Another couple of barbel today, but both were clearly quite old fish. As barbel get older, they seem to show signs of fin damage, which mostly repairs itself.

An honest 9.15 was also a bit blind in one eye, but still capable of feeding and fighting hard. The dorsal was very long and scythe-like, and the gnarled fins and patchy scales told the story of a long life, and often the damage is due to being caught and mis-handled.

The smaller fish had some tail damage, but very old and well-repaired, and the cause could only be guessed at. It was about six pounds, but could have been more than 15 years old, and probably a male. I have caught it before, two years ago, from the same swim.

The fresh young fish are also there, however, and there are increasingly encouraging signs of younger generations coming through.

An old acquaintance in the form of a mirror carp of about twelve pounds had me thinking he was a barbel for a while, tearing off across the river in a sizzling run. This fish was caught by me a few years ago, a mile downstream, and his distinctive tiny mouth can not be mistaken. It is difficult to put a forefinger in the tiny tube of a mouth, maybe a simple deformation, or a result of hook damage perhaps, but he can still feed greedily and take my bait again.