was into a snag and stuck fast. The line snapped, losing all the end tackle. Bugger.

So, we tackled up again with Mike's 2nd rod (meaning he wouldn't get to fish - what a great guy) and tried again.

About 45 minutes later, I was into another one. This time, the reel stayed firmly attached to the rod and I steered the fish out of the over-hanging willow tree. I must confess, my job was made considerably easier because the fish decided to swim upstream towards me. I just took up the slack and kept him there, mid-stream, until he tired and I was able to guide him into the landing net.

Here's a picture. What an awesome fish. 7lb 2oz of muscle. And what beautiful colouring.

I think I may just have become hooked again.

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