A twelve pound barbel is a nice way to start the season in terms of double figure fish, and this fish was a longish, lean and probably fairly old fish, but it fought like a tiger despite its age.

At first I thought it was a chub, as it shook its head and thumped about, but it soon realized what was happening and screamed off downstream and convinced me it was no mere chub.

I think I have caught it before, same swim, same time last year, and if so it is a fish that stays at home, unlike some, which are real roamers and are never caught twice in the same place.

Hard to see in still, but the baitdropper and a bit of dragging the lead and bare hooklink across the bottom will find a clear spot, though there is a nasty snag in the swim too, a sunken tree trunk half buried in the bottom, which takes no prisoners.

A young, clean, spotless eight pound barbel, from the next generation, came next cast. The scale readings from the Avon barbel scales that we have been sending to Bournemouth University indicate a good range of year classes and a sustainable barbel population, and despite the miserable, negative moanings of some, the evidence is that the Avon barbel are holding their own and showing signs of stability and some improvement.

The chub are still coming thick and fast, and fight really hard on the barbel tackle; strange how they are almost a pest when barbel fishing, but a worthy sole quarry in the winter on finer gear, and much more welcome at that time of year! They are learning fast, and once caught a time or two they will become wary of the barbel gear and mostly pluck and test the bait.

I did catch one three times in a day a couple of years ago, on the same boilie and heavy rig, but he was bit of a nutter chub.