I've been looking on in envy over recent weeks as others have landed a X barbel. I came very close to picking the right swim on opening day, only to be pipped at the post and a close double was caught. I've had a couple of other trips into dark, which have produced plenty of chub but no barbel. I will continue, firstly because the average size is extremely good, secondly because I like a challenge and thirdly because the river tees is a brilliant place to spend half a night.
Last night I needed a few hours by the bank, so arriving at a chosen stretch at 9pm I found, as is often the case, nobody fishing and miles of river to potentially fish. As the light dropped, the bats came out to play - it's astonishing just how many bats there are. I watched on as any moth that flew above head height was eagerly hunted by five or six bats, and definitely eaten - They don't stand a chance.
A poor picture, but a random photo in the pitch black resulted in three bats
I had been introducing free samples to the water over time, and at 11pm after an hour or so of plucks and pulls, the rod absolutely hoofed over and screamed into action. 'Barbel' was my instant thought, but it was soon apparent that a chub was the culprit, the fast shallow water causing the fish to eat and bolt away.
Despite trying for another hour or so, no more fish were forthcoming and I packed up and walked into the dark. I'll keep at it, and am determined to get one.