The Witching Hour

Alfie Naylor

The Witching Hour

For the last couple of months, I have felt really conflicted about going fishing due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. However, fishing has provided a much-needed escape and with the river being a hundred yards from my back door I have managed to stay local.
My wife encouraged me to continue fishing short sessions. As the angling trust has said, fishing helps to maintain mental health - and that certainly is true. So much time spent in a very small house is not great!
I was under my wife's feet a lot and that is dangerous for my health too...

The new COVID-19 restrictions did make me feel a little guilty to go fishing, I stuck to the plan, pre-baiting with around a kilo per day hoping to hold the fish in the area for when I was ready to go back. After 3 to 4 weeks of solid baiting, I started to get fishing anxiety I knew it was time to get the rods out.

On my first session, I managed a single bream then we had a massive cold spell, but I still kept the bait going in even though I suffered a good few blanks during this time. By this time, my motivation was once again knocked and to top it off, we had another big flood making fishing impossible. I kept the bait going in but reduced it a little to only a handful of bait per day until the river settled and I was able to get out.

The river finally settled, and everything was starting to look perfect, so my heavy baiting strategy started again.
During each short evening session, the Bream kept coming thick and fast, to be totally honest I was really starting to get fed up with the Bream and thought I may have overfed, and the bream were waiting... Total nightmare and under different circumstances I wouldn’t mind catching them but on heavy barbel gear, they just annoying me.

Another cold spell hit, this time we had snow and another flood worse than the first one, I was completely deflated and lost interest but kept a small amount of bait going in every day.
Once the snow had melted and the river settled again, I started to fish my baited area and once again the Bream were a real pain. I even tried 24mm boilies and was still catching bream after bream for the next 2 weeks and the wife started to take the mic constantly calling me “Bream Boy”.

By this point, I was starting to question if I over baited which held the bream in the area. However, I kept to my plan of heavy baiting to hopefully draw the bigger fish into the area but the whole time I was questioning my tactics. I knew my rigs work due to the amount of Bream I was catching, and this dilemma went on for what felt like a lifetime.

A week or so later I noticed a big change in the lunar calendar and I’ve always been extremely confident near the full moon, this also coincided with some low pressure and a very mild southerly wind. I had one day to react to these conditions, and I was so happy I did.

On the Wednesday evening after a busy day at work I just knew with the weather conditions this was the day to finally break my bream curse and hopefully, the wife will stop calling me “Bream Boy”.
I got to my pegs around 5 pm and knew it would be dark within the next hour or so and didn’t want to fish too late due to the ongoing restrictions.
Both rods in position I then catapulted 50 River Plus boilies into my baited area. The anticipation was building and the wind getting stronger and everything felt perfect considering its still winter.
The light started to fade, and I had the perfect stereotypical three feet twitch and the reel screamed into life I knew instantly it was a Barbel and what a feeling it was to be attached to a big fish after weeks of frustration.
After a tense few minutes, I stood looking into my net amazed.

A feeling only an angler would understand.

Cheshire cat springs to mind!!!

My prize safely in the net, unhooked recovering nicely.

I then topped up my baited area with another 50 baits and repositioned my rod still grinning like a mad man, less than 5 minutes later both rods hooped over, first my left rod than my right, pure mayhem and I honestly didn't know where to turn as the fish I was playing was going crazy whilst the other reel was in meltdown.
Lady luck was on my side and eventually got them both under control and I was now staring into my 42 in specimen net with three big Barbel. Hard to believe how quickly this all happened.
Luckily, my friend Andrew Knots wasn’t far from me, so I called him to help me out with this incredible capture.
When Andrew arrived, I was still shaking with excitement and in total shock at the mayhem that had just happened.

It didn't end there after all the photos were taken and all the fish returned safely, I had one more take which was yet another double figure barbel.

All in all, after doubting myself for weeks I persevered with my boilie baiting plan and got a far more than I was ever expecting, I was hopeful for 1 double before the end of the season and ended up with a 13lb, 11lb 8oz, 11lb and a 10lb 4oz...

Just goes to show the power of a good quality bait and I have 150% confidence in Nutrabaits River Plus.

Simply epic way for me to finish my season and there is still 2weeks to go.

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