After finishing work at around 5pm, my fishing partner, Michael Mellors, and I began traveling down to Doncaster and the excitement was building early on. Although we arrived at the Roberts household pretty late on, we were both still brimming with excitement, anticipating the day ahead.
After getting up at the crack of dawn, we arrived at the river not long after sunrise. We were greeted by the bailiffs as soon as we got our kit out of the car. Both Michael and I were amazed at the condition of the river bank. The birds were chirping and there was a phenomenal atmosphere in the air. Like something out of a David Attenborough documentary, everything just seemed perfect.
The tight fishing area meant that we could only fish with one rod each. Both Michael and I set up with light tackle such as a feeder rod and a small swim feeder. Having not experienced this type of fishing before, Bob explained that we should experience it on light gear first. As we came closer to making our first cast, the excitement was building, once more. Before we got too carried away, we first had to bait the swim, which Michael and I shared. I was up first and landed my first ever Chub not long after my first cast. Michael's rod bent not long after mine and the reel began to scream. This could only mean one thing... Barbel.
The fight on these fish are amazing and unlike I'd ever experienced. It was a joy to net as the lighter gear allowed us to have more fun in the fight. We got some photographs taken and then released this first Barbel. With 14 miles to roam, we weren’t going to be sitting in the one place too long. After a move and more baiting, it wasn’t long before I got to feel a Barbel run for myself. With Roach, Perch, Chub and Dace all showing up in good numbers we decided to move again for the target species. This time we had stepped up gear wise using proper Barbel specialist rods with 2.25lb test curve and heavier feeders. After a short wait, I was attached to another Barbel that was pulling like a train even on the heavier gear. I finished up on day one with my first ever Barbel and Chub along with my PB Dace.
We had a slightly later start to day two and we headed off to a stretch of water which we didn't experience yesterday. The first fish of the day was a big Bream that took a fancy to our bait. After catching a few, I hooked another Barbel. At double the size of yesterday's! It was a truly magical feeling. It really was 'a fish a chuck' at this point and the unknown was something I had never really experienced.
Later in the last day, we Michael and I moved into different swims for the first time, although they were only yards apart. I managed to get off the mark pretty quickly in this swim which turned out to be the biggest of our trip. A 10lb Barbel! Michael caught a few decent ones also and we headed back up the road to Scotland very happy boys. Thanks to NPS for giving us access and Bob for coaching us. What a trip!