An EPIC season starter for Deano!

It’s funny how when I look back on special captures that I’ve been lucky
enough to have over the years, there are definitely a few where it
seemed that my name was written on certain fish a long way off. My latest
result proved to be one of these situations!

I’ve worked in Dorset for one day this year but on that particular day I
was caught on a speed camera doing 57mph in a 50. The reason for this is because I
was really keen to arrive early to have a walk along the river before
the job started. And hand on heart, I actually thought it was a 60
zone…honest officer!

Anyway, it turns out that Dorset is the only county in the country
where if you get given the option of a speed awareness course it has to
be done in Dorset. So, I was faced with three options. Either travel down
at 4am, book a hotel for £50 or do the night on the Royalty for £35…it
really was a no brainer!

Not having been on the stretch for 11 years I arrived a few hours
before dark to walk the whole stretch to get a feel for the swims and
spots that I fancied. I was in two minds as to sit it
out in the one swim and try to get a few hours shut eye or to work
right through the night and make the most of the time I had…once again it
was a no brainer!

On my travels I noticed some really spooky big chub sat just a few feet
from the bank. I drip fed a few Hinders Elips Pellets over the spot for
about an hour to gain their confidence and just as the light finally
faded I went in with a trimmed down Mainline Hybrid Hooker hair rigged
tight to my Guru MWGB hook. First put in I missed a very snatchy bite but
on my second cast I gave the sneaky buggers a little more rope to hang
themselves and one of them did just that. The fight was over very
quickly but not before the fish made one healthy dive for the inside
snags. As it went over the net I was sure it was one of the better fish
in the shoal and at 6lb5oz its was a great start to the night and my
river season!

At 13lb 6oz, this barbel was an incredible season starter for Deano!

Dean uses the Super MWGB hooks for nearly all his river chub and barbel work.

The next two swims proved fruitless so at around 3am I was on the move
once again to a new area. I lowered a bait off the rod tip and walked
back upstream but I didn’t have to wait long. A funny bite resulted in
my rod hooping over in a very satisfying battle curve and the fish,
that felt very heavy indeed, started slowly working its way upstream, a
great sign that it was a good fish. But then the rod sprang back
suddenly and she was gone. Unfortunately I had been cut off and my
heart sank as I thought my best chance of a beasty had gone!

I repeated the process and 20 minutes later had a fast wrap round that resulted in
a 5lb15oz chub that helped with my sorry and tired mood. Thinking that
would be it from the swim I lowered the bait out again with the
mindset of actually shutting my eyes for the night. As I settled down I
flicked the tightly set freespool on so the rod didn’t go for a
swim if I did doze off. I remember my chin hitting my chest and
thinking I was on my way to sleepy land when the rods shot into life
and the reel started churning with my hand still resting on it. I
slowed her down steadily but firmly as she was making off for the sea
at a rate of knots. As soon as I had stopped her she started holding
bottom and moving up the river, I knew at this point that redemption
was on the cards.

The fight was brutal in the flow and every time I tried to dip the net in the river she just refused to come any closer, even though I had my full on sexy voice calling her to the net! Finally she gave in and I made the call to my good friend Dave Perrott to come
and do some shots. At this point I really did think that she was a
scrapper double but as I lifted her form the water after a good five
minutes of rest, I instantly knew my estimations were well off. At 13lb6oz
she was not only a new venue best for me but in her summer colours she
has to be one of the best looking barbel to ever grace my net.

What a good feeling it is to be back on the rivers again!

A long time was spent prepping the swim with a regular trickle of pellets.

Not a bad season starter! A full 6lb 5oz of chub to kick it off!