PB Barbel For Macey - Dean Macey

“It’s weird how fishing has a way of rewarding the
people that put in the effort, as well as throwing the odd bone here and there. Last season, no matter what I did, I just couldn't put a bait in front of a big barbel to save my life, this season however, is the direct opposite, and boy does it feel good to have my mojo back.

Buzzing off the back of landing my season’s best barbel of 13lb 11oz, I made plans to return the following afternoon. I never do full days throughout the winter. I much prefer to fish hard and well at the best time of the day and maximise my chances. The journey was far from straight forward. Gridlock around the M25 saw my sat nav working overtime to divert me for what seemed like ages, but after 1hr 45minutes to do just 40 miles, I found myself pulling into the car park to find just one car there. Bingo! With rain and 15mph winds it seemed that most anglers had decided to give it a miss.

I made my way to the very same swim that I had found myself hanging on for grim death in not 24 hours before. My
plan was to fish it exactly the same way, but this time, knowing they were on the feed and the water temperature having risen to 48 degrees, I decided to bait drop seven small droppers of Hinders Salamiz Hemp; just enough to get them rooting around. If they had dropped back down the swim due to the disturbance from the night before, then it would help draw them back up to where I wanted them. On the first cast the lead didn't go down with the solid shudder that I normally like to feel, but with a two-foot hook link, I decided to leave it, thinking that the hook bait should be on the gravel even if the lead had landed a little short. After an hour with no signs at all, I wound in to find that my hook bait was perfectly clean. Now I started to think that they had moved and I wasn't on them. Most open-water swims on pressured venues don't throw up bites until after dark so I still had hope. I went for a wander to check out a few other areas and returned as darkness fell.

This time the lead went down with a massive thud and as long as no rubbish hit the line and the lead held firm, I was happy to leave the bait there until kick-off time. I didn't check my watch, but about an hour had passed and I was just pouring myself a nice, hot Vimto, when the tip flew round and I almost gave myself second-degree burns, as the
mug of drink went straight up in the air. A brutal, savage fight took place where the fish, just like the big one the night before, took line off a very tight clutch and for the first few minutes I was just a spectator. Eventually, I managed to stop and turn her head. Making an inch at a time then losing yards back, I gradually edged her upstream towards a position where I could land her, but then the worst thing
happened; she rolled and I saw just how big she really was! To say that I clenched in areas that I never knew could, would be an understatement!

I started talking to myself as if I had never caught before. After what seemed like ages but in real time was probably only six or seven minutes, I slid the net under her massive frame. I knew she was special, so I went for some help and after carefully weighing her, my two kind helpers recorded a weight of 15lb 8oz. A season’s best the evening before and now a PB, it doesn't come any better than that. I have to apologise to everyone else on the river that night for my slightly uncool cry of, "Yeah Baby!" but it had to be done. That fish has been a long time in coming and made my season!”