Once the rivers opened, I was quickly onto the river tees, planning out my route to catching the elusive Tees barbel. I don't quite understand what I love about targeting them, as there's hardly any there, but the challenge is immense and very occasionally it throws out something special. Some of my early trips threw up the usual chub, and some of them were of an impressive size, including a 5lb fish and the very special 6lb Tees chub that i'd caught twice before, this time at the lowest weight of 6lb 1oz.
|5lb on the nose|
|6lb 1oz tees chub|
After circa ten trips without a tees barbel, I decided to switch my attentions to the more famous barbel river, the Swale, with the aim of achieving another target, that being to catch one on the stick float. Fishing the middle reaches with caster, it was exciting stuff watching a small shoal of barbel feed on them. The first trip saw success when, after losing one mid-battle, I finally landed a 6lber on the stick; a lovely way to catch them. I was back before work two days later, knowing they were in the area, and after an epic fight netted a 9lb 1oz fish, again stick float and caster.
|First float caught barbel|
|A much better stamp at 9lb 1oz|
With the barbel itch scratched, I was back at the tees trying trip after trip for a barbel. Eventually, late in September, fishing a single boilie my rod went through an alarming bend and I hit into what was obviously a tees torpedo. It's a privilege to land one of these fish, and despite the challenge I will keep trying. They have a slender build compare with other rivers, and are magnificent fish