On the 15th of June I decided to make a last minute trip out after work. I drove round the M25 to my parents’ house where my gear is still stored with the intention of fishing Spade Oak gravel pit in Marlow. But when I arrived I realised that I really had to change the plan and fish the river. It was the start of the new season after all.
I was deciding between the stretches available to me on the Marlow Angling Club ticket, when I had a change of mind and decided to fish a local weir on the Thames.
Arriving by the weir at 2330 I setup, and at the stroke of midnight placed one rod behind a closed sluice gate on the nearside of the river, and a second rod further downstream alongside overhanging bushes where I’ve enjoyed previous success.
I lay down on my bedchair under the open sky and began to doze off. Waking at around 0400 to the freezing mist I considered packing up, but lacking any extra layers opted to stay under the sleeping bag and wait until the mist cleared when it would be a little warmer.
The next thing I knew it was around 0530 and I had a screaming buzzer from the rod tucked behind the sluice gate. I bolted up and lifted the rod, gently tightening up the loose clutch. I believed I’d hooked the bottom, until the bottom started to move and powered into the stronger flow in front of one of the fully open gates.
A few minutes later I had little doubt as to what I’d hooked, but its first appearance, slapping its tail on the surface as it dove back down deep, confirmed it was a double figure barbel.
A Romanian angler appeared from just upstream above the weir and offered to help net the fish. After a solid ten minute fight I was slowly dragging the fish over the top of the powerful flow and into the net. I was elated.
My new friend helped take a couple of snaps and I weighed the fish at 12lb 12oz, all while repeating the phrase, “Oh wow!” like a parrot. The fish bested my previous PB caught nine years ago by 1lb 4oz.
Just the one fish, but I decided things had peaked and so set off back home to spend the rest of the day with my nine week old son.